Dubai is fast emerging as a top choice among wedding destinations. The emirate is known for opulence and luxury, with many high-profile weddings taking place in the emirate.
Recently, a video of a Dubai-based Pakistani bride being weighed against 'gold' went viral on social media. From story to theme to unwarranted controversy about the bride Ayesha Tahir being weighed against the 'gold', the wedding had all the ingredients of a mega Bollywood-style glamour and celebrations set against the emirate's lavish and ultra-luxury hotels.
However, the couple's families clarified to Khaleej Times that the bars were not solid but gold-plated.
The story of the bride Ayesha Tahir and groom, Mohammed Adil is nothing less than a romantic Bollywood flick.
Interestingly, Ayesha studied at the same university where Adil had completed his education five years ago. They also became neighbours during the pandemic. It seemed as if the two were destined to meet and marry to live happily ever after.
Adil and Ayesha were engaged six months before the wedding in the grandeur of Burj Khalifa – the world's tallest tower. Then their families flew to Turkey's picturesque locations for elaborate photo and video shooting.
The celebrations started with a yacht party, followed by Bollywood night, nikkah ceremony (muslim wedding), mehndi (wedding rituals), baraat (groom procession) and walima (marriage banquet); it spanned over ten days.
Khaleej Times sat with the couple and the family to find out how and why they decided to weigh bride against gold which made them popular overnight.
“Our families’ weddings in Dubai are usually of a very large scale with grandeur. The wedding was attended by over 1,000 people including royals, close friends and businessmen. But this turned out to be unique as it went viral and we never expected it,” says Mian Umar Ibrahim, father of Adil.
In this Bollywood-scripted story, the bride meets the groom’s sister first and then they become close friends.
“I met Adil’s sister and we got along very well with her. Then they sent the prospects, and the two families came closer. We were neighbours, too, during the pandemic and that brought us even closer. So It was an arranged marriage.”
The families decided to have Jodha-Akbar as the theme of the wedding and the family members were assigned different characters from the Bollywood saga, hence, they dressed up according to the theme and danced to the tunes of the film’s music.
“If you watch the movie, there is a scene where the bride is weighed against gold and we basically recreated that scene because we wanted to stick to the theme. So weighing against the golden was part of this theme. And we didn’t expect that our video would go viral. We came to know about the viral video the next day from our photographer. He was the first one to inform, but we never knew that it would go viral,” says Ayesha.
“We were criticised on social media, even by some media outlets also. We didn’t expect that it would go viral and then we clarified it as well,” says the groom.
Considering the weight of the dress and jewellery worn by the bride, around 100kg gold-plated bars were prepared by the groom’s family.
“This was just a custom and part of the theme. Media in India, Pakistan and the Arab world gave their own interpretation of Ayesha being weighed against gold. Some termed it dowry and others as haq mehr. People didn’t know the real story behind this, therefore, it created negativity around it,” adds Ayesha.
“It went so viral here in Dubai also that we heard people talking about our weddings in a restaurant,” narrated Ayesha, who received photoshoot offers to recreate the weighing-against-the-gold video.
“Our neighbours saw the video on some news channels and they approached us and said ‘You guys are so rich’”, adds Adil, smilingly.
The couple had created an Instagram account – Ayesha da mian (Ayesha’s husband) where all the happenings and highlights were shared. “We saw a major boost in views, likes and comments after the gold content was shared. We were getting up to 300,000 views. Some posts reached even one million views.”
Born and brought up in Dubai, Adil spent most of his life in the UAE. Similarly, Ayesha also did her schooling and higher education in the country.
“Dubai was chosen as a venue because relatives and friends of the couple live in the UAE. The community we relate to is here. We lived here and we resonate with the city, therefore, Dubai was the choice,” added Ayesha.
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