What it’s like to get married at 18

What beautiful piece, full of wisdom about love and marriage… at 18 years of age.

Love Haqtually

by Aisyah Shah Idil

It was my first year of university, and I was missing my friends desperately. None of them attended the university I did, so I made regular trips on the 891 bus to see them. It was the midday bus stop crowd – full of bored, listless students. I sympathized – UNSW’s stairs were nothing to scoff at.

I milled about, checked my watch, looked to my right – and stopped, dumbstruck.

Him! I knew him! I’d met him years ago, at an Islamic class. We knew each other, but lost contact soon after. That I had a huge crush on him was of little consequence.

I crept up behind him and said hi. He tore his earphones out of his ears and grinned widely at me – the both of us erupting into excited catch-ups. I noticed his hands were shaking.

Half a year later, we…

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A Gatsby Garden Wedding

WHEN I first saw Emily’s wedding photos cropping up on Pinterest and other wedding sites I knew I had to see the whole affair. Her own (handmade by herself!) wedding dress, the mismatched bridesmaids in my favourite Australian designer Rachel Gilbert, that epic floral crown, the photography by the brilliant Lara Hotz… There is so much to love and to inspire about this wedding. I am beyond excited to share it here on the blog! Read on followers, to get all the juicy details!

OVERALL THEME/STYLE/MOOD The most dapper garden party you’ll ever attend. Glamours, classic and somewhat similar to a Great Gatsby party.

PHOTOGRAPHY I am blown away with how amazing the photos are. We choose Lara Hotz as out wedding photographer because her photos capture the feel of the day. I looked through the images of the other weddings Lara has done and I feel like I was there. I could see the joy on the faces of the bridal party and their friends. I like that the majority of Lara’s shots are candid. The bridal party was whisked away for photos for only 40mins after the ceremony and the amount of wonderful photos that came from those 40 mins is awesome. Lara and her team are professionals and when you hire them for your wedding or event you can rest assured you will get the photos you desire and much more.

BRIDE’S DRESS STYLE My dress was influenced by dress from the late 1960’s. The design of the dress is all my own. I wanted to be comletely covered in lace from my neck, to my wrists to the ground. I made the dress myself!

BRIDE’S SHOES Yellow silk sling backs with a bow on the front – BHLDN

STYLE OF BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES I wanted the girls to look as glamourous as me on the day, so their dresses had to be long. Ive never understood dressing three girls in the same dress, so each girl was not to match. My bridesmaids are such beautiful girls and so individual, I wanted that to shine out on the day.

We choose Rachel Gilbert dresses from www.dressedup.com. The girls choose the ones that suited them the most.  

JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES Jewellery was minimal, just hair accessories were worn. It was a mixture of vintage and ASOS accessories.

WEDDING RING STYLES Antique, classic. Mine is a very thin gold band to match my engagement ring. And Ed’s ring is classic signet ring.

GROOM/GROOMSMEN ATTIRE Ed was in charge of styling the boys. Eds a stylish man so I had no doubt the boys would look exceptional on the day. Just like the bridesmaids the groomsmen were not to match. Ed’s brothers bought suits that looked good on them. A slim classic three piece suit was the style so all the boys had to get their suits altered to fit perfectly. Waistcoast did not have to match the suit, this look is very cool and when done well looks fantastic. Ed bougth the bowties from Etsy.

HAIRSTYLE All hairstyles were different, designed to flattered the individual.

My hair is very very very curly!! I didn’t want to wear it out as its hard to control. The only other option was all my curls bunndeled on top of my head. So I asked my florist to create a giant floral headpiece for me to wear. It was over the top and perfect!

MAKEUP STYLE Flawless skin and Glowing cheeks, Smoky eyes and red lips.

TYPE OF STATIONERY/INVITATIONS Simple, cream card, Art deco style.

WEDDING FAVORS/BONBONNIERE Jams made by our mate Cam. He has a jam business called Cam’s Jam.

