El + Haneefa | Porteño, Surry Hills Wedding


El and Haneefa were wed at the British Consulate in Sydney. We went around the Botanic Gardens and Surry Hills for some lovely portraits. Afterwards, they kicked back and had a fun night with their friends and family at Porteño (at Cleveland Street).

We think El and Haneefa are a fun and awesome pair. If you read further, you'll see why we say that.

About El + Haneefa

We both work for a brand strategy agency, GalKal. 

El is a Qualitative Account Director, she does brand strategy and consumer research (i.e she runs focus groups). Haneefa is Qualitative Project Manager. She manages the fieldwork (i.e. she organises the focus groups).

We've been working together for a little over 3 years now in a boutique company set up in an old pub in Ultimo...working together for longer than a few months was never the intention, but it's showed us how well we work together as a team.

How did you guys meet?

Haneefa: We met through a mutual friend at a house party and again out and about in Newtown. It wasn't until El's housewarming party in Stanmore in 2011 that sparks really flew…

El: It should have been Haneefa's housewarming too really, given she never really went home after that night!

How did you know your partner is “the one”?

Haneefa: Early on, it always felt right.

El: In January 2012, Haneefa went to LA for a month but we missed each other so much she ended up coming home early!

When we asked them about the proposal...

El: As soon as I found out we could legally marry at the British Consulate, I knew I wanted to propose to Haneefa. We'd always wanted to marry, but assumed it wasn't on the cards until the AU government got its act together. 

I enlisted the help of a good friend, Natalie Kube, who is a Jeweller on NSW North Coast, to design and make the ring. I took Haneefa to a weekend away in the Hunter Valley, ensuring we made a pit stop in Hornsby to sneakily ask her brother for permission beforehand.

We rented a little cabin on a farm, it was called 'Cowboy Cabin' which I thought was a bit of a sign, given we always said we like calling each other our 'partner' because it makes us sound like cowboys.

I proposed out on the porch of the cabin on July 31st surrounded by fog, cows and kangaroos.

What does marriage mean to you?

Marriage to us is a commitment to always be each others' person... to support, love, and encourage the other to be their best and enjoy life.


Preparing for the wedding

El: The lead up to the wedding thus far has been fairly uneventful, Haneefa and I are in sync with a lot of things, so it's just been like a fun project we've chipped away at slowly over 6 months or so. Once the venue was booked and photographers found (hi guys!) it was all down hill.

What was the inspiration for your wedding?

We just wanted something simple and classy. We're having a 'city hall' style wedding and just wanted our reception to feel like a celebration dinner - good food, good wine in a nice building.

You undertook a DIY project together, right?

El: We made our table setting chart from Loteria cards (think Mexican bingo)... Mexico is my spirit home. I studied there in 2009, and Haneefa and I went to visit again in 2013, where she too fell in love with the country... so it felt right to have a Mexican touch somewhere.

Did you incorporate any family or religious traditions into your day?

El: Although Haneefa's family is Muslim, we haven't integrated any traditions... but most of the food is halal, and we've set up a prayer room upstairs in Porteno (probably not what that space is usually known for!)

Talk to us about your dress...

El: Haneefa's dress is from Lover at the Strand Arcade in Sydney. She worked at a chocolate shop in the Strand Arcade for 4 years, and every day she walked past that store and thought, "I'm going to get married in one of those dresses." About 6 months before the wedding, she saw that they were having a sale of their archive pieces. We hadn't tried on any wedding clothes yet. We walked in and she tried on three dresses.

El snuck a dress into the change room and that was the one Haneefa picked. It took 20 minutes.

Do you have any advice for other couples planning their wedding?

Elope! Ha! No, have a wedding. Take it one job at a time. There will be so much stuff you can do, but you don't have to do it. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wont. Don't feel like you have to have everything. Some good friends of ours have told us that if you've got your family, your friends, your loved one, good food and good wine, you're going to have a great time no matter what, and you won’t even notice the other stuff.


Wedding Gown: Lover

Groom's Suit: MJ Bale

Wedding Rings: Natalie Kube Jewellery

Groom's Shoes: WALK

Bowties or Ties: T.M. Lewin

Hair: Sterling Apothecary

Makeup: MAC

Catering: Porteno

Celebrant: British Consulate Sydney