Photography: J and J Studios

Event Coordination: Meredith Events 
DJ, Drape, Video, Lighting, & Dance Floor: Central Arkansas Entertainment
Catering Food: BBQ Tonite - Modern Indo-Pak Kitchen

Catering Staff: DoubleTree Little Rock
Furniture & Vase Rentals: A Perfect Bloom
Venue: Robinson Center
Ice Sculpture: Creative Image Ice
Desserts: Blue Cake Company 

Videographer (engagement video played during Bou Bhaat): Ali Kareem Films


Interview with Shumon and Tareen

By Meredith Corning

How did you meet?

Shumon: Tareen and I met when I was actually a 5th year "super senior" at SMU in Dallas.  We met at a student club mixer in the student center and got to know each other through mutual groups of friends.  It was not until nearly 3 years later that we began dating.  It's interesting how fate works, since I most likely would not have met Tareen had I not been delayed in my undergraduate studies.

Q.  How did he propose?

Tareen: Shumon planned such an elaborate day! He let me know he looked forward to our 50 month anniversary and told me to "save the date." When the day finally arrived, he picked me up a little before noon, and we were on our way.  To where? No idea!  His car smelt like yummy food, which made me very hungry.  I assumed that he ate lunch without me!  Turns out, he had packed a homemade picnic for the two of us to share at White Rock Lake in Dallas followed by a nice trail walk!  The food, weather, music, and company made it a perfect start to the day.  Afterwards, we drove over to our alma mater SMU, and reminisced our years together on campus.  It was a nice leisurely walk that concluded at the newly constructed promenade with our own personalized brick paver!  It meant so much to me, since he placed the order for the brick in 2012 when we had only dated for six months. (What if we broke up?!) It was nice to see it in person four years later.  After that nice moment, Shumon's pace suddenly became rushed.  He said he had to leave to run an errand.  I was growing skeptical and not very happy that he was leaving our special date.  He assured me all is great, and that he would pick me up for dinner at 6:30.  That left me with one hour to get changed.  Of course, I had NOTHING to wear.  I raced to Nordstrom's and tried on literally 11 dresses.  With only a few minutes to spare, I pulled myself together, and waited for Shumon.  He arrived soon thereafter, looking very dapper in a new suit.  In the car, I was trying to guess where our dinner reservations were based on his route.  He pulled into a random parking lot and ushered me out of the car.  Confused, we walked into a secluded, beautiful, quaint park where rose petals littered the floor.   Just as the sun set, he pulled out a gorgeous ring and was down on one knee telling me the sweetest things.  It was a blur but very emotional! We were overjoyed! He also had a photographer there too to capture the special moment.  After spending a few more minutes at the park, we finally headed to dinner.  Shumon picked Fearings at the Ritz Carlton Dallas, a restaurant I had been wanting to try for so long! We walk in, and the waitress led us to our a private room....with all my loved ones waiting to congratulate us! Surprise! Definitely one of our most cherished days.

Q.  Describe your bou bhaat's design and style.

Shumon: A bou bhaat is a Bengali tradition, where the groom's family hosts a reception to welcome his new bride's friends and family post-wedding.  Our official wedding was in August in Dallas, TX. My family hosted the bou bhaat in my home state Arkansas four months later. Since we already had our big fat wedding, we tried to keep things simple yet elegant, and, of course, cost effective.  One of our favorite colors is blue, a color you can't go wrong with in terms of decorating.  Since our reception was set for December, we thought the colors of blue and white would resemble a good "winter" theme.  This was the main look given from the stage set up, room lighting, and even blue LEDs in our centerpiece vases.  We found an inspiration picture from Pinterest that showed different DIY for winter themed centerpieces.  As an accent, we were able to bring in an ice sculpture of our first initials. To keep the formality, we still did things such as the floor length linens as well as plate chargers.  The venue was chosen because of the large windows that overlook the Arkansas River and gave a unique modern look to the ballroom that catered 250 people.  As in all other wedding receptions, we definitely wanted to hit the mark with the music and food, which was catered all the way from Dallas.

Q. Did anything interesting or funny happen that you would like to share about your wedding day?

Shumon: A ritual in Bengali weddings is to have the bride and groom stare into a mirror together to catch their first glimpse as husband and wife.  The groom is then asked by relatives, "What do you see?" Traditionally, one is expected to say "I see the moon" because of its beauty, serenity, and calmness and relate that to one's new wife.  As the groom, I was completely unaware of this.  I kept stating I saw myself (literally) and my new wife. They kept pressing, and I was very confused.  I received some awkward laughs and stares. Eventually, someone whispered in my ear what I was to say.  It was quite funny how oblivious I was of this practice.

Q.  Do you have any budget saving tips or advice for other couples?

Shumon: If you are considering saving money by going DIY for items such as decorations and centerpieces, make sure you have family or friends to help out during the set up process.  If there are a lot of DIY items, make sure you have space to store things.  I think people tend to underestimate resources needed when doing DIY.  But at the same time, people have done some amazing things with low budgets if you just look online.  Don't forget to do mockups to practice the look and gauge how long it takes to complete for the big day.

Also, be persistent with your guests about getting their RSVPs.  The earlier you can get a proper head count, the better idea of overall costs you can have for your event.

Q. What was your biggest worry and how did you overcome it?

Shumon: Our biggest worry was to figure out how to get the best estimate of invited guests that would be attending the event.  Since this is usually a big driver of wedding costs, especially when you pay by the person, we made sure to thoroughly follow up with invitees regarding their RSVP.  We sent out invitations about 2 months in advance and had given guests about 1 month to RSVP.  After that, we made sure to keep following up every week until the final guest count is due 10 days before the event.  We split the guest list among our family to help follow up with guests to make it more bearable for us.