BOUQUET TYPES Colourful and all different. Mine was simple so as not to clash with my headpiece

RECEPTION DÉCOR STYLING DETAILS I styled the event . We kept it simple and very glamourous. I was careful not to make it to “girly” or “kitsch” so I ran all my ideas by Ed and only went ahead with them when I got his tick of approval. The vintage crockery was mismatched and and the guest ate with shiny silver cutlery. Lacey, vintage napkins accompanied the crockery and cutlery. White table clothes and regular glasswear kept the whole look of the table not to ‘kitsch’. The table was full of platters of food and piles of root vegetables for table props. The flower arrangements were hung from the roof. I like that rustic feel, like I’d just run into a field of flowers and picked bunches to hang… that was the brief I gave the boys at Sticks and wicks floral design, so there was lots of twine and hessian, daisies and ferns.



CAKE TYPE: Chocolate with white chocolate ganache drapped with fruit and jasmin – made by mum!  

CELEBRANT Emma Tomkinson – she was wonderful.

READINGS USED My sisters Katie and Eloise said an amazing reading on the day about love and life and always striving to be the best person for ourselves and each other. Ed and I wrote our own vows. We heard them for the first time on the day. It was a really great thing to do!

A MEMORABLE MOMENT The guests looked sensational. Dressed in their finest frocks and most dapper suits, I got the feeling our guests dressed up for us!!

PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE DAY Our wedding day was full to the brim with love and happiness. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it actually was. I remember seeing smiles that went from ear to ear, every guest was dressed up in their most dapper suit and finest frock ready for a garden party like no other.

I was shaking like a leaf as I walked down the isle to Angles by The XX. The whole way through the ceremony I found myself smiling and holding Ed’s hand the only thing I could manage. I was glad the ceremony was short and sweet. Ed and I wrote our own vows, hearing them for the first time on the day. There were tears, but before long we were married!

The guests mulled around the garden and soaked up the sun, giggling with one another and making new friends. They raved about lunch being delicious and how they were full to the brim. I could see eyes regularly darting upward mid conversation, steeling glances at the hanging floral arrangements only to pull their cameras out and take photos. I styled the event, and when I saw the venue for the first time it delighted me to see my vision come to life in more beauty than I had hoped. The boys at Sticks and Wicks Floral design realised that vision for me. Oh how beautiful the venue looked!

We kept our wedding simple but glamorous. Our guests have sent us endless text messages and cards saying it was a wedding they will never forget. But, to tell you the truth, they were the reason it will be unforgettable. Ed and I always wanted to have a wedding just like Christmas day lunch. Great food and above all wonderful company, it was a bonus that we all got to dress up!!





































WEDDING RINGS: Lachlan Walsh


HAIR/ MAKE-UP: Annete Twemlow

STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Designed/Printed by Emily Sarks

FLORIST: Sticks and Wicks floral design

CAKE: My mum

CATERING: Piquant Catering



WEDDING VENUE: Lion Gate Lodge, Sydney Botanic Gardens


CUTLERY & CROCKERY: The Vintage Kitchen

Five Modest Wedding dresses under $1000

ASOS Lattice Embellished Flutter Sleeve Maxi- $183



Tadashi Shoji Embroidered Tulle Crop Top Full Skirt gown- $868





Ellery Mayfair Dress– $472



Gossamer Vintage– $398



Tadashi Shoji Stripe knit and floral lace gown- $608




Mixing it up- the best on the net

One shade, different styles 


Rose evening gown, Mauve pleated evening gown, Mauve oval elegance

Embellished love 


Needle and Thread Tiered Petal embellished tulle gown, Geo embellished gownIridescent Tulle Maxi Dress

Floral print 


ASOS Curve Double layer maxi dress, Needle and Thread Embellished Locket dress, Inayah Ink Dress


To the girl who laughed at me whilst getting my photograph taken…

This photo…


It was at the One Fine Day Wedding Fair, while my sister was taking a photo of me in my Diana Kotb shirt. Me, who hates being photographed, who is totally awkward at ‘posing’ (see above) and is also in the PBB stage.

