Last Updated on August 10, 2021 by Farheen Junaid
The traditions of Pakistani weddings go way back and link to the customs and culture of the Indian subcontinent. These traditions were bought into South Asia by the Mughals. As it is linked to the culture of the royal Mughals, there is a certain royalty to how a wedding in Pakistan takes place. And not just in Pakistan, a British Pakistani wedding takes place with as much grandness as any other wedding in the South Asian region.
A Pakistani wedding consist of different events combined together in week-long celebrations. There is so much happening that you can easily get lost in the festivities and totally forget about your mundane routine. Which makes it very hard to get back to your daily life after that much fun and excitement.
Let us walk you through a grand Pakistani wedding traditions in detail and you can decide for yourself how lively and vibrant these events can be.
The Dholki Tradition
A couple days before the actual Pakistani wedding events start, the close family and friends of the bride and groom get together to enjoy an event called a dholki. Close family members who live out of town comes with their bags packed to the bride and groom’s homes and stays there for the rest of the wedding and enjoy the dholki functions together.
During this small function, all the people gather around in a circle on a floor decorated with rugs and cushions and sing traditional Pakistani wedding songs on the beat of a dholak. The grandmother bless the groom and bride with their prayers and also sing some old songs on the tap of dholak. Dholak is basically an instrument that looks like a two-headed hand drum. One of the women plays the dholak while the others sing and clap.
A dholki is a traditional part of a Pakistani wedding that involves a lot of relaxed fun for the close family and friends of the couple. Dholki events are usually separate for the bride and groom and take place in their respective houses. With the passage of time lives are getting busier and due to the hustle bustle the trend of dholkis is becoming less like only one or two or maximum one week of dholkis are celebrated.
Mayun Tradition in Pakistani Wedding
A Mayun is considered an important part of a traditional Pakistani wedding and is taken very seriously in some parts of the country more than others. Mayun happens a few days before the wedding, where female family members, cousins, and friends gather around the bride and perform some rituals. These include putting oil in the bride’s hair and ubtan on her face, arms, and feet. These are some of the beautiful traditions of Pakistani weddings made by our ancestors. Even today all of these traditions are assured by our grandmothers and other elder ladies of the family to be followed properly.
These rituals basically represent the preparation of a bride for her wedding day and it is said to enhance her beauty. A main part of the Mayun is that the bride is then not allowed to leave the house as it is considered a bad omen for the wedding. Although it has just become a fun tradition, older Pakistani women still take this superstition very seriously.
Pakistani Wedding Mehndi night
The Pakistani wedding mehndi is famous all around the world for its vibrancy and amusement. Mehndi is said to be the most awaited event of the Pakistani wedding This is the first main function of the wedding where the bride gets her hand hennaed with beautiful mehndi design, girls perform dances that they spend weeks preparing, etc. It is just a fun night of dance, music, and henna. The bride usually wears a yellow mehndi dress which is usually a traditional dress. Although there is no end to the list of styles for Pakistani wedding dresses, but wearing bright coloured shalwar kameez is very common for mehndi events.
The décor of the Pakistani wedding mehndi is usually done by the orange fresh flowers, bride also prefers to wear fresh flower jewellery with no makeup or less makeup. The variety of food on a mehndi event is the cherry on top like you can see bbq , halwa poori, paan, gol gappay and lots of other food items that everyone enjoys.
Pakistani Wedding Video Highlights
Pakistani Wedding Nikkah Ceremony
The nikkah ceremony at a Pakistani wedding is basically the signing of the legal marriage contract between the bride and the groom. There must be at least two witnesses from both sides present at the time of the nikkah ceremony. Nikkah in masjids is on the top of trending list where the very close friends of groom and bride’s goes to masjid and nikkah is signed.
It is a very emotional time for the family of the bride and the bride herself as now she is signed under the name of her husband forever. The nikkah is usually a small intimate event that involves just families or close friends to celebrate the marriage of the bride and groom.
The dresses of nikkah are usually of pastel colours, bride usually prefers to wear whites followed by a red dupatta or pastel colours with simple natural makeup and soft look. Groom wear a simple pair of shalwar kurta with a golden or light coloured waistcoat.
The Barat Ceremony
The Barat is a big event of Pakistani Wedding that takes place after the nikkah. This is the day where the groom, his family, and friends come to take the bride away. This event is arranged purely by the family of the bride. Arrangements of a modern-day Barat include the wedding hall, food, and photography. The groom usually wears a traditional sherwani on his big day. The Anarkali lehenga dress is the most common among Pakistani wedding dresses to be worn by the bride on her Barat ceremony.
It is usually a grand event with a lot of guests. Small traditions like doodh pilai or joota chupai also take place to add fun to the glorious day.
Bride Rukhsati in Pakistani Wedding
At the end of the Pakistani Wedding Barat ceremony, the rukhsati takes place. Rukhsati is a sad day for the bride though there is a element of happiness and excitement for the new beginning but leaving parents, home, childhood memories is not that easy.
In a Pakistani wedding there are two moments that are the most difficult for the bride i.e when she signs the nikkah papers and the other is the time of rukhsati when she is leaving her family and stepping into a new chapter of her life.
There are tears in the eyes of everyone not only the family but there is also a satisfaction in the parent’s hearts that they are now done with their duty and just praying for a happy marriage for their daughter’s new life. The bride is given away by her parents with the Holy Quran over her head as a symbol that they are sending their daughter under Allah’s blessing and protection. On the other hand the family of the groom is super excited to welcome the new member to the family.
