virginia weddings


Virginia Bride features weddings weekly here on the blog. Being featured in the blog does not necessarily mean they are featured in the print magazine.

Bride: Nimrah Khan, 31, Corporate Attorney

Groom: Raffael Nagel, 32, Software Engineer

Date: September 3 and 4, 2022

Venue: Hilton Springfield Hotel, Springfield, Virginia

Guests: 315


Chance Meeting

Raffael and Nimrah worked across the street from each other in San Francisco, California, and were introduced through colleague interactions. Raffael started following Nimrah on Instagram and then sent her a private message to connect. On February 15, 2019, he brought ice cream flavors to Nimrah’s office for her to sample; the rest is history.  

First Date

February 20, 2019, Raffael and Nimrah enjoyed their first date at Milagros in Redwood City, California. The bride said, “We ate a lot of chips and guacamole and discussed our interests.” “I thought we would not have much in common.” “I was born and raised in America, and he had recently immigrated from Brazil, but we quickly realized we did; from food, television programs, movies, and niche books we had both read.” 

I Love You

After about three weeks of dating, Raffael told Nimrah he loved her. When I asked Nimrah what she loved most about Raffael, she said, “He’s such a good person with a good heart.” Raffael said, “She is smart, driven, and loving.”


Raffael proposed to Nimrah on June 19, 2021, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California. Nimrah said, “Raffael put so much thought, effort, and time into asking me to be his lifetime partner.” 

On the day of the proposal, Nimrah thought they were attending a work-related party at the Fairmount. After they entered the hotel, they proceeded down the hallway to a ballroom that opened to a balcony with a gorgeous view, and once inside, Raffael dropped to one knee and proposed. 

Raffael hired a photographer to capture Nimrah’s reaction to the proposal. He had invited Mimrah’s best friends, locally and from the East Coast, to be present for the surprise and invited her parents to join the proposal through FaceTime. 

Nimrah said, “It was incredible; we popped champagne, ate Brazilian food, enjoyed a Middle Eastern dinner, and danced to Bollywood music; it was beyond perfect.”


The couple selected Hilton Springfield for the venue because of the proximity to the family.


Muslims’ traditions were incorporated throughout the two-day wedding, and the couple’s planner, Shaymah Ansari, said, “There is no set Muslim decor for weddings.” “Muslim weddings vary by the cultural traditions woven from one country to the next.” “Certain Islamic customs are adhered to across the board.” “There will always be an Imam or Islamic Leader/Scholar officiating, two witnesses, and an agreed-upon monetary amount within the marital agreement.”

Wedding Terms

Mehendi is the first night of a Muslim wedding, and the primary colors are yellow and pink. Walimah is the second night of the wedding, and the primary color is red with gold accents. Quraan is the Islamic Holy Book.

Lehenga is a type of ankle-length skirt worn for elegant occasions. Tikka is a bridal head adornment that dangles along the middle of the bride’s forehead. Dupatta is a long shawl-like scarf. 

Pagdi is a traditional headgear worn by men, often called a turban. Sherwanis is a long-sleeved outer coat. It is fitted, buttoned down the front, and falls below the knees. 

Baraat is a celebratory wedding procession for the groom involving live music, dancing, and dhal drumming. Mandap is a covered structure with pillars that serves as the wedding altar or can represent a stage or backdrop for a wedding.

Chatra refers to umbrellas adorning the Mandap during the Mehendi. Joota chupai means ‘hiding the shoes’. It is a fun wedding tradition in which unmarried girls/women charge a fee for agreeing to return the groom’s shoes.



For the Mehendi, the bride wore a yellow lehenga from Kuki Concepts. During the Walimah, Nimrah wore a Nomi Ansari dress, Style: N-711, and traditional gold jewelry gifted from her mother. The bride wore a tikka and an embroidered dupatta, and her hands, arms, legs, and feet were adorned with bridal henna designs. 


The groom wore a sherwanis, matching pants, and a pagdi for the Mehendi and Walimah. The wedding did not include groomsmen, but family men and friends of the groom wore yellow or white dupattas.


The Mehendi was held at the Hilton Springfield Hotel amongst family and friends. Chatra and lanterns were used for décor for the first night. 

Walimah was held at the same hotel, and the primary color was red with gold accents. The décor included a floral wall.

The couple did not exchange vows. Instead, the groom spoke about how much he cared and loved Mimrah and how she had impacted his life. He read a few lines of an Urdu Ghazal (poem).


The groom entered the hotel riding a white horse with elaborate drumming and dancing in the background. 

Nimrah’s parents escorted her to the reception, where she joined Raffael.


The menu included goat, chickpeas, naan, chicken karahi, butter chicken, and veggie dishes. 


Bollywood and fusion music played during the second night of the wedding.


The couple and their guests enjoyed the shoe game, Joota Chupai.


Guest enjoyed traditional Pakistani desserts: Kheer, Ras Malai, and Mithai. The couple saved the top tier of their wedding cake to be eaten on their first anniversary.


Nimrah’s father escorted her to the exit while covering her head with the Quraan.


The couple and guests lodged at the Hilton in Springfield, Virginia.


WEDDING VENUE: Hilton Springfield Hotel – @hiltonspringfieldva

ENGAGEMENT VENUE: Fairmont Hotel – @fairmonthotels

PHOTOGRAPHER: Babar – @avs360

PLANNER: Shaymah Ansari Weddings – @shaymahansariweddings

GOWNS: Kuki Concepts – @kukiconceptsofficial and Nomi Ansari –   @nomiansari

HAIR: Glam by Shekiba – @glambyshekiba

MAKEUP: Glam by Shekiba – @glambyshekiba

GROOM’S ATTIRE: Kuki Concepts – @kukiconceptsofficial

RENTAL EQUIPMENT: DMV Décor – @dmvdecor

CAKE: Art Cake Studios –

ACCOMMODATIONS: Hilton Springfield Hotel – @hiltonspringfieldva

MEHENDI: The Mehndi Diary – @themehndidiary

HORSE: Harmon’s Carriages – @harmonshayrides

DHOL DRUMMER: DJ Jay Entertainment – @djjayent

BHANGRA DANCE GROUP: George Washington University Bhangra – @gwbhangra

CATERING: Solution Catering

MUSIC: Minakshi Entertainment

If you are planning a wedding in Roanoke Virginia, Richmond Virginia, Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia, The Shenandoah Valley, Coastal Virginia or in Charlottesville/ Lynchburg Va. we can help with your wedding planning and ideas.

The author: Debra Shepperson

Debra is a native of Virginia, having lived in both Roanoke and Richmond. She is the co-owner of Relish – Say I Do!! Officiant & Photographer. She is an artist who aims to create ceremony scripts and capture photos that evoke positive emotional responses, inspire others, and deliver nostalgia. Debra holds a graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth and an undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, Florida. Before gaining more than ten years of wedding-related experience, Debra was a human resource executive. She has been happily married to the co-owner of Relish for more than 20 years.