On November 7th, 2009, Umer and I were married at the Islamic Center of Raleigh. Alhamdulillah! My husband (yay!) kept asking me to write about the wedding but I put it off until he left--he'll come back and get me for our honeymoon in a few weeks inshaaAllaah. I've got so much I want to write about now, especially about the preparations and what it was like for me. But for now I'll try to describe the events for anyone who wasn't able to come.
I spent the last week wrapping up the "last minute" preparations, with my fiance coming in on Thursday evening. On Friday morning, his sister and brother-in-law flew in with his nephews, and after jumu'ah I went home to make some more punch and get ready for my bachelorette party. Umer's sister put some henna on my hands and then we went to the party, hosted by a great friend of mine and her mom, who is also a friend.
Saturday was the wedding day. We had the nikah after dhuhr prayer at the masjid. Actually dhuhr prayer was at 1:35 but I wanted to make sure there was time to set up the room for my guests (we had it in a conference room instead of the musallah). Unfortunately, some of my preparation cost me a little more time than I'd budgeted and I got to the masjid at about 2:30. My family arrived with me, and my friends met me at the door--some taking pictures.
I sat at a long table facing the guests. The man conducting the ceremony, who also acted as my wali (as my family is not Muslim) sat behind the center of the table, and my groom sat on the far end. This was not the imam, a man whom I dearly love, only because he was at a conference for the weekend. He suggested another member of the community, and that was who performed the ceremony. I was asked initially for my consent, which I gave, with confirmation that terms and mahr had been agreed upon. And then the officiant proceeded to deliver the wedding sermon and supplication (du'a) in Arabic and then in English. Then the state marriage certificate was signed by the brother acting as officiant and two witnesses--husband's brother-in-law and a local friend.
That was the nikah, after which the guests came up to me to offer their congratulations. At about 5 til 3 I left the room, and the guests and everyone went then to the reception site. My new husband and I rode to the reception site, and met my friends taking pictures in the hallway. Basically the reception, more an American custom I think than an Islamic one, was an opportunity for us to greet people after the wedding and to share some snacks with them. It wasn't an all-out wedding feast but people seemed to think it was pretty nice. We had hors d'oeuvres, punch, and wedding cake.
It started at 3 and we arrived a little bit after that, with some guests arriving even later. The time for asr prayer came in at about 3:45 so we stopped the reception at 4pm for the salah. After that we cut the cake. My brother's fiancee made the cake for us--and she did a great job. Umer and I cut a small piece and fed each other small pieces from that. Then we let someone else cut the cake and serve portions. I tried to make rounds and greet everyone who came to the wedding to see me.
We wrapped up at around 5pm, had some more pictures taken while my friends (thank you all! jazakumallahu khayran!) and family helped to clean up. I have so much more to write about, inshaaAllaah there will be more to come.