Colin & Shaoleen’s engagement in New York City is a beautiful medley of the city’s vast locations and fun outfits for each one. Bringing in tradition as well as fashion, the engagement was truly stunning and their story written below in their own words is as equally captivating! Shaoleen grew up in Queens. Colin & Shaoleen lived in NYC for a little bit together, they have lived & traveled all over the place together. They wanted to do their engagement session somewhere special that they loved, and as they are getting married in NC, they decided to do their engagements in one of their favorite places. We started at sunrise at the Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo and met back up for sunset in Central Park and the Edge. Four different outfits, one for each locations, including a traditional sari. -Arika Jordan Photography
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
As fate would have it, Shaoleen and Colin first crossed paths on a cruise ship in April 2016. Shaoleen was on college spring break with her friends and Colin was a last minute invite on a boys trip with his college friends. They were assigned to the same dinner table, but they did not truly speak to each other until the second to last day of the trip, after their last excursion in Cozumel, Mexico. Colin expressed interest in Shaoleen to Shaoleen’s friend, Kian. He successfully match made them and they spent the last day on the cruise learning about each other. During breakfast right before they went their separate ways, Shaoleen asked for Colin’s number to keep in touch.
Colin’s first text to Shaoleen that evening was a revolting picture of a sunburn blister on his knee acknowledging her interest in pursuing medicine. They spoke frequently through text and one day, he invited her to a soccer game in Philadelphia.
Colin was smitten with Shaoleen and he wanted to see her again, thus, he invited her to Atlantic beach, NC for 4th of July 2016 to meet his family. On the second day, Colin and Shaoleen spent the day exploring Beaufort and seeing the majestic wild horses. That evening the two love birds went to dinner and dancing & afterwards walked on the beach. Colin asked Shaoleen to be his girlfriend and she immediately said no. Shaoleen thought it was ridiculous to be starting a relationship as she was heading off to medical school in Grenada, West Indies in one month and they would have to do long distance for two years and maybe more, since they are not from the same hometown. Colin was persistent and had faith in their love and truly believed their relationship could overcome any obstacles. After some cheeky back and forth banter, around 5am, Shaoleen finally said, “Yes let’s see where this journey takes us!”
My first impression of Colin: Sweet, quiet, and hot with the most gorgeous blue eyes.
Colins first impression of Shaoleen: Very beautiful, most unique personality and beauty he has ever seen.
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
Colin’s first text to Shaoleen after they exchanged numbers was a revolting gross picture of multiple sunburn blisters on his knee that was bubbling acknowledging her interest in pursuing medicine. The first text was just the picture–no words haha and here I am.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Colin would say cake tasting and creating the design for his own cake haha
Shaoleen says food tasting, we did an Indian one, American, and fusion
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
The instant we met we were always long distance for approximately two years. We were never at the same place at the same time together for more than 5 days even when we had an opportunity to see each other. This was particularly difficult as I was a medical student studying in a different country, specifically Grenada, a Caribbean island which was extremely far from North Carolina, where Colin resided.
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
Colin is Irish/Scottish/Southern Catholic. Our first day of the wedding is a Christian ceremony that includes a ceremony with some christian prayers concluded with a hand-fasting ceremony that is of Irish origin. We are also honoring our families during the ceremony as they are who shaped us to be the people we are today. The ceremony is followed by a cocktail hour that is very southern with a biscuit bar, Arnold Palmers, fried green tomatoes, etc.
Shaoleen’s family is from Bangladesh and are Muslim. Day 2 and 3 of the wedding include special Bengali ceremonies, such as Turmeric ceremony that includes Bengali food and desserts. It includes a talent show in which there is bollywood dances by Shaoleen’s family, wedding party. There is a skit being hosted by Colins family of our love story and journey. Day 3 is our Muslim ceremony called the Nikah followed by a fusion reception. Colin’s mother who has done lots of research into Bengali wedding traditions is so creative and actually created “dahlas” and resurfaced an old Bengali tradition. These dahlas are beautifully packaged gifts that we give to family members to wear at the Turmeric ceremony.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
I am so exited to walk down the aisle looking into Colins dreamy blue eyes and his face when he lifts my veil to see me. I am extremely excited about this moment. I am also excited about the vows. I am also excited about our choreographed dances (that are a mash up of bollywood, bengali, and english song) that we will do together at Turmeric Ceremony and our first dance at the Reception. Seeing our close family and friends blending and experiencing the mixing of our cultures and traditions and each of our sides learning about the other culture.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
We both have transferred some amazing lessons and qualities to each other. For example, I have been told multiple times that since dating me Colin has become so much more self confident in his personality, skills, and his fashion. He has learned from me to live life like its the last and be more adventurous, travel more, try new things etc.
I, on the other hand, have learned to be more spontaneous, not be so type A and plan so meticulously, and learn to take life not so serious and better handle setbacks and obstacles.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Colin favorite thing about Shaoleen: confidence, outgoing personality, adventurous, outlook on life, morals
Shaoleen’s favorite thing about Colin: easygoing, open-minded, incredibly open minded, supportive, and accepting about my demanding insane career as a doctor, Bengali culture and food. He embraces our food and culture as if he was born and raised in that world but was only exposed to it when he met me in his mid 20s. Family oriented and how much love he gives especially to his parents, siblings, our dog…and now my family! I also love how well Colin faces hardships, obstacles, and setbacks and is very forgiving to himself.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Do check-ins and recognize what makes the relationship spark and sparkle, things that were positive that month that we did for each other etc! There are so many days we let the days go by and have work interfere with quality time. Recognizing what makes a relationship sparkle helps the relationship reset as if its day 1. For example, we checked in and realized when we go dancing or travel together or create a crazy creative recipe when we cook together is what rejuvenates our relationship. Colin affirming he loved when I would pack him lunch and leave a sweet note during our check in that affirmed I need to keep doing that and makes me feel good that he felt extra loved when he received that.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Never test your partner because they will always fail your test. Your significant other is not a mind reader and one has to be direct about desires and wants. In the lust stage, we let go of a lot of things but in the real stage, we need to be honest about our desires and wants to reach a compromise or to set your team mate up for success.
Photographer: ARIKA JORDAN