Pakistani Wedding Traditions — a Celebration That Brings Together All Relatives

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If you are in a mood to attend a vibrant and loud wedding, you must make sure to have some Pakistani friends around you. A typical Pakistani wedding hosts a number of events and consists of a variety of rituals which are unique either due to the religion or the culture. Among all Pakistani wedding traditions, one of the key elements is the gathering of the entire family to enjoy the occasion and bless the couple for a happy married life.

The proposal and marriage in a Pakistani setup are really specific and both are surrounded with various customs and rituals. We will let you know in detail how the proposal is initiated and how two people come together in the auspicious bond of marriage.

The Initial Meeting and the Proposal

You will be amazed to find that even in the twenty-first century an astonishingly high number of arranged marriages takes place in this country. Whether a couple has an arranged marriage or one based on love, it all starts when both families meet at the bride’s house. Basic information like the groom’s job, his age and education are discussed. Even the girl is assessed to see if she’s a suitable match or not.

All this might not be possible in a single meeting so there are chances that the families meet a couple of times before making a decision. If both parties like each other and infer that the couple will lead a blissful life, they give their approval for the marriage.

Engagement Party

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As per the Pakistani marriage traditions, the bride’s family hosts and organizes the engagement party. All the closest friends and relatives are welcome. At the end of the celebration, the couple exchanges engagement rings in front of all their friends and family members. After that, all that needs to be done is to set a date everybody agrees on and start the hassle preparing for all the festivities.

Dholki

When only a few weeks are left before the wedding, various parties are thrown at both houses to celebrate the occasion. This funny Pakistani wedding tradition is known as Dholki where everyone sings and dances. Good food is served, and all the relatives chat and enjoy their time.

Mayun

A few days prior to the wedding, the bride is supposed to wear a yellow dress and this ritual is known as mayun. From this day onwards, the bride cannot leave the house or even change into any other clothes. She is also prohibited from talking to the groom.

All the closest females from both bride and groom’s sides come together to apply oil and yellow paste, commonly known as ‘uptan’, on hands, feet, and face of the girl. It is believed that by following all these customs, the bride will have a natural glow on her face on the wedding day.

Mehndi

Everyone in both families waits for Pakistani wedding ritual because it is full of singing, dancing, fun, and entertainment. It is a huge gathering where a lot of people are invited so that they can rejoice the occasion and take part in the celebration and happiness of the couple. Usually, a theme is given to close relatives so that they can wear matching traditional Pakistani wedding clothes.

The traditional ceremonies include applying henna paste on the palms of the bride and groom along with treating them with something sweet. Apart from this, there is a real dancing battle taking place between the bride’s and the groom’s relatives. Both families host the event together, and the cost of the food, décor, and venue are equally divided.

Sehra Bandi

On the big day, it all begins at the groom’s house, where all the guests arrive. A sehra (headdress) is placed on his head, and all the attendees give him wedding gifts in cash. This Pakistani wedding tradition is known as ‘salami’.


All of them leave the groom’s house together and make their way to the place where the bride’s family hosts the wedding ceremony. The groom drives a decorated car with all the other cars following him towards the destination.

Barat

As soon as the groom’s side, which is referred to as the barat, reaches the venue, they are greeted by the friends and female cousins of the bride. The girls throw petals of flowers on the incoming guests, and the oldest family member puts a garland of flowers around the groom’s neck.

The groom sits on a decorated stage with the bride making an appearance soon after and taking her place next to him. According to another Pakistani wedding traditions, a gift guests give to the couple is ‘salami’.

Now, it comes the most interesting part of the entire event when the bride’s sister along with her cousins and friends comes to the stage with a glass of milk. The groom is supposed to drink that milk and give some money to the girls in return. After a lot of negotiation and some cute fights, both the parties agree on a certain amount of money which is given by the groom in exchange for the glass of milk.

Food is served for all the guests. The bride is supposed to leave for the groom’s house with his family after the function ends. It is a sad sight where the bride is crying because she has to leave the house of her parents and settle with her husband. With a promise to keep her happy, the groom takes his soulmate to her new home.

Nikah

This is the official marriage ceremony where the bride and the groom sign the papers. There’s no fixed time to get the Nikah done as some families prefer to do it during the Barat ceremony while others may want to escape the hassle and get it done beforehand. In some families, the Nikah ceremony takes place on the day preceding the mehndi ritual.

Walima

Walima is a traditional name for the wedding reception. It is hosted by the groom, and the bride’s family members are treated as guests of honor here. The groom’s family is supposed to take care of them. Apart from serving some really good food, glamour and festivities are also a part of the celebrations.

According to the Pakistani Muslim wedding traditions, it is a good gesture to feed the poor as well. So, some families make it a point to distribute a certain portion of the food among the less privileged classes of society.

Maklawa

After the Walima ceremony, the couple goes to the bride’s home and spends a night with her family. They enjoy this time and some good conversations between the groom and his new family members.

The very next day, the groom’s family members come to pick up the husband and wife. They are treated with a lavish dinner and given gifts from the bride’s side.

Most of the above-mentioned Pakistani wedding traditions do not hold any ground in their religion, Islam. The wedding customs of giving dowry and gifts to the groom’s side have been adopted from the Hindu culture. In Islam, there’s only the ceremony of Nikah followed by a Walima reception by the groom.