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Marriage process

Arranged marriages in Pakistan often take long periods of time to finalize. The time from
preparation until wedding day may be more than a year. When the wedding date approaches, all
close relatives are invited for a typical Pakistani wedding that requires a considerable budget in
order to accommodate them. In some cases, wedding dates are even postponed until the
important relatives are able to arrive to the location of the reception from abroad. The wedding
customs and celebrations also differ significantly depending on the geographical location as well
as the families involved. However, a typical Pakistani wedding has at least three main customs
involving the Henna ceremony (Rasme Henna), the vows or the Nikah which is a part of the
actual wedding or Shaadi ceremony, and a subsequent Walima offered by the groom's family.

Arranged marriages
Further information: Arranged marriage

Arranged marriages are still prevalent in Pakistan. Marriages are often arranged within the family
or within the same tribe or ethnicity. Social and educational status are very important in arranged
matrimonial alliances. However, an arranged marriage is not a 'forced' marriage but instead is an
alliance encouraged and arranged by the parents with consent of the couple to be wed.
Nowadays, love marriages are slowly becoming more common and acceptable in Pakistan.

Proposal party
A proposal party is a reception made in the bride's house, where the groom's parents and family
elders formally ask the bride's parents for her hand in marriage. In religious families once the
wedding proposal is accepted the families read Surah Al-Fatihah, and then tea and refreshments
are served. Depending on individual family tradition, the bride to be may also be presented with
an item of jewelry and the guests may present the groom with gifts of gold.

Further information: Engagement

An engagement (Urdu: ‫( )منگنی‬Mangni), is a formal ceremony to mark the engagement of the
couple.[1] It is usually a small ceremony that takes place in the presence of a few close members
of would-be bride's & groom’s families. Rings and other items of jewelery amongst affluent
families are exchanged between the would be bride and groom. Traditionally, the bride and the
groom were not seated together and the rings are placed on the bride's finger by the groom's
mother or sister and vice versa. In recent years however, segregated functions have become a
rarity and rings are usually exchanged between the couple. Prayer and blessings for the couple
are then recited and the wedding date is decided.

women will gather in the house of the bride at night. “Ubtan” is applied to the bride's skin each day leading up to the wedding. Female guests are sometimes offer mehndi at the host's discretion. With the . Traditionally. since most women work in present times. the groom normally does not participate and similarly. Traditionally. typically takes place one or two days prior to the main wedding day. The evening also usually includes a henna where the women decorate each others' hands with Henna. Mayun meant the custom of the bride entering into the state of seclusion eight to fifteen days before the wedding. depending on what the family can afford. She blesses bride and applies “ubtan’ to the bride's hands and face. is celebrated at the bride's house. Mayun has been reduced to a single night celebration of singing. herbs and aromatic oils. the bride's family give bangles and sometimes clothes to her friends. or even weeks before the actual wedding day. often accompanied by drum music. The event is traditionally held separately for thebride and the groom The henna is symbolically placed on the couple's hands. Usually the bride's friends and close relatives get together at her house to dance and sing. or the Rasm-e-henna ceremony. to sing and dance while accompanied by percussion instruments. such as the application of Ubtan. Dholki The Dholki or Dholak (Urdu: ‫ )ڈھولکی‬celebration takes its name from the percussion instrument Dholki. and a thick string called a “gana" ( Bangles made of Flowers) is tied to the bride’s arm. which is featured heavily during this wedding celebrations. since there were separate functions for both the bride and the groom. Traditionally. [Mehndi Mehndi (Urdu: ‫( )مہندی‬rasm-e-henna).Mayoon Mayoon or mayun (Urdu: ‫)مايوں‬. dancing and applying Ubtan to the bride. The bride usually wears a simple yellow Shalwar Qameez. many days. Groom's sister also does the same. She is made free of all the chores and errands during this time. The groom's friends and family bring along sweets and henna for the bride. Generally. this ceremony has also been reduced to a single night of singing and is often combined with Mehndi or Henna ceremony. the groom's function was called 'Tael' (oil) where female guests put some oil into the groom's hair. The bride and groom are not allowed to see each other after the Mayun begins. Ubtan is a paste made from turmeric. The mayoon can last up to late night. on the groom's event the bride stays at home. On the bride's ceremony. sandalwood powder. However. It was supposed to encourage a glowing. Today. fresh complexion for the wedding day. which groom's mother brings for bride. The beautification rituals begin during this time. and the bride's family does the same for the groom.

