How did you and Allen meet?
We met through my brother, Ahmad; the two of them played soccer together all through high school and college. We‘ve known each other for eight years now. I was still in pharmacy school when we began dating.
How did Allen ask you out?
He asked Ahmad if he could ask me out, and Ahmad was a protective brother at first, but eventually we did start dating. Soon after that, though, I had to move out of town, so we kept in touch throughout the year I was gone and saw each other on the weekends.
I’m originally from the Middle East, and I grew up both there and in Spain. Allen’s originally from Syracuse, NY, yet somehow we both ended up in the south. He was working at the time, and I was in pharmacy school. We’re from two different parts of the world, and we still ended up together. It felt meant to be.
What draws you to Allen?
He has this underlying sweetness to him, and the biggest heart. He is so kind. It’s hard to describe. He’s just the sweetest person, and he would do anything for me. We connect on a deeper level, where he sees me for who I am, and I see him for who he is. It sounds corny, but we just feel it. It’s right.
Where did he propose?
Two years ago we went on a trip with my parents to Seville, Spain (which is actually where my parents met and had their beautiful wedding). That’s where Allen proposed, in a romantic park. It was a complete surprise, and also very meaningful to me because my family was there to be a part of it.
Where was your wedding held?
We held the wedding at the Powel Crosley Estate. This was a destination wedding for us, but my parents have a home in Sarasota, and when I visited the Crosley, I found the Mediterranean style to be so beautiful and romantic. I picked it immediately.
Tell us a little about your vendors.
Our photographer was Andy Martin from AMP Photography. We had a casual interview, and I had seen some of his work. He was charismatic, and obviously really passionate about what he does. His motto is “Your love, my passion” and that’s exactly how it is. He’s very talented.
Catering was by Michaels on East, and they did a phenomenal job. From the appetizers and salads right down to the place settings, everything was amazing. We love lamb and were glad to have that option, as well as fish and beef options so everyone could have a choice.
What was the most difficult part of your wedding-planning process? And which part was the easiest?
The most difficult part was probably the fact that I don’t live in Sarasota (although I would love to!). I had to Skype with some of the vendors, and that was a little difficult.
The easiest part? I just had so much fun with it! My mother and I were basically the wedding planners, and she’s really talented at that sort of thing. The wedding itself ended up just feeling like this amazing, fun dinner party, with a little ceremony in the mix. None of it was stressful for me. It was something I was looking forward to, something I was excited about. When it was over the next morning, I thought, “Oh man, I want to do this again!”
What was the most memorable part of your wedding day?
My parents dedicated a beautiful, dramatic tango dance to Allen and I. It was to die for. Everyone’s jaws dropped. They also choreographed a waltz for our first dance.
The dancing allowed us to express the love we felt that day. That’s what was most memorable for me. And it was real dancing, not just swaying side to side. Most of my guests and friends would say the same thing. Even the vendors were having a great time. One person said they have been working at the Crosley Estate for more than 20 years and they’d never seen such amazing dancing.
Venue: The Powell Crosley Estate
Caterer: Michael's on East
Cake: Pastries by Design
Photographer: AMP Photography (Andy Martin/Stephen Martin)
D.J.: Fitz Otis (Jay Goodley Entertainment)
Florist: Flowers by Fudgie
Lighting: Affairs in the Air
Makeup artist: Eri Vincent
Hair: Ana Molinari Salon
Spanish Flamenco Guitarist: Yusef Kabbani