The wedding ceremony was preformed in my grandparent's backyard, where they have a secret garden. I was a little kid when some of those trees were planted to section off a part of the backyard, and as it has grown into a more and more secret, otherworldly place, it's become one of my favorite places in the world.
After the ceremony, we went inside the house for a nice brunch. We only had about 40 guests and we served vegetarian quiches, fruit, croissants, and other brunch-y things. People mingled and ate for awhile, and then it was time to cut the cake. CakeS, actually, because we had two wedding cakes.
There was more eating and mingling. Our evening wedding ceremony was planned for 6pm, and we still had the 2-hour drive and an outfit change ahead of us, so we ended up leaving while some people were still eating cake! Traditionally, the bride and groom leave the wedding reception in a car tied with coke cans or other noisemakers and head for the honeymoon, but we left like some kind of reverse Pakistani baraat; with me and M and his parents and another friend stuffed into a rented Impala.
We went to the apartment M and his parents were staying at and got dressed. My mother-in-law, who'd I'd spent less than 4 hours with until that time, helped zip me up and put the teeka in my hair. A friend of M's was supposed to come over and do some mehendi for me, but in all the day's rush it didn't happen. (I had postponed having mehendi done earlier because I didn't want to have mehendi hands in my white-dress American wedding photos.) M and his mother ended up doing a little mehendi for me, but it was still wet even when we got to the location of the Pakistani wedding ceremony.
holding out my hands in front of me because they're still wet
The nikah ceremony was held right after the evening Maghrib prayer in the local mosque. M had tried to talk to the imam, or religious leader of the mosque, and explain that I was a convert and all my white Christian family would be in attendance. It didn't go as well as I'd planned. I'd hoped that the imam would be able to say something to bridge the cultural gap and make my family feel comfortable in the mosque, but he didn't. Instead he talked about how "We love Jesus and Mary too" and his accent was really thick. He almost insisted that he act as my wali (bride's confidant), even though I'd found my own. He also sat on the floor after the prayer and preformed the whole contract-signing while surrounded entirely by M and his friends and family, not even inviting my father - or hey! the bride??!! - to come over. Eventually M brought the paper over for me and my father to sign, and the imam had spelled my father's name wrong. So much for a beautiful nikah document to cherish over the years... (sorry, rant over.)
After the official wedding ceremony was over, M's family handed out those little packets of sweets (I can't remember the name and M's away on business, so you'll have to wait until I can edit this out later!) and people mingled a little more. We had about the same number of guests as the morning ceremony, but not all the same people. Not everyone had been able to dedicate and entire day for our wedding and some people were only able to attend one of the ceremonies. The evening ceremony didn't last very long because of the fact that no one really tried to make my half of the guests feel very comfortable in the mosque, and also because there was no planned reception afterwards. (The Valima, or groom's reception, was to be held the next day.) The whole thing look less than an hour and then I went back to the apartment with the Pakistanis where we did a little sweets-forcefeeding and shoe-stealing. Everyone feds the newlyweds spoons of sweet desserts for sweet beginning to our life, and the groom's friends and family stole his shoes and extort money for their return so that the groom could leave with his new bride.)
Eventually, though, after a VERY long day (and almost $100 lighter, but with his shoes) M and I were able to take our first steps together as husband and wife as we left for the honeymoon hotel. (Which we stayed at for about 12 hours before heading back to pick up his parents and get ready for the Valima!)