Today’s blog post is an exclusive interview with the lovely and talented Saltanat Bora, founder of The Modest Bride. Tell me about the ethos behind The Modest Bride.
The ethos behind the blog revolves around the concept of ‘modesty’ and what this entails, not just in the world of weddings, but in life as well. To me, modesty is more than just a ‘style’ or ‘look’. It dictates how one speaks, acts and lives. It’s a holistic ideal that informs one’s lifestyle choices, beyond what one decides to wear. Whilst dressing with humility is important, modesty is also about living a life conscious of the impacts of our choices regarding what we eat, how we consume and how we choose to celebrate, amongst many other things.
Of course, all of this stems from the religion I choose to follow, that is, Islam. Modesty, or ‘haya’, is core to the religion. Modesty in front of one’s Creator should be the driving force in striving to live a life of humility, honesty, and a deeper consciousness of how we live.
What inspired you to start it?
It was frustration more than anything that pushed me to start the Instagram page, and later the blog. Having been married myself and gone through the nightmare that is planning a wedding, and seeing many others around me go through the same, made me realise that the way we took on certain (western) cultural expectations of what a wedding should (or shouldn’t) be, was entirely against what I struggled for as a Muslim. Community expectation that weddings should be elaborate and really, beyond an average person’s means to afford, seemed wholly unfair and unjust. I was fed up with the same old ‘big hall’ weddings, dripping in flowers, for hundreds of people the bride/groom didn’t even know, and also, the big, over the top, anything but modest, wedding dresses that (Hijabi) brides were wearing. I knew that something had to change.
Who is your target audience?
Although a lot of what informs my blog, my direction and my ethos is from Islam, my target audience is not necessarily for the Muslim. I believe that my love for a minimalist aesthetic and an eco-friendly, fair-trade, organic lifestyle would resonate with a much wider audience. I was right! A lot of my followers are non-Muslim. I also don’t think that ‘modesty’ is a value unique to Muslims.
What do you hope to achieve from your blog?
My ultimate aim would be to see more and more people be inspired by the blog, and have the courage to do things differently to the norm. For people to understand that their choices have consequences on the world, other people and the environment. That simply because they are getting married, does not mean that all our values regarding modesty and humility suddenly get left at the door. In fact, it is more pertinent that on that “big day” we maintain and uphold these values because it is an important step in our lives. It should be crucial that we take this step in the right way so that it ensures, to the best of our ability, that things start off in the most blessed, joyful, correct manner.
If there was one thing you want young women and men to take away from your blog, what would it be?
Don’t compromise on your values just because there is a societal expectation to do things a certain way!
What would be your ‘ideal wedding’?
The ideal wedding for me is a small, intimate celebration with the bride and groom’s closest family and friends at a beautiful garden location, maybe even a backyard! Home made (organically sourced) food that’s not too fussy, DIY elements such as a photograph garland of the bride and groom, their family and friends etc. Big lanterns in clusters to set the mood, locally sourced flowers in an eclectic array of vases, lace tablecloths, a yummy “naked” cake-see blog for clarification 😉 – and lots and lots of love and joy in an easy, comfortable atmosphere.