WEDDING WISDOM: MOHAMMED & MATTHEW

Matthew & Mohammed (Photo: Mireia Cordomí)

Matthew & Mohammed (Photo: Mireia Cordomí)

We love a story that was meant to be. “I had a meeting early the next morning and I was ready to go home,” Matthew said of Gay Pride weekend in Atlanta three years ago. “My friends talked me into going to a bar after the park.” While in the crowded bar and making his way to the restroom Matthew turned the corner and  their eyes locked. “It does sound cheesy, but our eyes did lock from across a crowded room. I had to walk past him and as I did, he put his hand on my chest and said: ‘you have a beautiful smile.”

   

 

 

Photo: Mario Morin with Marlumor Photography 

Laughing, Mohammed further explained: “I had a little liquid courage to do so!” He also didn’t really believe Matthew when he said that he’d be right back following a visit to the men’s room. He did return, and with two-and-a-half hours of conversation later, Mohammed and Matthew’s life as a couple was off to the races. And, Matthew was off to bed to be ready for his meeting!

“We both had been single and were open,” Mohammed said. “And, I left there knowing this was different, but also considering if we were up to pursuing something long-distance.” Mohammed was living in Dallas at the time. The two spoke daily and ten days later, Mohammed was back in Atlanta, “to see if we could take it any further. That weekend we knew we were willing to pursue getting to know each other.” And, every two weeks Matthew and Mohammed were together in Atlanta or Dallas. 

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Photo: Mario Morin, Marlumor Photography

“From early on, there wasn’t a question about it. I didn’t have any doubts,” Matthew said of the start of their relationship. Mohammed expanded by saying: “We are opposite in many ways, but our values, goals in life and family backgrounds are very similar, and so, for us it was like what you hear about, we found our other half.”

 

A year-and-a-half later, Mohammed thought, “this is the time.” Though the two had been talking about a life together – especially the subject of Matthew moving to be with Mohammed in Dallas – they’d never actually discussed getting engaged. “To me it was a total surprise,” Matthew said. Mohammed decided to ask Matthew on a trip to Costa Rica with seven friends; a high-stakes gamble for seven people to keep the engagement secret!

 

After a scuttled attempt to propose on a horseback riding trip, Mohammed honored Matthew’s more private side and decided to quietly propose back at their villa. “I was just in shock, because I really had no idea! He just pulled out the rings and started walking towards me!” 

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Photo: Mario Morin, Marlumor Photography

“When you think about engagement, you think you have to make it the most romantic. But, to me there is nothing more romantic than being raw, vulnerable,  and putting yourself out there,” Mohammed explained. “So I opened up the box and had two rings in there which, to me, meant we were both committing to each other.” The couple used the same rings for their wedding, too.

Like with most aspects of their relationship, the wedding planning fell into place swiftly. “I had fallen in love with Spain years ago, and I knew I wanted to get married there,” Matthew explained. And, upon researching locales, he discovered Arcos de la Frontera, “a place where Muslim and Christian culture collided, and spoke to Mohammed’s Muslim upbringing and my Christian upbringing. It was the perfect place to blend our love into one.”

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Photo: Mireia Cordomí

“To me, a small wedding is 3-to-400 people,” Mohammed explained. “For Matthew, he wanted 20 people there!” And, after a few rounds of negotiation they came to 50 people, which as Mohammed pointed out, was the absolute least he could do. And, for all of them they created an intimate and special event where, “Matthew met some of my family he’d not yet met.”

“We planned a wedding in Spain, with me in Atlanta and him in Dallas… without a planner!” “You underestimate the organization that it take to set up 50+ guests ” Mohammed said about his perfectionism about details and the fact that details take time and effort, especially on your actual wedding weekend. Needless to say, they pulled it off.

It was a three-event weekend this past July starting with a “White Party” welcome cocktail. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres and the Andalusian countryside greeted all guests.

 

Photo: Mireia Cordomí

The main event was the following evening. “You know it doesn’t get dark in Spain until 10pm,” Mohammed said. “And, my family – being Arabs – are known for being late,” so it isn’t difficult to understand why the ceremony, dinner and dancing continued until 4 a.m. true to the spirit of the couple’s and the host country’s outgoing ways!

Presiding over the ceremony was Matthew’s best friend from seventh grade, Lucinda. Though close with Matthew for so long, it was Mohammed who suggested she serve as their officiant. From the rehearsal to the ceremony, Lucinda led the couple in what proved to be a very moving and emotional experience. “At the rehearsal, I had to pull myself together many times. There is nothing like saying these words that mean so much to someone who means so much to you.” Matthew pointed out. And, while Matthew was “a mess” at the rehearsal, it was Mohammed who was more emotional at the ceremony. 

Video: Bodakids 

Before the ceremony, the guests enjoyed specially selected music by a string quartet, and making the ceremony even more poignant was the fact that Mohammed’s Arab relatives convened with Matthew’s friends and relatives to witness the couple exchanging vows and declaring love. Describing the ceremony, the couple opted for traditional vows. Further explaining “we felt that traditional vows spoke more to us.” However, they decided not to have a traditional wedding party, stating, “We felt that our wedding was intimate and everyone attending was part of the wedding party.” The ceremony featured two readings by Matthew’s brother and Mohammed’s best friend. 

Photo: Mireia Cordomí

And, to round out the weekend, the couple hosted a “tapas and paella party by the pool,” where the couple really got to enjoy all of the guests without the stress of the wedding. “We were finally able to breathe,” Matthew said. Mohammed added: “and we had rosé all day!” Turned out this was one of the couple’s favorite experiences of the weekend.

 

When asked what advice Mohammed and Matthew would give future grooms, Matthew swiftly advised: “Pick a place that really means something to you. It is going to be one time with your one true love and do it the way you want to do it.” For Mohammed, “there is so much expectation about weddings, so focus on it being about you and being authentic. Oh, and get a wedding planner!” 

Photo: Mireia Cordomí

They went on to say: “Give your guests experiences that are going to bond them with you, because these are the people that are going to be in your life forever.” When it is meant to be, forever is how it will be. 

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