A Pakistani-Indian lesbian couple are sharing photos of their marriage in April and it looks like the stuff of fairytales.
Bianca Maieli and her wife Saima Ahmad were married in a regal ceremony in California, which is where they and met. The couple hails from India and Pakistan, respectively.
Maieli, a Columbian-Indian Christian woman and Ahmad, Muslim Pakistani, originally met in 2014 at a spoken word event called ‘Coming Out Muslim’.
Same-sex marriage hasn’t been legalized in Pakistan and gay sex carries the death penalty, although there is no record of it being enforced. The country recognizes a third gender and has recently presented stronger protections for transgender people.
“But since we’ve been together those challenges have seemed less daunting when faced together,” Bianca told Wedding Sutra, one of India's leading bridal outlets.
Their California wedding took place in Maieli’s dad’s garden in front of 200 family and friends, and has been garnered as a ‘love without boundaries.’
The couple both wore traditional outfits by South Asian fashion designer Bilal Hussain Kazimov. Maieli wore an ivory sari complete with maang tikka (head jewelry), gold bangles, and pearl kadas (bangles). Saima, wore a sherwani, a traditional garment worn by male grooms in South Asia.
“We were keen on incorporating facets of both cultures in a way that was respectful and personalized at the same time,” Maieli explained. “We had four events, each with its own color scheme and everything was mostly DIY.”
“The celebrations began with the dhoki which was dominated by blue. The mayoun, which is essentially the haldi ceremony, of course, was all yellow. Our mehendi featured lots of pink. The wedding was dressed in white, gold, and lavender. Our engagement colors had been black and gold so we wanted to contrast that. We added the lavender because we got married in spring.”
Sharing photos from the wedding on Instagram, Maieli told The Sun they’ve had mostly positive remarks but “there has definitely been a few negative comments” that has made her want to delete the photos.
“But then I get those DMs from other queer brown girls sharing their stories and struggles and letting me know that these photos have given them hope for a better future” she said “This is for you guys. It’s never easy but there’s always hope. You got this.
“Love will always win in the end.”