My Perfect Wedding


Dina Toki-O is engaged! She shares her idea of a special and meaningful ceremony and party.

Look who's getting engaged!
Look who’s tying the knot!

A few weeks ago, I announced via one of my good old YouTube videos (or ‘bideos’ as I prefer to call them) that I was getting engaged.

So yes, Alhamdulillah, I am now engaged to my lovely fiancé whom I have yet to introduce you to! The engagement period is usually the lead-up to the wedding, for getting to know your future partner and of course, planning that all-important day – something that I have hugely underestimated.

I mean, how hard can planning your own wedding be, right? Pick a place you like, decide on the number of guests, feed them and bring in some entertainment… right?

Yes, that’s just about all that needs to be done – other than, of course, budgeting, invitations, getting the right bridal dress and sorting out the groom’s suit. Then there’s the families’ outfits – sometimes they’re even harder to decide on than what the two getting married will be wearing! Toss in the cake, the decorations, and other essentials and you quickly realise that yes, there actually is a lot to do.

Actually, my idea of the perfect wedding is something personal: a beautiful day spent with those closest to me – my family and friends. A day planned together to reflect the bride and groom’s relationship, to me, truly represents what the couple is all about.

People get into debt or spend their life savings on that one day, just because it needs to be ‘special’

From all my ‘wedding research’ so far, I’ve come to the conclusion that weddings nowadays are more about pleasing the guests than those who matter the most, ie the couple and the couple’s families. People get into debt or spend their life savings on that one day, just because it needs to be ‘special’. They are in competition with each other about holding the biggest, most extravagant weddings and inviting half the world – people you may never have even spoken to before somehow end up at your wedding. Heck, even I’ve been to a few weddings in my life that I wasn’t invited to, but just sort of tagged along with a friend for the hell of it!

But surely your wedding would be more special and worthwhile if you invited only those who truly want to attend and who you really want there. What’s the point of having the whole neighbourhood invited when, realistically, you don’t even like half of them and they’re essentially there for your chance to show off to them? What’s the point of having people sit there and analyse – if not bitch about – every single thing on the menu, your dress, the organisation, as well as estimating how much was spent altogether?

I know it’s not nice to say, but from what I’ve seen at big fat weddings, it’s the sad truth. Wouldn’t you rather save that money and invest in your future together? Or splash out on the honeymoon of a lifetime? Better yet, invest in performing pilgrimage together as a beautiful blessing to start your life together, rather than splurging on a wedding that basically turns into a community event at your expense. All for the sake of ‘saving face’ or fretting how the community may judge you if your day is done too small for their liking.

I want to be able to have the ‘first dance’ with my new husband without fear of making a goof of each other

It’s hard enough for people to get married as it is. In the first place you have to find someone suitable, then tell your parents, and endure the task of getting your father to agree! Parental demands can sometimes be so unrealistic that the poor groom has to find money out of nowhere for things that are basically unnecessary. To top it all, there’s a recession here in the UK that’s affecting everyone. So why make getting married even more difficult? Is all this extravagance required in Islam? I’m not putting a downer on things – by all means, make it special – but people seem to be forgetting what ‘special’ is.

Well, for my wedding, I want to be able to ‘walk down the aisle’, if you will, and recognise everyone. I want to be able to pull funny faces at all my friends without worrying about keeping myself poised. I want a small, modest, personal and fun wedding, and I want to be able to have the ‘first dance’ with my new husband without fear of making a goof of each other. I want a wedding that will be the most amazing day of our lives. I want to be able to look back at photos and not see faces of strangers.

Furthermore, I’m the kind of person who gets embarrassed really easily, so the idea of having complete strangers at our wedding really freaks me out. I even want to make sure I’m good friends with the photographer so I won’t feel awkward while posing for pictures!

So my advice to any couples out there planning their weddings: Plan it how you guys want it. Don’t let others’ wider opinions influence you. And if you’re worried about upsetting families because they would prefer something ‘extravagant’ to share the day with everyone, then fear not! Because your family will be happy if the bride and groom themselves are happy with how their big day goes.

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