When did you become engaged, and how?

We became engaged in June 2020, after Lina had returned from a post working for the United Nations in the Hague. David took Lina to the spot where he picked her up for her first date, and walked around seeing some of the spots where they made early relationship memories. Then, stopping in front of a mural that read “You Are My Sunshine”, David read the following quote by T.S. Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.” Then, he got down on one knee and David’s friend (and later best man) Sean jumped out of an alley with his camera and took pictures of the special moment. Finally, the couple went to Skate’s by the Bay in the Berkeley Marina for a beautiful waterfront dinner.

How did the planning go?

Although I tried to start planning early, I found planning extremely stressful. I was lucky enough to have the unwavering support of David, my family, and my friends, all of whom would check in on me if they hadn’t heard from me in a while. I also had a full service planner, which made things much much easier (I don’t know what I’d do without Makenna!) My favorite moment was when we got to do a taste test for the caterer – it was three hours away from our home but the food was incredible and we instantly knew we had made the right decision. The worst moment was toward the end when unplanned invoices kept coming in, and the cost started racking up. I think this is not an uncommon experience, but it’s still the worst feeling when the big day is tomorrow and there are still invoices to be paid.


The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. We were worried about the weather—it had been hot all week and then was suddenly going to rain that day. Luckily, that day had a lovely mild temperature and was a little overcast, perfect for photos. Instead of having our wedding party standing with us, we opted to just have my guest-of-honor and his best man standing there, to reduce visual clutter and to keep it minimal. We asked one of my best friends, Laura, to officiate, and she did an incredible job even though it was her first time. Her speech was heartfelt, funny and succinct. We really did not want the ceremony to drag on—we were too excited to be married! We also did our first look and vows privately, to cut down on ceremony time and have more time to ourselves. Overall, it was a great decision. We ended up having lovely intimate moments, and it reduced the ceremony jitters.

Biggest Challenge

For me, the biggest challenge was just the sheer number of decisions. Early on, I tried to get family input from my partner and my family on almost all the details — by the end, due to time and just how many decisions there were, I ended up offloading most of my decision making to the planner. She did a great job picking up my slack though!


Baklava and Coffee was exactly what I needed to bring my culture (Tunisian) to the wedding, and provided an extra boost of energy at our dry wedding. Also, Farm to Table Catering made incredible food and paid great attention to detail when dealing with dietary restrictions. Finally, our DJ did a great job blending American music and Arab music so that all of the guests were happy.

Special Cultural Features

I definitely wanted to blend our cultures. Me, a Tunisian woman, and David, a born and raised Sacramentan. We were so lucky to find a beautiful winery that also was an olive grove, since vineyards are quintessentially Northern Californian and olives are important to Tunisian culture as a sign of prosperity and family. We also knew we wanted a dry wedding, as most of our friends and family don’t drink. Early on in planning, I knew I wanted to serve baklava and Turkish coffee at the wedding, since that is customary in Tunisian weddings. Luckily, when I googled “Baklava and Turkish Coffee Sacramento”, I found Baklava and Coffee! They provided after dinner refreshments and were a huge hit. They were incredible professional and entertaining, and people were coming up to me all night telling me how much they enjoyed it. Two days before the wedding (on Wednesday), I had a henna ceremony with my family and bridal attendants. This is a traditional Tunisian practice. I hired MyHennaSpirit to come and create beautiful henna designs on everyone’s hands, and we enjoyed some traditional mint tea and sweets. It was a beautiful day and a great way to start the festivities. Then, the next night, we had our rehearsal dinner at Kasbah Lounge in Sacramento. The food was amazing, and Tanya (the owner) went out of her way to make it all feel so special. They even had live Arabic music and a bellydancer! My family who had come in from abroad loved it and had the best time. We also made sure to let the DJ know in advance that we wanted to play some Arabic music during the reception. We provided a short list and they did an incredible job, mixing it effortlessly with the hip hop and pop music my American friends liked. My parents and friends danced the night away.

Lina’s Memorable Moment

For me, the highlight of the reception was getting to do my dance with my dad. My dad and I have always bonded over music and loved dancing together, and one of our shared favorite artists is Bruno Mars. Rather than just dance to a sweet song, I asked my sibling to create a track that would start with Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” then abruptly cut to a Bruno Mars medley of “24K Magic,” “Uptown Funk,” and “Finesse,” before returning to “Isn’t She Lovely.” I choreographed the dance and taught it to my dad over months, since it was pretty complicated. We managed to keep the dance a secret from everyone, even David! When it came time to perform, we had even rehearsed some looks of frustration and disbelief when the song cuts out and switches, and we successfully fooled everyone at the wedding! It was unforgettable and so much fun.

Funny Moment

We had rehearsed everything, even our kiss, but forgot to rehearse cake cutting! When it came time to cut the cake, we had such a difficult time that Andrew (the photographer) had to step in and help us. It helped break the tension a little and we ended up laughing through the entire moment! Also, after we finished taking photos (toward the end of the reception), we did donuts in the golf cart on the grass. It was so fun, but I ended up spilling Turkish coffee on my dress! I didn’t mind though – I had already worn the dress in pictures and was happy to have an authentic souvenir of how much fun I had that day.

Advice from the couple:

Start early, and have a realistic idea of what weddings cost before your start. Planners are reporting that certain things have doubled and even tripled in cost in just the last few years, and it’s important to be mindful of that going in. Also, you might overestimate how much energy you have on the day – after the first look, I had a pretty big dip in energy. Luckily, I got a second wind in time for the reception, but it’s a good idea to schedule some downtime away from guests and cameras.

What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

I would have had a bigger breakfast! I was so anxious I forgot to eat in the morning. Don’t forget to eat!!