When it comes to your wedding, you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime event, so why make it average?
Those were the thoughts of Dundonian Waqaar Younis, as he prepared to marry his bride Ikra with six weeks of celebrations.
The couple, both 23, had been together for two years before they tied the knot in lavish ceremonies which took place both in Dundee and in Ikra’s home city, London.
Waqaar, a local business owner, said: “Our wedding celebrations began on December 1 and finished six weeks later on January 14.
“Within Asian weddings there are many different functions that take place and we had five main functions over the six weeks.
“I had guests coming from all over the world, including Denmark, Australia and Pakistan.
“I normally go over to Pakistan for three months of the year and go to a lot of weddings whilst I am over there, so I wanted to have a traditional wedding, but I thought: ‘If I am spending all this money then what is the point in being average?’”
One of Waqaar’s favourite functions was the mendhi which was hosted in Carnoustie.
The celebration, which is usually enjoyed more by women as it involves lots of dancing, saw a group of the groom’s pals spending two months perfecting about 15 dance routines, which they wowed the guests with on the night.
Waqaar said: “All of the boys worked really hard on the routines that were to classic Bollywood-style music.
“They spent four hours every night for two months perfecting the routines and they were amazing.”
No expense was spared for each of the celebrations and one of the most important parts is the many outfits – and not just the bride’s dresses.
The traditional clothing – anything but average – featured intricate gold threading, beading and luxurious fabrics.
These aren’t things you can buy off the rack, and in fact, you can’t even get your hands on them in Scotland.
Waqaar flew to Pakistan to be fitted, and collect not only his array of jackets and headpieces, but also to collect some of the female family members’ outfits.
He said: “Everyone’s outfits have to be co-ordinated, even down to men’s ties being colour co-ordinated with their wives’ dresses.
“Because we had so many celebrations, we were able to wear loads of colourful outfits.”
Ikra, a primary school teacher, added: “I really felt like a proper princess in my dresses.
“For our formal wedding ceremony where we signed the nikkah, which is the Islamic marriage certificate, I wore a beautiful red velvet dress with gold beading and stitching, and then for our walima, which is when the groom’s family holds a celebration to welcome the bride into the family, I wore a gorgeous pastel-coloured dress.
“They were completely different but I loved both of my outfits.”
Although the couple were officially married on December 22, the final celebration, the walima, was held in the Caird Hall on January 14.
Waqaar’s sister Sophia said: “When we have brought the bride back from her family’s celebrations, we hold an event where we introduce the bride to the groom’s side.
“We provide food to celebrate together, and the bride and groom thank every single person who attends, and also introduce them to the bride.”
It is not just the wedding party who get dressed up for the occasion – the family also put up lights outside their house on Clepington Road which were illuminated for the full six weeks.
Waqaar said: “AML Lighting provided all the decorative lighting and they were amazing. “The lights were a real talking point for neighbours who were intrigued about why they were there.
“The family home is where everyone celebrates – it basically becomes an open house throughout the wedding process, so there were always family and friends over, and we would eat and chat which was really fun.
“The neighbours have been amazing and it is good for locals to see it and find out more about our celebrations.
“It is nice to see the two different cultures join together.”
Now the happy couple will split their time between Dundee and London, and although they are sad the wedding is over, the sheer amount of work has taken its toll.
Ikra said: “I am so tired now but I am sad that it is all over.”
Waqaar added: “We had so much fun and I am gutted it is all over now, but we would like to say a massive thank you to all of our friends and family who also put in a lot of hard work.
“I would also like to thank the staff at our Redberry shop who were fantastic at the walima celebration.”