Nawal Fakhoury & Ahmed Abubakar

Date of wedding: December 4 2021

Bride hometown: Ocala, Florida
Groom hometown: Brampton, Ontario
Parents of Bride: Dr. Manal Fakhoury & Dr. Riadh Fakhoury
Photography: Catherine Coons
Design: Pixies & Petals
Ring: Jeweler in Toronto
Floral: Pixies & Petals
Video: Meet The Garrs (from Ocala)
Venue: The Howey Mansion
Engaged: Lake Eola Park in Orlando on April 3 2021 (365 days after our first conversation over Zoom)
Honeymoon: Turkey & Egypt
Special touches: The invitations incorporated a mix of flowers that represent Palestine and Somalia to nod to our roots — and a QR code to nod to meet during a pandemic.

Bride and groom walk

Since we met through LinkedIn, we recreated a LinkedIn profile for our wedding pro-gram. Nawal surprised Ahmed with cufflinks that has their first inside joke engraved on them. Our guestbook was a middle eastern cookbook — we asked guests to leave us a note on a recipe we should try to create. We are a couple with a sweet tooth — so our cake included a few donuts.

Unusual Happenings: Instead of a tradition-al father/daughter dance, me and my dad danced to Black Eyed Peas “I gotta feeling” and brought in the whole family, Ahmed and the wedding guests. We entered the party with a traditional Palestinian Zaffa — which is a procession lead by two drummers. Because Nawal and Ahmed are foodies, they set up three different food stations for guests to explore during dinner based on their favorite foods

Dinner table set up

Our story: On June 8, 2016, I met the love of my life. The thing is, it would take this raging pandemic for me to learn my Canadian co-worker would soon become my future husband. Back in 2016, I was visiting the LinkedIn Toronto office, wandering around lost, when Ahmed offered to show me around. Our interaction was so brief I didn’t even remember meeting him.

We connected on LinkedIn, messaged each other every Ramadan to stay in touch, and that was it until March 2020. I was adjusting to new work-from-home orders when all of a sudden I got a message from Ahmed! He knew I was living alone in N.Y.C. — then the epicenter of the virus — and wanted to check-in. After a few minutes of messaging back and forth, I said “We should finally become friends!”

That Friday we met for the first of many Zoom catch-ups. I was literally the heart eye emoji on our first call — his charisma and warmth carried all the way through the WiFi — and we talked as if we had known each other forever. I remember saying, “I can’t believe we have never met before!?” and he wasted no time letting me know we had in fact met, four years ago.

Fridays at 10 a.m. became a standing Zoom meeting, which turned into exchanging numbers, which morphed into daily FaceTimes, a countdown to our first hug at LaGuardia Airport, to Thanksgiving where he met my parents. 2021 was filled with a family microwedding ceremony in July, his big move from Toronto to NYC in September, and our memorable reception with our loved ones at Howey Mansion in December.

The pandemic allowed the world to pause life in a way that allowed us to find one another. It took four years of being around the corner from one another, but this strange time brought me the person I can’t wait to spend all my time with.

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