Multicultural Wedding at Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta: Karima + Abdifatah

Spending summer vacation in another country usually doesn't lead to finding your one true love. But that's Karima and Abdifatah's story. Karima and Abdifatah's beautiful multicultural wedding was an explosion of culture with a mix of East African, Arab, and Western cultures. "The groom and I are both Somali but have Arab influences in our culture," says Karima of her gorgeous gold, ivory, and blush summer wedding on a lovely, clear day in Atlanta, Georgia.

Wedding Date: August 15, 2015
Wedding Location: Emory Conference Center Hotel
Favorite Item on the Menu: Herb Crusted Salmon with Lemon Chive Beurre Blanc served on a bed of rice pilaf with a vegetable medley

Tell us about how you met and all about the proposal!

Abdifatah and I met years ago when we were just children. He's originally from Ottawa, Canada and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. As a child, I spent every summer in Canada visiting my Grandmother. My Grandmother lived close to his family and I would spend much of my summer visiting his home to play with his sisters. As we grew older, we began to talk more and grew close as friends. Eventually, my summer visits became less frequent as we grew older, but we continued to keep in contact through social media and through email.

During my second year of law school, something clicked, somehow our friendship slowly evolved into a love relationship and we both knew it was a connection that couldn't be duplicated.

As far as our proposal, we both observed our traditional and religious customs. He asked my father formally for my hand in marriage privately and then again at the religious ceremony called the Nikkah, which was an intimate event with all our close friends and family members in attendance. The ceremony included my father as my representative, my then fiancé, Abdifatah, and the Imam (religious leader) who officiated the religious ceremony.

Wedding Style

I purchased my dress from Anya Bridal in Atlanta, Georgia. I had a large entourage that helped me pick out the perfect wedding dress! My mom, aunt, three sisters and two cousins were all in attendance for the special event. I tried on several ball gowns, but none of them seemed to be the perfect fit. Until, my wonderful sales associate found an A-line, Allure Bridal wedding gown, with a gorgeous all-over ivory lace appliqué and beautiful subtle champagne satin underlay giving it a hint of color. When I walked out in the dress, my opinionated entourage all stared at me in awe and that's when I knew I couldn't leave the store without my dream dress!

After finding my dream dress, I knew I wanted to customize my wedding gown with sleeves. I was introduced to my talented seamstress, Kandace Marie, through Anya Bridal and she helped me design and create one of a kind custom sleeves to complement my wedding gown.


Culture is very important to the both of us and we wanted to incorporate our Somali culture with Arab influences as much as possible into the wedding reception. Our wedding entrance was a big surprise to our wedding guests. We chose an Arab song with lots of drums to announce our entry and as the large doors opened to reveal the groom and I, our guests were greeted with an Arab drummer who ushered us in playing to the beat of the drums in the song. The next way we incorporated our Somali culture was hiring a famous Somali singer, Deeqa Axmed who traveled from my husband's home town of Ottawa, Canada, which was a hit with all our guests!


The best memory from the wedding was the first look. After months of planning, I was escorted into the ballroom for the first time to get a sneak peek of the ballroom and it was gorgeous! We had a beautiful special stage designed by Beenish Imran of Events InStyle By Beenish, Inc. and the soft glow of blush uplighting provided by DJ Tay Productions who helped bring our theme of blush, ivory, and gold together. As I took in the beautiful room, I couldn't help but become overwhelmed with so much happiness and excitement... and standing right in the middle of the dance floor was my handsome groom who had the biggest smile on his face! I think that will be a memory I'll always hold dear.

Help a bride-to-be out!

I really believe it's important to start wedding planning as soon as possible. My husband and I were diligent in setting a budget and hiring quality vendors that fit within our budget. I also hired our amazing wedding planner, Mary Scott of A Royal Affair, who not only helped us locate all of our vendors but who was also instrumental in helping us stay organized and sane through the months leading up to the wedding. We had several meetings with all the vendors and with Richelle Francis, the Catering Sales Manager at Emory Conference Center, who all worked together seamlessly. By being organized and prepared, our wedding day went without a hitch! My husband and I could not have been any more stress free and happier on our wedding day!


Photography: Joseph Echols, Phrozen Memories
2nd Photographer: Meg and Kate Weddings
Videography: Hakim's Studio
Wedding Planning: Mary Scott; A Royal Affair, Inc.
Venue: Emory Conference Center Hotel
Dress: Allure Bridal via Anya Bridal
Hair: Mariame Camara; The Boxx Beauty
Makeup: Robin Hill; Robin Shanael the Artist, LLC
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Alterations + Custom Sleeves: Kandace Marie
Tuxedo: Moore's Clothing for Men
Custom Bow Tie: Clifford Franklin
Cake: Oh How Sweet
Dessert: Hawa Mohamed
Somali Singer: Deeqa Axmed
Arab Drummer: Ferket Al Rawabi
Stationery: Wrapped Up In Details
Lighting + DJ: DJ Tay Productions
Staging + Decor: Beenish Imran; Events Instyle By Beenish
Henna: Natural Identity Bridal Salon

  1. Nikki

    Beautiful wedding and stunning couple. Wow.


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