Hello! My name is Fatima Khawaja, and I’m a Chef. I actually immigrated to New York from Pakistan almost 10 years ago for college. NYC really has become my home away from home and the most familiar place to me in the United States.
My husband Sameer was born in Brooklyn and was raised in New Jersey. He went to college on a golf scholarship and is still nuts about the sport. He is a Consultant for Deloitte and has lived in New York for most of his time post college. He also lived in D.C. for two years before he moved back to New York a year after we met!
Tell us about how you balanced a traditional ceremony in Pakistan (with 3,000 guests!!) with the party here in NYC.
The wedding in Pakistan was beautiful and so much fun. It was very traditional, which is how I wanted it, as did our families. My parents are still in Pakistan. My father is a politician there so we definitely had more than your usual amount of guests. But my friends and family made it so special. Before the big 3,000 guest one, we had two other events that were much smaller and intimate. Our actual ceremony had only closest friends and family, and so on our most special moment, we were surrounded by our dearest ones. Growing up in Pakistan I am used to the all the customs and traditions, even if some of them drove Sameer crazy. The dancing, the music, and the little traditional customs were exactly what I grew up with and couldn’t have imagined my wedding without.
After Pakistan, the wedding reception in New York was the perfect way to the end our festivities! The snow, the lighting, the guests, the speeches, the venue -- it all brought so much beauty and love into our wedding, which was very unique to New York and to America! It was so wonderful to do something a little different for our guests, especially for my family from Pakistan that had never attended something as formal and Westernized.
I feel like between the two countries, we were able to strike a balance, do a little something for all our guests and family while still enjoying every unique element in every event. We could have never done it without each other, without each other's understanding, and of course without our family and friends who came along for the ride.
What was most important aspect to you about the evening?
For the evening in New York, the most important aspect was our immediate families. It was important to me that my family was comfortable and having a good time. And it was equally important to me that Sameer’s parents, as hosts, were able to enjoy the event just as much their guests. I wanted to make sure his parents were able to take it all in and that their guests had a fantastic time.
One moment that sticks out to you?
I think all the dancing was what stuck out to me the most. The food was fantastic, and speeches were so beautiful. But the energy on the dance floor was electric and I’ll never forget the amount of fun, joy and good times I saw on the dance floor. So many guests were dancing, and wouldn’t move off the floor! Which was so great and created a really fantastic atmosphere.
Do you have a favorite photo from the day?
I love the photo shoot we did outside in the snow. All those photos are so unreal and beautiful. We got so lucky that the snow came down so delicately that we could capture some moments outside. I also love that Sameer and I were able to have some time to ourselves and the intimate moments really show in the photographs.
Any advice for someone about to get married?
Your last question is actually a funny one for us because we weren’t planning for the snow or the cold. Mid-December had been pretty mild these past few years, and so we were planning for some dry, mild weather. The fact that it snowed was actually a blessing and a curse. Some of our guests couldn’t make it because of the roads, but I think what I learnt is that you have to make the best of it. The winter conditions definitely made it cozy inside and created a nice warm atmosphere in the venue which was nice. You have to bear out anything that comes your way and realize that nothing can stop you from having the most memorable and best time at your wedding.
Venue: Liberty Warehouse