“You made our wedding so stress free-despite the madness! Forever thankful we went with you” -Ankita & Awaiz
For Ankita and Awaiz, their marriage was a union of not just two families but of two faiths & cultures: Ankita is Hindu, and Awaiz is Muslim. In their backgrounds, it’s rare to marry outside of their faith. I felt like it made their love joining their families even more special. The couple celebrated with two wedding ceremonies: a Hindu Biye and a Muslim Nikah. It was a beautiful Hindu-Muslim interfaith wedding.
Ankita and Awaiz met a few years ago in Roanoke at a holiday party, where they immediately hit it off. After their time in Roanoke, their careers took them in separate directions, putting Awaiz in Pennsylvania for his medical residency while Ankita moved to Florida to finish her doctorate in physical therapy. After years of long distance leading up to the wedding, they’re thrilled to be co-located again now in Pittsburg.
On the wedding day, we started off at the Historic Polegreen Church for their two ceremonies. The mandap was built at the heart of the church and was the central location for both ceremonies. In the morning, Ankita finished getting ready with her Mom and shared an emotional first look with friends. Then she was reunited with Awaiz at their private first look and letter reading.
Next, we began the first ceremony, the Biye. Awaiz walked down and was greeted by Ankita’s mom by a Pujo (Boran). Next, Ankita was carried in on a platform lifted by 4 of their family members (Bodhu Agaman). They carried her and circled Awaiz 7 times before the couple could finally see each other and exchange garlands (Mala Bodol).
Next, the couple walked down the aisle to the mandap. They entered together and prayed (Sampradan). Next, they were draped in a cloth and tied together with a knot. Then they circled the fire together seven times while bound with this knot. After they took a seat again, the knot was untied, and next a veil was draped over them to protect them from evil spirits. Awaiz then dipped his wedding band into sindoor (red powder) and applied it to Ankita’s forehead. Lastly, the couple sought blessings from their parents (Aashirvad). There were lots of happy tears and hugs as we concluded this ceremony.
After a quick outfit change, we were onto the second ceremony, the Nikka. Ankita processed with her brother by her side and surrounded by her friends. Awaiz entered with a similar processional, with his sister at this side and leading a group of his friends. Once they were both seated on the mandap, the officiant led everyone through prayers and recitations from the Holy Qu’ran. He then asked the couple to reaffirm their intent to marry each other. We all laughed a little since they had just gotten married less than an hour prior, and then signed their final marriage contract (Katb al-Kitab)
At the conclusion of the ceremony, everyone cheered again for the newlyweds! When they reached the end of the aisle, Awaiz had to perform negotiations to get through and get his bride back. It was a fun game everyone enjoyed, especially the kids who were sabotaging negotiations more than they helped.
In the final portion of their day, the couple celebrated their Hindu Muslim interfaith wedding reception with family and friends at the Science Museum of Virginia. We enjoyed speeches, food and dancing at the Thalhimer Pavilion. Ankita and Awaiz are a more low key couple, but wanted a magical fairytale feel for their wedding. Their interfaith wedding day was just that – it was the perfect day filled with celebration for both cultures and faiths while bringing two families together. It was an absolute honor to be there to capture their big day!
Photography: Xiaoqi Li Photography
Decor: Royal Occasions by Shivam
Ceremony Venue: Historic Polegreen Church
Reception Venue: Science Museum of Richmond
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Kind words from the couple:
“Xiaoqi was AMAZING and we are so thankful we went with her. She was very professional, kept us on time and delivered the most beautiful pictures from our wedding day. Highly recommend!”
-Ankita & Awaiz