Tying the knot in Pakistan: A celebration of culture, tradition, and love

6 Mins read

Pakistani weddings are no less than a grand spectacle, overflowing with joy, colours and traditions. They are a cherished celebration that brings families and communities together, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the country.

“If we talk about a typical Pakistani family, you should know that a marriage ceremony lasts from three to seven consecutive days. Each day is full of traditions, customs, and exciting events, adding much more to the celebrations,” states Isha, 26 year-old Pakistani.

“With lots of ceremonies and games, the whole event becomes wholesome and exciting for everyone. If you want to know further about it, here are some prominent features making a Pakistani gathering admirable and fun.”

Pakistani weddings are synonymous with music, dance and merriment. Be it live music peformances, and traditional dances that usually take place on Mehendi Ceremony (the event includes singing, dancing and traditional perfomances by friends are family).

The air is filled with infectious energy as guests take part in celebratory dances, creating an atmosphere of unadulterated joy and festivity.

To cater to the younger generation, Pakistani weddings often include a dedicated dance floor with a professional DJ.

people dancing
Love and laughter on the dance floor (Instagram: saraidrees)

One of the most significant aspects of a Pakistani wedding are the pre-wedding rituals. These rituals usually begin weeks before the actual wedding day and are a way for both families to bond and celebrate the upcoming union.

The most popular is the Mehendi ceremony (where the girls in the family including the bride’s hand and feet are are adorned with with intricate henna designs)

Henna designs
Henna started my new life (Misha)

Another common tradition in Pakistani culture is to prepare and distribute wedding boxes also known as “mehendi favours” on the day of the nikkah, (the religious ceremony, where the bride and groom officially become husband and wife).

These wedding boxes are filled with small gifts and token of appreciation for the guests who attend the ceremony.

The decoration of the wedding boxes is an art form in itself. Opting for personalised touches, such as adding the couples’ names, which makes each wedding box unique.

wedding boxes
Traditional Mehendi favours, or giveaway boxes [Misha]

One of the defining features of Pakistani wedding food is its diversity and variety. The menu offers a wide range of traditional dishes from various regions in Pakistan, showcasing the the country’s culinary heritage.

While it is carefully planned to accommodate guests of all tastes and preferences, it typically consists of appetisers, main course and a variety of sweets and desserts.

The sight of beautifully arranged food stations, the aroma wafting through the air, and the joy of sharing a sumptuous meal with loved ones add to the experiential beauty of Pakistani weddings.

The food offered ranges from mild and flavourful to spicy and aromatic, creating a perfect blend of flavours that tantalises taste buds.

traditional dessert
Dessert delicacies (Misha)

Flowers play a significant role in Pakistani wedding decor. Fresh bloom like roses, jasmine, orchids are marigold are popular choices are used to adorn the entire event space especially the stage, tables and entrances.

Soft and warm are typically used to create a romantic and and magical ambience. Chandeliers, fairy lights, hanging lanterns and candles giving out a dreamy atmosphere for the bride and groom.

Bold and vibrant colours are a highlight of Pakistani wedding decor. traditional colours like red, gold, maroon, white and even shades of pink are commonly used to symbolise love, celebration and prosperity.

Luxurious carpets and rugs are often used to cover the floors, adding a touch of warmth and elegance to the wedding venue. These textiles tend to be brightly coloured or intricately patterned, complementing the overall decor.

flowers and lights
Love is the flower you have got to let grow (Misha)

The culture of clothes in Pakistani weddings is deeply rooted in tradition and reflects the rich cultural cultural heritage of the country.

During Pakistani weddings both men and women dress up in a traditional attire, often showcasing the vibrant and intricate craftsmanship of Pakistani clothing.

The bride usually wears a heavily embroidered and embellished bridal dress, which is typically red(symbolises the essence of the bride.

It represents the passion, love, and commitment that the bride will bring into the new life with her husband) or other bright colours like maroon or gold. “lehengas and shararas are the epitome of bridal attire.

These outfits are usually worn by the bride and characterised by their voluminous skirts and rich elaborate work. Lehenga (consists of a match skirt worn with a blouse (choli) and a duppatta, while shararas (feature loose, flared pants with. matching tunic and duppatta.

