Planning A Walima?


Planning a Walima?

As multicultural wedding photographers, our team at Saiaf Films has the ability to attend and observe all the wonderful and unique wedding traditions that take place within the different cultures. Over the years, we have witnessed some of the most beautiful and meaningful wedding rituals and captured those unforgettable moments on film. Not too long ago, we visited Las Vegas for the walima of an intriguing couple, Aroob and Zeeshan. We noticed that just like other cultures, Islamic weddings have their own variety of traditions that can vary from planning a regular wedding.  Here, we would like to share our tips and ideas for planning a walima.

Have a meetinghttps://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_13191.jpg

Planning a walima starts best by implementing a meeting between the bride and groom and any individuals who would like to help in the process. Select a comfortable location (perhaps your home or a decent restaurant) and arrange to have everyone present. Allow everyone the opportunity to share their ideas. Be sure to discuss the main aspects such as: will it be a small or a large walima? Is it going to casual or formal? Who is going to do what at the walima? This meeting will be very useful in establishing the basics and keeping an organized plan. It may also help to designate a walima coordinator. Perhaps a parent or someone who has knowledge of planning a walima. That way, they can handle any of the stressful factors that may arise.planning a walima

Shariah Requirements

It might help to select someone to ensure that the Shariah requirements are carried out. The individual should make sure of the following:

  • What kinds of foods will be served at the walima (They can ensure that there is no pork or food that is not halal at the event.)
  • Make sure the details of the marriage contract are established, including the Mahr and any additional conditions that apply.
  • They can determine the state’s requirements for marriage to guarantee that all legal aspects have been taken care of.
  • Make sure that any immigration issues have been resolved and won’t interfere with the marriage.

Walima Locationplanning a walima

Selecting a venue is always a fun aspect to planning a walima. Whether you choose a Mosque, a reception hall, a park, etc- just make sure it’s a location you love. There are a few considerations when selecting the location of your walima. Consider the price and make sure it is within your budget. Double check with the venue to guarantee that there will accept your selected catering service. Try to book the hall at least 3-5 months ahead of time.

Looking for some great visual motivation for planning a walima? Check out our gallery of Islamic walimas that we have had the privilege of capturing. And don’t forget- we have an exceptional team of Islamic wedding photographers and videographers that are available to capture your special event!

Indian Wedding Ceremony Events (Part One)

Indian Wedding Ceremony Eventshttps://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_4415-Edit1.jpg

  Last week, our team shared some detailed information about typical pre-ceremony events at Indian weddings. This week, we would like to share some facts about what takes place at the Indian wedding ceremony. As you may have noticed, Indian wedding are full of meaningful traditions. Whether you are planning your own or have been invited to one, it’s nice to know what to expect. Keep reading for a detailed list of Indian wedding ceremony events.

A traditional Indian wedding ceremony involves a host of religious and spiritual rituals that are used to unite the couple as well as their families. The ceremony kicks off with the arrival of the groom.

Baraat (Aka: The Groom’s Procession)

On the day of the wedding, the groom makes a grand entrance to the wedding venue. Traditionally, the groom would arrive on a white horse. Over the years, some grooms have taken a more creative approach and arrived on jet skis, helicopters, etc. When the groom arrives, he is met with excitement from his friends and family. There is usually music played by a professional dhol and dancing. The bride’s family meets the baraat at the entrance of the wedding venue to take part in the celebrations.

Milni: The milni is a welcoming ritual between the bride’s mother and the groom. Relatives from both sides will greet one another with garlands. The bride’s family will accompany the groom to a canopied altar, called a mandap. The mandap is used to symbolize the home that the couple will build together.

Ganesh Puja: At the start of the ceremony, a priest will guide the couple’s parents in offering sweets, flowers and prayer to Lord Ganesh, the destroyer of all obstacles.

https://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_2525-2.jpgKanya Aagaman (The Bride’s Arrival): At this moment, the bride will enter the hall to be escorted to the mandap by her maternal aunt and uncle. This tradition varies in an Indian wedding ceremony and can vary on whom escorts the bride.

