"My bounty is as boundless as the sea. My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite."
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.
Whenever we think about Romeo and Juliet, we don't remember the hatred between the Capulets and Montagues, neither do we recall how the love story ended. The things that we remember the most about their story is their undying love for each other. Such is the tale of Puja & Reza - a duo of college sweethearts that beat the odds of being from two very different religions and cultures and finally tied the knot this wedding season! Scroll down below to read their amazing love story that may remind of a certain tale as old as time.
#TailorMadeForReza: A Modern Day Romantic Story
"Reza and I are college sweethearts. We first met at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, USA when I was a young freshman and he was a sophomore," revealed Puja as she recounted her story to us, "Both of us started working at the on-campus gym where we used to share the same morning shit."
Ever the flirtatious one, Reza would always flirt back and forth with Puja. Only a year after meeting him did she begin to form a connection with him. After spending some time together at a party, the duo started to spend more time together and get to know each other better. Soon, in March 2017, Puja and Reza realised that the kind of happiness they felt when in each other's company was something new and unexplainable. Thus, they decided to make it official and started dating. Little did they know that the road ahead in their relationship was going to be that of a Long Distance one, "Reza soon left Chicago for his internship to San Francisco for three months, and the VERY DAY he came back, I had to take off to Belgium for my semester abroad, which lasted another three months," Puja recalled, "However, when I returned, Reza had to move to An Arbor, Michigan, for his full-time job at Google."
Yet, the long-distance relationship only helped the couple become more aware and mature. Then, after two years of dating and being together, on June 7th 2019, Reza got down on one knee and proposed Puja for marriage. And she said YES! 💍
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On June 7th 2019, Reza took Puja down for a stroll in memory lane back to their university campus. While there, they stopped at all their signature spots on campus. Then with a blindfold on her eyes, Reza escorted Puja down a beautiful path in the heart of downtown Chicago. With Lake Michigan and the skyline in the back, Reza took the blindfold off, got down on one knee and asked her to be his forever. And when Puja said yes, he swept her away on a Horse Carriage Ride through the city of Chicago and then their night came to a close with a personalised dinner at BLVD.
However, there was more to this than the proposal itself. The couple came home to their families where they were surprised by everyone with gorgeously laden rose petals on the ground and custom made cake with the much cheesy and cheery 'Mrs Khan' on it! It felt almost magical to end the night on that note for the couple.
The couple held their Nikkah back in December 2019, which although was pre-pandemic, still took place at The Khan's residence in Chicago. The groom's mother and sister decorated the entire house for a party of 110 guests! Transforming their home into a garden with white flowers that draped their entire house with accents of gold, white and mauve tones. Hailing from Persian culture, Reza's mother added a real fountain to the decor with goldfish inside, as goldfish are the symbol of life, love and abundance in Persian culture.
The Nikkah began with the Muslim marriage ceremony, followed by the ring exchange, Reza sang "Aaj Se Teri" by Arijit Singh as well as "Tera Pyaar Ka" by Mickey Singh to serenade Puja, who in turn showcased a solo dance performance. This was followed by their parents and siblings who dedicated performances to both the bride and groom. Commemorating this Nikkah, the bride and groom's fathers gave heartfelt speeches and then the evening ended with a few games and an open dance floor.
Introducing Puja & Reza's Wedding Celebration
"Since the pandemic hit this past March, Reza and I were truly lost on what to do. These were unprecedented times – planning a wedding during a global pandemic!" revealed Puja.
The bride and groom, just like any and every other couple about to tie the knot were left very confused about whether they should postpone their wedding day or stick to what it was. At first, they decided to postpone it to 2021. However, when Chicago reached Phase 4 where they could have up to 50 guests at an intimate wedding, the couple put their original plans into motion and notified their closest of kin that the wedding was on!
"This decision took SEVERAL dinner table conversations with our family members, Reza, and I, all having different perspectives. Some were in favour of downsizing the wedding, while others wanted to postpone, to have our original 250+ person wedding. Yet, all of us could not be happier with the choice we ended up making - which was going ahead with the original wedding dates, cutting down from 5 events to 3 events during the August wedding week, and cutting down from 260 people to only 50-70 people!"
And thus, what followed for the #TailorMadeForReza couple was the best week of their entire life, celebrating their intimate yet glam wedding functions.
