*This post was updated on July 27th, 2019.
Hi Guys! Many of my readers may not know this but, December and January are set as the wedding season in Pakistan. Due to cooler weather (and because December 25th is the birthday of Pakistan’s founder and my grandfather) many Pakistani families consider winter as a pragmatic time to hold wedding events. There seems to be a wide range of confusion over celebrating wedding festivities during the month of Muharram but honestly there isn’t one Islamic rule requiring anyone from withholding a celebration then or anytime.
So when the winter approaches I know there are brides scrambling to different markets or bazaars and shops for last minute bridal shopping (the word store or mandi is reserved for grocery stores in Pakistan). I thought I would make the preparations a little easier by giving tips on how to style the The PinkTree Company’s Nani Amma Kay Duppatay available in The Democratic Country Of Pakistan.
Pakistani Wedding Traditions
Simple traditions were always part of a Pakistani wedding. Some of the original ones which my paternal grandmother said she started during her wedding in the state of India was Kheer Chitai, Doodh Palaui, Doola Rokhai, and Moon Dikhai. These wedding traditions were just to make her wedding events fun and carry no Islamic value. She didn’t specify on what occasions she had these traditions take place either. However in addition to the traditions above there were religious traditions in our family such as writing a Quranic verse on the bride’s forehead and the groom reading namaz in front of the entire family with his bride sitting next to him the first night she is brought to her new home.
Since the concept of a Mehndi event was created in Pakistan in the 1980’s my youngest aunt made her mehndi one of the ages. She had choreographed dances in addition to song competitions with dholak (a tradition from the 1970’s). Since my grandmother was so big on traditions my aunt was excited enough to create the Mehndi ki Rasam. Depending on how important traditions are in your family you can incorporate these ideas as you please.
For etymology enthusiasts, the Urdu word for traditions is Tehvar, a Persian word. Hindus call traditions Rasams. Other words that have Turkish roots in Urdu are bawarchi, Maharani, Maharaja.
New Wedding Traditions
I remember the wedding season in Pakistan was from late November to January because Pakistan gets so hot the rest of the year. The rest of the year Pakistan is all about cultural events. The concept of holding wedding events “after Ramadan or not holding events during the month of Muharram” are completely bogus.
What To Wear
This seems to be the latest trend in Pakistan. I can think of only one or two weddings during my childhood where a milad was held. I created the concept of milad for one of my aunt’s weddings in the 1980s. During a milad, we sing praises of the Prophet, remember stories of Islam’s Prophet Muhammed PBUH, and important teachings in God’s three pragmatic religions.
Weddings are rare occasions and holding a milad gives support to the bride and groom during the special time.
A Sikh-derived event (Sikhs are converts from Judaism), a dholki is held to jumpstart the wedding and consists of songs, dances, friends, family, and Pakistani and “Continental” food. This is also the time when wedding decor is put outside and inside respective wedding houses.
The Hot and Gold Dupatta with a fuscia short shirt and gharara made with banarsi silk fabric or any self print silk fabric will look beautiful. This outfit is going to be such a statement for the bride reserve the flower jewelry for a simpler outfit. Wear heirloom jewelry instead like chandbalis with meenakari work or even a Mughal jhoomer. To go the traditional route stitch a classic long shirt and pair it with a chattapatti gharara. Gem colors like emerald green, mustard yellow, amethyst purple, and this ruby pink will look lovely.
In the Democratic Country of Pakistan depending on wherever you live celebrate the three types of wedding events that celebrate the bride. For the bride who makes the most fuss over her bridal dresses the family can agree to celebrate a Navatri since wedding dresses are an important aspect to the bride. A Navatri bride is considered a rare gem and holds the most brilliance in those dresses. With this Tangy Gold dupatta choose a mehndi green color or an emerald green color since green is the most versatile and cherished color anywhere. It is also a color for a Muslim bride who wants to stay true to her religious responsibilities and heritage. Short shirts and farsh ghararas with aari/zari/zardozi/fareesha embroidery is required. If you opt for teal hues add pink and blue accents. Wear an heirloom Mughal mathapatti to frame your face.
Sangeet is for the bride that loves dancing or listening to music. The Tangy Gold dupatta will look lovely against white or eggshell white fabrics. White has nothing to do with virginal or purity in Pakistan but it is very representative of purity in people. A white worked chikankari with kamdani/mukaish/badla/fareesha lengha choli is lovely. Go for an elaborate necklace like a sath lara or choker and add jhumkas with or without sahare. A qamar patti is a lovely touch to the bride’s lengha choli. I suggest adding traditional flowers like motia or jasmine and chameli or marigold as personal touches.
The bride who wants to celebrate a Mehndi is the bride who loves decor down to the table setting. For this bride the yellow color is preferable as it is the most traditional in Pakistan and India (Afghanis can downplay the yellow). Since the dupatta is orange go for a lemon yellow peshwas or a lengha. Play tie dye concepts like chunri, the newest metallic or mehndi colored block prints (green, red, and black) with gota work. As jewelry, wear the heirloom jhumkas, Mughal choker, and a Mughal teeka.
* In case you want to celebrate Navatri, the bride divides the evening’s look into three specific animals- a peacock, a illama, and a camel. The best way I incapsulate the vision for these three animals are shot in Bollywood movies. Please use this video HERE if you consider yourself a peacock bride, these videos HERE and HERE if you consider yourself a camel bride, and this video HERE if you consider yourself a illama bride.
**In case you want to celebrate Sangeet, the bride divides the evening’s look into three specific animals- a French bulldog, an elephant, and a flamingo. The best way I incapsulated the vision for these three animals are shot in Bollywood movies. Please use this video HERE if you consider yourself a French Bulldog bride; this video HERE and HERE if you consider yourself a elephant bride; and this video HERE if you consider yourself a flamingo bride.
***In case you want to celebrate Mehndi, the bride divides the evening’s look into three specific animals- a peacock, a illama, and a camel. The best way I incapsulated the vision for these three animals are shot in Bollywood movies. Please use this video HERE if you consider yourself a peacock bride, this video HERE if you consider yourself a camel bride, and this video HERE if you consider yourself a illama bride.
Nikkah/Baraat with Shaadi/Valima
After the Nikkah and in addition to the Valima, the Pakistani tradition of the Baraat inclues the bride’s Rukhsati or the bride’s official departure from her current stage in life. The Baraat includes a Shaadi or a dinner with dancing and singing. The Valima is performed as a seperate event in Pakistan.
It is preferred in Islam for the bride to look pure and simple during the Nikkah. I have seen many brides wear white or pastels during the Nikkah and Valima and choosing vibrant colors for their Baraat instead. I absolutely love the Mother Of Pearl Dupatta whose gota work (See HERE) can be elevated. You can get stitched a lovely gharara and long shirt with resham ka kaam, kiren work, and zari/zardozi/fareesha/aari work. Chattapatti work is nice as an “afterthought”.
The Reception involves the official introduction of the couple, dinner, and dancing.
For this event, I would go with Iced or Vinery In Gold. 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. Gold and pearl jewelry is preferred.
Chauti or The 4th Day
The Chauti or The 4th day is another 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, and of course, food will be served. The event is held at the groom’s (or groom’s family) house.
For the event the bride needs to chill out a bit. The Vinery In Gold is perfect for this event as well. To avoid the Valima look I would tell the bride to dress down the dupatta with a simple shalwar kameez with no embroidery or any type of work for that matter. You can do churidar pajama with a short shirt or a peshwas with spaghetti straps. Remember, you need to feel comfortable on this day.