Ali + Khaled at Hobby Center

A decade of love and friendship inspired this fusion wedding that went beyond a blend of two families, but a blend of cultures, styles and traditions set in the heart of Downtown Houston. With a colorful color palette, eclectic decor and design, and an evening of various entertainment, it was a ball of a good time!
What better way to kick off the year than with an anniversary post! Last January, Ali and Khaled hosted their fusion wedding at the Hobby Center of Performing Arts featuring a blend of styles, cultures and families. Ali and Khaled’s wedding vision came from their desire to fuse two cultures and two families together in a sophisticated, luxurious, and eclectic atmosphere. Ali is a graphic designer by trade which made the design process a fun collaboration. During the style and design process, the three of us went to a local fabric store to select a color palette, and row by row Ali and Khaled selected fabrics that were rich and colorful in shades of navy, coral, gold, and ivory. The textiles were a blend of patterns and graphics that you see in Native American art and rugs as well as Middle Eastern architecture and design. The color experiment proved that the overall style would be worldly, collected, and traveled with a fresh interpretation for the very modern Hobby Center of Performing Arts. A blend of Ali’s family roots in New Mexico and Khaled’s Middle Eastern heritage was from then on referred as “New Mexico meets Middle East”.
Dear Lola Letterpress designed a gold foil and letterpress invitations with navy envelopes, calligraphed in gold by Rachel of Artful Designs by Rachel Nieman, with vintage stamps all dedicated to New Mexico. Stamps of old Native American pots and rugs, bison, and Georgia O’Keefe paintings (gallery is in Santa Fe). Guests entered the reception with a gold ticket serving as an escort card. We sanctioned the modern space into various creative layouts with different guests in mind; the “younger” crowd in the lounge area and the “sophisticated” guests in beautiful banquette seating against the fabric wall that went to the ceiling. Each “booth” had a chandelier suspended over the table. For dramatic flair,  20 foot drum shades suspended from the ceiling to incase crystal chandeliers.
The reception was full of musical performances. During cocktails a fusion gypsy band called Moodafaruka set the tone for the evening as guests arrived. The bride and groom were introduced with a traditional Zaffa entrance with drums and singers chanting and making calls followed by the entire family led by the couple up the stairs to greet their guests. The entertainment continued as DJ Senega put on an amazing show for the reception. He kept the crowd moving all night and literally begging for more. There was a Saxist and a Dhol drummer who played alongside of Senega to enhance the beats. It doesn’t stop there, Ali arranged for a surprise for Khaled and hired a 13 year old DJ prodigy named DJ Elle Morgan. Khaled and Ali were invited to spin records with the young entertainer . The lights matched the performances as Premier Sound and Lighting put on a laser light show that could be seen throughout all of downtown Houston. Guests were given LED glasses, foam LED sticks, and a gold tinsel confetti blast at the end of the night.
From the Bride:
Khaled and I met at The Awty International School in Houston when we were 13 years old. His older sister and I played volleyball together in high school and she always told him that he should date me, but we were always just friends. We finally got together the summer between high school and college and have been together ever since – 10 years this month! We started out as friends and truly are still best friends.
I am originally from New Mexico and Khaled is from the Middle East (he has family in Jordan), so we wanted to “marry” those styles in designing our wedding. Natalie from Two Be Wed was incredibly helpful in helping us achieve our vision of a blend of New Mexican rustic chic and rich Middle Eastern elegance. 
Having been together almost a decade when we got married – and having grown up virtually together – we had a BALL on our big day. The room was so full of love and joy and we really felt it! Our friends and families are amazing so we knew that no matter where and when we got hitched, we would have a great party. I have to say, though, that in addition to dancing the night away with all of my loved ones, one of my favorite moments of the whole night was hanging out with my husband in the bar at Artista while our guests were having cocktails downstairs. 
My dress was by Marchesa (Spring 2013 collection I think), my jewelry and my headpiece by Maria Elena and shoes by Jimmy Choo. Oh and I have to mention my hair and makeup people (they are such a big part of my look too!). My hair was by Mario at Estilo salon, my make-up was by Jennifer Aronson.
Photography: Philip Thomas Photography / Event Design and Planning: Natalie Dawley of Two Be Wed / Cinematography: Sculpting with Time / Floral, Decor and Rentals: Darryl and Co. / Stationery: Dear Lola Letterpress /Calligraphy: Artful Designs by Rachel Nieman / DJ and Lighting: Premier Sound and Lighting /Band: Moodafaruka / Catering- Cordua Catering  / Cake: Marlene Romero  / Dress: Marchesa 2013 /Headpiece: Maria Elena / Ballet Flats:  Jimmy Choo / Hair: Mario Tort of Estilo Salon / Makeup: Jennifer Aronson

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