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In-House Haldi Ceremony
The celebration began with an in-house intimate haldi ceremony, where the couple and their families came together to have fun and also hold the ceremony together. The Haldi Ceremony had a Vibrant Sunflower theme for which, Puja dressed up in a gorgeous yellow and green gharara with beautiful yellow floral jewellery while Reza chose a pink kurta and a floral Nehru jacket to pair with the outfit. Puja's family welcomed Reza's squad with sweets and loud music along with the quintessential 'Sajan Ji Ghar Aaye' playing on full volume. The groom's side, furthermore, entered in full glam carrying a galore of gifts and desserts, "Everyone knows that it is not a Tailor & Khan Family PARTY without several dancing and singing performances by our loved ones!"
And so, though an intimate affair with accents of yellow, white and greens, the event went on with the two families having endless fun.
The Hindu Wedding Ceremony
The couple's Hindu wedding was another highlight of the wedding. Since they were both from families of different cultures, they decided to hold a Nikkah as well as a Hindu wedding ceremony to abide by both side's customs. For this event, the couple colour coordinated the whole event, matching not just their outfits but also the venue's decor in shades of red and gold. Reza made a fabulous entry on his car with his baraat as they were accompanied by music, a beating dhol, and their best dance moves. The wedding ceremony was a joyous and picturesque event to the last detail, beautifully decorated by Siblana Events with red draping, roses and greenery surrounding us. The aisle has rustic columns and lit candles filled the walkway.
The couple ensured that all safety precautions were followed and met. They started with providing each guest with gold silk face masks that were tailor-made for each guest, then added small bottles of sanitisers at every table while ensuring they were covered in chic gold and red ribbons to match the decor vibe. There were sanitiser bottles at buffet tables for guests to use and the venue followed norms of social distancing, as it was meant for 270 people but ended up with only 70 in attendance!
Another massive part of their wedding week was the YouTube Livestream the couple had set up for all three events, "We knew that there were hundreds of guests (all from India, Pakistan, Iran, U.K., Australia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas) that couldn’t make it due to the pandemic’s limitations, so we decided to bring out wedding to their homes!"
Following the Hindu wedding was the reception, which was when the couple truly broke the internet. It was how many people discovered this beautiful couple in the first place (including us!). The couple's reception dance, their first dance, went viral on social media, amassing a whopping million views! Plus, the couple was no stranger to changing norms with their story. So, to make it even more interesting (and might we say, romantic), they recited their vows to each other, in front of everyone, and poured their hearts out. After the vows, there wasn't a single pair of dry eyes in the ballroom. And then, making it even more romantic, Reza sang his heart out to Puja, serenading her with John Legend's 'You & I'.
Witnessing this, we must say, this romantic duo never skips a beat. And so, the reception, an event drenched in deep red, gold and off-white, was the final melange of their unending fanfare that left us swooning over this couple.
Post Wedding Stills
The reason that makes this couple so special is not that they come from starkly contrasting cultures. It's the fact that despite the differences in their roots, the couple has never met someone more similar to them as each other. The sense of familiarity and comfort that they share is almost unparalleled and their love, which has faced and overcome so many obstacles, is absolute.
"Honestly, if we wouldn't have to give us our best shot, it would have been the greatest regret of our lives. So, little by little, we learnt to lean on each other and by being together, we brought two very different families together," Puja finally concludes her story, "We like to call ourselves the 'modern-day Romeo and Juliet', because in every instance when someone believed it couldn’t work, we proved that love truly does conquer all."
Wedding Venue: Cotillion Banquets| Wedding Photographers & Videographer: Shaista H. Photography; Paraagon Films; Karl Siron; J Romano Productions | Wedding Decorator: Siblana Event | Bridal Makeup Artist: Nadia Tikki | Mehndi Artist: Sumeyya Rehman (Henna Craze) | Bride's Outfits: Sahil Exclusive (Wedding); Bejee Collections (Reception) | Groom's Outfit: Chandni Exclusive (Wedding); Men's Wearhouse (Reception) | Wedding Caterers: India House Restaurant Chicago; Anmol South Asian Cuisine | Wedding Invitation: Charming Invites | Wedding Favours: The Khans of Chi City (Cookies) | Entertainment Company: Tahoor Siddiqui - DJ Tamasha