A wedding is the happiest occasion in any culture, filled with joy and celebrations of a wonderful union. The Pakistani wedding is known to be a vibrant, colourful and extravagant occasion, and is typically made up of a vast number of events occurring over a few days. The wedding celebrations can last on average 3-7 days and consist of many customs and traditions. So here’s a guide to your first Pakistani wedding:
DAYS OF CELEBRATIONS
The Dholki (Pre-celebrations)
Pakistani weddings usually begin with a Dholki. This is a pre-celebration which usually takes place one or two weeks before the main celebrations. The bridal party, close friends and relatives of the bride and groom are in attendance. During this event guests sing and dance traditionally while beating on a dholak drum.
The Mehndi (Henna Night)
Before the main ceremony occurs, one of the most important events for a bride is the Mehndi (henna party) where the bride has intricate henna patterns drawn onto her hands and feet. The designs symbolise luck, joy and love – with the groom’s name usually hidden within the intricate detail. Female friends and family members will also have henna patterns applied with less elaborate designs than the bride.
Traditionally the mehndi is known as the ‘Bride’s day’ which is spent with her close relatives and friends. However over recent years the groom has become involved in the day with family and friends applying oil to his head. There is music and dancing involved to create a lively atmosphere and get everyone in the mood for the forthcoming wedding.
The Nikah (Ceremony)
The most important part of the wedding is the Nikah, a formal ritual where the bride and groom exchange vows and make promises to one another. Before the couple are even allowed to see each other, a mehr, or symbolic presentation of gifts or money, is given to the bride by the groom.
The Walima (Reception)
After the Nikah ceremony there is a wedding celebration called the Walima. It is the final dinner organised by the groom’s side once their marriage is official and it is a celebration of the two individuals coming together. Typically the groom opts for a formal Western suit or tuxedo and the bride will wear a dazzling dress with gold jewellery provided by the groom. The reception is a huge celebration with many relatives and guests of both families in attendance.
WHAT TO WEAR?
Deciding what to wear to an Asian wedding can be a minefield, especially if it’s your first time attending one! Attire is generally very extravagant, with intricate beading and embellishments intertwined in the fabrics. Red is traditionally worn by the bride, so try to avoid wearing this colour.
Ladies usually wear a colourful saree (an elaborate fabric draped across the body from shoulders to ankles), or a lengha (a long embellished skirt and top with a scarf – known as dupatta). The classic wedding attire for men is sherwani, a long ethnic jacket with trousers.
WHAT WILL YOU EAT?
At a Pakistani wedding you can only expect dishes to be made from halal meat. And at Mazaa our meat is HMC with 100% halal dishes. The Pakistani cuisine is known for its rich flavours with delicious dishes such as sumptuous tikka, kebabs and street-style food counters. Delicious chicken yakhni biryani, astounding nihari gosht or haleem is served with naan bread or ghee rice. And not forgetting tasty desserts including the traditional gajar ka halwa, Kheer & Zarda. So you’re bound to be satisfied.
THE STYLE OF VENUE
The venue is an integral part of the wedding events, from the mehndi to walima. Wedding décor can be as extravagant or as simple as the bride and groom wishes, often including stunning stage decoration, elegant backdrops, floral decoration and lighting.
Pakistani weddings are an enjoyable occasion, bringing two families together, filled with fantastic culture, great food, and music. What is there not to love about these joyous celebrations?