Their Sarasota Wedding: Cari and Zahid Iqbal at the Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club

Cari and Zahid say “I do” in a traditional Islamic ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club.

By Bobbilynn Hollifield June 4, 2015

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Cari and Zahid said “I do” in a traditional Islamic wedding at the Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club Sarasota.


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How did you meet your husband?

We met while I was in physician's assistant school and Zahid was just starting his [medical] residency. We were both on our first rotation in the ER. I remember him being a handsome, nerdy resident who kept making conversation with me.

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Tell us about your first date.

He took me to dinner and a comedy show near Wrigleyville in Chicago [where we live]. Dinner was fantastic. Conversation was easy. It was the perfect first date. The show was a little late, so we walked around after dinner. I wore the worst shoes that night, so he took me to the drugstore for Band-Aids. As we left the store, I remember he grabbed my hand, interlocking our fingers. Then, at the end of the night, he went right in for a kiss.

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What was the wedding planning process like?

I cannot take much, if any, credit. Our wedding planner, Maria Brady of Choreographed Events, did a wonderful job picking a [venue]. We really only gave her month to plan the whole thing. We live in Chicago, so most of the planning was done long-distance. There were very few things that I was particular about. I knew I wanted to incorporate red and gold, [the colors of] my dress.  The other thing I was particular about was having lilies. Otherwise, I just asked her to make it romantic and intimate.

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Tell me a little bit about the cultural aspect of your wedding.

We had a traditional Islamic wedding. The night before the wedding is a mendhi ceremony. Henna is applied to the bride's hands and feet. Hidden in the bride’s mendhi is the name of the groom. The women wear vivid colors and the event is celebrated with dancing. The marital ceremony, on the following day, primarily consists of signing a marriage contract, which includes a meher [a statement which specifies the monetary amount that the groom will give the bride]. This is intended to give the bride freedom and security within the marriage; the bride and groom must demonstrate their free will. Finally, the officiant of the ceremony recites the Fatihah, first chapter of the Quran, and durud, a blessing.

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Do you have a most memorable moment or any favorite details from the wedding?

We really enjoyed the photo shoot on the beach following the ceremony. It gave us an opportunity to be alone and just enjoy each other’s company. The reception was so much fun, as well. My brother-in-law stole the show with his speech during the reception.

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What is your favorite thing about your husband?

It's so hard to choose one thing about him, but I love that he wears his heart on his sleeve. What I've found so unique about my husband is his ability to know himself and his feelings. He's thoughtful and great at communicating. I love his ability to make me laugh and his genuine concern for others.

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Wedding Planning: Maria Brady of Choreographed Events

Photography: BinaryFlips Photography

Cake: Cakes by Ron

To see more beautiful Sarasota weddings, click here .>>

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