YOUR FIRST MUSLIM WEDDING CEREMONY? HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT
If you are reading this article, it is quite obvious that you have never attended a Muslim wedding before. Don’t panic, it will be a lot of fun!
Different cultures have different wedding events
Every religion and country have a specific way of celebrating weddings. In the case of Muslim weddings, you might also observe that apart from a few obligations, Muslims from different countries have a different way of celebrating their weddings. For example, in Pakistani weddings, you will attend a lot of events; pre and post-wedding events. There are a lot (and when I say a lot, I mean it) of rituals involved within those events. For other countries such as Turkish weddings, you will see a lot of Turkish traditional dancing involved.
The location of a Muslim wedding
I am a wedding photographer, videographer specializing in Muslim weddings, and most of my brides and grooms are from South East Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. Muslim weddings Among many events involved in a Muslim wedding, you are most likely to attend one of those events in a mosque. This is the Nikkah ceremony. Before entering the mosque, please, take your shoes off and place it in a shoe rack available at the entrance. Inside the mosque you must be respectful in order not to offend people around you. Try not to make unnecessary noise and you have to dress appropriately. Ladies may want to cover up their hair. It is important that Muslim women cover up their hair during prayer. Ask your Muslim hosts for guidance before but it is respectful of non-Muslim women to also wear hijab, a scarf that covers their heads, when visiting a mosque. It is not appropriate for either men or women to wear short clothes that show much skin. Long trousers and shirts or t-shirts are suitable for men, long-sleeved shirts with a headscarf are suitable for women.
Wedding events are short
Muslim weddings have a lot of events involved, these events are short in duration as compared to other religions. During wedding events you will see that the family members will be performing different rituals. Keep in mind that if you are a wedding photographer or videographer specializing in Muslim weddings, you can’t shoot during prayers.
The most important elements of a Muslim weddings are the following: Mehendi, Mayun, Nikkah, Baraat, and Valima.
This event is mostly performed at the beginning of South Asian weddings. This is sort of a pre-wedding event where a henna artist applies henna on the bride’s hand and leg. Female guests and little kids receive henna, as well. Cousins and friends typically perform dances. They may be followed by short speeches.
Mayun and Mehendi are similar sorts of events, most families combine them together in a single event. In this event, a few rituals (rasm) are involved. The women in the family take turns and feed the bride with something sweet.
This is the main event of the wedding, without this, the bride and the groom will not be considered as married. The event involves the signing of a Muslim wedding contract which certifies that both the bride and the groom give their consent for marriage. In this paper, the bride and the groom can list any of her conditions, the Mehr is defined in it, as well. Mehr is the money in the form of a guarantee that the husband is obliged to pay to her wife anytime later during the marriage.
The baraat is an event where the bride’s family invites the family of the groom. They arrange for dinner. Some people combine nikkah with baraat. At the end of this event, the bride will be taken by the groom to his house.
This is another essential event in the course of the wedding. Nikkah and valima are the two events that Muslims are obliged to perform. In Valima, the groom and his family invite people and offer them dinner. Family members usually give speeches and followed by dancing.
Normally this is the last event of the whole wedding and after that, the bride and the groom can start their life together. Go for a honeymoon or attend family gatherings that follow.
Know the limitations
Unlike western culture, Muslims are more considerate of genders. The male and the female members present at the wedding can talk and mingle but within their limits. You will have to be careful that you are not violating any of these limitations. You should certainly avoid touching, being too close, or talking to the opposite gender for too long.
Most of Muslim weddings have genders separated
This trend is changing nowadays. Still, most of the wedding events have men and women separated. You should not enter the area specified for the other gender until you are asked for it.
To take photos of the girls’ side, I often work with a female Muslim wedding photographer. Fortunately, there are many female Muslim wedding photographers.
There would be no alcohol
Muslim weddings are dry, meaning that no alcohol is served. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, it is not typically served at Muslim weddings. Even in liberal families you are not likely to see any kind of alcohol involved. At the same time, no alcohol does not equal no fun when it comes to a Muslim wedding. You will have tons of fun!
What type of clothing should I wear?
There are no set criteria for clothing. However, for female guests attending a Muslim wedding, it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully. The clothing should cover the knees and shoulders, and low-cut or revealing clothing should be avoided. This means that short dresses and skirts, sleeveless or off-the-shoulder tops, and plunging necklines are not appropriate for a Muslim wedding.
Wearing a headscarf or hijab is optional, but it’s respectful to do so, and if you choose to wear one, it should match the outfit and be neatly arranged.
When selecting jewelry, opt for simple, elegant pieces that are not too flashy. Natural makeup is best, and bold makeup should be avoided. This is because Muslim weddings are not the place to make a fashion statement, but rather to show respect for the couple and their culture. Also, as a guest, you want to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself.
What to Wear for Male Guests For male guests attending a Muslim wedding, the attire should be formal and modest. A suit or traditional dress like a sherwani or thobe is appropriate. Shorts, sleeveless shirts, or open-toe shoes should be avoided, as they are not considered appropriate attire for a formal event like a Muslim wedding. Wearing a traditional head covering such as a kufi or fez is optional, but it’s respectful to do so, and if you choose to wear one, it should match the outfit.
When it comes to accessories, it’s best to stick to simple and elegant options. Loud or flashy accessories should be avoided, as they can draw too much attention to the guest and distract from the wedding ceremony.
Considerations for the Venue and Time of Day The venue and time of day of the wedding can also influence what to wear to a Muslim wedding. If the wedding is held in a mosque, guests should dress conservatively and remove their shoes before entering. This means that clothing that covers the knees and shoulders, and is not too revealing should be worn. If the wedding is held outdoors, guests should choose appropriate footwear and bring a shawl or jacket for colder weather. For evening weddings, formal attire such as a black tie or evening gown may be appropriate.
Colors to Avoid and Embrace In Muslim culture, certain colors hold significance, and others are considered inappropriate. For example, white and black are associated with mourning and funerals, and therefore should be avoided. Embrace bright and vibrant colors such as red, blue, green, and gold, which symbolize celebration and joy. However, it’s best to avoid overly bright and flashy colors, as they can be distracting and take away from the wedding ceremony.