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Love at first sight – YUSUF IBRAHIM and RAMLA ABASS walks down the isle

BRIDE: RAMLA ABASS GROOM: YUSUF IBRAHIM DATE: DECEMBER 2, 2017 VENUE: PANARI HOTEL PHOTOGRAPHY: PICKLES COMMUNICATIONS GROOM’S SUIT: MOSS BROS SUITS MAKE-UP ARTIST: EMAN SALLAL DÉCOR: ALMUSLIMAH

Marcella Akinyi

How did you meet?

Yusuf: We met in the field. I’m a journalist and was out on assignment, while she was deployed in the same area as a humanitarian aid worker. We clicked right away!

How long did you date?

I have known her for two years; it’s been a long distance kind of relationship. We kept in touch, and that’s how we got to know more about each other.

How was the proposal?

We both knew what we wanted. It was simple; I alerted my parents and a couple of elders, and informed her parents of our intent. A meeting was set up, and I got to ask her dad for her hand in marriage.

Take us through the stages of an Islamic wedding

Well, a lot is involved, but in brief, after the girl’s family has accepted the proposal, it’s up to the man to pick the date of the wedding in consultation with the bride’s family. Once the date is set, two important ceremonies are marked; the Nikkah (contract of marriage) and the wedding itself, that’s the reception.

The Nikkah is marked at the mosque and it’s an exclusively men affair (the bride is represented by her brothers and father), while the reception is often a women-only affair. It’s during the Nikkah that the dowry, commonly known as mahr, is confirmed, in the presence of the bride’s father or guardian.

How was your dowry ceremony?

I paid four camels for my wife. Dowry is not prohibited in my community.

Any surprises and disappointments on your big day?

We were surprised by the number of people who wanted to turn up for the wedding, despite the fact that it was an invite-only affair. As for disappointments, I did not experience any. I didn’t allow anything to bring me down, as it was our big day!

What challenges did you experience while planning the wedding?

At first, it was challenging to get the right suppliers who could deliver what we had in mind, but after thorough research and networking, we managed to get what we were looking for. Also, being an invite-only wedding, getting to the final list of guests proved a hard nut to crack!

Advice to couples planning a wedding?

Identify the right people for the job, and stick to your actual plan. Don’t give room for third parties to derail you, because it’s only the two of you who know what’s best for you.

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