These bridal outfits are adorned with with intricate embroidery, zari work and handcrafted vibrance, creating a regal and majestic look for the bride”, says a Pakistani designer.

details of wedding outfits
The nitty gritty detailing [Instagram: saraidrees]

“If you’re from the bride’s side of the family, she must be the centre of attention for everyone in the house ranging from a toddler to a grandparent. Her outfit, jewellery, and henna design bring so much excitement to the bridesmaids,” One bridesmaid tells us.

“The bride’s royal dress preparations start many days, or even, months earlier than the actual marriage day. Almost everyone is usually pretty concerned about the bride. From her outfit to her preparations, dresses, everyone comes forward to help and suggest the best things for her.”

When it comes to men’s outfit, typically opting for a white sherwani (is a long jacket-like garment, often made of rich fabrics like silk or brocade). It is worn over a kurta (long shirt) and paired with trousers.

“Sherwanis are embroidered with intricate patterns and designs, showcasing craftsmanship and attention to detail. The use of subtle colour combinations and elegant embellishments gives sherwanis a royal and sophisticated appeal, making them a popular choice for grooms,” says Adnan, a Pakistani clothing designer.

the groom
The groom in his traditional outfit [Instagram: saraidrees]

it is worth mentioning that the cultural diversity within Pakistan also plays a role in the variations of wedding attire across different regions. For example, in the province of Punjab(second largest province In the country), the traditional attire is heavily influenced by bright colors, intricate embroidery, and mirror work, while Sindhi(third largest ethnic group in pakistan) wedding clothing showcases vibrant hues and traditional motifs.

“Overall, clothing in Pakistani weddings reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage, celebrates traditional craftsmanship, and adds to the grandeur and festive spirit of the occasion, says a well known artist from Pakistan.

In addition to these grand celebrations, Pakistani weddings also emphasize the importance of family bonds and unity. It is a time when families come together, forge new relationships, and strengthen existing ones.

This sense of unity and togetherness is extended to the community, with neighbours and friends often joining in the festivities.

“I just had my wedding and it was one wholesome occasion to see family members from both sides unite into one. The pre-wedding rituals and ceremonies provide families to come together and bond. Functions like the mehendi provide an intimate setting for family members to interact, share stories, and create lasting memories. These events facilitate conversations, laughter, and a sense of camaraderie among relatives. This is the beauty of our culture,” said Maha, 25.

wedding celebrations
Love and laughter [Instagram: saraidrees]

The heart of a Pakistani wedding lies in the Nikkah ceremony, which is the official signing of the marriage contract.

This is where the couple publicly declares their love and commitment to one another in the presence of a religious cleric. It is a moment filled with solemnity and reverence, as the couple recites vows and seeks blessings for a happy and prosperous married life.

“The beauty of a Nikkah ceremony lies in its purity, simplicity, and timeless traditions. It is a reminder that love is a divine gift and that a strong foundation built on faith, respect, and understanding can weather any storm,” one religious scholar told us.

“The ceremony serves as a reminder for the couple, as well as everyone attending, of the sanctity and beauty of marriage, encouraging a deep appreciation for the blessings of love and companionship.”

ceremony details
Where forever begins today [Instagram: saraidrees]

One of the most captivating aspects of a Nikkah ceremony is the atmosphere of reverence and humility that fills the space.

The couple, dressed in traditional attire, radiates a sense of purity and grace as they take their vows.

The simplicity of the event allows the focus to shift entirely to the love and commitment shared between the two individuals, free from worldly distractions.

The multi-day celebrations, the radiant colors, and the heartwarming customs make Pakistani weddings a truly unforgettable experience.

In addition to being a celebration of love and union, these weddings play an integral role in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Pakistan.

They are not just events but rather a reflection of the nation’s rich traditions, values, and a testament to the unity that bonds families and communities together.

In conclusion, Pakistani weddings are a melting pot of traditions, cultural elegance, and heartfelt celebrations. They radiate love, joy, and unity, leaving an indelible mark on the memories of all who attend. These weddings are a testament to the beauty, diversity, and cultural vibrancy of Pakistan, making them an experience that should be cherished and celebrated.

Featured image by Saraidress via instagram.

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