Jai Mala: Here, the couple will exchange floral garlands that signify their acceptance of each other.

Kanyadaan and Hasta Melap: The bride’s father will then pour sacred water into her hand. Then, he will place her hand into the groom’s, officially giving her away to the groom. This is always a very meaningful and emotional moment at an Indian wedding ceremony- the kind our team loves to capture on film! After this, the groom’s sister will tie the end of the groom’s scarf to the bride’s sari.

As you can tell, an Indian wedding ceremony is packed full of wonderful moments. There’s even more than what we have listed here. Stay tuned for our next post about Indian wedding ceremony events. Meanwhile, feel free to browse our impressive Indian wedding photo gallery from some great visuals on Indian wedding events!

Wedding Spotlight: Maha and Hussein’s San Jose Wedding

San Jose Wedding

As traveling wedding photographers and videographers, our team has had the pleasure of visiting an enormous amount of impressive locations for weddings. One of our favorite places to visit is San Jose, CA. With beautiful scenery and gorgeous backdrops, filming a San Jose wedding is both exciting and memorable for our team. With Maha and Hussein’s San Jose wedding, we had the ability to capture some magnificent shots.

When the couple first contacted us, we knew it was going to be an exciting event. They were a vibrant couple and had planned a grand wedding with around 200-300 guests. On the day of their wedding, we had the opportunity to shoot at the Pasadena Grand Courthouse. The photos we captured were breathtaking. The architecture was surreal and manifested an unforgettable backdrop. With grand columns and artistic arches, the Grand Courthouse was dramatic and perfect for their wedding photography.



For the ceremony, Maha wore an elegant hijab with a beautiful jeweled headband on top. The jewels matched perfectly with the diamond belt that surrounded her white wedding gown. Her veil hung nicely from her hijab and draped down the back of her wedding dress. She was both beautiful and traditional for her San Jose wedding event.



For their reception, the beautiful couple had a gorgeous purple and silver wedding theme. The reception hall was elegantly decorated and was the perfect atmosphere for dancing and an all night celebration. For their first dance, the couple implemented the use of a fog machine to create an amazing and unforgettable ambiance. The rest of the evening was exciting as their friends and family celebrated. Maha and Hussein’s San Jose wedding traditional and memorable for our team at Saiaf Films. Thank you Maha and Hussein for allowing us the wonderful opportunity to attend your wedding and capturing your beautiful memories.



Planning or Attending an Indian Wedding?

What Goes Into the Pre-Ceremony Events of an Indian Wedding?Indian wedding

  As Indian wedding photographers and videographers, our team understands the grandeur and excitement that comes with an Indian wedding. But, we also understand the enormous amount of planning that it takes to organize such an event. We also know that not everyone quite understands all the amazing and meaningful moments that go into an Indian wedding. We would like to share the basics of an Indian wedding to help anyone who may be planning- or plans to attend- an Indian wedding.

Obviously, Indian weddings are full of rich and meaningful traditions. In order to cover them all, we will be breaking down basics of Indian weddings into two separate posts. Here, we will showcase the Pre-Wedding/Ceremony traditions followed by the ceremony itself in a future post. So keep an eye out for the additional information!

Pre-Wedding Events

The pre-wedding rituals are a very important part of the entire Indian wedding event. They are believed to hold an enormous amount of importance and are used to set the tone and promise of the impending wedding. Normally, these events last for about a week and do an amazing job of drumming up the excitement and joy for the bride and groom as well as their friends and family.

Indian weddingPithi: A pithi is a good luck ceremony where friends and family apply a pithi to bride and groom’s skin. Pithi is a yellow paste made of turmeric, rose water and chickpea flour and is believed to brighten the skin tone.

Mehndi: This is a vibrant and exciting celebration that is normally held the night before the wedding. There is usually a professional mehndi artist that applies henna to the hands and feet of the bride in intricate and meaningful designs. These designs are believed to symbolize beauty, joy and spiritual awakening and offering. Looking for more information about planning a mehndi? Check out our posts about the basics of a mehndi.