This ritual is supposed to bring good luck and longevity to the bride's married life. and friends of groom and bride. the Mehendi was considered a women's event and men did not participate in it. ]Barat Barat (Urdu: ‫ )برات‬is the procession of the family. or mostly. The sing song etc. However. Commonly used colours are bright reds. Usually they are also accompanied by a band playing wedding songs. Nikah A bride signing the marriage contract. the entire ceremony is instead referred to as "Tael Mehndi" (Oil and Henna) ceremony. the use of the term 'tael' has diminished greatly. Young women and men will sing teasing songs about the other side (where the bride's side pokes good natured fun at the groom's side and vice versa) and try to compete in this ritual sing song. a certain number of married women who are closely related to the bride apply henna to her hands. The bride normally wears a green dress or yellows/orange for the Henna celebration and uses only light. relatives. The bride and/or the groom are brought forward in the ceremony under a decorative dupatta by their close relatives. and feed her sweets. relatives. . no make-up. In the bridal ceremony. on the groom's side. was left almost entirely to women. The groom makes his way to the bride's home on a richly decked horse or car and the “barat” follows in different vehicles. oranges and yellows. cousins and friends. Similarly.ceremony now held simultaneously for both the groom and the bride. In some cases. A recent trend gaining popularity is to announce a colour theme for the mehendi whereby guests are supposed to dress up in a particular colour. Nikah is attended by close family members. Nikaah at a Pakistani wedding Nikah (Urdu: ‫ )نكاح‬is an Islamic official wedding ceremony that usually takes place at the bride’s home. oil is applied to his head and sweets are fed to the groom. The groom will typically wear a casual Shalwar Qameez. Sometimes elaborate musical and acting performances are part of the Mehndi celebrations. Traditionally. and friends of the groom and they accompany the groom to the bride’s home for the official wedding ceremony. A song competition also occurs in the Rasme Henna or Mehndi celebrations between the bride and groom's side. this has changed substantially in recent times with males featuring prominently in the Mehndi celebrations as well. Elaborate dance sequences and competitions between the bride and groom's families are also quite common these days. The groom is given a warm welcome by the bride’s family with flower garlands and rose petals thrown upon the procession by the bride's sisters.

the right to divorce is given only to the husband). and various durud (blessings/salutations upon the Prophet) to mark the closing of nikah ceremony. the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. After the wedding is legally announced. The event takes place at the bride's house where large wedding tents may be set up in the garden or a nearby place. It can include the bride’s right to divorce her husband (if the stipulation is made so in the contract. Meher includes two amounts in Pakistani culture. It has also become very common to hold the event in a marriage hall or hotel. The maulvi recites the Fatihah (first chapter of the Quran). dishes of dates and misri are served to the groom's family. brother or uncle performs the ceremony." and signs it. in different rooms. the men and women are made to sit separately. The fathers of groom and bride (waris) act as witnesses to the wedding.signalling the arrival of the men's side of the family Families and friends enjoy a wedding ceremony in a marquee A Wedding (Urdu: ‫( )شادی‬Shaadi) is when the bride's reception formally takes place. If the father is not available. but in Islamic belief is one total amount. and acts as the bride's safety net. The bride's family is responsible for the reception and arrangements of the day. An Islamic imam (called maulana or maulvi in Urdu) reads the prophetic sermon for marriage which also consists of selected verses from the Quran and waits for the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) of wedding. The meher guarantees the bride's freedom within the marriage. or have a curtain separating them. one that is due before the marriage is consummated and the other that is a deferred amount given to the bride at a time to be determined. [edit]Wedding Further information: Wedding The groom usually arrives at the wedding with a band playing dhols. She accepts the nikah-naama saying "qabool kiya. The nikah-naama contains several terms and conditions that are to be respected by the bride and groom. the groom's side makes proposal and the bride's side conveys her assent. trumpets and horns .Usually. The barat is often accompanied by the rhythms of a dhol (drum) as it arrives and is . The maulvi and witnesses all sign the nikah-naama contract and the wedding becomes legal. The groom is then escorted to his bride where he is allowed to sit beside his wife. Nikah-naama specifies mahr. but in Islamic methodology. The nikah-naama (marriage contract) is registered during the nikah. Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) take the nikah-naama to the bride and read it to her aloud. He also accepts saying "qabool kiya" and signs the document. The nikah-naama is then taken to the groom and reads aloud to him. The barat or grooms procession indicates the arrival of the groom's family and friends to the bride's house. Usually. the senior male.

