NewsChannel 5 anchor Homa Bash and her husband, Daniel Ball, both have last names synonymous with “party” — and the newlyweds, whose wedding hashtag was the simple but apt #BashBall, are already embracing a celebratory life together.
The couple met during the 2015 NBA Finals, just one year before all of Cleveland celebrated the Cavaliers’ championship win. Prior to Game 5, Bash, then a nightside reporter for NewsChannel 5, was working on a story about the city of Cleveland’s readiness for the possibility of a Cavs championship. Unfortunately for her, Ball was the assistant director of media relations for the mayor’s office and had been given strict orders not to give too many details.
At the end of the interview, Ball left the room to grab a business card — and Bash turned to her photographer to complain. “I was like, ‘That was one of the worst interviews. I can’t use any of that! He was terrible,’ ” she says. “And my photographer goes, ‘But look how cute he was! Why don’t you ask him out?’ ”
By fall 2015, they were officially a couple. But a year into their relationship, they hit a snag: Bash was offered her dream job working at a news station in Dallas. When she moved, they began a year of long-distance dating with Ball eventually hoping to join her.
“After a year of being there, I realized I liked Cleveland better,” says Bash. So, in August 2017, exactly one year after she left Ohio, Bash returned.
“There was an implicit agreement that if she came back, we were going to get engaged,” Ball says.
Bash comes from an Indian, Muslim family. Although Indian engagements don’t traditionally include rings or down-on-one-knee proposals, Ball wanted to propose with those traditions. By December, the two had already set a date and found a wedding venue when Ball popped the question just before attending a Jim Gaffigan comedy show.
“I was never really a girl who wanted a wedding,” Bash says — which makes it even more ironic that she and Ball had not one, but two of them.
In February 2018, the couple was married in Bash’s hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in a 250-person Muslim wedding ceremony called a nikah in which the bride and groom formally pledge their allegiance to one another in front of their loved ones.
Raised Catholic, Ball converted to Islam the night before the main event, consulting with an imam and reciting the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith. The bride wore a black, white and gold lehenga, a traditional South Asian skirt, and the groom wore a white sherwani, a long, coat-like suit, and turban. Ball’s family flew in from Akron and they, too, dressed in traditional South Asian clothing that they borrowed from Bash’s mother, Shehnaz, and father, Haider.
“My mom and my sisters-in-law organized the whole thing,” Bash says. “We literally flew in two days before and just showed up.”
Following the nikah, the newlyweds moved into a two-bedroom Cleveland apartment and immediately got to work planning their second wedding ceremony.
On June 17, the couple celebrated their marriage with a 150-person wedding at the Vermilion on the Lake Historic Community Center, a 3,800-square-foot rustic log cabin with a panoramic view of Lake Erie.
“I always wanted a small, intimate beach wedding,” says Bash, who grew up in the South. “I didn’t think I would get that in Ohio — but that’s exactly what we got.”
They were determined to craft the perfect Indian-American celebration that introduced their American friends and family to Indian customs and traditions while also incorporating familiar elements of standard American weddings. With so much to fit into their final celebratory event, they hired Jenny Zinkan, owner of the Solon-based company Elegantz Eventz, to do the bulk of the preparation.
“We were like, ‘We want an Indian-American fusion wedding. It’s in a rustic log cabin, and we’re going to have Indian food and a taco truck, and there’s going to be some rave music and glow sticks,’ ” says Bash, laughing.
The couple credits Zinkan with making the wedding day look beautiful and run smoothly, especially given that they’d provided such scattered instructions. In fact, for the most part, they had no idea what to expect on the day of the wedding itself.
“I was blown away when we walked into the hall,” says Bash. “I had given no direction whatsoever, and it was beyond my wildest dreams.”
The groom wore a tux, and Bash’s red-and-gold gown, along with the bridesmaids’ and groomsmen’s outfits, were custom-made in India. When Bash flew the ornate, 50-pound dress home from the Houston bridal shop where she’d ordered it, the gown required its own overhead bin on the plane.
On the day of the wedding, the fabric shone — literally, as its gold threading glinted in the hot sun reflecting off Lake Erie. Bash wore her hair parted down the middle in a low bun to draw attention to her dress and gold jewelry, which included a traditional Indian headpiece called a maang tikka.
In honor of Ball’s father, Craig, who died from cancer in 2017, Bash’s brother Mehdi paid tribute to him during the ceremony.
“We were really sad he couldn’t be there, and it was Father’s Day,” says Bash. “It kind of made it more bittersweet.”
Barrio’s taco truck catered the rehearsal dinner, and wedding guests enjoyed an Indian buffet from the Saffron Patch in Shaker Heights.
“We wanted food that everybody would enjoy,” Bash says, which is why they’d brought Ball’s mom, Christine, to a menu tasting.
They picked out options such as chicken tikka masala and panipuri, a popular Indian street food made from a fried puff pastry filled with spiced mashed potatoes, flavored water, and spices. Although the event was alcohol-free, bartenders served his-and-hers mocktails, such as peach belinis and berry mojitos throughout the night.
Their three-tiered wedding cake was created by Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes in Rocky River. Adorned with small, white flowers, each tier had its own unique flavor of white almond, chocolate or lemon cake. Tiny, wooden cake toppers hand-painted by Bash’s sister-in-law Saania added a familial touch.
Bash’s dad created intricate, hand-carved wooden signs to place around the reception hall; a master woodworker by hobby, Haider even created their card box. “Salaam and welcome” read one sign, engraved with the couple’s name and wedding date.
Guests danced to a blend of both Indian and American music chosen by Cleveland’s DJ Samir Thaker. When the couple exited the venue, friends and family surrounded them with glow sticks to simulate a rave-like experience with electronic dance music.
With the anniversary of their nikah fast-approaching, the couple is contemplating which date they’ll recognize as their official anniversary — although they might celebrate both.
“The more celebrations the better,” Ball says. “More reasons to eat cake!”