Family Wedding Duties in Pakistani Wedding Celebrations

Weddings are a great occasion in every corner of the world! Gorgeous Pakistan is no different. A wedding in Pakistan is bright, rich in culture and tradition, vivid in color and bursting with family! With never-ending festivities, a Pakistani wedding is a must-see at least once-in-a-lifetime.
Any Pakistani wedding is sure to see a houseful of guests from all over the world – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children, friends, and so on. Do they just come and enjoy themselves? No! They help out to make the wedding a dazzling success.
Let’s look at how family members contribute in a Pakistani wedding at every ceremony.

• Henna and Dholki ceremony:
The Henna and Dholki ceremony is the first celebration. Family members and friends help by organizing and color-coding dresses, good quality henna, and dholki (percussion instrument) – where men and women dance and sing songs to its beat the entire night.
The bride’s mother draws the initial henna on the bride’s’ hands as a blessing. The bride is decked with floral ornaments by female friends and relatives to signify her connection with nature. The henna ceremony is also considered the earliest form of a bridal shower (HuffingtonPost, 2013).

• Haldi (turmeric) ceremony:
Haldi (turmeric, oil, and rose water paste) is applied to the bride and groom by women of the family to make them glow on their big day. In Pakistani weddings, friends of the bride and groom tie cloth bands around the individual wrists of the couple to signify their support in tying the knot.
Male family members on both sides assist by taking care of final wedding preparations. They also ensure the wedding venue arrangements are done and organize travel arrangements for all guests.

• Baraat (Wedding procession):
Baraat is the grooms’ procession to the wedding venue. While originally on horseback, this now happens in cars. All members of the grooms’ entourage dance in the street with live music. The procession, fireworks, music and routes are organized by close male friends and male family members of the groom. The subsequent dancing and fanfare to the venue are greatly enjoyed by all.
Before entering the wedding venue, the groom is stopped by ladies from the brides’ side. He isn’t allowed inside till he doesn’t pay them handsomely. This is a playful ceremony where the bride’s sister gets to bully the groom if he wants to marry her sister! The bride’s sisters and female friends then welcome the groom with flowers and sweets.

• Nikah (Wedding) ceremony:
The Nikah (wedding) ceremony is officiated by a Maulvi (Islamic cleric). Bridesmaids sit with the bride in the presence of her fiancé to show their support – the same goes with the groomsmen. Showing strength and solidarity during the nikah is a very important feature of Pakistani weddings.
During the wedding ceremony, the brides’ sisters and girlfriends try to steal the grooms’ shoes and are stopped at every turn by brothers and friends of the groom. This friendly banter ends in a hilarious outcome since the groom has to pay money (again!) to get his shoes back. This also breaks the ice between both families.

• Rukhsati (Bride’s farewell):
In Pakistan, the bride is accompanied by her brothers and family members as she departs. During her goodbye, the Holy Quran is held above her head by one of her brothers to show that she is covered with countless blessings. The bride says goodbye (amidst tears and sobs) to her mother and father for raising her with love and affection. All elders in the family bestow blessings and love on the newly married couple and wish them well.

• Valima (Reception):
Valima is the reception held by the grooms’ side. The grooms’ friends and family members dance on choreographed music pieces. The Valima is extremely important as both sets of parents bless the newly married couple in front of all guests to show their approval of the union.
The grooms’ youngest brother sits on the bride’s lap and forces her to give him pocket money, so she accepts him as her baby brother. This playful gesture is in direct co-relation to the bride’s sisters getting money from the groom. All this merriment is done in good nature to make the event happy.

A Pakistani wedding is a fun-filled joyous family occasion. Friends and family members come together to create a seamless wedding celebration for the couple to turn their wedding day into a magical one. They contribute towards the rich cultural heritage prevalent since decades.

About Sobia

I am a community manager for Wedding Pakistani's Facebook Page and sharing Pakistani wedding planing tips through my blogging with people from around the world.