I did not smile on my wedding day

Editors’ Note: Happy 10th anniversary, Aisha & Kashif!

Unlike most girls, I never daydreamed about my wedding day. The marriage, yes, but the actual choosing the dress, cakes and caterers never appealed to me. Once I met Kashif, I daydreamed about the trips we would take, the dinners I might botch and the things we would discuss on our journey through life.

But the wedding? Not so much.

The thought of sitting on a raised stage with a velvet veil and 200 pairs of eyes staring at me, discussing my clothes, the groom, and whether the food was better than the wedding last weekend or the bride prettier or uglier than the one before, was not my idea of a romantic and beautiful ceremony. Me? I’d rather have stood on a beach, the ocean waves lapping in the distance with my close family and dear friends by my side while we committed to one another for life.

But at 21, raised in a tight-knit and far-flung Pakistani-American family I knew there was no point in trying to persuade my parents of a wedding any other way than the way they had always dreamed of. Besides, however I got married was irrelevant to me; I was marrying Kashif, this was what mattered most. If my parents found joy in the traditional, lavish wedding, I could give this to them as my joy lay in the marriage this wedding would give me.

Weeks after we got married, the wedding pictures arrived. I grinned as I popped open the box, and then promptly stared in horror as picture after picture showed not a bashful bride grinning on her wedding day, but instead, a girl in a lovely red grown, a beautiful groom by her side – and a frown the size of Montana.

My friends! I cried to Kashif. Our arranged marriage and quick courtship had already raised brows among my friends. They’re all going to think I was forced to marry you!

Yes, I wasn’t enthused about the pomp and circumstance surrounding my wedding, but I didn’t want it to show quite this much! I quickly tucked my wedding pictures away.

Sitting in our new house today in dusty jeans and a bright red top, I unpacked our final box and smiled as I pulled out my wedding album. It’s been ten years. Ten years ago I could never have imagined the life we would create together. While hiking the Sierra Nevada, sinking my feet into the grainy sands of Copacabana, and holding hands as we watched a Costa Rican volcano were all amazing experiences, it’s not this that defied my expectations.

Looking at my wedding pictures today I saw a girl who loved a boy, a simple love that through these past ten years has wound its way around every part of who I am. It’s a love borne of not just beautiful moments, but also difficult ones. The moments of pain so crushing I could only stand up because he stood by my side through every step. And it was in helping me learn to stand again, that the love found new ways to bring us closer in a way that welding broken pieces can only do. In these ten years that groom in the wedding picture with the white turban went from a boy I was learning to know, to a man I now cannot live without.

As I looked at my solemn wedding pictures today while my son napped quietly upstairs, I did not feel any of the remorse or horror I felt those ten years ago because while I did not smile on my wedding day, I’ve been smiling ever since.

Aisha Saeed was born and raised in South Florida. She is a teacher, attorney, and writer. She recently completed her first two novels. In her free time, Aisha enjoys traveling, reading, and blogging at Aisha Iqbal. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.

5 Comments on “I did not smile on my wedding day”

  1. sprogblogger says:

    What a beautiful love-letter! Happy tenth anniversary, and yes, may you have many many more decade-anniversaries in your future together!

  2. Tracy López says:

    I love this. I have the honor of knowing Aisha and am so happy for her and Kashif, (and lucky little Waleed for being born to them.) Happy Anniversary and wishing you a lifetime together.

  3. Chinyere says:

    Beautiful! Happy anniversary! 🙂

  4. What a wonderful reflection. I’ve been there too — having to do the “required” ceremony. But my husband’s relatives told me not to act too happy, because that wasn’t culturally acceptable (the girl was to act sad because she is leaving her family, and to act happy would be an embarrassment). Doesn’t make sense when you are moving in with someone you love, right?

  5. fleur007 says:

    This is so beautiful… I am getting teary eyed! Love, MashAllah!!! 🙂 All my love and duas wishing you two many, many years of eternal, blissful love!!!