Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan
Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan

A crown, flower veil and dramatic, exaggerated eyeliner aren't usual elements we see in Pakistani weddings but for stylist Wazhma Awan, they were just right.

Instagram went wild when photographers Natasha Zubair and Maham Iqbal Bosan posted pictures from her wedding and everyone wanted to know who she was.

Awan broke down her mehndi outfit for Images: She wore an old school House of Kamiar Rokni outfit, a crown from an Etsy shop from the Czech Republic, jewellery she had made herself and a trail of artificial flowers.

I already dress differently, she explains. As a stylist she usually gets to experiment with other people but when it came to her own wedding, she was conflicted. She was looking for an outfit that incorporated elements from different cultures. I was looking at brides all over Asia and was drawn to a more tribal, nomadic style, says Awan.

She wanted to see what people in other countries were doing and recreate that in Pakistan. For example, older Chinese brides wore headgear and some Indonesian brides, depending on their tribe, wear special headgear and have dramatic eyebrows drawn on. You don't have to belong to a particular culture to represent it, she says.

Eventually, she settled on a Kamiar Rokni piece from a much older collection for her mehndi outfit. To Awan, the outfit had aspects from different cultures in it. The jacket had elements of Chinese culture in it with a desi vibe, she explains.

For her headgear, Awan was also looking for desi elements. Eventually, she came across a store from the Czech Republic on Etsy and bought two crowns from it, hoping to have them replicated in Pakistan. Unfortunately, it couldn't be replicated and she ended up wearing her "backup" to the wedding.

Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan
Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan

The teeka she wore with the crown she got made herself. "I didn't want a matha patti or a dupatta," she says. Instead, she wanted a flower veil. The person in charge of the wedding decor, Hashim, ended up getting the veil made for her after she showed him a picture of traditional Western wedding trails.

It was made with fabric flowers, Awan explains, because real flowers would have broken and fallen off. But while the end result looked gorgeous, it was so heavy, she could barely walk. I had my husband and brother helping me with one holding my lehenga and the other holding the trail and later my cousin carried it for me around the venue, she explains. Well, they do say beauty is pain.

Her makeup was done by Ikram Gohar but the eyeliner was all Awan.

Makeup artists tell me to do my own liner, she explains, and she did her wedding eyeliner too. It has to be like this, she says. You could call this style of eyeliner her signature look. "Exaggerated or toned down, it has to be there."

On her nikkah, she wore an all-gold outfit and jewellery similar to what Bengali brides wear.

Many of the comments on the Instagram posts were people asking if Awan was from a different ethnicity but she's 100 per cent Pakistani. It was so funny, she laughs. She's from Balochistan but her parents are Punjabi and Pathan and she has always mixed all three elements in her style.

I always wear double liner, she says, adding that the three dots that she wore on the corners of her eyes are part of Pathan culture. They're also a usual feature in her usual eyeliner.

"In really old pictures of my mom or dadi they had this kind of eyeliner," she explains, adding that a lot of brides these days don't wear their eyeliner like that. But Awan is drawn to old stuff.

People were so cute and sweet in the comments, she says. They were also very interested in Awan's look. I had a lot of options and I planned a lot but the end result was completely different from what I imagined, she says. It wasn't even exactly what she wanted.

There was a thin line, she says. "People could have been like what the hell is this [about the outfit]," she adds. I'm sure there were some people who were like what is this, but most were nice, she says. To her, this shows people are more interested in what's happening out there and aren't stuck in their bubbles.

The people who know Awan are used to her but her goal for her wedding was that it shouldn't be boring. I have been to so many weddings, and weddings are so boring, that I wanted to make sure that if everyone is coming all the way for my wedding, they should enjoy it, she says.

Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan
Photo: Natasha Zubair via Wazhma Awan

Even the rasams (traditions) they incorporated in the wedding were from all over — Indian culture, Baloch culture and Pathan culture. I even did a bari show, she laughs. "Everyone had a good time and the event was very entertaining."

On her nikkah, she wore a gold outfit made by her aunt who make traditional Balochi dresses. They're usually very colourful but Awan wanted it to be all gold.

"I see brides wearing all sorts of designers and all of them look the same," she says. They look a bit like photocopies, she ventures. "But it's everyone's own special day and maybe everyone is not like me."

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