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Wedding Traditions | Pakistani Wedding

Pakistani weddings are bright, vibrant and a sight to behold. With so many traditions and rituals, the main connecting theme is that everyone who is everyone is invited - the more the merrier. The rituals of a Pakistani wedding vary depending on if it's cultural or religious but the main focus is the family and the importance of all family members being there to enjoy the occasion and bless the newlyweds for a happy and prosperous marriage.

A traditional Pakistani wedding starts with an engagement where the entire wedding party are invited. The festivities are hosted by the both families and at the end of the first celebration, the bride and groom exchange engagement rings. Once this part of the ceremony is finalised, a date is set for the wedding, which is to be hosted by the bride and her family. This is when the real preparations begin! A Pakistani Muslim wedding begins with a dua - a special prayer that lays down the laws of marriage under Islamic law.

9 Mar 2020

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We spoke to Muslim bride Mariya about the logistics of holding a four day celebration in Karachi when your friends and family are dotted around the world, plus outfit picks for little ones to wear to an upcoming Pakistani wedding.
 

Follow Mariya on Instagram 

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You are Chicago-born, live in London, and got married in Karachi, Pakistan. Was it an easy choice to make to get married there? 
Yes, that is correct! My husband's extended family and my family both reside in Karachi Pakistan, so it made sense to keep the bulk of our wedding events in Karachi so that both sides of the family could enjoy and attend the festivities. We were torn between having events in Chicago so my friends could join, or London so my husbands friend's could join, but then we resorted to Pakistan as a middle ground. My bridal shower took place in Chicago and the rest of the week long events took place in Pakistan. Planning a destination wedding is not easy, but we had immense support from family and friends that lived in Karachi which made the process easier. I was a DIY bride so I was quite hands on with the whole planning process. The key thing was to be organised and ask for helping hands when needed. I remember hosting mini gatherings before the wedding with close family and friends. These gatherings consisted of filling the favour bags, writing invitations, prepping dances, and deciding the decor/menu! Doing this was a great way to get close family involved not only in the wedding, but the whole planning process.

Your wedding celebrations took place over a week, with four main events could you break down what happens each day? 
Yes, so my wedding events started in the 22nd of December starting with the dua ceremony. On this day, we invited our close family and friends to listen to a wedding speech by an Islamic scholar. The speech included the virtues and rules of marriage according to Islamic law. This was then followed by a prayer, the dua, which is a collective prayer for the soon to be bride and groom.

The second event was the henna ceremony which took place on the 24th of December. On this day, the bride's family gives the groom's family wedding gifts and the night is followed by lots of traditional street style food, the application of henna, and dance performances. Our theme was men in black and ladies in lenghas, which are intricate blouses with skirts! 

The third event took place on 30th December and this was the wedding ceremony (or the Nikkah), normally hosted by the bride and her family. This is the day where the bride often wears the colour red. On this is day, the marriage contract is signed and the bride and groom become husband and wife.

The last event is the reception, also known as the Valima which is a dinner hosted by the groom and his family. It is the closing event which celebrates the newly wed couple becoming one. 

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Were children involved in any part of your wedding? 
Yes, family is a big part of weddings in Karachi so this means there are loads of children and babies! During the henna ceremony, children were part of dances, giving gifts to the groom's side, and my two cousins were flower girls and assisted me during my entrance on the big day. 

Now that you have your four-month old, Hannah, is there anything you like to see yourself when attending weddings to make the celebrations easier for guests with young children? 
As a new mother, I remember going to my first wedding with Hannah was super scary! I was afraid of her crying during the ceremony (which she did) but I was grateful that the venue had multiple empty rooms so I could step out. I think having professional childcare, a nanny service, or an entertainer for children at the wedding would be something to consider so that both parents and children can enjoy the wedding. I also find that venues with multiple rooms are great for those nursing mamas who need to find a nice quiet space to feed their babies. I have started seeing lots of people also providing children with entertainment packs on the tables so that children can keep busy with colours, stickers, and other activites. 

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How would you dress Hannah if you were to go with her to a wedding? 
Since Hannah is only four months, I want her to be comfortable in her outfits and look cute at the same time, so If I was to go to a wedding with Hannah here is how I would dress her:

- OUTFIT 1 -

This gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana pink floral dress paired with this beautiful headband. I absolutely love this dress because it is a soft cotton jersey dress and the colours are perfect for a colourful, Pakistani wedding! It could be worn as a reception dress in the summer months and is just super cute! The headband adds an extra glamorous touch.

- OUTFIT 2 -

For Outfit 2, I absolutely love this baby Versace dress! The pink and gold on the ivory cotton looks absolutely stunning and will keep baby Hannah nice and comfortable. The material is soft and stylish and look at the matching bloomers. Just adorable! 

- OUTFIT 3 -

I find anything with bonnets look so adorable on babies, so my final pick would be this gorgeous three piece dress by Miranda. I would pair it with these beautiful long socks to complete the look!

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Finally, do you have any words of advice for soon-to-be newlyweds on their upcoming nuptials?
My advice would be not to get so caught up on minute details and to really have fun with the planning process. Get family involved wherever possible because you won't get these special moments back. On the day, it is best to stay relaxed and be prepared for the worst! Going with the flow on my wedding day really helped me to enjoy it.

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