What’s PBB you ask?

It’s an acronym for “Post Baby Body”.

Something that I am currently in the throes of, being four months out from having given birth to my second baby.

You walked IN FRONT of the camera that my sister held up, who was trying to make me feel comfortable about being photographed. I could see you and your friend from the corner of my eye coming my way. My insecure self took in your long, leggy, bare, slim selves. Already extremely embarrassed about taking a photo in public, your mere presence, your confident gait in your skin shot my confidence to the ground that I stood on.

Then, you so nonchalantly, but knowing it was rude, walked in front of me while my picture was being taken.

Your friend laughed. That typical, high school girl, snide, laugh.

You didn’t miss a step. You both kept walking without a care for what you had just done.

I was left behind to deal with the rising tide of shame, embarrassment and shock. I looked at my sister who was equally shocked. I looked after you both, hair flying out behind you and said, much too late, “That was rude!!”

It was pointless. You were out of ear shot. And would you have stopped even if you had heard? Would you have had the courage to respond?

Probably not.

I know this because although you were capable of such a callous, thoughtless act, I know that if you had an ounce of true courage, you wouldn’t have done that in the first place.

You wouldn’t have made another woman feel so small.

And the fact that you did only reflects on the smallness of your character.

Not mine.

I may not look like the ‘ideal’ woman perpetuated mercilessly from every media outlet, but to my two daughters I am the only sight that they want to see. The only sight that brings them peace, comfort and sheer joy.  Do you know what that feels like? To know that you are the ONLY person who can comfort someone else?

I may be covered from head to toe in my polarising choice to wear a headscarf, but I guarantee you that I live confidently knowing that I have stuck by my values and not compromised them to please a society that claims to uphold the feminine, but instead does everything it can to define what that means and entails. In only the most destructive manner may I add.

Believe it or not, but I was once tall, slim and carefree, but I traded that in for the opportunity to bring two extra souls to this planet.

And you know what? Even though I still struggle with my new body, despite knowing all that I wrote above, I recognise that the current state my soul, my spirit, my body is in, actually presents the most amazing opportunity for change.

Because I feel like a rock cliff that hugs the ocean. The one whose curves and magnificent form has been shaped by the hounding wind that beats at it. That over centuries of being shaped by the merciless wind, it sits, beautiful, strong and awe-inspiring.

The challenges I face every single day in trying to raise two people are the wind. They are shaping me, moulding my character, testing my patience, steeling my courage, building my confidence, softening my heart beyond what is bearable.

And that is why I look the way look.

And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Especially not for an approving glance,

from you.

A lilac engagement dress inspired by Elie Saab

This stunning lilac engagement dress was sewn by her mother, who by the way, is a very talented seamstress. Lucky girl! Her gown was inspired by the embellished, long sleeved, pastel beauties that Elie Saab sent down the runway in his 2013-2014 collections. What I also love is the simple headscarf styling. With such a detailed dress, sometimes it’s best to keep the headscarf styling restrained and minimal, so as not to take away from the intricacies of the gown.

Here are all the details:

Dress I was inspired by Elie Saab for the dress. My mum and I scoured fabric shops to find something similar in a lilac shade. Eventually we settled on this beaded fabric. My mum is an amazing seamstress and she sewed my dress to perfection.

How we met We met seven years ago, in the good old MSN (a chat site) days. We were chatting back and forth when we finally met face to face a year later and got to know each other better. We got engaged on July 7th 2013 and we are now happily married.

