Muslim Wedding Planner in Los Angeles & San Francisco
Muslim/Islamic weddings are simple and dignified occasions that join 2 families together as a couple engages in matrimony. The Prophet Mohammad taught his followers about the importance of living a simple and somber life with a partner that supports and believes in the same values as you. Although many cultures follow Islamic wedding traditions, Pakistani weddings (followed by Indian weddings, Bengali weddings, and other Middle Eastern weddings) are the most abundant in the United States. The modern Muslim wedding encompasses traditional Islamic wedding rituals with extravagantly beautiful colors and wedding decor for their multi-day celebrations.
Muslim Dholki Celebration
The Dholki is traditionally the first wedding event for the Muslim bride, this is a music party where young women get together to dance, sing, and play instruments. In Pakistani tradition, the Dholki is only held with women and is usually held at the bride’s home. However, other cultures celebrate the Dholki on the groom’s side as well and invite their male family members and close friends to the groom’s home. Traditional Muslim weddings involve a whole week of back to back Dholkis before the wedding day to get all the friends and family together to celebrate before the wedding. Women who are close to the couple also perform choreographed dances at the Dholkis. Everyone rejoices with dinner and more signing and dancing late into the night.
Muslim Mendhi (Henna) Party
The Mendhi party is usually held 2 -3 days before the wedding day and is a very colorful event. Women usually dress in bright and fancy salwar kameezes, lenghas, and saris. If it’s a Pakistani Mendhi party, it’s usually in a hall with the bride’s side of female family of friends only. If it’s an Indian Mendhi Party (especially Punjabi) joint mendhi parties are very popular where men and women from both the bride and groom’s side will both apply mendhi. In Muslim Mendhi parties, the bride will usually wear a formal, bright yellow outfit and have mendhi applied to her hands, arms, feet, and legs below the knees. Additionally, the difference between Hindu Mendhi parties and Muslim mendhi parties is that the other women will also apply mendhi to their feet at a Muslim mendhi party. For more conservative families, the bride may not have an American bridal shower, so this would be the equivalent since its an event with all women.
Nikkah: The Muslim Wedding Ceremony
The Nikkah is a humble Islamic wedding ceremony that traditionally takes place right at sundown. Prior to the Nikkah, the Muslim bride and groom are traditionally kept apart and aren’t allowed to see each other. The Imam (Muslim Wedding Officiant) will visit each of them separately asking if they consent to the marriage that is about to take place. Quite literally, the Nikkah is the actual document which entitles the couple as married by Islamic law. The document is signed during the ceremony by the couple and the Imam, this act is witnessed by all the wedding guests which consist of the bride and groom’s families and close friends.
During the Nikkah, the bride will receive her Mahr from her husband to be. This is a gift presented from the bride to the groom and was agreed upon prior to the ceremony. It can be anything the bride wants from cash to jewelry to fancy clothing. Now-a-days, many couples will skip this tradition during the Nikkah and prefer to privately exchange the Mahr.
The Muslim bride’s attire usually consists of a heavily decorated bright red skirt with gold embroidery and heavy yellow gold jewelery. She wears her dupata wrapped around her shoulders with the front low over the brow of her bowed head.
The Muslim groom’s attire consists of a traditional sherwani with a decorated turban. Now-a-days, many grooms prefer to wear Western suits, so it’s up to the family and their traditions if that’s okay to wear or not. Traditional Muslim grooms also wear a veil of roses on their head before the bride enters the Nikkah stage.
As in Hindu weddings, the bride’s young female friends and family play a game with the groom and his family by stealing his shoes. The Muslim groom removes his shoes before he steps onto the Nikkah stage, this is when they try to snatch the shoes if the groom’s family isn’t guarding them. They hide and protect the groom’s shoes throughout the entire wedding ceremony until the end when they bargain with the groom how much money his family should pay to get his shoes back. This is a playful game that many traditional and Americanized families enjoy.
Magrib Namaz: Muslim Prayers
Magrib Namaz is referred to in many different terms depending on what country the families are from, for short many people refer to this prayer as Namaz. It’s the tradition of Islamic prayer (Salat) for the 4th time of the day after sundown. If the Nikkah is held as the sun is setting, Namaz will usually be right after the Nikkah indoors on a carpet.
Rukasathi: The Muslim Bride’s Farewell
Since the Islamic wedding is celebrated by many different cultures, various names are given to this occasion called the Rukasathi, Viddai, or just “Farewell”. This event is traditionally at the very end of the Nikkah, after Namaz, in which the bride and groom enter into a car and drive off to enjoy their wedding night. It’s often tear-filler by the bride’s family wishing her farewell into another family. This usually takes place in front or in the parking lot of the venue and is sometime accompanied by music. Now-a-days, the Rukasathi is held after the Walima since it’s more convenient and affordable to have the Walima after the Nikkah. Some traditional families will still celebrate the Rukasathi right after Namaz and either come back the same day for the Walima, or have the Walima the next day as done more traditionally.
Walima: The Muslim Wedding Reception
Traditionally, the groom’s family will host the Walima, which is a feast celebrating the couple’s Islamic marriage. This dinner signifies the consummation of the marriage, which is why it is traditionally held the day after the Nikkah. In America, the Walima has become more like a wedding reception, but is still enjoyed in the same ways and traditions as a Muslim Walima with no dancing and no alcohol. Now-a-days, this celebration consists of more than just eating though, speeches and music fill the bride and groom with celebration as well.