Indian-Muslim Wedding 101

Being an Indian Utah Wedding Photographer for years, we know very well that Indian weddings are among the most joyous, colorful and meaningful celebrations—full of rich traditions passed down over centuries. While most Indian-American couples have Hindu roots, Islam is also a popular religion for couples having a traditional Indian wedding. The Nikah ceremony is named after the Arabic word for marriage and is the heart of an Indian Muslim wedding ceremony.

Here’s a quick rundown of Nikah ceremony traditions and what to expect at an Indian Muslim wedding:

Manjha and Mehndi celebrations take place before the Nikah ceremony

Both the manjha and the mehndi, or henna, are rooted in ancient Indian marriage rituals and are unique to Muslims from South Asia. The manjha is equivalent to the Hindu haldi tradition where the bride-to-be is painted in a turmeric paste given to her by the groom’s family elders. This Indian Muslim wedding tradition is enjoyed with the bride’s closest female relatives and friends, and is one of the best opportunities for fun Indian Utah Wedding Videography.

Mehndi is another word for henna, a dark, plant-based dye that’s used to decorate the bride’s hands and feet in preparation for the Nikah ceremony. The night before the wedding, the bride, her bridal party and female relatives celebrate this ritual together with gorgeous, detailed patterns.

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The Nikah ceremony has three important step

Muslim wedding ceremonies are nearly identical, no matter the culture of the couple, thanks to time-honored religious traditions. However, Indian Muslim weddings feature a special addition. The baraat is a South Asian tradition practiced by Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs alike. The groom and his family members arrive into the wedding often on a horse, which is another great image to capture by your Indian Utah Wedding Photographer. The family is given sweets and the groom shares a sherbet with the bride’s brother.

Before the couple is even allowed to see each other, a mehr, or symbolic presentation of gifts or money, is given to the bride by the groom. Some modern couples see the bride’s engagement ring as the mehr and any additional gifts offered at this time to be more ornamental, rather than substantive.

Islam religious leaders, called Imams, must serve as officiants for Indian Muslim weddings. After the mehr, the couple agrees to be married by saying qubool hai three times each when asked by the Imam.

Next, the Nikah-Nama, which is a binding social contract between the couple and their Muslim faith, is read aloud at this time by the Imam. The couple agrees to the terms of the contract and signs it during their ceremony as their guests look on. The Imam gives a short sermon, reads from the Koran, and the couple is now officially married.

Arsi Mushaf is the first time the couple looks at each other as husband and wife during their Indian Muslim wedding. They are separated by a mirror and a Holy Koran is held. Keeping with Indian traditions, the couple may also exchange garlands at this time—another must-catch moment by your Indian Utah Wedding Photographer.

Savaqah is the final part of the Nikah ceremony. As the couple leaves the mosque, guests shower the bride with coins to wish her luck.

Post-Wedding Ritual

After the marriage ceremony is over the bride bids farewell to her family. As a part of her welcome, she is gifted the Holy Quran by her mother-in-law.

It is a reception party that is hosted by the family of the groom. Friends and family gather to wish the newlyweds a prosperous life. The couple is showered with wedding gifts and blessings.

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Regional Tones and Variations

Bengali Weddings
Depending on the lifestyle of the family, the outfit of a Bengali Muslim bride may differ. The brides from a more conservative family wear a jileba or a Hijabi outfit whereas modern brides usually opt for a saree or a lehenga. One old-time tradition which is usually followed by most Muslim Bengali is that after the Nikaah ceremony the bride and the groom drink from the same glass in order to increase their love for each other.

Kashmiri Weddings
Kadal-e-taar is one of the most unique rituals of a typical Kashmiri wedding. It is a tradition for the friends of the groom to stop his vehicle during the return journey of baraat. They do not let him pass with his bride until he pays them some amount. The traditional Kashmiri bridal dress is also very unique to the region. Known as pheran, it is knee-length embroidered kurta embroidered and a close-fitting salwar.

Hyderabadi Weddings
Apart from the famed Hyderabadi biryani which of course is the centre of attraction when it comes to Muslim weddings in Hyderabad, the difference is of the bridal dress. A Muslim bride in Hyderabad traditionally wears a khara dupatta set. It comprises of a kurta or a tunic, a churidar, and a dupatta.

Lucknowi Weddings
The main difference in Lucknowi weddings is again of the bridal wear. Traditionally, Muslim brides in Lucknow wear a gharara on the wedding day. It consists of a kurti, a pair of wide-legged pants pleated from the knees, and a dupatta.

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