As professional Indian wedding photographers and videographers, we have had an enormous privilege capturing some really amazing Indian wedding events and traditions. Our team has a skillful eye for the important and key moments that go along with the traditions and cultural aspects of an Indian wedding. Feel free to check out our impressive Indian wedding photography to see the beauty and grandeur of Indian weddings.

Pakistani Wedding Checklist

Pakistani Wedding Checklist

  If there is ohttps://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_39241.jpgne thing we have learned from attending Pakistani weddings, it’s this- they take a lot of planning! There are so many wonderful and entertaining events that go along with a Pakistani wedding, and sometimes, it can be hard to keep track of everything that needs to be planned. That being the case, our team at Saiaf Films would like to share an easy to use Pakistani Wedding Checklist. This will help you to stay on track and make sure all those extra special details don’t get left out!

Download a Printable here: Pakistani Wedding Checklist

12+ Months

  • Announcements: Notify your friends and family of your Baath Paki/engagement.
  • Meeting: Arrange a sit-down with your fiance, both sets of parents and any other individuals that may be contributing financially to your wedding. Make sure to clarify who is paying for what and what traditions you plan to have at your event. Handle any details that you don’t want to be confused about later on!
  • Time-frame: Decide on a time-frame that fits your desired date for your Pakistani wedding. Keep in mind, weddings around Labor Day and Memorial Day tend to be costly. Consider the amount of out-of-town guests and what days may be easiest for them to have time off for the wedding events.
  • Research: Start researching wedding venues, wedding planners and possible wedding themes or styles. Visit some venues to start narrowing down a selected few.

https://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wedding-cake-3.jpg9-12 Months

  • Book Your Venue: Decide on a venue that suits your event the best. If possible, consider one that you can celebrate the Mayoun, Mehndi, Nikah, Shaadi and Valima at.
  • Research Vendors: Take some time to research possible vendors. Look for possible florists, DJs, caterers, bakers, etc. For photography and videography- contact Saiaf Films (we can cover all of your traditional Pakistani Wedding Events flawlessly!)
  • Wedding Website: Start building a wedding website. Check out our tips for planning the perfect wedding website.
  • Go Cake Testing: Start testing out different types of wedding cake. Check out our ideas for selecting the perfect wedding cake.
  • Guest List: Start putting together a wedding guest list.

6-9 Months

  • Book Your Vendors:  Start booking your vendors.
  • Locate an Imam: Speak with your selected Imam on whether or not he will be performing a speech.
  • Song Selection: Start selecting which songs you would like played at your Pakistani wedding. Select songs for the bride’s arrival, the groom’s entrance, cutting the cake, rasams, rukhsati, etc.
  • Wedding Party Selection: Notify your wedding party to let them know you would like to have them in your wedding.
  • Locate a Mehndi Artist: Locate a Mehndi artist for your Mehndi event.

    Saiaf Films Henna:

3-5 Months

  • Send out invitations.
  • Finalize your vendors. Book your florist, DJ, Mehndi artist, hair and makeup artist Imam and meet with Saiaf Films for your photography and videography.
  • Start booking your honeymoon.
  • Decide wedding favors, table numbers, place settings.
  • Start ordering outfits for the Mehndi, Shaadi and Valima.
  • Research rental supplies: Decide what equipment you will need to rent.
  • Select the necessities for the Mehndi and Shaadi:
    • Motives/candles
    • Mehndi cones
    • Dhol player
    • Mehndi trays
    • Dupatta
    • Flowers to throw with baskets if necessary
    • Mithai for rasams

1-2 Months

  • Verify details with all vendors and send them the event schedule.
  • Send playlist to DJ.
  • Contact any guests that have not RSVP’d.
  • Form a seating chart.
  • Attend a final dress/outfit fitting.
  • Purchase accessories.
  • Purchase wedding bands.

