Arabic Weddings Traditions 

 Arab Wedding Traditions

Arabic weddings are known for their rich traditions and customs, which vary slightly among the 22 countries in the Arab world.

Families play an important role in the celebrations and traditional customs and ceremonies are often incorporated, even when getting married abroad.

Weddings can last for multiple days and feature lavish parties. Formal attire is usually worn and the Nikah and Walima are the only required Islamic rituals.

Common Arabic Wedding Parts:

  • The engagement ceremony, where families formally agree to the marriage
  • The henna night, a pre-wedding celebration where the bride's hands and feet are decorated with henna designs
  • The traditional wedding ceremony, which is often a religious ceremony that takes place in a mosque or other religious venue and may include the exchange of rings, signing of a marriage contract, and recitation of prayers
  • The Zaffa, a wedding procession where the groom and his entourage go to the bride's house to pick her up
  • The reception, a large party where the bride and groom are celebrated by family and friends
  • Dowry, the practice of the groom's family giving gifts to the bride's family as a symbol of commitment to the marriage
  • The use of traditional dress, such as the groom wearing a thawb and the bride wearing a hijab or abaya
  • Incorporation of traditional customs like the seven blessings where the couple is blessed by seven married couples
  • The Farewell, where the bride says goodbye to her family and leaves with her husband to start their new life together.

Most Popualr Arab Wedding Traditions:

The engagement ceremony

The Walima ceremony

The Nikah

The Zaffa

The Baraat

The Sofreh Aghd

"Saq Al-Bolbol" Tradition

 "Saq Al-Bolbol" is a traditional arabic engagement ceremony that is steeped in romance and tradition. It is a momentous occasion where the groom's family formally presents gifts to the bride's family, symbolizing their acceptance of the union between the couple. It is a special moment where the families come together to celebrate the love and commitment of the couple. The ceremony is usually accompanied by music, laughter, and joy as the families bond over the happy news. It's a beautiful tradition that brings together loved ones and symbolizes the start of a new chapter in the couple's life. The Saq Al-Bolbol is a romantic and meaningful way for the couple to kick off their engagement and start planning for their big day.

"Khutbah Al-Eshk" or "Khutbah Al-Nikah" Tradition

The traditional Arabic marriage proposal is called "Khutbah Al-Eshk" or "Khutbah Al-Nikah." It is a formal request for marriage made by the groom or his family to the bride's family. It is typically done in the presence of an Islamic leader or "Sheikh" who acts as a mediator and witness. The proposal typically includes a formal declaration of the groom's intentions, a description of his qualifications and the presentation of a gift to the bride's family. After the proposal, the bride's family will consider the proposal and give their answer. If the proposal is accepted, the couple is considered engaged and the preparations for the wedding can begin.

"Mahr" tradition

"Mahr" is a traditional gift from the groom to the bride in the Arab world, typically given in the form of money or property. It is a romantic gesture that symbolizes the groom's love and commitment to the bride. The Mahr is usually given during the engagement ceremony and it's a way for the groom to show his affection and promise to take care of his future wife.

The Mahr also holds a significant value in the Islamic culture as it is considered a legal requirement for the marriage to be valid. But beyond its legal aspect, it is an emotional and romantic gesture that shows the groom's readiness and willingness to take on the responsibility of marriage.

It is also a way for the bride and her family to feel secure and valued, knowing that the groom is committed to providing for her financially. The Mahr is a beautiful tradition that adds a touch of romance and symbolism to the engagement period, and it's a special moment that the couple will always remember.

The most popular and classic gifts for the Mahr tradition

  1. Gold jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings.

  2. Cash or monetary gifts, which is considered as the most common form of Mahr.

  3. Property or land, which is considered as a more substantial and long-term form of Mahr.

  4. Car, considered as a luxury and practical gift.

  5. Home or apartment, which is considered as a long-term investment.

  6. Stock or shares, which is considered as a more modern and sophisticated way of giving Mahr.

  7. Business partnership, that is also considered as a more modern and sophisticated way of giving Mahr.

  8. A piece of art that can be considered as a luxurious and valuable gift

  9. A vacation package or a trip abroad, which can be considered as a romantic and memorable gift.

It's important to note that the Mahr is not just a financial transaction but it is a symbol of the groom's love and commitment to the bride, so the most important thing is that the gift is chosen with love and care.

Reading the Fatiha

The Fatiha, also known as the Opening, is the first chapter of the Quran. It is considered to be one of the most important chapters in the Quran and is recited in every unit of prayer. In an Arabic marriage ceremony, the Fatiha is typically recited as part of the wedding ceremony, as a prayer for the couple's happiness and success in their marriage. This is usually done by an Islamic cleric or imam, but it can also be recited by the couple or a family member.

