Zarah Ali and Hassan Barra met during an epic Boston blizzard. Hassan had flown in for his interview at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where Zarah was a first-year dental student, and Hassan’s cousin made the introduction. “He seemed like fun-loving, goofy guy, and it was so easy to be around him,” Zarah recalls. “I definitely did not think it was headed anywhere romantic at first – I thought we were just becoming great friends!”
Even though their relationship began on a friendship-oriented level, Hassan had other plans. “I knew she was the one immediately, but I wanted to make sure I played my cards right,” he says. “Little did she know, I was determined to win her over.”
“WE BOTH FELT LIKE WE WERE ON CLOUD NINE” ZARAH ALI & HASSAN BARRA
For the proposal, Hassan had everything planned up until the last minute. After a late-summer’s day spent on the Cape, he brought Zarah to a hidden beach at sunset. “We were the only ones there and we were enjoying the beautiful views, snuggled on a blanket in the sand,” Zarah describes. “He told me he needed to grab something from the car, and it turns out he was coordinating with a photographer he had pre-arranged to capture the moment.
When he returned, he was a little quiet; but the next thing I knew, he was down on one knee, looking up at me with those giant brown eyes of his. As I processed what was happening, I could feel myself begin to tear up. He told me how much I meant to him and how he wanted me by his side from that day forward.”
The engaged couple had fun with their wedding planning process, piecing together a wedding that blended classic glamour with Pakistani traditions. To kick off the festivities, a Mehndi celebration was held on a Thursday night, where friends and family danced and sang traditional songs while the bridal henna was applied. This was followed by the couple’s Sangeet, and the bride-to-be made her grand entrance on a carriage held up by her male relatives. Various Indian street food stations kept everyone’s taste buds happy, and performances by close cousins and friends provided entertainment.
By Saturday, there was still an abundance of love surrounding the bride and groom during their wedding ceremony. A cocktail hour was held afterwards, followed by a four-course plated dinner. Once it was time to dance, a setlist of Bollywood, Bhangra, and Top 40s kept guests on the dance floor for hours. The night ended with the Ruksathi – a traditional procession of the bride and groom on their way out – and everyone waved their love and blessings as the newlyweds drove off in their classic Rolls Royce.
“We were exhausted after three-plus days of nonstop celebrations, but we both felt like we were on cloud nine,” says the couple. “It was hard to believe it was all over, and that we were actually husband and wife! More than anything, though, we were incredibly grateful – to our parents and siblings for being so involved with every step along the way, to our extended family and friends, to our vendors for being so diligent and easy to work with, and to each other for making this promise to love and cherish one another forever.”
Location: Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, MA; Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Shreve, Crump & Low Boston, MA