1-2 Weekshttps://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_39651.jpg

  • Confirm any remaining details with vendors (cake selection, arrival times, etc.)
  • Confirm seating arrangements.
  • Make a list of any individuals or groups that plan to dance at the Mehndi or would like to give a speech at the Shaadi.
  • Finalize event schedule, guest list and seating chart and send it to any necessary vendors.
  • Try on wedding and event outfits with accessories. (Break in your shoes!)
  • Get a manicure and pedicure before your henna is applied.
  • Double check that all guests have necessary accommodations.
  • Spend some quality time with family and friends!

One Day Left

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Organize anything that you may need or will be taking with you.
  • Make a list of all necessary makeup or accessories and check it off as you pack!
  • Select an individual to make final payments to vendors. Put the money in envelopes and label them.

Event Time!Pakistani wedding checklist

  • Get ready, smile, feel beautiful and enjoy your special day!

Above all, remember to relax and stay as organized as possible when planning your Pakistani wedding. These will be some of the most memorable days of your life! Plan well and enjoy every minute of your Pakistani wedding!

Download a Printable here: Pakistani Wedding Checklist

Elegant Wedding Hijab Styles

Beautiful Wedding Hijab Looks

  As a wedding photography and videography team that specializes in multicultural weddings, Saiaf Films has had the privilege of capturing some of the most beautiful brides! Our experience has provided us with a deep understanding of the beauty and elegance behind the wedding hijab and the brides who wear them. The hijab is a type of veil worn by a bride to symbolize spiritual aspiration. Over the years, it has been adapted for brides to express their own style by adorning the hijab with different drapings or accessories. Here, our team shares the beauty and elegance in a variety of wedding hijab styles and the beautiful brides who wore them.

Elegant Turban Style Hijab

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Words can’t even describe the beauty and elegance of this particular hijab style. It provides the perfect combination of lace, pearl and tulle all in a gorgeous bright white. The bride is wearing a white under-scarf beneath an elegant lace accented fabric. Placed into a turban style hijab, the bride is complimented perfectly by the vibrancy of the white material. We love this chic elegant style which gave this bride a classic and timeless appeal!

Jeweled Hijab

wedding hijab

This bride selected an elegant, simple white hijab that is accented with a eye-catching jeweled headband. The hijab itself is topped with single tier, tulle veil  that drapes behind her perfectly. The soft cream colored wedding hijab frames her face in a subtle, yet beautiful way. Her jeweled headband pairs with the elegant jeweled belt of her wedding dress adding a unique combination of accents.

The Lifted Hijab

https://saiaffilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_1634-Edit1.jpgwedding hijab

This stunning bride is adorned with a hijab that is lifted towards the back to provide a heightened effect. The hijab itself is draped in multiple folds towards the front in order to create a subtle cascading look. Her face is framed beautifully by this particular hijab style.

The Regal Hijab


This hijabi bride looks majestic with her heavily embroidered dupatta. This particular hijab is exquisitely accented with an abundance of jewels, which complement her wedding style perfectly. She looks stunningly regal as the wedding hijab lays loosely over her shoulders. Elegance and beauty are obvious with this gorgeous style.

An Epic New Orleans Sikh Engagement Party

An Epic New Orleans Sikh Engagement Party

  After years of experience in the wedding photography and videography industry, the Saiaf Films Team has visited some incredible and memorable locations across the United States. One thing we have learned, there is no place quite like New Orleans. In December, our team visited New Orleans to take part in an epic Sikh Engagement party for one of the nicest, genuine and hospitable couples we have ever worked with, Aman and Jaspal. Not only are Aman and Jaspal extremely kind and intriguing, they are also exciting and dedicated to their plans for the amazing events surrounding their union.

Originally, Aman and Jaspal contacted Saiaf Films in search of a  team that could cover all aspects of their Sikh wedding events. They wanted a dedicated team that would be there for their proposal, Sikh engagement party and even the grand wedding event. Our team was there to capture the proposal which took place at the beautiful Tempe Town Lake in Arizona. From there, we planned for their epic New Orleans Sikh Engagement party.

