Unconventional. That’s how our bride Kathy would describe her meeting with her now-husband, Azman. What started out as an online pastime resulted in a solemnly beautiful ceremony in Brunei. She told us all about their stunning Muslim wedding and we’re smiling ear to ear over the details that led to it!
Kathy and Azman met eight years ago while they were both engrossed in an online game. “Yes, you heard that right!” Kathy quipped. She happened to come across Azman, a Bruneian, while playing. And, for two years, they were in-game friends.
After two years of friendly exchanges, Azman decided to do what every gamer would do: level up. “He started giving hints that he wanted to take our friendship to the next level,” shared Kathy. But initially, it did not come easy for Kathy to entertain the idea, after all, Azman was in Brunei and practicing Islam, a different religion from hers. “I’m not sure an LDR would work out for us,” she confessed.
Braving different cultures
But Azman was determined to prove he was in for the long haul and was definitely sticking around. In 2013, he asked Kathy if he could visit her in Cebu and she said yes. “It was the right time to meet him personally and to test the waters if we would click,” Kathy shared. He spent his three-week vacation meeting Kathy’s family and relatives. Kathy recalled, “It was then that I realized he was dead serious about our relationship and he had also proven his good intention towards me.”
In 2016, it was Kathy’s turn to visit Azman and meet his family. It was during this trip that the two, once strangers and worlds apart, realized one common thing. “That we both want to spend the rest of our lives with each other and that’s all that mattered,” Kathy shared.
She eventually converted to Muslim, adopting a new name along the way, from Kathy to Siti Kameela.
Kathy and Azman agreed to have a simple Malay Muslim wedding, which both their families supported. Without a wedding planner, the couple dealt with pressure and stress. But they were lucky to get help from the groom’s aunt and their other family members when it came to organizing. “From the guest list to my wedding dress, from our gifts to the catering, it was a really good feeling to have your elders helping out and making everything easier for you,” said the bride.
Purple was a dominant hue at the wedding, being the bride’s favorite. Her wedding dress delicately incorporated the color while highlighting intricate details that embody a traditional Muslim wedding attire.
The event had DIY touches with the invitations and some of the door gifts being handmade with the help of Kathy’s graphic designer friend Thea, and Lily, who executed Thea’s design in the personalized bonbonnieres.
On the day of the wedding, the hantaran or the wedding gifts from both sides, were carefully arranged.
The beautiful Muslim wedding
Kathy and Azman chose to have their Malay Muslim wedding in Brunei. The couple’s Nikah or Solemnization was done in Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, a well-known mosque located in Bandar. Their families agreed to have a solemnization, which was presided by an Imam, instead of a traditional Bruneian wedding.
“In the whole process of the Nikah, it’s only my husband who did the talking and responding to the Imam. I think this was how they do their Muslim weddings,” Kathy shared, giving us a glimpse into a Muslim wedding ceremony. “Only the groom is involved and the bride, although seated at the back, will just listen as her representatives (father or a wali) listens to the groom’s vows to accept the bride’s hand in front of the witnesses.”
Journey to the rest of their lives
For Kathy, everything about the wedding was unforgettable. “Since I am a convert, I was not really exposed to any Muslim weddings in the Philippines,” she shared. “The whole process was interesting and fun for me and I was happy that my dad, my sister, and one of my best friends were there with me to witness the whole occasion.”
“I I had to choose a favorite part of the wedding, I guess it was when my husband was asked to place his hand on my forehead,” the blushing bride revealed. “That gesture was very solemn to me.”
Bride: Kathy Mil / Siti Kameela Binti Abdullah (Muslim name)
Groom: Mohamad Azman Bin Abdullah
Photography: Sulaiman Anom
Invitation and other design details: Ma. Anthea Rabang
Souvenirs: Lilith Echano