A Muslim wedding is all about love and commitment and happily ever after. There are, however, some traditions and rituals that set this religion's wedding ceremony apart. Read on to discover what happens at a Muslim wedding ceremony!
1. The Bride Avoids Leaving Her House the Week Before the Wedding
To bring about good luck, the bride-to-be wears yellow clothes and stays at home for the week leading up to her wedding. This time, called mayouni, is meant to be a period of introspection where she can reflect on her life with her family and consider her new life with her soon-to-be spouse. She also begins beauty rituals to prepare physically for the wedding.
2. The Wedding Lasts Three Days
The three-day affair is perhaps the most unique aspect of a Muslim wedding. If you thought planning a one-day wedding was difficult, just imagine three days worth of festivities!
3. The Bride Is Painted with Henna During the Mehendi Ceremony
On the first of the three nights, women gather in brightly colored formal traditional wear. Adult women wear saris and unmarried girls wear lehengas (long skirts paired with blouses). This celebration kicks off the wedding, as mehendi (henna paint) is applied to the bride's hands and feet. Sometimes this is a co-ed affair, but often it's women only.
4. The Groom Arrives to Fanfare, Surrounded by an Entourage
When the groom arrives, he's surround by a barat. The barat is the groom's wedding party, and they are all welcomed with fanfare as they arrive to meet the bride and her family at her home or the wedding hall. Depending on how elaborate the wedding is, you may even see a groom riding in on a decorated white horse, surrounded by revelers. Other options? A fancy set of wheels or even an elephant. Whatever option he chooses, when he arrives there's music and dancing and the bride's family welcomes the him with a floral garland and sweets.
5. The Bride's Father Agrees to the Marriage Contract on Her Behalf During the Nikah Ceremony
The nikah is the part of the ceremony in which the marriage license is signed. The nikah ceremony is essentially the groom's formal proposal (with at least two witnesses in attendance), as well as the couple's acceptance of the marriage contract. In a more traditional Muslim marriage ceremony, the bride's father or another representative will agree to the marriage contract on her behalf. Following this, both the groom and bride will repeat "Qabul," which means "I accept," three times. When the nikah is finished, they will share a piece of sweet fruit.
6. There Are Readings From the Quran, but Not Necessarily Vows
The nikah is often followed by a sermon, which may include readings from the Quran. Muslim wedding ceremonies do not always include vows. Agreement to the marriage contract during the nikah suffices as agreement by the bride and groom to enter into marriage. Following the nikah and sermon, a feast is held by the bride's family.
7. The Bride Wears Red and Gold
The bride wears yellow during the mehendi ceremony, and then red embroidered with gold, as well as ornate gold jewelry, for the nikah ceremony. Red is meant to signify fertility and prosperity.
8. The Bride Wears a Dupatta Instead of a Veil
A dupatta is a scarf that can either be worn over the head instead of a veil.
9. The Groom Wears a Sherwani
Grooms may also observe sartorial Muslim wedding traditions. While they can wear a suit, they also can also opt for a sherwani, which is traditional Indian garb featuring pants and a coat. The groom may also sport a turban.
10. The Groom's Family Hosts a Feast on the Third Day of Festivities
The feast, called the valima, is held the day after the nikah ceremony. It's a celebration of the consummation of the wedding.