Aman and Jaspal’s event took place on a beautiful three story boat, the Creole Queen. It was unlike any engagement party our team had ever seen! The boat was breathtaking and captured all the elegance of the surrounding New Orleans area. Once the couple’s 100-120 guests had arrived, the boat set sail from the bay. The view of the New Orlean’s city lights was incredible and provided a breathtaking scenery for our Sikh engagement photographers as well as the couple’s friends and family. While on the boat, the guests enjoyed an amazing engagement party dinner followed by energetic and entertaining dancing.

Meanwhile, even while the their Sikh engagement party was taking place, Aman and Jaspal took the time to have our Sikh engagement photographers capture some amazing shots of them in downtown New Orleans. At one particular moment, a New Orlean’s local allowed our team to capture some memorable photos of the couple on a cycle rickshaw. The images were mesmerizing and did an exceptional job at capturing the feel and ambiance of Downtown New Orleans.

From the couple’s amazing hospitality, to their epic Sikh engagement party on the boat, all the way to the beautiful and unforgettable photography and videography- our team genuinely enjoys working with Aman and Jaspal. We are anticipating their amazing Sikh wedding event that will be taking place in April at a mountaintop Colorado castle. We can only imagine the grand scale beauty that we will be capturing while there! Thank you, Aman and Jaspal, for selecting our team to capture your wedding events and allowing us the beautiful opportunity to take part in them!

The Basics of a Mehndi Event

The Basics of a Mehndi Event

  If you are planning a South Asian wedding, or you have been invited to one, chances are- you will be attending a mehndi or henna celebration. A mehndi is a very exciting and meaningful moment where mehndithe bride has her hands painted with henna designs. Whereas, it’s not as big as the wedding, it is still an important- and sometimes extravagant- event. The events and festivities may differ depending on the couple and their family traditions, but they all follow the same guidelines.

At Saiaf Films, we specialize in traditional and multicultural weddings. That being the case, we have an enormous amount of experience with mehndi photography and capturing all the beautiful moments that tie in with these cultural events. Here, we would like to share the basics of Mehndi and Henna events so you can prepare and enjoy it to it’s fullest.

Mehndi Attire and Style

Traditionally, a mehndi is performed at a decently large scale. Depending on the couple’s preference, there may be a large guest list or it may be a more intimate affair. But no matter the size, the attire usually centers around bright, vibrant and colorful outfits. Green and yellow hues are a traditional pick for a mehndi, but reds and purples are popular as well. Extravagant and eye catching accessories and jewelry are standard as well. Just be sure to wear something that is comfortable and easy to move in as dancing will take place!


Events & Celebrations

Normally, a mehndi involves an enormous and incredibly exciting amount of dancing. Whether you choose to watch or participate, this is a very fun and entertaining part of this event. If you are planning the mehndi for your own wedding, make sure you elect to have a lot of upbeat and exciting music. There will usually be choreographed dance performances followed by open dancing for the friends and family. For our Mehndi photographers and videographers, this is always a very memorable and exciting moment to capture.

Depending on the couple’s cultural or beliefs, there may be a variety of rasms that will be performed for the bride and groom. These are also very meaningful and monumental moments for the mehndi photographers to capture. Most of these traditions have been passed down for centuries and are very important to the bride, groom and their families.

Back in the day, the mehndi was usually an event where the bride would have her henna applied. These days, some couples elect to have the mehndi done the day before the wedding- that way the bride can enjoy the other celebrations and festivities without ruining the henna application. But, like many traditions, this varies depending on the couple’s beliefs or preferred traditions.

There’s no doubt, mehndi nights are among the most eventful and fun-filled events of multicultural weddings. It is the perfect time to enjoy your friends and family while paying respect to the union of the bride and groom. These events are exciting and meaningful and amongst our favorite to capture on film. So whether you are planning to attend or host a mehndi, be ready for exciting traditions and lots of fun!

