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In celebrating their Kashmiri and Sindh roots, Birjis and Sophia, both garlanded with yellow chrysanthemums, each hold a betel leaf in the left hand, onto which seven happily married women smear henna paste for good luck. Several young women musicians entertain the assembled guests with singing, while another thumps a drum.
Katrina Thomas's notes: Few Pakistanis emigrated until 1971 but half a million live in the U.S. today. In Pakistan most marriages are arranged, the Muslim men and women celebrating in separate rooms or tents. I photograph two weddings, but agree not to release photos of the arranged marriage because although the sexes celebrate together, the women of the Ahmadiyya movement, a strict Muslim sect, must not have their pictures published. The marriage illustrated was not arranged. The bride and bridegroom, schooled in both Pakistan and the West, fell in love. They are the children of international parents, each with a Pakistani father and a mother of mixed heritage. During a pre-wedding henna evening in a private apartment, they retain but reorder wedding traditions of the Sindh province. On the following day, they are married in a Muslim nuptial rite. Their wedding is celebrated at a diplomatic reception that evening.