This is a somber occasion for the bride's parents as it marks the departure of . This custom is also called as Mun Dikhai at times. chargha. naan.greeted with flowers and rose petals by the bride's family. Showing of the face Arsi Mashaf is the ceremony of the “showing of the face” after the Nikah. as any more than this amount is banned in Pakistan. A dinner is served which consists of several dishes with meat featuring heavily in the meal. The sisters. friends. It either takes place at the Shaadi itself or on a separate day at the bride's house. biryani. Falooda. and family and friends congratulate the couple and offer gifts. However. chaanp. the Rukhsati takes place. The groom may wear a traditional dress such assherwani with a sehra or turban though some may prefer to wear a western inspired suit. Taftan. though Mun Dikahi generally refers to the unveiling of the bride's face after she enters her husband's house. The bride and groom share a piece of sweet fruit. lehenga or shalwar kameez which is heavily embroidered. . It is performed by an imam which formally indicates signing of the marriage contract. and one sweet dish is just served. The Qur'an is normally held over the brides head as she walks from the stage to the exit in order to bless her. This is a very popular custom and the groom usually carries a lot of cash. between the bride's sisters and friends on one side and the groom's brothers and friends on the other side. Some of the well represented dishes in a wedding meal include pullao. one salan. Now however. and female cousins of the bride take this opportunity to steal the groom's shoes and demand a sum of money for their return. various forms of roasted fowl and lamb. embroiled shawl is generally held over the couple's head and they are made to see each other in the mirror and the bride unveils her face that she keeps hidden during the Nikah. Dinner is then served to the guests. The bride traditionally wears a red. The nikah is the Islamic marriage contract ceremony. He pays the money to get back his shoes and the girls divide the money among themselves. due to the popularity of this custom. The dress is always accompanied with heavy gold jewelery. A green. when the groom and his family will leave together with the bride. but usually harmless and just for fun. one rice dish. other bright colors may also be worn.Kulfi etc. 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. various forms of kebabs. ]Rukhsati Finally. Shirmal. before the shaadi or purple gharara. This can lead to bantering. The bride and groom must both have two witnesses present to ensure that the marriage is consensual.

their daughter from their home. it is typically to see a quiet bride with wet eyes as she sits in the car beside her husband leaving for her new home. The bride adjusts the edges of her dupatta so that they cover her face. It is customary for roses to be laid across the couples' bed. literally meaning 'revealing of the face' is a present that is presented to the bride by her husband on this night. This is generally a piece of jewelery such as a ring or a family ornament. The groom's female relatives lead the bride to the bedroom and she is left for some time to await the groom's arrival. In recent times. At this point it is common for the groom to stay with his relatives for a while. the groom enters the bedroom where the bride is waiting. it is becoming increasingly common for the bride to present her husband with a present on the first night as well. Wedding gift . The groom may be offered a glass of milk during this time. as one of the first things he does on suhaag raat. The horse and the carts have now been replaced by cars. For many couples suhagraat is the special night for sexual intercourse between a groom and bride.[3] The bride wears a heavily decorated dress with gold jewelry provided by the groom's family. The walima is typically the most festive event of the wedding ceremony and intends to publicize the marriage. After the relatives have left. The departure of the bride becomes a very emotional scene as she says farewell to the home of her parents and siblings to start a new married life. This is known as 'ghoonghat'. the couples' bedroom is decorated with flowers. The groom normally opts for a formal Western suit or tuxedo. Suhaag Raat Suhaag raat (golden night/maiden night of married life) refers to the couples' first night together and it occurs after the bride has left for the groom's house. the groom travels by a decorated horse to the bride's house and after the wedding ceremony takes his wife in a doli (palanquin) to his parents' house to live.[2] The groom's family invites all of the bride's family and their guests to their home for a feast at their home or a marriage hall. and in sharp contrast to western weddings. It is customary for the husband to brush the bride's ghoonghat aside to reveal her face. 'Mun Dikhai'. Traditionally. Typical colour palettes are green or pastel shades. On the day of the wedding. Walima Walima (Urdu: ‫ )ولیمہ‬is the final day of the wedding held by couple as they host their first dinner as husband and wife.

The ceremony marks the start of manhood for the groom. It is also customary for the friends and family of the couple to invite them over for dinner and lunch after the wedding to formally accept them as a couple. This practice is still prevalent in most rural areas of the Punjab. After he drinks the milk. especially in joint families where the bride lives with the husband's family. Some of these customs are listed below  Dastar Bandi or the "Wearing of the turban" is a ceremony which is performed in parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Honeymoon It is very common for the couples to go for a honeymoon following the shaadi (wedding) and walima ceremonies. she was brought back to her parents' house a few days after the wedding. She then spent some time at her parents' house before heading back to her new husband's home. To ease her into the new life and surroundings.  Maklava is a predominantly Punjabi custom.  Doodh Pilai is a ceremony which is prevalent in many Pakistani weddings. Other customs Pakistani wedding customs can be quite varied depending on the ethnic and geographical origins of the bride and groom. Elder men in the groom's family place a turban on his head and formally include him in the 'circle of men'. although more well-off couples may go overseas for their honeymoon. the sisters and cousins of the bride will bring milk for the groom.It is customary for the Pakistani bride and groom to receive wedding presents in the form of cash. The honeymoon is generally 2–7 days long and gives a chance for the couple to spend some time in privacy. there is a box for envelopes at the wedding reception. Traditionally. The most popular destinations are Murree and Nathiya Gali. On the actual wedding day. an envelope with cash is giver to the bride or groom when wedding guests come to visit them on stage during the wedding reception. Commonly these days. . Traditionally. the marriages were arranged and often contracted between people from different cities and villages. he is supposed to present his new sisters in law with money and presents. Sometimes the envelope is given to a parent of the bride or groom instead. This often meant that the bride was unfamiliar with her new family.