Illustration by Katie Ferreol.

Video Series Begins for Annual Pakistani Mock Wedding

Jianna Jackson and Aahil Mansoor take on the role of bride and groom. A video series replaces an in person event as the PSA recreates this tradition during a Covid-19 semester.

The Pakistani Mock wedding has become a tradition on campus since its inception in 2015. The event is organized and hosted by the Pakistan Student Association. In pre-Covid-19 days, everyone would gather at the West Forum to watch two students from the first year class get “married” in a flashy, exciting event full of desi food, energetic dances, Bollywood music and colorful sarees and lehengas. Jianna Jackson, Class of 2024, is stepping into the fabled role of the bride with Aahil Mansoor, also Class of 2024, as her soon-to-be husband.
With restrictions imposed on campus due to the pandemic, the PSA has had to adapt this big cultural event to an online format. “It was honestly quite nerve-wracking having the responsibility of organizing one of the biggest SIG events after a two-year hiatus,” shared Wahib Kamran, Class of 2021 and President of PSA, who emphasized the challenge of making it interesting in an online format. “The greatest challenge we have faced was to engage the community to the extent comparable to the in-person version of the mock wedding.”
The PSA always begins the announcement of the Mock Wedding with an element of mystery surrounding the identities of the bride and groom. In a series of comics with silhouettes, the SIG grabs the curiosity of the entire campus with the student body making their best guess on who the couple is. In addition to the initial comic, the PSA has also made small videos to give life to the love story of the bride and groom leading up to their marriage.
“The video series was a small way of ensuring we were all safe, but also able to create excitement around the event,” commented Museera Moghis, Class of 2022, who plays the role of the mother of the groom in this mini series. “The Mock Wedding isn’t the same anymore but the way the PSA has adapted is incredible.”
Photo Courtesy of the Pakistan Student Association
Another issue which the PSA attempted to address is the question of inclusivity and diversity in casting the bride and groom. The PSA Executive Board chooses who will play the bride and groom and recently, the groom has been a Pakistani boy while the bride has been played by a non-Pakistani girl. In the majority of past few years, the chosen bride has been white or of lighter skin tone, raising questions of colorism that pervade both our campus and South Asian pop culture more broadly.
Whether with this critique in mind or not, PSA is diving into the wedding season with an eye for multiculturalism, already releasing a Caribbean and Pakistani fusion dance video, representing the two cultures of the bride and groom coming together. Masked students dance to mash-up songs across campus, creating a spirit of community despite the constraints of the year.
“We intend to continue these efforts and conversations internally, in order to strengthen the principles of inclusion and engagement within PSA,” said Kamran.
An event which once mustered crowds in hundreds must dwindle down to a small group in front of a computer screen. As the Mock Wedding video series continues, another tradition at NYU Abu Dhabi is transformed during a Covid-19 semester with creativity and care.
“It took quite a lot of effort and work on our part to pull it off,” reflected Kamran. “But the overwhelmingly positive response we received from our community made it all worthwhile.”
Eyza Hamdani is Deputy Opinion Editor. Email her at
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