Saturday 19 July 2008

Summer 2008 in Lahore: The Wedding

I didn't manage to get as many pictures of the wedding as I would have liked, mainly because I was too busy enjoying it and because most of them have family members whose privacy I would like to protect.
The wedding took place over three evenings as it was too hot during the day. The first was the mehndi ceremony which the bride and groom hold seperately. For the grooms side, the poor man sits on a stage (erected on the house's flat roof) while his guests take turns to annoint him with oil and stuff his face with sweets. I asked Little Lady to do all those things for me whilst I sat nearby as although the groom was my brother-in-law, he was still non-mahram. We didn't do this for long, before the groom got a chance to leg it to a neighbouring rooftop where the men were situated. Not sure what they did there, but it sounded very raucous and like they were having fun.

The second day is the day of the wedding: the nikah. We met the beautiful bride, my new sister-in-law for the first time and had a very nice meal provided by the brides family. This is usually the most stressful and busy day of the wedding, it was also one of the hottest nights of our trip. Being Lahore, the wedding meal was planned for 10pm and ended up being served at about 2am (again on the roof of the hall). We finally got to bed at 5am in the morning.

Little Man with a wad of 10 rupee notes (about 10p in English money)

The third day was the "Walimah", the reception organised by the grooms party. This was my favourite day. The hall was decorated with enormous colourful lanterns and had no roof to let the air through. The meal was wonderful and the whole event was generally laid-back and relaxed. I decided to play the role of "lady of the house" (as the oldest daughter-in-law I am supposed to be responsible for the welfare of the family) and went round the ladies part of the hall and socialised. ("Salaam! How are you? How are the kids? Have you had enough to eat? Here have more"). It was actually quite fun pretending to be grown-up!

The whole event might have been very different, if not for my husband. He insisted on keeping it as halal as possible mash'Allah and this meant that all three days were segregated (sometimes moreso than others - Asian's will know how the barriers start disentegrating about half-way through the wedding as people start hunting for spouses and other relatives). There was also no music (I widh I had brought some nasheed tapes) , no dhol-player (drummer) which I kind of missed and no grooms party dancing all the way to the brides house. He tried to stop my mother-in-law doin some of the odd little ceremonies like pouring oil at the door when the bride enters which he deemed unislamic, but didn't get very far as she just ignored him!

Because he took care of these little things, it was kind of good to have fun guilt-free.

Bracelets made of roses and jasmine which mother-in-law put on the new bride. She did the same for me, so now whenever we visit, my better half buys me some and the scent takes me straight back to my wedding.


  1. Welcome back sister, sounds like you had a great time dispite the heat and good for you , you didn't mention the moped ride? I guess you had others things on your mind? Did you manage a ricksaw ride? The wedding sounded ok and i am glad you managed some guilt free fun!

  2. Assalam-alaikam Sister Rainbow and jazakh'Allah-khairun for the welcome.

    I didn't go ona rickshaw, but I did get in a couple of rides with my husband on the motorbike. I think that was my favourite thing to do there, reminded me of when we were newly-weds oh so long ago.