In an era where flaunting a wedding on social media is quite the norm, Iman and Amna’s nuptials are refreshing
In an era where flaunting a wedding on social media is quite the norm, Iman and Amna’s nuptials are refreshing

I talk to Iman Ali on the night of her mayoon. She sounds happy and relaxed over the phone, breaking off mid conversation to check the ironing of her clothes. “I am just about to get ready,” she tells me, “and all my friends are going to be coming over. We have a professional choreographer on board and we need to perfect our dances and then, tomorrow, we plan to beat the groom’s side!”

The local wedding season continues to be in full swing and images of the glitziest, most grandiose weddings keep filtering through on social media. And yet, images of the many dholkis preceding Iman’s upcoming nuptials, irrefutably high on glitz, have been few and far between. I have caught glimpses on the Insta-feeds of her many famous, social media savvy friends: a dholki, a dance practice, a dinner at home. Occasionally, casual pictures of her with her groom-to-be Babar Bhatti have also filtered out.

Iman Ali is ringing in this new chapter of her life surrounded by close friends
Iman Ali is ringing in this new chapter of her life surrounded by close friends

But, as of yet, there are no picture perfect, tweaked and glossed up images from the celebrations. Iman, simply, believes in ‘keeping it real’. It helps that she looks gorgeous even in the most informal pictures! “I am not social media savvy at all. I rarely post. So whatever you’ve seen of my wedding celebrations has been posted by my friends,” she says.

“Besides, I am not bothered at all about making my wedding trend on social media. We’re having one major function – the shendi – and the guest lists includes all my friends. There aren’t any bloggers being invited expressly to post live from the celebrations.”

“I don’t believe in succumbing to any sort of pressure. I've built my career at my own pace, never paying attention to well-meaning advisors telling me to work more. And now I am getting married when I want to," says Iman Ali


Following the shendi, the newly-weds will be hosting a valima dinner which will again be an intimate affair with close family and friends in attendance. “I like to do things my way,” says Iman. “Tonight at the mayun, I am wearing an old suit. We’ll all basically be hanging out casually in my room and having fun all night. The groom’s side is quite well prepared too and we have so much practicing to do.”

Iman Ali is getting married on her own terms

On her wedding day, Iman is going to be wearing a design by Umar Sayeed. “It’s going to be all white. I love the color white,” she reveals. “I am going to tell Shahzad Bhai to keep my makeup light. Nothing too over the top. I want to look natural at my wedding. And I am going to be dancing too!” ‘Shahzad Bhai’, of course, is Shahzad Raza of Ather Shahzad, one of Iman’s closest friends.

“It’s so strange. My mother and my friends used to constantly harangue me to get married and I would always refuse. Finally, when they stopped pestering me, I surprised everyone by announcing that I was tying the knot!”


Another close friend, Mehdi, has designed her outfit for the dinner following the shendi. And QYT, event organizer to Lahore’s most famous, is handling the décor. Knowing his penchant for grand florals, there are bound to be plenty of bouquets in all white, matching with the bride’s clothes. Flowers, though, are the last thing on QYT’s mind on the night that I talk to Iman.

“It’s raining right now and he’s just fretting that it will also rain tomorrow at the shendi,” she laughs. “He’s dabbling with these water proof canopies, worrying that the water will suddenly start trickling down from somewhere! He’s a dear friend and he is so sincere, wanting everything to proceed perfectly. I am relieved that this is his headache.”

Ali with her mom and sisters
Ali with her mom and sisters

“I am just really tired,” she continues. “I have been shooting for my movie Tich Button and only returned back to Lahore five days ago. Babar has hosted a pre-wedding party that night and I drove down the motorway, only arriving at the party by midnight! I haven’t really slept and there has been so much to do.”

But it’s a happy kind of exhaustion, isn’t it, I probe. “Yes. I am getting married only because I feel that I have found the right person. Babar and I met at a mutual friend’s anniversary celebration. We are both from Lahore but our first meeting strangely took place in Karachi. We have now known each other for a year and a half and my parents now know him well.”

Ali with Tich Button producer, Urwa Hocane
Ali with Tich Button producer, Urwa Hocane

“It’s so strange. My mother and my friends used to constantly harangue me to get married and I would always refuse. Finally, when they stopped pestering me, I surprised everyone by announcing that I was tying the knot!”

It was surprising because Iman had generally managed to create a gorgeous, unattainable persona around her. Did she never feel like succumbing to the pressure of getting married as she got older? “Never,” she says. “I don’t believe in succumbing to any sort of pressure. I have built my career at my own pace, never paying attention to well-meaning advisors telling me to work more. And now I am getting married when I want to.”

Will she continue acting after her wedding? “Full time,” she confirms. “In fact, I am scheduled to return to my movie’s shooting within a week after my wedding.”

Are intimate weddings replacing OTT Instagram weddings?

Another wedding that recently just cropped up on Instagram, without any prior updates, was that of model Amna Baber to her longtime beau Zahid Noon. Like Iman, Amna believed in keeping things simple at her wedding. Talking to me post-wedding, all the way from London, she revealed. “My husband and I were seeing each other and we met through mutual friends. But the decision to get married was a sudden one. Within five days, we were married.”

The long-time couple decided to tie the knot and actually did it in 5 days
The long-time couple decided to tie the knot and actually did it in 5 days

“I wore a simple white outfit and minimal makeup. As a model, I have been trussed up as a bride so many times that it has lost its appeal to me. Also, I didn’t want a grand mehndi. My mother had had a simple wedding and I wanted the same for myself, just a nikah and a rukhsati. Luckily, my husband and his family felt the same way. Our wedding was very private. My husband got me a ring and an outfit by Elan. I wore jewellery that had been in his family for over a hundred years.”

Babar paired her Elan outfit with family heirlooms
Babar paired her Elan outfit with family heirlooms

“I will continue full time modeling, of course,” Amna says. “I will be working just the way I have always worked. The only reason why I shared even the few images that I did via Instagram is that I just wanted my fans and well-wishers to know that I had tied the knot! I'm 29 years old. I felt like that it was the right time and that I had found the right person. Why would I announce it in great detail on the Internet?”

“I wore a simple white outfit and minimal makeup. As a model, I have been trussed up as a bride so many times that it has lost its appeal to me," shares Amna Babar


Why, indeed? In an era where flaunting a wedding on social media is quite the norm, Iman and Amna’s nuptials are refreshing. The few images that do filter out are more natural and far more appealing than a plethora of carefully contrived images, given out to bloggers, complete with details of all the designers, makeup artistes, choreographers and event organizers who have been kind enough to ‘sponsor’ the celebrations via their freebies.

Could this be an indication that the bawdy Instagram wedding is about to fade out, replaced by intimate affairs that were the norm before social media took over? Could the need for showing off and one-upmanship, fulfilled so easily via social media, finally be sidelined and replaced by classier exclusivity?

I hope so.

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