*This post was updated in January 2019.
Hi Guys! And a happy Tuesday. Many of my readers may not know this but, December is considered wedding season in Pakistan. Due to the cooler weather (and because December 25th is the birthday of Pakistan’s founder, my great-grandfather – just kidding!), many Pakistani families consider December as a pragmatic time to hold wedding events. There seems to be a wide-range of confusion over holding wedding festivities during the month of Muharram (See HERE), but honestly, there isn’t one Islamic rule requiring anyone from withholding a wedding during this time. Of course, you can pay respect to the close descendants of Prophet Muhammad PBUH and not hold any type of festivities during Muharram, but that’s really a choice. So if Muharram happens to fall in December in the future, by all means, Sana says it is okay to have a wedding during that December.
Anyone can attest to the fact that I have loved romance and weddings literally all my life. While growing up as a kid in Pakistan, I was responsible for many blossoming romances among my teenage school friends, who were all older than me. I can only think of four school friends who were my age or younger. I became famous in the entire school system apparently, as the girl you take on “dates” because I was considered either lucky or plain ol’ cute. I think my witty humor and razor-sharp timing was the love potion. I won’t mention any names, but the latest Pakistani drama “Romeo Weds Heer” is actually about one of “those” romances (See HERE). If you are curious what “role” I played in the actual romance story, just look at any actress (or actor) with dark skin in the drama serial. I don’t get that, btw.
I love The PinkTree Company because their designs remind me of the clothes my mother and aunts used to wear when I was growing up. Prior to my birth, Pakistani culture was very different because I thought the country was STILL making amends with breaking away from the British Empire some 40 years later. People wore sarees and suits mostly and spoke Urdu like they were British (?). Speaking from memory here and I am trying to stay as humble as possible, but Pakistan’s generation of the 1980s and early 1990s aka millennials have a lot to do with formulating a “Pakistani” culture. There is truly no culture in the world like ours, and that is what makes us unique. I remember how everyone was so bewildered and proud that I was beloved by Hindus and Muslim people from low”er”- classes like truck drivers and servants because I could incorporate their “cultures” into my British-based upbringing (See HERE) and a very post-colonial Pakistan. My older cousin, however, was the epitome of Victorian class and classic colonial culture. If I can help you visualize our “Pakistani inputs” in a song, I would pick “Fevicol Se” (See HERE) or “Second Hand Jawani” (See HERE) as something I created and “Ngada Sang Dhol” (See HERE) my classy cousin created. And there are other ways my female cousins, sibling (, and friends!) changed “that 1970’s” culture into a vibrant melting-pot we call Pakistan today (See Hina HERE, Samiya HERE, Rabea HERE, Rida HERE, Alina HERE).
A Pakistani Wedding Season
Today’s Pakistani wedding is an amalgamation of its diverse traditions (See HERE) meaning a Pakistani wedding is much more than a Nikkah (the ceremony) and Valima.
Many weddings start with a Mayoun, which is completely a Hindu tradition. During my time in Pakistan, I had a chance to attend many Hindu weddings with friends, and this tradition was considered very important. During the event, the bride wears head-to-toe yellow since the yellow stuff representing sickness & negativity and is put on the bride to show that she still looks beautiful, meaning she is auspicious & prosperous.
Many Muslims have adopted the Mayoun concept from the Sikhs (Muslim converts from Judaism) & amalgamated Jewish customs with Pakistan’s Rajasthani/Gujarati customs like wearing green or yellow & putting an herbal aka uptan paste on the bride & dancing with the beat of a dholak.
The Dholki is a Pakistan-only tradition that has no religious value. This event is held to jumpstart the wedding & consists of songs, dances, friends, family, & of course food. This is also the time when wedding decor is put on outside and inside the house.
The Milad seems to be the latest trend in Pakistan. Honestly, I can think of only 1 or 2 weddings during my childhood where a Milad was held. During this event, we sing praises & remember Prophet Muhammed PBUH & important teachings in our religion, Islam.
The Baraat is Pakistan-only tradition that involves the bride’s rukhsati, the bride’s official departure from her single life. During this event, the Nikkah is traditionally performed, followed by Shaadi, which is dinner & dancing. It is always hosted by the bride’s family.
The Valima or Reception is required by Islam & the groom & his family are responsible for organizing (& paying for) it. This event involves the official introduction of the couple, dinner, & dancing.
The Chauti or 4th day is another Pakistan-only tradition. This is a super fun event hosted by the groom and his friends after all the wedding hoopla has been completed. During this very personal family time, we play games, gossip about the wedding, & of course, there is food served. The event is held at the groom’s (or groom’s family) house.
Wedding Season 2018
When December approaches, I know there are brides scrambling to different markets/bazaars & shops for last minute bridal shopping duties (the word store or mandi is reserved for places to buy groceries in Pakistan). I thought I would make the preparations a little easier by giving tips on how to style the latest The PinkTree Company’s Nani Amma Kay Duppatay (Translation: my maternal grandmother’s collection of dupattay) for your wedding events.
Mayoun/Dholkis: For these at-home events, I would suggest the “Hot & Gold” Dupatta (See HERE). Given how large or small you want the events to be, I would make a fuscia gharara with a short shirt with either banarsi silk fabric or plain silk fabric. Since the outfit is going to be such a bold statement, I would recommend not wearing any type of jewelry with this – even those lovely flower jewelry. If you do want to go traditional, then do not pick this dupatta, as it is appropriate for a modern Pakistani bride only.
Main Wedding Events
Mehndi: The “Tangy Gold” (See HERE) is perfect for a mehndi event. You can really dress it up with jhumkas with sahare (See HERE) or a teeka and jhoomer (See HERE). For the rest of your mehndi outfit, you can either go with a chattapatti (See HERE) gharara or lengha or a peshwas (See HERE). Just remember to include a lot of green in your outfit.
Baraat/Shaadi: Although it is preferred in Islam for the bride to look pure and simple during the Nikkah ceremony, I know practically speaking, as a girl who needs to have all the support she can get, girls CAN require separate events. Because of this, I have seen many brides wear WHITE during their NIKKAH ceremony, but vibrant colors like RED during their SHAADI (a part of Pakistani culture only). Regardless of whether you do a Nikkah event separately from a Shaadi event or combine the two events, you CAN wear white for both occasions. I absolutely love the “Mother Of Pearl” Dupatta (See HERE) whose gota work (See HERE) can be elevated with embroidery found in Pakistan (For ideas, see HERE), who are both still influenced by their Mughal roots.
Valima (or Reception): For this event, I would go with “Iced” (See HERE) or “Vinery In Gold” (See HERE). You can STYLE the former dupatta (remember it has a tinge of blue) with embroidered peshwas or lengha and heavy jewelry. The latter dupatta with heavy block print work can be perfect for a modern bride with a traditional flair. I would go for an all-gold look here. Anything to do with rust or shades of gold is appropriate to accentuate the block print (See HERE) on the dupatta. Gold and pearl jewelry is a must.
For A Post-Wedding Event
Chauti (The 4th Day): For this event, the bride needs to chill out a bit. The “Vinery In Gold” is perfect for this event as well (See HERE). To avoid the Valima look, I would tell the bride to dress down the dupatta with a simple shalwar kameez (See HERE) with no embroidery or any type of work for that matter. You can do the beloved churidar pajama with a short shirt or a peshwas with spaghetti straps. Remember, you need to feel comfortable on this day.
Till next time.