Engagement theme I have a thing for shades of purple. I thought a lilac colour would look nice against the grey tone of the dress. I also wanted a modern theme with a traditional hint to it, so the catering was all traditional food. We also used traditional tea pots all which my mum ordered from our home country! (East Turkestan)

Cake and Desserts Done by the amazing Shukran (Instagram @shukscakes)

Flowers simple arrangements on each table.

Photography Ryan Abbas













Tadashi Shoji- Beauty of Flight

Tadashi Shoji’s Fall 2015 show was entitled ‘Beauty of flight’. His translation of this theme onto clothes was both beautiful and inspiring. I particularly loved the ‘guts of an aircraft’ embellishment in a navy thread on a nude background. The feather motifs were reworked to look almost floral like rather than being too literal. The silhouettes were nothing new, having seen them in previous Tadashi Shoji shows. My favourite dress though? The white, sleek, long sleeved gown- perfect for the minimalist bride.










Images via Style.com


My husband, my best friend…

“If everybody just cared about and supported others then everyone would be happy. Nobody would go without because we’d all be looking out for each other. At the moment, most people look out for themselves and look at us… we’re all lonely, desperate, sad…Take marriage for example…If each (husband and wife) were looking out for each other’s needs and requirements there’d be no reason left for selfishness of self preservation as each persons rights are being cared for and protected by the other .” Quoted from Imam Afroz Ali

My husband is my best friend.

Even after 5 and a half years of marriage, I still can’t wait for him to get home. And no it’s not just because the kids have pushed me to breaking point and I need him to come home and take them from me…

When he does stroll through the door and I see that broad smile and sheer joy on his face when our (almost) three year old goes running to greet him, it lifts the heaviness and anxiety of the day from my heart just enough to stretch my face into a smile, too.

When he comes home, he always, without fail, envelopes me in a hug, and that hug says it all.

You’ve had a tough day with two demanding children under the age of three. 

I’m sorry I couldn’t be around to help. 

I’m here now. 

It’s not all about the kids I promise.

It’s the fact that he can make me laugh hysterically even when I don’t feel remotely in the mood for jokes. Jokes that probably would not be as funny to someone else. But that’s ok. We get it. And when we’re at some sort of function, utterly bored out of our brains, he will mutter jokes and hilarious observations under his breath to me and have me giggling away…

It’s when I’ve been home all day with the kids and the whole house has been turned upside down and I couldn’t seem to make any progress with the cleaning despite being at it all day because I have an almost three year old who leaves a trail of toys everywhere she goes, and I wake up the next morning and it’s all been taken care of. It actually makes me cry. For real.

It’s being surrounded by people, catching each other’s eyes and knowing exactly what the other is thinking.

After I tell him about an article I read about the additives, chemicals that I can’t pronounce, artificial flavourings, GM ingredients, harsh extraction methods, misleading packaging in EVERYTHING that we eat, or the horrible stories of murder, rape, war, hate and hate and hate and my heart feels so heavy with the state of this world that I feel like crawling into a hole and waiting it all out… He reminds me of the good and beauty that still exists in this world or that ultimately, the justice and love and mercy of Allah (swt) is inevitable.

When I’m at my lowest point of utter desperation and exhaustion, only he has the right words to uplift me. To reassure me. To push me to try harder, to expect more from myself.

Throughout our marriage we’ve faced challenges together and between each other. We’ve gone through the inevitable troughs of boredom, miscommunication, conflicting ideals, two children (which means two difficult pregnancies, labour and post natal depression), financial difficulties, and a complete overhaul of the direction we were taking in our lives. But I know that these challenges have made us only understand each other better so that the love we have for each other is truer, more nuanced and certainly, deeper.

He’s the one who cares for me. He’s the one who looks out for me. I know he’s always thinking about me, and our daughters…

I don’t feel like I’m going without.

I’m happy from the very crevices of my soul.

Because I have my best friend.

My husband.

Picture 1727

My husband and I on our wedding day. Our faces are cut off because I didn’t wear a headscarf then.

*Please don’t use image without permission.