Hamza Shabbir Choudery was trying to play it cool. He had casually asked his colleague Zabreen Akhtar Khan to grab a bite to eat after work one Friday in the fall of 2017.
Ms. Khan and Mr. Choudery, both 27, met in New York the year before as summer interns at Facebook, now known as Meta. After finishing college, each moved to Manhattan to join the company full time in the global sales department. They then became friends.
They worked on the same floor, and Mr. Choudery regularly made excuses to pass by Ms. Khan’s desk. Her office mates noticed. “When I wasn’t around, they would egg Hamza on, and when he wasn’t around, they would tell me, ‘Oh my God, he really likes you, has anything happened yet?’,” Ms. Khan said.
Their casual, after-work dinner lasted for several hours, with the two going out for dessert afterward, then chatting on the fire escape of Mr. Choudery’s East Village apartment. “That’s the anniversary that we celebrate, because that is when things got serious for us,” Mr. Choudery said.
Over the next few months their relationship slowly evolved. “I embarrassingly said, ‘I wonder what your parents will think of me,’” Mr. Choudery said, laughing. “I had a lot of faith in the relationship from the get-go.”
Ms. Khan, who is now a partner at the venture capital firm Phenomenal Ventures, was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She has a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society from Stanford and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Choudery, a founder of Autoblocks, an artificial intelligence start-up company, was born in Bangial, a village in Pakistan about three hours outside Lahore. His family moved to the United States when he was 3, and he grew up on a farm in Pocomoke City, Md. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance and information systems from University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“There was a very easy bond between us because there were a lot of shared values and shared experiences,” Ms. Khan said. “We’re both a little bit Pakistani, a little bit American.”
Both also like cricket. “He knows all the players’ names, we can reference the same Pakistan cricket matches that happened 15 years ago,” Ms. Khan said. Mr. Choudery even joined the same cricket league as Ms. Khan’s older brother in New York, endearing him more to her family.
“To find someone that embodied two sometimes very different identities felt really comforting,” Ms. Khan said.
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She and Mr. Choudery formally began their relationship in early 2018, after Ms. Khan had returned from a trip to Pakistan for the winter holidays. They maintained a long-distance relationship for two years after they began attending graduate schools in 2021 on opposite coasts. Though the pair had discussed marriage before, with each other and their respective families, their separation cemented their certainty about each other. “Those two years apart, it felt like my limb was missing,” Ms. Khan said.
Mr. Choudery proposed to Ms. Khan in July 2022. In a planned daylong scavenger hunt, he wrote note cards with rhyming couplets, each a clue to a different spot in the city that held meaning for them. The destinations included 770 Broadway, which was the site of the office where they had met.
Later that day, in a small courtyard behind the Gramercy apartment where Ms. Khan lived, Mr. Choudery got down on one knee and proposed with a round diamond solitaire. Surrounded by a cellist and bouquets of flowers, he read a speech he had scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper.
The couple celebrated with a dinner at Gramercy Tavern, but not before stopping by Ms. Khan’s old apartment lobby, where her former doorman waited with flowers and a hug. In the early days of their relationship, the doorman gave Mr. Choudery pep talks as he waited for Ms. Khan, and he watched their bond grow over the years.
The two were legally married in Ms. Khan’s childhood home in Lahore on July 5. An Islamic nikkah ceremony was officiated by Maulana Syed Abdul Khabir Azad, the imam from Badshahi Mosque.
The wedding celebrations took place over four days, and the couple incorporated American touches, including toasts from their siblings and friends, and exchanging vows.
A large wedding reception was held July 8 at Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore, with 650 guests in attendance. Ms. Khan wore a bright red lehenga choli, while Mr. Choudery donned a white sherwani with a pagri on his head.
Another highlight of the celebration was a mango-themed garden party at Ms. Khan’s family estate. Guests wore shades of yellow and orange, Punjabi music played, and the menu included mango kulfi, a frozen dessert, and mango lassi, a yogurt drink.
Under the shade of the mango trees, her mother taught some of her American friends how to eat the fruit, not by slicing it up, but cutting the top open and savoring the juice.