Nov 6, 2009 - marriage stuff    2 Comments

The Best of Weddings


Having organized three of my sibling’s weddings fully and having helped with scores of others has made me realize how stressful they actually are! There are just so many things to fight over….who to invite, how to do the seating, what traditions to include, how much to spend, deciding who pays for what… There have actually been couples who have called off the marriage because of all the stress and problems involved in organizing a wedding! Sometimes they just can’t agree or one side becomes offended by something or other and it’s called off!

The interesting thing about weddings is that you really learn a lot about the people getting married. Even if you knew the person for years, it’s only when they get married… the things that are important to them are seen clearly. What type of wedding it is tells you a lot. The baby pictures come out on the slideshows. You can see the family dynamics in action. You can see their taste in decor and environment, music and religiosity. A person’s wealth and status in real life can be hidden, but it all comes out at the wedding. The friend’s speeches and anecdotes tell you more about the person. It’s like the underbelly comes out and you are stepping into someone’s home for the evening with their most important friends!!

I’ve attended so many weddings in my life I can’t even remember which one I liked the best! There have been so many beautiful elements in so many people’s weddings. Some of the earliest weddings I remember attending were in Churches, which is a funny thing to say, but being Muslim it is odd! Later on I think Muslims discovered halls and fancy hotels. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve attended a wedding (not just a ceremony) in a Mosque. It’s sad that our traditions and cultures have developed so much that such a spiritual thing of joining a couple under God has been removed from the Mosques, to hotels. I know we don’t have the room, the space, the catering etc, etc believe me I know, but it seems like events like weddings, Aqeeqahs, graduation parties etc, should be celebrated in places that give it a spiritual ambiance. It brings our Mosques alive and makes them happy places. Why don’t they build Mosques with big dining halls? (While we’re on the subject, what about building enough parking?!) :D

Ahhh anyways, back to weddings…I think each wedding I’ve been to has had something special. I tend to like the one’s where we’re witness to the moment the couple actually become husband and wife. I also like together weddings because I have yet to see a completely separate wedding with absolutely no men nowhere near the women! Somehow we always get waiting staff coming in or the 15 year old boy who thinks he’s still a kid looking for his mom or uncle jee looking for his wife!

Other things I remember from various weddings is one held outside on Mosque grounds with big buckets of candles. One where the nikah and walimah were on the same day a few hours apart, kind of fun running home and changing and going to the next thing. A wedding on the water in Long Island. Chocolate fountains! A tabla player during appetizers. Throwing (fighting over lol) of the bouquet.  A funny slideshow presentation.  Hillarious skits. A photo booth for guests. A heartfelt speech from the Imam. A beautiful Quran reading. Sweet smelling centerpieces. Roses taped to a wall. Ice cream sundae cake for dessert. Nasheed CDs as a favor or lindt chocolate or a dua book. Bride being carried in on a doli. Scroll invitations. Money necklaces. Clowns for the kids. A tent in the park.

So what are some of the best things you remember from past weddings?


  • As salaamu alaikum Sis Jannah –

    First of all, lovely post! These are always nice to read. Second, a very belated but nonetheless sincere “Mubarak ho” on the weddings of your siblings.

