Shameem + Ammar / Barton Creek Resort Wedding / Austin Wedding Photographer / by Melanie Grizzel

Muslim-Americans have a challenging time finding spouses. It's never called "dating" when two people are getting to know each other; usually "talking." People meet through dating sites, introductions through friends, family, or other networks, and a few meet spontaneously on their own.

Ammar and I were introduced by my sister and brother-in-law, and talked to each other for about a year until the conversation turned to wedding planning. We were a long-distance couple from the start, and remain that way even now after we've said our vows and cut our cake. We met on a blind double-date March 2011, and on Cinco de Mayo 2012, the same evening as the Supermoon, Ammar proposed on top of the 360 bridge in Austin.

Our families are of different cultures, and it was important to us to respect both and also have a wedding that was uniquely our own. We visited 3 places one super hot day in July 2012; the Barton Creek Resort and Spa was the last place we saw that day and the minute we looked around we said "yep, this is it." We loved planning our wedding, and picked our florist, videographer, save the dates, and menu together without any meltdowns, and had some pretty fun experiences with the people we ended up not picking. Strangely we did not even meet Melanie until the week of the wedding.

We did not register for presents since we didn't want to store a bunch of household items when we weren't even going to live together for another year or two, and instead registered through the "I Do" Foundation for donations to be made to a couple good causes near and dear to us both, the Human Development Foundation and Women for Afghan Women. Our guests raised a little more than $2000 for the two charities combined.

A friend told me that planning a wedding together would be a glimpse for us of what it would be like to be married. I am so glad that for us it was not only fun, but I found that we consistently took the time to be considerate and kind to each other, and really try to make sure the other person was happy throughout the process. We even had two sets of wedding invitations printed because we couldn't quite agree on the same color - and at the end of the day, that is fine! (Although, the bedroom furniture will have to be 1 color, Ammar!) :)

We had so much fun at the wedding, and we are so blessed to have had so many of our friends and family travel from all over, one cousin even from Australia, to celebrate with us. When we sat looking out at our family and friends in this beautifully decorated venue on the evening of the wedding, it was really cool and special knowing that it was a product of both of our efforts, combining both our tastes and vision for the evening.  As far as microcosms go, I think this was a great preview of what is ahead. :)

Location + Catering + Cake: Barton Creek Resort and Spa / Photographer - She-N-He Photography and Design / Florist - Exquisite Petals / Make-up - Kandy Glass / Hair - Danielle Barr / Music - DBM Promotions / Invitations - Wedding Paper Divas / Calligrapher - Josh Berer / Videographer - The Yellow House Studios