Shehzaan and Zainab Chunrara are two people that lived in Atlanta, USA. They had been going to the same Jamatkhana for almost a decade before they ever met, when they did – sparks flew. They got engaged on the Ellen Show, three months later.
Clearly, they’re like many desi couples who do it big! They dreamed of a huge, lavish wedding to celebrate their union – can you even be a desi without it? So they started planning it.
When it came to looking for a venue they realized that even though they had the money to do everything how they want, it was just very expensive. Was it really okay to spend thousands and thousands of dollars for something that will last for only a few hours for 3-4 days?
Zainab’s father suggested that if they were having such a hard time justifying the spending, why don’t they find a charity that’s close to their hearts and donate money to them?
Shehzaan and Zainab decided that this idea was perfect and they took out 85% of their wedding budget and donated it to the Aga Khan Foundation. This foundation works on aiding development work in areas that have been neglected for far too long. Their work ensures that children grow up to have access to schools and hospitals in their own areas.
The Chunara’s ended up holding a wedding with only 70 people (yes, that’s small for desis okay? we have like 150 cousins). They compressed everything in one day, the nikkah.
They say that even though people around them told them they might regret not having the memories of “the big fat desi wedding” they’ve always wanted, they realised that they were going to be happier knowing they gave it up to help other people.
Zainab added that she hopes this shows people that it’s not that important to have a huge wedding to have beautiful memories attached to it. At the end of the day, it’s about the union of the couple and celebrating the start of their lives together, not about how big the venue was or how many fresh flowers were there.