Weddings from the World: Muslim Weddings
Photographer: Marisa Holmes
If you have been invited to a Muslim wedding and you are not sure what to expect, keep reading this comprehensive guide to avoid any surprise. Find below the most important facts:
- Muslim weddings are held in a Mosque and before the Imam (religious and sometimes political leader). The tradition dictates that all preparations related to the bride's wedding day, such as clothing or accessories, should not be seen by the groom before the wedding ceremony or it will be bad luck.
- Islam allows men to marry Christian or Jewish women because those religions have a holy book, however, Muslim women are not allowed to marry a man who is not Muslim.
- The marriage contract has to be certified by the groom and his tutor—known as Wali—and at the ceremony, the Wali dedicates some words to the couple.
- The provisions and laws are contained in their holy book called the Koran which is read during the ceremony.
- The traditional dowry is not what most people believe. It is a gift from the future husband to his wife-to-be; for instance, an engagement ring, earrings, among others.
- The couple must appear before the "sheikh" (a kind of Islamic magistrate) with three witnesses to perform the marriage contract.
- According to Islamic law, after the ceremony, the couple is legally and spiritually bound; nevertheless, the bride returns home to plan the wedding celebration which happens one or two weeks after.
- A Muslim wedding usually lasts from three days to a week.
- The first night’s celebration is exclusive for women. The bride wears a kaftan and has henna marks on her hands and feet to keep the evil spirits away. Each symbol drawn has a meaning. The bride also enjoys a Hamman which is a relaxing steam bath that purifies her. That night, she is escorted by other women with candles, incense, chants and dances that allude to her beauty and to the process she is about to experience.
- The mother of the groom, hands a tray with keys, bread and milk. The key represents the welcoming to the new family and the food represents abundance.
- From the second night and on, there is a festival for all family and friends. The celebration depicts all the Muslim tradition and folklore.
- Unlike other religions, in Muslim weddings, women open the dance!