PakistanWedding Traditions


Pakistan Wedding Celebration

The Pakistan Wedding Celebration and Ceremony

Pakistan is the land of remarkable customs spread all across its corners. The marriage ceremonies of this country reflect the realm’s customs and congruence amongst its inhabitants. Regardless of their native and regional differences, marriages in Pakistan usually trail Islamic matrimonial jurisprudence. Culturally, the marriages in sub-continent are not only beheld as a union amongst the bride and the groom, but is also reflected as a coalition among their respective families, friends, and relatives. The legal age for marriage in Pakistan ranges from 16years for women to 18 years for men. The wedding customs in Pakistan are a mishmash pageant of jollities, pleasure, ornamental sophisticated dressing, and merriment. It is celebrated with prodigious vehemence and zeal.

Beginning with a number of events, wedding in Pakistan does not culminate in a single day but spans over a week or two and in some families even more. The eminent wedding celebrations comprise certain pre-wedding functions like engagement, Dholki, Mayoun, Ubtan, Mehndi and then comes the most awaited wedding day namely Barat followed by after-marriage events like Valima and Chauthi. Every event is unique in its strategy, dress selection, food selection, and other minute details.

There were times in Pakistan when people were people lived in little houses in underprivileged conditions.  Their most prized possession was the cloth their daughter would wear on her wedding day. However, over the years, the wedding ceremonies have grown to a gargantuan extent with much attention given to every microscopic detail. It is not an unanticipated and startling development; as the metropolises have swelled with newer onsets and the progeny of old inhabitants have aged, betrothals are many and extra resplendent.

The wedding is an insignia of culture, and the Pakistani culture, assaulted by years of war and demographic changes, stands altered. However, the recent Pakistani weddings, with resonating loyalty to traditions mainly imitated from Bollywood epics, and is an effort to covers the breaches and the inequity in the society. Behind the concealed obligatory merriment lies a wavering social fabric that is different from its past and yet is also uncertain of its future.

The big fat weddings have long been a South Asian assertion, and at present, the urban Pakistanis have started endorsing its grandiosity and ersatz romanticism with the artifice of Bollywood fabrications. There are glamorous actors and actresses, scriptwriters, set designers, music and choreography villains. The only difference, however, is that the fantasy and illusions of Bollywood creations are well recognized but the verbiage of the Pakistani wedding, its gloss over frayed families, its glorious re-enactment of filmic sagas maintains the impression of marriages being only as a joyful thing. The trend of extravagant wedding celebration has burdened the middle-class families and many of the customs practiced in Pakistan have no Islamic origins and are only been inspired and incorporated from the Hindu ethos.


Ubtan: where is the bride to be is applied ubtan by her friends and relatives and this is meant to enhance her beauty


Barat procession: the groom traditionally rides a horse


Initial meetings/ proposal

The marriages regardless of being arranged or of choice initiate with the meetings of both the families involved. The proposal of the marriage is put forth by the boy’s family. Some of the parents permit the couple to have a talk in isolation but otherwise, once the parents are convinced- the couple is set to be hitched! The boy’s parents propose on behalf of their son; they’ll present gifts and sweets for the girl- to butter her up!

Engagement/ Mangni

The first tradition is recognized as a “Mangni” which marks the fact that the couple is officially engaged. The engagement ceremony is usually observed at a small scale where only a few family members of the prospective groom and bride gather and the rings are exchanged along with the offerings of elders’ blessings. This is the ceremony where the wedding date is determined.

Mayoun/ Ubtan

After the Mangni, the subsequent ceremonial observance is of the “Mayun”. A Mayun bride is not permitted outdoor activities and is even asked to relax and are secluded from the household chores. Mayun is held a week or a few days prior to the wedding. In these days both the groom and the bride are not allowed to see or contact each other and thus, the charm in their meeting on the day of the wedding can be well-kept-up. In this phase the bride takes care of herself and the beautification ceremonies instigate. Ubtan, a paste of sandalwood powder, turmeric, oils, and herbs is applied to the mayun’s bride and groom. This Ubtan is believed to be applied till the day of the wedding as it is alleged to enhance the bride’s beauty. The bride’s attire of Mayoun is usually of yellow color as this color is startling, stunning, and grasps attention.

Nikkah: where the couple is officially declared as man and wife

Barat: where the bride traditionally wears a red colored attire and the groom is dressed in Sherwani

Food is also an essential element of a traditional Pakistani wedding

Dholki/ Mehndi

The “Dholki” is a ceremony where traditional wedding songs are sung which are complemented by a drum also known as Dholki. The “Mehndi” is actually a henna festivity which is held a day or two prior to the wedding. It’s basically the most spiced up event of the whole marriage. The bride’s friends and siblings escort her to the occasion. It's considered as females function where they apply henna to the bride. Sing, and dance traditional songs. The betrothed pair rejoices the event of mehndi separately, each with their family and friends.

Nikkah/ Barat

Then the Nikkah takes place, where the bride and groom are officially documented and declared as man and wife. This is amongst the most important Islamic ritual at a Pakistani wedding. The documents of the marriage referred to as “nikkahnama” encompasses specific terms and conditions on which both families confirm their consent. Nikkah takes place either a few weeks or days before the Barat or can even be combined with the function of Barat. The“Baraat” is the reception of the groom, his family, and his relatives in the bride’s house. It is the formal ritual of the wedding. The groom usually rides a horse or a horse carriage while leading the way to his friends and family dancing on the beat of the drums. The groom is dressed in a traditional dress known as “Sherwani” and the bride wears a “Lehnga”. The groom, his family, and relatives are all very warmly welcomed. In their reception, they are greeted with goodwill and are also offered juices and food. The function of Barat is instantaneously followed by the “Ruksati” in which the bride bids farewell to her family and is taken to her husband’s house to live a new life.


ValimaOn the next day of the wedding, the concluding function “Valima” is held. It is a lunch/dinner function organized by the groom's family. Everyone belonging to the bride’s and groom’s family and friends invited as it’s a feast in the honor of the newlywed couple. On the day of Valima, the groom usually wears a suit and the bride will be witnessed once again in plenty of gold jewelry combined with outfits of pastel shades

Pakistani weddings nowadays are colorful, extravagant and across-the-board entailing numerous customs and rituals, and a source of joy, entertainment, and the ultimate festivity of love for those involved. The country has an assortment of people where some desire to have an extravagant wedding while others embrace the Islamic approach of the wedding. This, it all depends on the choices made and the resource possessed. The culture of different countries undeniably varies but then again in every culture marriage that works seems to be of the people who are open minded, flexible and respectful to each other.


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Mayun: Where a to be bride is dressed in yellow and wears almost no makeup


Dholki/ Mehndi: The traditional bride veils her face during the ceremony and her makeup is very simple. The bride’s dress for this occasion is either of green, yellow, or orange color which makes her attire attractive and yet not over the top. The Mayoun and Mehndi bride is usually dolled up with minimum possible makeup and is adorned by fresh flowers jewelry.

Nikkah/ Barat: The majority of the brides select red as the color of their wedding dress. Some use it to connote love and warmth while the other and the bold ones select it to make a statement. In addition, the brides are adorned with heavy gold jewelry and bangles.

Nikkah/ Barat



In traditional Pakistan marriages there is no cake cutting ceremonies. However, sweets are served, the menu of lunch varies and depends on the affordability and liking. Usually, there are curries, rice, salads, and desserts.

Resources and References

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