Traditional Arabic Henna Party

The Henna Party, also known as the Mehndi ceremony, is a traditional pre-wedding celebration where intricate henna designs are applied to the bride's hands and feet. It is an ancient tradition that has been passed down through generations, and is steeped in symbolism and meaning.

As the henna is applied, the bride is surrounded by her closest friends and family, all of whom are there to offer their love and support. The henna designs are said to bring good luck and prosperity to the marriage, and the bride's hands are adorned with the most beautiful and intricate patterns.

The Henna Party is an intimate and joyous celebration, filled with music, dancing, and laughter. It is a time for the bride to let her hair down and enjoy the company of her loved ones before the big day. The henna designs, which can last for up to two weeks, are a constant reminder of the love and support of her family and friends.

As the night goes on, the air is filled with the sweet scent of henna and the sounds of traditional music, creating an unforgettable and magical atmosphere. The bride glows with happiness as she is showered with love and blessings.

In short, Henna party is a celebration of love and unity, a prelude to the big day where the bride is surrounded by her loved ones and is showered with love, blessings and good wishes through the beautiful henna art on her hands.

Radwa tradition

The Radwa tradition is a beautiful and romantic pre-wedding ritual that is steeped in symbolism and meaning. It is a traditional Arabic ceremony in which the bride and groom are formally introduced to each other's families.

The bride, dressed in her finest traditional attire, is escorted by her family to the groom's home. As she approaches, the groom's family welcomes her with open arms and showers her with rose petals. The couple then sits together on a throne, symbolizing their union and the start of their journey together as husband and wife.

The atmosphere is filled with love and excitement as the families bond over traditional sweet treats and Arabic coffee. The couple exchange loving glances and sweet whispers, their hearts beating with anticipation for the big day.

The Radwa is a special moment for both families to come together and celebrate the union of the couple. It is a time to put aside any differences and come together to bless the couple's new life together.

In short, Radwa is a beautiful and romantic pre-wedding tradition where the bride and groom are formally introduced to each other's families, it's a symbol of unity and love between the two families and couple as they embark on their journey together as husband and wife.

Nikah/Wedding Ceremony

Out of all the Arab wedding traditions, this is the most integral one. This is a marriage contract which officially binds the two people as husband and wife. The ritual is performed by the Imam (priest, in simple words) who also fills out all the legal documents involved. The wedding is to be done with the permission of the bride and the groom with two adult men, usually from the family, being witness to it.

The groom is supposed to offer a mahr to the bride as a wedding gift. There is no fixed amount of mahr but it should be something which is acceptable to the bride and affordable for the groom. It can be cash, jewelry, travel (umrah, hajj) or any other thing which is agreeable from both sides.

After the wedding ceremony, there is a lunch or dinner hosted by the bride’s family. It is not necessary to do so because Islam doesn’t project it. However, some of the families do so because of the pressure from the society and the orthodox Arabic weddings traditions. By the end of the dinner, the bride officially leaves the house of her ancestors and moves to live with the groom (with or without his family).


"Walima" - Traditional Arabic Wedding Party 


The Walima ceremony, also known as the wedding reception, is a beautiful and joyous celebration that marks the official union of the bride and groom. The couple is typically dressed in their finest attire, with the groom often arriving in a grand manner. They are seated on a stage or platform, where they are formally introduced to the guests. The guests then offer their congratulations and best wishes to the newlyweds.

The feast, which is typically a grand buffet, is a highlight of the event and includes traditional dishes such as rice, meat, and vegetables. The setting is often adorned with colorful lights and flowers, adding to the festive atmosphere. Music and dancing are also common, providing entertainment for the guests. The couple also has the opportunity to distribute gifts to their guests, such as sweets or traditional clothing.

One of the important aspects of the Walima ceremony is to invite the less fortunate members of the community to join in the feast, as a way of giving back and fulfilling the Islamic tradition of charitable giving. This not only brings joy to the less fortunate but also strengthens the bond within the community.

The bride's dress is usually a traditional, elegant and heavily embroidered gown, often in shades of red, maroon, or gold. She typically complements her dress with traditional jewelry and a veil.

The groom's attire is traditionally formal, typically wearing a sherwani, which is a long, embroidered coat worn over a kurta and pajama. The sherwani is usually in a neutral color such as white or beige and complemented with a turban and traditional footwear.

It is worth noting that the traditional attire can vary depending on the culture and region. Overall, the Walima ceremony is a time for the bride and groom to look and feel their best as they officially start their new life together and the traditional attire adds a touch of elegance and grandeur to the occasion.