Marriage, like in any other culture, is also a grand celebration in Pakistan, and the people of Pakistan never take the preparations for a wedding lightly. Pakistani weddings in the modern era are getting more and more expensive as every family wants the best wedding for the couple, and that comes with certain types of abilities required in photographers for weddings and event planners to be “cool and unique.”
Thumping music, gorgeously decorated balconies, and the overpowering beauty of the entire venue are essential elements of a perfect Paki wedding. Let’s discuss what other traditions Pakistanis hold during a wedding ceremony.
An average Pakistani wedding requires a lot of cultural preparation and might take up to a month to plan. In short, everything begins with a proposal and is followed by an announcement of an engagement. Then comes the “Baraati,” or a group of the Groom’s closest friends, family, and relatives who will follow him to the bride’s house in accordance with the local customs. The bride is typically dressed in a red or maroon lehenga that is heavily embroidered and adorned with gold jewellery.
And, of course, a Pakistani gathering wouldn’t be complete without some delicious cuisine. A luxurious dinner is served that includes traditional dishes, including kababs, pulao, chicken tikka, tandoori, and blended vegetables.
During the event, each family member and their family are invited on the stage to have a photoshoot with the newly wedded couple, and gifts are handed out to the newly wedded couple by relatives.
Nikkah is the most important event to officially announce a wedding, followed by all the joyous occasions like Mayun, Dholki, Baraat, and Walima. Sounds too complicated, doesn’t it? Let’s get to know about Pakistani customs in more detail!
Sending a Wedding Proposal
The first step of planning a wedding in a Pakistani household is to send a wedding proposal to the girl’s house. In Pakistani traditions, photographs of the boy and girl are swapped between the families and shown around in the family to get the approval of elders as well as the boy and girl.
The younger generation in Pakistan sometimes criticises this because they believe it dehumanises the couple, especially the bride, by going and scanning them like objects. However, it is still an important part of a Pakistani wedding.
Even though love marriages are getting common in Pakistan, these practices are still required to be followed to get approval from the other family.
A Pakistani man still has a very difficult time submitting the marriage proposal of his choice since it is still frowned upon in many households for men and women to interact.
An unexpected proposal might come to a girl at any time or place, especially in Pakistan. If things are peaceful and the family gets along, someone who wants to make her their daughter-in-law may ask for her hand at the ceremony.
Usually, the groom-to-be’s mother would go to the bride-to-be’s family with sweets and ask for her hand. If the girl’s family approves, the wedding preparations are started. The two families then meet often to decide the date for the wedding.
The engagement ceremony, or Mangni, which serves as the couple’s official engagement, is the first of the wedding’s events.
This might be a small family-only gathering or a grand event. It involves accepting the proposal and exchanging rings as a sign of marriage. Some families can choose to skip this event and be part of the other events instead.
In the modern age, every bride, Groom, and family wants the most beautiful décor for their wedding. A Pakistani wedding demands perfect lighting, flowers, bridal seat, and stage design that boasts how big the occasion is for the couple and the family.
The wedding decor theme for the ceremony must be unique and have a personal touch. When a person is engaged, they should also think about the content, design, style, and appearance of the wedding card to make sure they will match the couple’s personality. On the card, there are names of VIP guests who are closely related to the couple and must attend the wedding. Special treatment is given to these guests.
Mayun is an exciting event in Pakistani wedding festivities. It is the second event of a Pakistani wedding in which the bride’s family gathers in the backyard of their house or in an open lawn setting. The theme of the event is always yellow, from the dresses of the bride and her relatives to the color of flowers and every decor for the event. Haldi is put on the hands and faces of the bride as her friends and cousins sing romantic songs on a Dholki.
The word “Dholki” refers to a type of drum used in Indian music known as the “dholak.” The week before the henna night, there are women-only gatherings called dholki nights. Female friends, cousins, and family members of the bride sing love songs on the beat of the dholki. Sometimes dance routines are also prepared on different traditional wedding songs. The dholki nights can span over a week before the event of “mehndi,” which is usually also the first event of a wedding in some cases.
“Dholki” is a traditional part of a Pakistani wedding. It is a moment for the bride and Groom’s close friends and family to enjoy themselves without any pressure. While this event is common for the family of the bride, in some cases, the family members of the Groom also organize dholki nights at his home separately.
In the past, people used to organize 20 dholki nights. The custom of Dholkis is diminishing as fewer people are celebrating one, two, or at most one week of Dholkis as everyone’s life has become busier as time goes by.
Nikkah is also one of the most important events of a Pakistani wedding, as it has religious reasons behind it. As the majority of the Pakistani population follows Islam, there are a few Islamic rituals that need to be followed to become a lawfully wedded couple.