    Before sharing some of my nice moments from weddings, I also wanted to say that, yes, why are not more of the weddings we hear about or witness taking place within the walls of Houses of Allah (swt)? Pretty sad really. Personally, if/when my turn comes, I’m going to do what’s within my power to have the Nikaah at the masjid – anyways, there’s time for that still. ;-)
    Let’s see . . . I’ve had two girls’ weddings from my American (Amma’s) side of the family that I’ve been a part of and also two girls’ weddings from my Indian (Abba’s) side of the family. Also, a family friend’s daughter’s wedding was also special, which I’ll subsequently mention below. As you may remember I’m an only child, so these are all cousin weddings, which of course, in the Indo-Pak community, are just like one’s brothers and sisters. Getting back to the point, all four of them were special in their own right. The first one was back in 1997 and the one nice memory I had was, along with her blood brother, I was able to walk the bride towards the mehndi area (which was taking place in the backyard). We also had a small party at my house with just family, where everyone present the bride with gifts(jewelry and house decorating items, etc :-)) and where we took many pictures with the bride. These memories are especially precious because, sadly, my cousin-sister would pass away about a year later (sorry for the downer).
    The second wedding was the younger sister of the cousin-sister just mentioned and by far, in terms of my involvement this was a very memorable, dream wedding. The first of the 5 days over which the wedding festivities took place, was at my own home, the Mayu, where the bride gets some yellow stuff put on her (*defers to Jannah on significance of this ceremony*) face, arms, feet, etc. There was some weddings songs, sung, with aunties with hand drums and other female family members singing to their best ability ;-).
    Also, just the hectic tasks of picking up people from the airport or helping move furniture and running errands in the car al day, made this wedding very special and then, to top it off, reading a poem I had written (yes, Sisters, BABA cooks AND writes poems! LOL!) as a tribute to the bride.
    Now for the weddings which took place in India. The first one, I was only 8 years old, but I have certain distinct memories of my Appa’s wedding, which took place in 1989. This was in Bangalore, the city in which my father and his siblings were raised. The main memory that my Amma loves to tell others about this wedding is that, of course, as my Appa got into the car at the conclusion of the wedding, she was crying, as her late mother was not there to “see her off” to her new life. So upon seeing this, I said to my Amma, “Why is my Appa crying? She doesn’t have to leave, bring her back” or something to this effect, as I didn’t have the knowledge to know about the complexities of leaving your home as a bride and such things, but I think it would sound much funnier and sweet if my Amma told the story.
    The second wedding in India – probably the most I have ever been involved in any wedding, especially at such an intimate level, if I amy use that word. Would you believe, that one day, my cousin-sister’s uncle called us back in Portland and asked if we would find out about a Hyderbadi boy who worked at Nike (World HQ is just outside Portland) though the Tata company? Subsequently, we invited the boy to our house for dinner, which only included myself and Amma. He was a nice, polite man, good balance of the values of someone who grew up in India and was also adjusting to life in America with his job. Later on, the boy and I ahd our first “date,” with me taking him to see my sweet Rani (Mukherjee of Bollywood fame) in the film Mujhse Dosti Karoge, so we could just have a guy-to-guy chat and get to know each other. While I didn’t know many of my younger cousin-sisters in India too well, I had to make sure the guy was suitable for my dear sister (I really cherish them, being an only child). So, my Amma called back to India and said that he was indeed a good guy and gave our approval. Eventually, his parents, also approved of my cousin and so, without the two ever meeting each other, they were engaged! Of course, Amma and I made the trip to Bangalore for the wedding and when I gave the groom a big hug in front of many of the family members the first day in town, there was much cheeering and “oooooh’s and ahhh’s) as I knew the groom better than anyone. Of course, later that day, the bride, my cousin, came to me and with a sweet, yet shy smile (again, we didn’t know each other too well, but her mum and my dad were extremely tight bro and sis), was asking me how her future husband was like. The wedding itself (sorry for the essay preamble) was amazing, as many in the “motherland” are – I got to witness the traditions that are done – for example, the groom having to break some dried-roti thing to find a coin or similar object that was inside it, while the bride’s younger sisters hit his hand with small, rough brushes as he was trying to accomplish this – and yes, the groom sustained some small cuts on his hand. Also, this was unique also in that, as Sis Jannah mentioned as not being common enough, it included the bride being located in a hall (in a hotel though) with only women and us men, outside and below that hall, with the groom and Imam in front of us brothers. Only after the “Khubool’s” had been pronounced, then my cousin brought to sit next to the groom, though the ladies and men were still separate while we enjoyed the meal afterward, at least as far as I can recall.
    Lastly, a wedding of the family friend’s daughter. a Bangladeshi family, was to our great pleasure and honor, took place within the confines of our own home. This was so special and it was special to me, because the bride and her two younger sisters, treat me like their own brother, even though we are not Mahram to each other, yet they and there parents let me be around them – the only boy that is allowed to do so. Not that its a credit to me, but the relationship our two families have and our respect for one another. So to have the Nikaah at our house, and in this case, the men were downstairs and the Sisters in a larger room upstairs at all times and additionally, it was extra special, as the Imam who had been at the bedside as my father breathed his last breath, accepted the invite to perform the Nikaah when he heard it was at the house of my father, so this was especially touching for us and of course, the bride’s family as well.
    OK, I think that’s it (you’re relieved, I know!). Can’t wait to read the other responses – there are always lovely, funny and amazing stories that go with weddings.
    Once again, thanks Sis Jannah and looking forward to hearing about the next wedding in your family insha’Allah! ;-) ;-) ;-)

  • Thanks bro for your post! You brought up a lot of the nicer memories of organizing and being part of a wedding. Thanks for reminding me that there are always good times too and also reminding me of all the weddings that I took part of abroad. They are always awesome experiences. Jazaks! p.s. since when do you have a blog!? awesome!!