Wedding Spotlight: Nadine and Ayman’s Milwaukee Wedding

Nadine and Ayman’s Milwaukee Wedding

  When we first met with Nadine and Ayman, we knew right away that their wedding was going to be an epic event. They are a truly amazing couple and we knew their Milwaukee wedding would be a great one to attend. For this particular Milwaukee wedding, our team utilized aerial drone videography to capture amazing and breathtaking shots of the wedding venue and the beautiful Milwaukee surroundings. The aerial drones were used to capture sweeping views that really showed the detail of the venue the couple selected as well as picturesque footage of the gorgeous coastline.

Our aerial drones are an unbelievable addition to the wedding packages that we offer and they provide our couples with footage that they will cherish forever. Our team at Saiaf Films only uses state-of-the-art equipment that is guaranteed to provide clean and crisp footage. One of our favorite moments captured by the aerial drone was when the moon had begun to rise over the water. There were birds flying over the coast and in front of the beautifully rising moon. It was unlike anything we had ever shot on film.

Our team of female videographers were on site as Nadine prepared for her important day. They captured unforgettable footage as the makeup artist and hair stylist prepared her ceremony. Wedding videography is such an amazing aspect for truly capturing the feeling of the moments being filmed. There were times where Nadine would smile beautifully and her happiness would be so apparent and infectious. She wore an elegant wedding dress that had a breathtaking lace design on the top portion. A string of diamonds encompassed her waist and was a beautiful addition to her already gorgeous dress. Nadine was highlighted with a subtle but perfect diamond hairpiece that matched perfectly with her diamond bracelet.

For the reception, the couple had selected the perfect color palette that featured a pale pink with a soft white. The tables were adorned with elegant centerpieces that were both subtle and impressive additions to their wedding decor. With floating candles and white rose bouquets, the elegance was obvious and perfect. Their friends and family danced through the night and were so exciting to film. Their energy and happiness for the couple was apparent in their will to celebrate. Our team was proud and grateful to be a part of their amazing event. Thank you Nadine and Ayman for allowing us the pleasure to capture your memories on film!

What You May Not Know About Wedding Photos

What You May Not Know About Wedding Photos

  When it comes to having your wedding photos taken, there may be a few things you aren’t already aware of. That’s okay! In case you didn’t know already, our team at Saiaf Films is highly skilled in all things wedding photography and videography. After years of working in this industry, we have developed a thorough understanding of all those factors that play into capturing amazing and unforgettable wedding photos. Over the years, we have discovered that not everyone is fully aware of what a wedding photography session really entails. Therefore, we would like to share our thoughts about wedding photos and let you in on the little aspects you might not know yet!

Engagement photos are a great test-run!wedding photos

It’s true! Believe us when we say, it is worth it to have professional engagement photos taken. Not only does it set you up with an amazing collection of photos for you and your fiance, but it also helps take the edge off. For couples who have never had their photos taken professionally, the wedding photos can be somewhat intimidating. Have an engagement photo shoot will provide you with a little bit of practice when it comes to posing and being comfortable in front of the camera. It is especially beneficial if you plan on using the same photographer for your wedding photos. Your photographer will get an idea of your photography style before your big day.

Don’t be strict on your wedding day schedule.

It is definitely important to have a wedding day schedule. Unfortunately though, things can happen. So, it is important to stay somewhat flexible. Maybe a vendor is running behind schedule, or perhaps the weather just isn’t playing in your favor- no matter the issue, try to keep somewhat of a positive outlook. Your wedding photographer will be skilled and familiar with even the worst wedding mishaps. Try to trust their instincts and roll with what they have in mind- even if it means postponing a session to a better time of day.

Your face may hurt, and your cheeks will get sore!

Of course, smiling for an extended period time does have some minor drawbacks. Your cheeks may be achy, your eyes may feel squinty from the lights. But, believe us when we say- your wedding photos will be worth it. It’s hard to keep smiling after so many photos. Try to remember just how amazing this day is. Above all, be natural. Even if your smile isn’t a wide ear-to-ear one, a subtle one is just as good if not better.

Once your wedding photos are in your hands, you will be so grateful that you elected to have them done. Especially if you choose a team as talented as the ones we have at Saiaf Films. Above all, make sure you enjoy your special day. It will make those wedding photos all the better when they are complete.