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22/08/2016

This couple had their first date on their wedding day

Talk about an unconventional method of choosing a husband.

Former TV broadcasting producer Munirah Tunai, 33, met her hubby via halal speed dating! It is a matchmaking session that encourages people to seek a spouse in a respectable manner.

It has been four years now and she is happily married to Zuhri Yuhyi, 35, a psychologist by training. They have a son, Zauq, who is almost two.

The couple have only gone on one date and it was on their wedding!

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“Our first date – on our wedding night – was at Carl’s Jr, followed by a movie. It was the happiest and most comfortable feeling to be on a date with someone you’re already married to,” gushes Munirah in an e-mail interview.

The couple have gone into business together, co-founding Halal Speed Dating with two other friends Syed Azmi AlHabshi and Norhayati Ismail. The company’s first matchmaking event was in May last year. It was meant for 60 people but almost 2,000 registered to attend.

Time to settle down

Pre-marriage, Munirah’s life was filled with a fulfilling career, quality time with family, travelling, outdoor activities and attending Islamic knowledge courses.

Even then, she thought: “Wouldn’t it be nice to share all these with a like-minded special someone?”

At 28, with her career stable, she decided it was time to settle down. With that “objective” in mind, she put in her efforts and prayed.

Says Munirah: “I asked God to fulfil my wish and it was up to Him when and how to answer my prayers.”

Her decision was not spurred on by parental or peer pressure.

“It was my natural desire to get married,” says Munirah, adding, “It’s perfectly normal to want companionship and to be in love.”

But her religion taught her to do that within the sanctity of marriage.

“I did not want to be in a relationship where the decision to be married is subject to the other party’s readiness or wilingness. I wanted to skip the whole dating process which doesn’t guarantee marriage,” explains Munirah.

“As a Muslim, I try my very best to do everything in accordance to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and Al-Quran. Romance, I believe, can be fully enjoyed without risk of heartbreak within the sanctity of marriage and not in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. I just wanted to meet potential candidates who are mentally and emotionally ready to get married.”

Munirah only attended one two-day Islamic course on how to build a Muslim family. There was also an arranged marriage facilitation programme where the organiser invited men and women who were serious about marriage.

“I knew that was my chance. In short, that’s where I met my husband,” she says.

Munirah participated in two marriage facilitation programmes before meeting Zuhri in the third one.

“I selected him in the second programme but he did not pick me then. It wasn’t a mutual selection so the organiser did not connect us. Only when we mutually selected each other in the third programme, were we connected,” she says.

Her minimum requirement was to meet someone who can converse in English.

“In one month of getting to know him, I admired his character and qualities. I was confident he was the husband material I was looking for,” she muses.

At the end of one month, she gave Zuhri an ultimatum.

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She told Zuhri she was comfortable with him and found him suitable to be her potential life partner. She gave him a week to figure out if he felt the same way about her and if so, to arrange for their parents to meet. If not, they would part ways.

Munirah had her parents’ support and approval in her choice of husband.

“Parents know what’s best for their children, like how to build a stable and happy family. Children should trust in their parents’ wisdom.

“Getting married is not about being in love with your chosen partner. Marriage is more than just that lovey dovey feeling. It is about making the decision to commit to each other through thick and thin. This is the reality parents should impart to their children.”

Finding his soulmate

Where Zuhri was concerned, he did not give himself a deadline to get hitched.

“I just went with the flow. I told myself that if I meet my soulmate, I would leave it to destiny. I didn’t think we still have to put effort in looking for our destined soulmate,” he says.

When he hit 30, he felt strongly about starting a family.

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“No one pressured me. When I declared my intention, my best friend told me that the Islamic method of matchmaking is the most efficient for marriage. After his explanation, I still couldn’t imagine marrying someone without dating her for five to 10 years.”

“I knew from the start that it wasn’t a magical solution the moment I attended these events. I persevered through three events until I met the right one.”

At these sessions, Zuhri felt awkward and nervous but was convinced it was “the proper way”.

Anyway, he didn’t meet his wife at the first and second halal speed dating matchmaking events; only at the third.

