At the end of the ceremony there was no kissing of the bride. Afterward,
there was no cake, alcohol, music or dancing.
Instead, the marriage of Ilham Sunhaji and Nik Jazland Nik Azmi, who are
both from Malaysia, was an educational and culturally enriching experience
for many of the couple's friends who come from outside of the Muslim faith.
"Where should we go? What should we do? Can I take pictures? Can I hug
her?" asked the bride's friend, Marla Delgado, shortly after she arrived.
"I'm going to cry, you know that," Delgado said after she first caught
sight of the petite Sunhaji, 23, draped in a delicate white dress and head
scarf that she purchased in Malaysia.
About 75 friends, many of them UW-Madison students, attended the ceremony
Thursday night at the Islamic Center of Madison, just north of Regent
Street. Raad Saleh, an active member of the Islamic Center, said news media
were invited to give the broader community some insight into Muslim and
Malaysian customs. There are about 1,000 Muslim families in the Madison
area, he added. Those familiar with Islam said it was unusual for a couple
to marry without their extended families in attendance.
"Usually in Malaysia when you get married, there would be both families and
it would be a huge wedding. But since they are at school here and far away,
it's a small, very small wedding," said Ali Gardo, a friend of the couple
and a UW senior majoring in math.
According to various accounts, Azmi asked Sunhaji to marry him shortly
after they met in Madison more than three years ago, when Sunhaji was only
a freshman. She replied by saying nothing