Shopping in Karachi: Saying Yes to the Dress(es)

I’m  sitting on my couch, eating Merci chocolate, drinking diet coke and watching Say Yes to the Dress. Life is good.

Watching the show is making me reminisce about my own wedding dress shopping experience. Before I experienced it myself, I used to watch wedding shows and wonder how I would feel when it was my time to make THE purchase. Would I be excited? Nervous? Um, tears?!

This is how I felt…

Ordering My Outfits

I arrived at Karachi on a Wednesday night. Mumma and I had planned to go shopping the very next day – this was also the day of my cousins’ Mehendi. We left the house around noon and started surveying all the stores we had in mind – I had done extensive research prior to leaving Toronto (thank you to all the lovely girls that put up with me!). I got the same answer at every store: “We need atleast 1.5 months to complete bridal outfits.” Since Pakistani/Indian bridal clothes have intricate hand-made designs on them, I could totally understand the time frame. However, I wanted my outfits to be done before I left – if this was option was a possibility, I wanted it.

We must have visited around 15 stores – we would go in a store, ask them their time frame and walk out. I have to admit, I was slightly freaking out by the time we hit the 10th store. Prior to finding my store, only one other place had said I could get my outfit in 3 weeks – the catch? They would give me another bride’s outfit (they would create another outfit for the other bride) – which would limit my choice in colours and style.

After spending around 3-4 hours at Tariq Road, we finally entered my store. We were greeted stared down by creepy and oily looking guys – not the greatest first impression! We sat down and started talking to one of the sales guy, Farhan. He showed us various outfits and I fell in love. Now the question was: can they meet my deadline?! Farhan told us that we had to place our order that very same day or else we wouldn’t be able to get it in time. Mumma and I looked at each other – we weren’t ready to commit so soon! According to my plan, today was just the “surveying” day – I was supposed to purchase my outfit tomorrow! What if I missed a store?!

We decided to take a break. We stepped out of the store and did some serious thinking: do I say Yes to the Dress?! Are the dresses worth it (major converting ($$) happened)?! Should we shop around some more?!

Within 15 minutes, we went back to the store to clarify something. Guess what ended up happening instead? Yup, we were ready to place the order! Farhan reminded me that he would have to call and find out if 3 weeks was a possibility. He had seemed pretty confident so I wasn’t too worried… that is, until he started talking on the phone and I heard words such as, “koshish karein” (please try).

He hung up the phone and confirmed my fear: they could not have my outfit made in 3 weeks. Mumma and I were in shock because we had both been convinced that I had found the dresses.

“But, isn’t there anything you could do?!” I blurted out.

Farhan said he’d ask his manager to call. The manager called and explained to the Karigar (the person who hand-makes the outfits) that it was for an overseas client and if they could please squeeze this in. After around 10 minutes of back and forth, there was success! They agreed.

Once we had all the details finalized and were heading home (in a rickshaw – FUN!), it hit me. I had ordered my dresses! I got super excited and could not stop smiling. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night.

From that day until 3 days before I was going to receive my outfits, I only felt 2 emotions: excitement and anticipation. I could not wait to see my clothes!!

The Waiting Game

As THE day approached, I started to get nervous. What if I didn’t like my outfits? What if they didn’t turn out like I had wanted to? Did I explain my vision clearly? Did Farhan understand my vision? Was he able to communicate my vision to the karigar? Am I even going to get it on time?

Yup, I was pretty nervous leading up to the day – I could not sleep from the anticipation.

Picking Up My Dresses

Farhan had asked us to come at 10pm – I know, could it be any later?! Me, mumma, my nanni (grandma), my mammoo (uncle) and my baby cousin went to pick up the dresses. Once we arrived, Farhan made us wait. Finishing touches were being made to the dresses.

FREAK OUT session inside my head.

Finally, it was time – my boxes were sitting infront of me. I was freaking out inside. I wanted to see the outfit NOW but I was also apprehensive – eeeeeeeee!!!

Farhan looked at us and then at the box and said “Bismillah-Ir-Rahman-Ir-Raheem.” As he said this, both mumma and I said the same thing – my heart was in my throat. I’m sure of it.

I peaked inside the box and started smiling. BIG. Farhan displayed each piece of both the outfits and I couldn’t stop smiling. It finally hit me – I’m getting married!


p.s. No, I didn’t cry… although I did get teary eyed when I put the dupatta on my head.

My boxes!


About Shaza's Scrapbook

My name is Shaza and I'm a twenty something year old who's passionate about FOOD and Weddings! View all posts by Shaza's Scrapbook

4 responses to “Shopping in Karachi: Saying Yes to the Dress(es)

  • Yusra

    awww ! wht a heart touchign story !! thnk u for sharing ! you made me feel like I almost was there with you with all the description !! 😀 I’m really happy for u ! and alhamdulilah all turned out well !! you’re lucky they did a gud job , otherwise you wouldve freaked out ( Allah nakare ! ) lol 🙂 the boxes are nice but I wana look INTO them ! make sure you put pis of you as a bride later !! 😀

  • yumnah

    Salaams Shaza! First off, congrats!!! I’ve been stalking your blog for a few weeks… LOVE IT! Just had my baat pakki two weeks ago Alhumdulilah, and am getting married in July Insha’Allah. I’m going to Pakistan for a week in March (I can’t spend more time there cuz of school) and my mom will be going a month prior to the wedding to handle last minute details. Because of the time crunch she is leaning towards buying ready-made outfits, but I reaaallly would love to have something with one-of-a-kind. I know it’s impossible to get a custom outfit in only a week (sigh, I wish!) but I was wondering which shop you ended up choosing your dress from? My MIL will be taking me shopping to check out dresses, so I’m trying to come up with a list of shops to check out before I go. Would you mind sharing your list/experiences with the shops you checked out if you remember them?

    I read your post about the mayoun outfits as well, and I will definitely try to check out that shop when I am there next month Insha’Allah. I’m keeping this whole thing very hush hush until after I return from Pakistan in March, but I’ve been debating starting my own blog as a place to organize my thoughts..I’ll follow you once I do! 🙂

    • Shaza's Scrapbook

      Wsalam Yumnah,
      Thank you so much 🙂 Congrats to you too! That is great news MashAllah – wishing you lots of happiness.
      I know what you mean about having one-of-a-kind outfit, but based on my own experience, I would recommend buying ready-made. It is less hassle and you won’t be wondering what your outfit will look like – many tailors/designers end up changing things slightly so you’ll be at peace if it’s ready made. Especially since you don’t live there and can’t go back and ask them to fix it…
      Check out my post on where I bought everything – I made a pretty detailed list… hope it helps! 🙂

      Goodluck – do let me know how your shopping is 🙂 I’d love to read your blog once it’s up and running!

      ~ Shaza ~

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