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Encyclopedia > Pakistani wedding

A Pakistani wedding typically consist of three ceremonies on three separate days. Most Pakistanis have no respect for punctuality, so it is recommended to arrive a couple of hours after the designated time.


Mehndi/ Rasm e Henna

Mehndi, or the Rasm e henna ceremony, typically takes place one or two days prior to the main wedding day. The event is traditionally held separately for the bride and the groom, and henna is symbolically placed on the couple's hands. The groom's friends and family brings along them sweets and henna for the groom, and the bride's family does the same for the groom. On the bride's ceremony the groom normally does not participate and similarly, on the groom's event the bride stays at home. Mehndi on a hand Mehndi (or mehendi or mehandi or mylanji) is the application of henna (Hindustani: हेना حنا) as a temporary form of skin decoration, most popular in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Somaliland as well as expatriate communities from these areas. ... Henna (Lawsonia inermis, syn. ... Bride Bride in formal dress North America. ... See also: A groom is a type of officer-servant in the British royal household. ...

Nonetheless, the ceremony may also be held simultaneously for both the groom and the bride.

The bride normally wears a yellow dress for mehndi and uses only light, or no, make up. The groom will typically wear a causal shalwar kameez and it is customary for him to have been unshaven for a couple of days. The bride or the groom are brought forward in the ceremony under a decorative dupatta by their close relatives. Salwar kameez is the traditional dress worn by various peoples of south-central Asia. ... Dupatta (Hindi: दुपट्टा, Urdu: دوپٹا) is a long scarf that is essential to many Indian and Pakistani womens suits. ...

Singing traditional wedding songs is an important part of the mehndi ceremony. Mehndi is also one of the few events in the otherwise conservative Pakistani society where dancing may take place. Men and women, however, seldom dance together and to offer the women greater freedom often only limited numbers of mens are invited to mehndis. They may have to sit in a separate room or be asked to leave the main hall when girls are about to dance. The practice will vary between families depending upon their religious background.

The food offered to guests is generally simple and consists of fewer dishes then on the other wedding days.


The main day of the wedding is called Shaadi which is the Bride's reception. The event therefore takes place at the bride's house or yards where large wedding tents may be set up, however, it has also become very common to hold the event in a marriage hall. Nonetheless, the bride's family is responsible for the reception and arrangements on this day.

The barat or grooms procession indicates the arrival of the groom's family and friends to the bride's house. The barat is often accompanied by the rhythms of a dholak as it arrives and is greeted with flowers garland and rose petals by the brides family. It is customary for the bride's sisters and friends to stop the barat from entering the arena until a sufficient amount of cash is given to them. This can lead todiscussions, usually harmless and just for fun, between the bride'ssisters and friends on one side and the groom's brothers and friends on the other side. The Dholak (sometimes dholaki) is a classical North Indian hand drum. ...

The bride traditionally wears a red gharara or shalwar kameez which is heavily embroidered; other bright colors may also be seen. The dress is always accompanied with heavy gold jewellery. The groom may wear a traditional dress such as sherwani with a sehra or turban though some may prefer to wear a western inspired suit. Salwar kameez is the traditional dress worn by various peoples of south-central Asia. ... Gold Embroidery Cross-stitch embroidery, Hungary, mid-20th century Phulkari from Punjab region, India 15th century embroidered cope, Ghent, Belgium Elizabethan embroidery styles include blackwork on linen and dense patterns worked in colored silk and metallic threads on velvet or other rich fabrics Embroidery is the art or handicraft of... An old-fashioned Hyderabadi gentleman wearing an everyday sherwani and tarbush (Fez hat) A sherwani is a long coat-like garment worn by men, very similar to an achkan. ... In the Indian Muslim Traditions, especially in Gangatic plains and Hyderabad (Deccan), there is a social ritual where the sisters of the groom sing a song in praise of the groom and pray to God for his future wedded life. ... A Sikh man wearing a turban The turban (Arabic: ‎, ‘imāmä; Turkish: tülbent; Persian: دلبنت, dulband) is a headdress, of Asian origin, consisting of a long scarf wound round the head or an inner hat. ... Suits from the 1937 Chicago Woolen Mills catalog At the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 heads of state wore morning dress or lounge suits for more informal meetings but frock coats for formal daytime meetings A suit, with varieties such as a business suit, three-piece suit...

A dinner is served which consists of several dishes alongside pullao and naans. Pilaf, (Turkish pilav, Bosnian pilav, Armenian pilav, Romanian pilaf, Greek πιλάφι, India pulao, Uzbek plov) also spelled pilau, perloo, perlau, plaw, pilaw, and pilaff is a Middle Eastern and Central Asian dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is generally first browned in oil, and then cooked... A bakery near Kabul, Afghanistan Naan is a round flatbread made of wheat flour. ...

It is also customary for the bride's family to offer gifts to the groom and his family members.

Finally, the groom and his family will leave together with the bride. The Qur'an is normally held over the brides held as she walks from the stage to the exit in order to bless her. The departure of the bride becomes a very emotional scene as the bride says farewell to the home of her parents and siblings to start a new life. The Qurān [1] (Arabic: ‎, literally the recitation; also called The Noble Qurān; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ...

Traditionally, the groom traveled by a decorated horse to the bride's house and after the wedding ceremony took his wife in a 'doli' (cart) to his parents' house to live. The horse and the carts have nowadays been replaced by cars, and one will typically see a quiet bride with wet eyes as she sits in the car beside her husband leaving for her new home.

Nikah/ Islamic ceremony

The nikah is the Islamic ceremony. It either takes place at the Shaadi itself or on a seperate day at the bride's house. It is performed by an imam which formally indicates signing of the marriage contract. The bride and groom must both have three witnesses present to snure that the marriage is consentual. Nikah or nikkah (Arabic: النكاح ), is the contract between a bride and bridegroom and part of an Islamic marriage, a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Quran 4:21). ... Imam (Arabic: إمام ,Persian: امام ) is an Arabic word meaning leader. ...


This is the final day of the wedding held by the groom's family at their place, or at a marriage hall. The walima mainly consist of a feast dinner. Walima (Arabic: وليمه ), or the marriage banquet, is one of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding. ...

The bride wears a heavily decorated dress with gold jewellery provided by the the groom's family.

See also



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