The event of Nikkah is the same as the event of engagement in western culture. A “maulvi” or a minister in a Christian wedding, recites Quranic verses, and then a similar act of “I do” is done where both the Groom and the bride have to say “Qabool he” as in “I accept,” three times repeatedly.
In the past traditions, the bride and the Groom were required to sit in different rooms, but that trend has changed now for decades, and the couple can sit together in each other’s presence as they get engaged.
Another part of Nikkah is the decision of “mehr” which is a gift that the Groom is required to give to his wife. This is also a requirement in Islam that needs to be followed to be lawfully wedded.
Wearing an embroidered shawl over their heads, the bride and Groom are intended to gaze at one another in the mirror. The “showing of the face” is a requirement of the ritual known as Aarsi Mushaf Dikhana, also known as the muh dekhai. This is a tradition from the past that is less common nowadays.
A Mehendi celebration is one of the pre-wedding activities for the bride and her closest female friends and family. A component of the Solah Shringar, or sixteen bridal decorations in Hindu culture, is known as mehendi.
Henna, food, and music
Be ready for a fun-filled evening of delicious food, lively music, and dancing when you go to a mehendi ceremony. Henna sometimes called as ‘mehndi’ is a dye made from the Lawsonia inermis henna plant. It is used to make designs of flowers on the hands and arms of the bride.
Mehndi celebrations are just as they are shown in the Bollywood movies, with everyone dressed in yellow, white, or green dresses, and sweets such as gulab jamun, laddu or rass gula being served to people invited at the event.
But the most important thing in a mehndi function is the music and dance. Cousins of the bride prepare dance routines on the beat of dholki or sometimes on Bollywood party songs.
In some cases, women sing and play the Dholak, a kind of drum, while seated and surrounded by colorful throw pillows and colorful décor.
Some rituals are carried out for religious reasons, while others are performed to enjoy the celebratory event. The Baraat custom is one notable event. The Baraat is the Groom’s festive wedding procession, which features dancing and live music. Although the idea originated in North India, it has now been adopted by many cultures and nations, including Pakistan.
Music And a Ceremonial Horse
Baraat is one of the most important days of a Pakistani wedding. The Groom mounts a ceremonial horse as he reaches the wedding venue, and his guests dance in front of him to the beat of Dhol.
If there aren’t enough Baraatis, the Groom could still project swagger and confidence. If a friend can play the dhol during your wedding, you’ve struck gold.
Since pure dhol lowers the expense of baraat and leaves the fun-making to your friends and family, it is both delightful and economical.
Throwing rose petals on Groom and his guests
In order to welcome the Groom’s family, the female members of the bride’s family fill plates with rose petals and throw them on the Groom and his guests as they arrive in the ceremonial hall.
Later the bride comes and sits with the Groom and then begins a series of baraat rituals.
“kursi ki rasam” means “the chair ritual.” In this ritual, as a comical skit, any girl from the bride’s side sits with the bride leaving no room for the Groom to sit. The Groom’s family has to give a gift, usually money, to the girl to leave space for the Groom. This is a tradition that is followed everywhere in Pakistan.
After some teasing, the bridegroom’s family agrees to give some cash in exchange for the Groom’s right to sit with his bride.
Similar to the previous tradition, dudh pilai involves the bride’s side girls making the groom drink milk that has been mixed with other delicious ingredients and then asking him for money in exchange. In this ritual, it is a must for the Groom to drink a glass of milk and pay the bride’s side girls.
At the end of baraat, the bride is supposed to leave the event with her husband. This moment of the event usually ends in lots of tears coming from the bride and her family members as they see their girl leave their house for Groom’s house and family members say their goodbyes to her. The bride is accompanied by her mother, sisters, and cousins as she leaves the event for her Groom’s house.
The ritual used to officially recognize the Nikkah is known as Walima, an Arabic word that connotes a sense of gathering and assembly. It is performed with the Nikkah, after the Nikkah but before the wedding celebration, or during the wedding ceremony. The Walima celebration is often organized by the Groom. People from both sides of the family are invited to the event.
Snacks and salami
The main event of this happy occasion is the bride’s parents and other family members receiving lunch or dinner from the Groom’s parents. The girls on both sides take charge of delivering these salamis. The bride’s family gives the Groom a salami, which the Groom’s family then gives back to the bride.
Pakistani wedding culture is bright, colorful, and mysterious in ways that deserve to be explored for its aesthetics and fun. A typical Pakistani wedding is a huge event, unlike a western-styled wedding, and is generally more expensive. But Pakistanis love to share the best moment of their lives with their friends and family; therefore, these extravagant wedding costs do not bother them as long as everyone is happy with the arrangements and has a blast at the wedding. If you ever get a chance to go to a Pakistani wedding, believe us, you are in for the kind of thrill you have never experienced before.