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Am & Sukhi - Sikh Destination Wedding Cancun Mexico Moon Palace Resort
Shahilla & Aly - Beautiful Ismaili Weddings Vancouver, Westin Bayshore Vancouver, Fraser Valley Jamatkhana
|Shahilla & Aly - Beautiful Ismaili Weddings Vancouver, Westin Bayshore Vancouver, Fraser Valley Jamatkhana
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Shahilla & Aly:
Vancouver Wedding Experts / Wedding Suppliers
Vancouver Wedding Photographer: Scultpures of Light by Scott Adolf
Ceremony: Fraser Vally Jamatkhana
Wedding Reception Venue: Westin Bayshore Vancouver
Cinema: EXL Films
Cake: Cakeaters Edible Art
Flowers & Decor: Universal Decor
Makup & Hair: Beauty Call
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Although shy Shahilla Meghani didn’t bid on love when she first spotted handsome
Aly Devji “for sale” at a fundraising event, fate decided to raise the stakes for this
Shahilla was certain she would never see the gentleman again, and was shocked
when she found herself being introduced to her handsome stranger several months
later by a mutual friend, who also happened to be Aly’s cousin.
“Shahilla was very smart and attractive,” said Aly. “She had a good sense of humour, and we had a lot in common. But we both found it curious that we didn’t meet sooner—we had a lot of friends in common.”
After dating for about a year and a half, Aly decided to propose on April 15th
Of course, he asked Shahilla’s family for permission first. “Her whole family knew
about it and kept it a secret for a week,” laughs Aly, who popped the question after a
romantic dinner at the Beach House restaurant at Ambleside.
Shahilla, who was not expecting a proposal after only a year and a half, admits she was blindsided—“but totally thrilled!”
“We wanted a summer wedding but did not want to wait a year,” Shahilla goes on.
“We decided to marry in September 2011--just four and a half months after the proposal!”
As followers of the Muslim faith, there were a lot of ceremonies leading up to the
wedding, including Shahilla's mendi party. Then came the mamehru ceremony where the couple’s mothers and brothers performed a ceremony by placing sugar
cane and pineapples in four corners of a room, symbolizing the construction of a
new home for the bride and groom.
While the mendhi and mamehru were both held at Shahilla’s family residence, The
Puro/Mandvo and Piti were held at the Westin Bayshore on September 2, 2011 and attended by nearly 350 guests.
The Puro/Mandvo ceremony is similar to a bridal shower—all the women from Aly’s family brought Shahilla into a room and showered Shahilla with gifts that
included clothing, jewellery, and accessories. The couple later underwent the Piti ceremony, where family members make a yellow paste and smear it on the bride and groom. The paste has a marvellous beautifying effect on the skin and ensured the couple looked ravishing for their nuptials next day.
The next day, about 400 guests gathered at the Fraser Valley Jamat Khana to watch
Aly and Shahilla take their vows. The location was of sentimental value to Aly’s
family, since they were involved in its development.
During the Nikkah (Islamic ceremony) a selection of verses that symbolize marriage for Shia Ismailis were recited from the Quaran. Shahilla wore a traditional white lengha purchased in India. Her henna was done by Rishma, and Angela Dhesi (a local Vancouver artists) Beauty Call attended to her hair and make-up. The groom opted for a custom-made Canali suit.
The reception, which also took place at the Westin Bayshore, was equally elaborate to the pre-wedding parties.
Aly’s mom began the celebration with a ritual called Chandlo. She anointed the
foreheads of the bride and groom with a yellow mark, then showered the couple
with rice to invoke prosperity. After the Chandlo came the Punkwa, where the
groom’s mother held a betel nut and blessed the couple by making four circular
motions around them with her hand. Aly’s mother then placed her knuckles
on either side of the couple’s forehead, and cracked her knuckles to vanquish
unfavourable forces in a custom called Dukhna. Purifying water was poured onto
the feet of the newlyweds from a vessel called a Ghadi.
Clay plates filled with lentils, a quarter, sugar, and tumeric were placed in front
of the couple to step on and break during Sapatia. This ritual is meant to release
the symbolic gifts on the plate. Both Aly and Shahilla were then bundled up in a
protective shawl called the Bandhani and lead off to the groom’s family home.
Once inside, Aly and Shahilla bowed and touched the feet of Aly’s parents, asking
for their blessings. The groom’s father presented Shahilla with several gold coins in the Khobo ceremony. “I had to cup my hands and take as many coins as possible,” explains Shahilla. “It’s supposed to represent the number of children we will have together.”
There were a lot of games. During the Chero ceremony, relatives from both sides
tried to part the couple by grabbing at their clothes—bribes had to be provided
before relatives allowed the newlywed to depart.
“From signing the wedding papers to the photography session to the speeches—
it was all amazing,” says Shahilla. “All our family came to town to share our special
Since Muslim weddings are a family affair, Aly and Shahilla had to make sure all
family members were satisfied with their decisions. They worked quickly and used
the Cultural Wedding Planer for ideas and details. “The pictures, stories and contact
information on services were particularly helpful,” remembers Shahilla.
“The décor and flowers were done by Universal Décor,” Shahilla adds. “I didn’t
really have a theme but used peach, pinks, golds, and bronze at as my colours.
Our wedding cake—a four-tiered, triple-layered chocolate cake with pink fondant and mendi-style piping—was created by Wendy from Cakeaters.”
Although the couple’s biggest worries were all the details and logistics, they
were able to ensure their guests were cared for and the food was top quality. “It’s important to plan in advance to avoid last minute decisions and stress,” explains Aly.
“Book the photographers and videographers once you decide—the good ones get booked really fast. Our Photographer was Scott Adolph, and our videographer was Errol Lazarre.”
To personalize their wedding, Aly and Shahilla also hired the Shiamak dance group and Kyle Toy, a Michael Jackson dance impersonator. “The MJ performance was a big surprise for our guests,” laughs Shahilla.
In retrospect, Aly and Shahilla agree it would have been nice to have more time
to plan their wedding and recommend hiring a wedding planner.
After returning from their honeymoon in Mexico, they’ve enjoyed sharing many new experiences as husband and wife. Their advice to newlyweds is simple: “Collaborate, compromise, and don’t sweat the small stuff!”