A Rustic-Meets-Cultural Wedding at The Forest in Wappapello, Missouri
Kanwal Haq and Shiraz Bheda wanted to have a traditional Pakistani wedding weekend while also celebrating Kanwal's roots in southeast Missouri. The colorful wedding weekend included a Mehndi the evening before the wedding followed by a traditional wedding ceremony and plenty of merriment the next day. "Both Shiraz and I take a lot of pride in our roots, our histories, and we wanted to incorporate these elements into one beautiful celebration. Thus to honor our respective Texan/Missourian backgrounds, and our Memon/Punjabi cultures, the theme became 'A Charming Rustic Farm, plus some South Asian Flair.' Our venue of choice, a barn, looked quite ordinary on the outside but adorned with floral, pastels, and loads of greenery, you felt alive and whimsical stepping inside," shares Kanwal.
"Nearly every aspect of our day was personalized," says Kanwal of the Missouri wedding celebration. "Our moms, aunts, sisters, cousins, and friends spent months helping us prepare. My cousin Amera made earrings as our Mendhi favors, my friend Faryal baked personalized strawberry and vanilla meringues as our wedding favors, my friend Ali, my father-in-law, and cousin Asad sang traditional songs. There was so much warmth and love to be felt all around," says Kanwal. She goes on to share that her mom "was the mastermind behind my reception decor—her vision was to highlight natural elegance and she took care of designing everything from the centerpieces to the archways. She spent 11 months growing greenery and flowers with which she lined the deep mahogany wood, she sewed the table runners, she set the tables—she basically outdid Superwoman. In English, Kanwal translates to Lily, or the Lotus Flower, so there were lilies mixed with roses."
The mother of the bride wasn't the only person deeply involved in the planning of the Missouri wedding. Kanwal actually took on designing her wedding dress herself. " I literally drew it out on a piece of paper one day and sent it to my mom; she took care of the hard part by finding a tailor in her hometown of Rahmin Yar Khan, Pakistan who brought it to life. I had always loved the gold bracelet with pink sapphires my mother wore to her wedding and now as it passed down to me, we designed matching earrings a necklace to complete the set. In all honestly, I had forgotten about accessories and shoes, and those who know me best came prepared- my dear friend Emma bought me a pair of beautiful gold shoes, and my little cousin Anum came equipped with a dazzling clutch."