“Her mother was observing from afar,” he recalls.

“We e-mailed each other for a month after we were connected by the organiser. Our e-mail interaction was observed by her parents, of course,” he says.

His expectations were not very high. “Looks alone are not enough. Piety comes first,” he says.

Zuhri also believes that religion is the foundation and the goal in life to strengthen the bond between husband and wife.

Initially, Zuhri was worried that Munirah might not find him witty.

“I want to find someone who appreciates my humour because humour helps bond a relationship.”

On how they build on their relationship, he explains: “We believe marriage is a perpetual journey of understanding. Happily ever after is not an ending, it’s only the beginning.”

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27/06/2016

This couple's wedding photo-shoot became epic because of a rattlesnake

These pre-wedding photographs also include the groom's trip to a hospital, after getting bitten by a snake.

Paramedics attend to the groom. Picture courtesy: Maddie Mae

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Gladiator groomsmen crashing a wedding? Sure. But what if the uninvited guest turns out to be a venomous reptile?

Yup! This bride and groom's wedding photo-shoot was gate-crashed by a rattlesnake, who was hiding in the bushes, which led the couple to make an inadvertent trip to the hospital.

A Colorado couple was getting their pre-reception photo-shoot done, when a rattlesnake bit the groom in the ankle.

"All of a sudden, it was like someone had kicked me in the shin. Then I looked over and saw the snake sitting there, and it was rattling," Johnny Benson told the Denver Post.

The photographer, Maddie Mae, and the bride, Laura Benson, said they shouted out to a park ranger, who was at a distance and thus clearly unable to hear them. So, he yelled back, "Congratulations!"

Also read: Can you believe that these wedding gowns are made of toilet paper? Even we couldn't!

The park ranger eventually reached the spot and took care of Johnny till the paramedics arrived, who put him in an ambulance and treated him in the emergency room.

Maddie being an adventure photographer kept snapping, and thus, these pictures tell the whole, epic story!

The doctors said Johnny was only bitten by the snake and no venom was injected into the body. Keeping in mind that the couple had a wedding reception to attend, the medical staff did not hold them for too long in the hospital.

The couple reached their reception venue only one hour late! "I've never seen such an emotional 'grand entrance' as all 184 guests cheered when Johnny and Laura walked in, and showered them in a sea of passionate hugs. I admire Laura & Johnny so much for staying calm, and holding each other's hand through the first great test of their brand new marriage," Maddie Mae wrote.

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21/06/2016

Falling in love over a latte: Witney couple celebrate wedding day with Costa Coffee

WHEN Chris and Sarah from Witney celebrated their engagement, they knew they would not be able to enjoy their big day without their favourite cup of coffee.

So the couple, who fell in love over a shared passion for lattes and cappuccinos, celebrated tying the knot by inviting Costa Coffee along to their wedding.

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Chris and Sarah Cummins, from Witney, used to meet at their local Costa Coffee in Woolgate during their early dating days in 2009.

They quickly became regulars, and admitted that the staff knew their names and would start making their drinks before they had even ordered.

So when Chris popped the question, the couple felt it would be only natural to have their favourite coffee at their wedding.

The new Mrs Cummins said: "When Chris and I were planning our wedding, we know we wanted to have Costa Coffee there.

"We used to meet there and we always think of it as 'our place'. The baristas are always so friendly and – of course – we love the coffee.

"We're absolutely thrilled that they could make our big day even more special and we're looking forward to enjoying many more coffees for years to come."

Costa Coffee have just one coffee cart in the whole of the UK, despite having hundreds of cafes.

But the staff went the extra mile to help their two regulars secure the cart for their big day in Chadlington, at the start of this month.

Witney barista Brendon Winter went along to their wedding to make coffees for all the guests and create special drinks for the bride and groom, with a heart stencilled on top.

Priya Farish of Costa Coffee said: "Our baristas always aim to go above and beyond to make customers happy.

"When Sarah and Chris asked if Costa could come to their wedding, we were delighted to help and immediately set about getting hold of the only Costa cart in the country. Our barista, Brendon, he always volunteers to help out and we knew he would do a fantastic job at the wedding."

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