- 5 years ago
- Wedding: November 2014
Hi ladies, I’m new here. I just was recently engaged to a wonderful man, and here’s a picture of my beauty below.
Anyway, so, being a Pakistani bride, I feel like bit of an outsider, considering South Asian weddings are so completely different from traditional weddings. However, I keep coming on to these boards to look for ideas on how to incorporate the traditions you ladies follow, because I am marrying a white, Baptist man.
This has led me to explain my traditions, in case any of you are interested.
Engagements are usually made official through engagement parties. Afterwards, there are typically celebrations for months leading up to the wedding. These celebrations are called “dholkis”. Usually, a drum (called… you guessed it! A dholki) is used, and the women of both sides (bride and groom’s families) are the ones that take part in this celebration. We sing and dance using this drum and celebrate into the night. In my extremely large family, usually the women who are closest to the bride (through family relations or through friendship with her mother) will throw a dholki. This usually leads to a celebration every weekend for about two months in my family! Haha! Here’s a pic of that going on here:
There are three “official” days of the wedding however.
Day one: the Mehndi.
This is the Henna ceremony. Although traditionally held separately for the bride and groom, the Pakistani communities here in America have started combining them. Henna is symbolically placed on the bride and groom’s hands, oil is rubbed into their hair, and they are fed sweets. By almost every single person in attendance. This usually leads to the bride and groom puking by the end of the night… haha (I wish I was joking. However, this ritual is to bring good luck and longevity to the couple’s married life. (Henna = fertility, oil = growth, sweets = sweet life).
Women/girls/children/and even some men! wear bright colors, the most popular being green and yellow (reds, hot pinks, purples, etc.). The bride usually wears little to no makeup (to provide a huge contrast between this relaxed, fun night and the following wedding day). This is a bride on a Mehndi night (she is being fed the sweets!):
Also, it’s loads of fun because typically, the guys on the groom’s side and the girls on the bride’s side will have dance competitions that tend to be very flirtly and full of jokes.
Day two: Shaadi/Wedding
On this day, the baraat (the procession of family, relatives, and friends of the groom) will go to the bride’s house (or the place of the wedding) for the official wedding ceremony. There is usually a dholki player, lots of wedding songs being sung, etc. The family and friends of the bride will welcome them warmly with flower garlands and rose petals are thrown on them as they walk inside by the bride’s sisters, female cousins, and friends.
There is a tradition that on his way in, however, he will be tied off from entering the place of the wedding. Here, the bride’s sisters, female friends and family will refuse him entry until he “pays up”. The fun bantering goes on for a bit before he gives them gifts of money, and they let him enter.
The bride enters after him. Usually, she walks up to him with her procession. However, there is a very old tradition in which her sisters and closest friends hide her behind a veil (so nobody can see her) as she walks towards the stage where the groom is standing. When she gets to the stage, they unveil her, thus he is the first person she sees and he is the first to see her. I will be doing this for my wedding :).
The “Nikah” usually takes place at this time. This is an Islamic official wedding ceremony. A marriage contract is signed by the bride and groom. An Imam will usually officiate this, and it ends with all in attendance praying for them. Rings are usually exchanged at this time.
Dinner is served, cake is cut, lots of dancing happens, bride and groom dance, toasts, etc.
Another tradition is when the women on the bride’s side will steal the groom’s shoes. There’s usually fun bantering, and they give them back once their receive more gifts and/or money.
The bride is typically decked out in red, purple, blue, green, or the like. No white dresses here! Red is typically worn, as it is an extremely old and so not pc symbol of the loss of the bride’s virginity due to this marriage.
Here’s are a few pictures of Pakistani brides during a shaadi:
Anyhoo, the end of this celebration leads us to the Rukhsati (sending off) – in which the groom’s family leaves with the bride. A Qur’an is held over the bride’s head (blessing and protection) and usually this is an emotional scene, because this is the official “giving away” of the bride.
The bed the couple will spend the night in is usually decorated heavily with flowers. The bride is led in there first, and she awaits the groom. And… then the magic happens. Or not. Because weddings are tiring. Shiz. Anyway, here is a pic of that!
Last, but not least: Day three!: the Walima
It is the final day of the wedding, and the bride and groom host their first dinner together as husband and wife, and it is the first time they are shown as husband and wife (think reception!). Also, tehehehehe, it’s to celebrate the consummation of the marriage. Islam is very, very sex-friendly when it comes to married couples having sex… trust me on this one. So that’s why we throw parties for it! It’s actually a sunnah (good deed) to celebrate this day.
There’s more dancing. More singing. More eating. More cake! YAY CAKE!
Usually, the bride is decked out in greens, golds, teals, etc. Here are some examples of such:
Typically, the groom will wear “Western” clothing, so he’ll wear a tux on this day. However, on the first two days, he will typically wear Pakistani/South Asian clothing like this:
(The bride and groom usually match).
Also, the groom’s side also gets revenge for the shoe-stealing shennanigans from the night before, and the groom’s younger brother (someone in his mid-teens or younger) will latch on to the bride’s knee and refuse to let her go unless she pays retribution for the gifts/money given to her girls the day before. And, of course, she pays (just as he did).
Oh, and I almost forgot… here is some bridal henna!:
Anyway, if you want to know more/have any questions, just ask! I’m sorry this is so ridiculously long, but I just wanted to share with you guys the experience I will be going through within a year.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Also, more info can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_Pakistan#Mehndi.