Pakistani Wedding Reception or Valima
The last and final event of a Pakistani wedding is the Reception, or better known as the Valima. The overall atmosphere of the Pakistani wedding Valima event is quite pleasant and comfortable. The décor is very light and fresh in lighter tones of flowers and decor. The music is kept very low and soft. People are dressed up formally like men usually wear suits and women are wearing light shades with elegant jewellery pieces.
This is the event arranged by the groom and is a compulsion by the religion Islam. It is basically a way to celebrate the new marriage and symbolizes happiness in a household after marriage. The Reception or valima can take place the next day to the Barat or even a few days after, as per the convenience of both families. The groom usually wears a two or three-piece suit for his valima reception. There are many styles of clothes for Pakistani weddings that are common for the valima as well but the most common one is the sharara suit. The bride usually wears a sharara in nice pastel colour and looks more relaxed than the Barat.
The list of customs and traditions of a Pakistani wedding is very long but all of this represents the same thing. Happiness and joy of the new marriage. These events are then followed by family gatherings and dinners to celebrate the new couple. The events and celebrations might end in a couple of weeks, but the bond of marriage between the couple remains for a lifetime, sharing with each other all the times of sickness and health, happiness and sorrow.
Here we have answered some of the most asked questions about a Pakistani wedding.
How many days is a Pakistani Wedding ?
A traditional Pakistani wedding consists of 3 days of main events. People might add smaller events spanning 2-3 days before the main events as well but that is a choice that depends on the bride and groom and their families.
What is the most common traditions of Pakistani Wedding?
Most Common Pakistani Wedding Traditions are:
- Dholki Tradition is a pre wedding celebration which is all about songs, dances, ubtan etc.
- Mayun Tradition is celebrated a day before mehndi.
- Mehndi Tradition is the most awaited and joyous function that everyone enjoys.
- Nikkah Tradition is the signing of the marriage contract.
- Barat Tradition is the event arranged by the Bride’s family.
- Rukhsati Tradition is where the bride is given away by her parents.
- Valima Tradition is a reception arranged by the Groom’s family in celebration of the newly wedded couple.
What should i wear to a Pakistani Wedding ?
There is a long list of traditional and modern dresses that you can wear. The most common and popular styles of Pakistani dresses to wear include heavy embroidery Shalwar Kameez, Sharara Dresses, Anarkali Dresses, etc. Other Pakistani Wedding dresses can include banarsi dresses, sarees, etc.
Why do Pakistani brides wear red ?
The colour red symbolizes love and passion, in hopes that the newly married couple will stay happy and in love with each other. It also symbolizes a bit of danger or quarrels that are a part of married life.
Why do Pakistani brides look down?
Looking down apparently portrays a bride to be shy and modest. In Pakistani wedding the wedding day is said to be sad day for a bride though she is going to start a new chapter of life with her husband but at the very same moment she is leaving her home, her parents, her childhood memories, siblings and friends. So if the bride is not shy she is said to be very happy on leaving her parents and it becomes a talk in town as per our culture.
What to expect at a Pakistani wedding ?
A Pakistani wedding is full of fun and celebrations, with moments of sadness, tears of joy and happiness, and so much more.
Who pays for Pakistani wedding ?
Different events of a Pakistani wedding are paid for by different people. The mehndi function, if combined, gets paid by both the bride and groom’s family. Otherwise, the bride’s mehndi is paid for by her family and the groom’s event by his family. The Barat is arranged by the bride’s family while the groom’s family pays for the valima.
Who pay for dowry in Pakistani wedding?
The family of the bride pays dowry in Pakistani Wedding. Dowry includes all the household essentials including furniture, gold, clothes, utensils etc. people who can afford also give cars in dowry. However dowry is illegal according to the Islamic law but people still follow the trend of dowry in Pakistan. Some of the elite class people pay dowry to show off their wealth and status and others just do it for their reputation.
How much does Pakistani wedding cost in the UK?
We live in the age of lavish and extravagant weddings. The typical guest lists of Pakistani weddings include around 500 to 1000 guests. Traditionally the bride’s father is the one who would pay for the lavish wedding. It is up to his pocket that how much would he spend but usually the Pakistani wedding in the UK cost around £15,000 to £18,000.
What age can you marry in Pakistan?
According to a bill passed by Pakistani senator the age required to marry in Pakistan is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys. The Islamic personal law allows marriage if the boy and the girl both have attained puberty, that is once they are both 15 years of age they can get into the relationship of marriage.
What is Bari in Pakistani wedding?
In a Pakistani wedding Bari is as important as Dowry. It includes dresses, shoes, jewellery, handbags, shawls, makeup and all the other stuff that is bought for bride from her In laws. Bari includes all the gifts for the bride and are showcased at groom’s house on the pre wedding events of the wedding like gharoli. Bari includes everything like formal to casual to party wear dresses. From heels to flats. Nail paints to lip colours.
Pakistani wedding food
As it is a Pakistani wedding, you can expect a lot of delicious desi food items like chicken or mutton qorma, biryani or pulao, roasted chicken, barbecue, etc. Dessert can be one or more than one dishes depending on the family’s preference. Seasonal items like fish or gajar halwa can also be present.
Pakistani wedding traditions gifts
Although there is no restriction about what to get as a gift for the couple, people usually prefer buying them crockery items, decoration pieces, etc. as a gesture of helping them set up for their new life. Gift packs including perfumes, watches, etc. are also common gifts by friends.
A Pakistani wedding brings together the families and friends of the bride and groom to have fun and enjoy the time with each other. It is a great way of reconnecting with relatives and old friends. The wedding ends in a happy tone, leaving memories to look back on for many years to come.