5 Ways Pakistani Weddings are Different from Western Weddings

Weddings are celebrated differently in different places, everyone knows that. But after growing up in Pakistan (and having a Pakistani wedding), every time I see a western wedding, I can’t help but be reminded afresh of just how different those two types of weddings are. For instance:

1) Not only can you wear the same color as the bride, you can wear your actual wedding dress to the event without eliciting any reaction. In fact, if you have been married less than 5 years or the wedding is that of a sibling or close cousin, you are expected to re-wear your wedding dress and people will ask you why you’re not wearing it if you don’t!

If you're thinking that dress looks heavy to walk in, you're right >.<
If you’re thinking that dress looks heavy to walk in, you’re right

2) Speaking of the wedding dress, you have not one but two proper wedding dresses and you don’t even pick the second one. Technically, with the wedding spanning anywhere from 3 (the minimum) to 6 or 7 events, you actually have several ‘bridal’ clothes, each different according to the traditional clothes of each event. The dresses for the last 2 events though are the ones that are full-on wedding dresses, the first you choose for yourself while the second is chosen and paid for by the groom’s family.

3) The actual ‘exchange of vows’ is not given too much time or importance, it often happens before the actual event (or is a separate event on its own) and is usually witnessed by a minimal number of people. Oh and the bride and groom are not even in the same room during this exchange of vows.

nikkah-wedding

4) The weddings is stretched over several days instead of hours with elaborate rituals, clothes, colors, decor etc particular to each day.

The Mendhi event
The Mendhi event

5) The first morning after the wedding, breakfast is brought over by the brides family who than stay to help eat that breakfast. Which of course can get embarrassing if they arrive before you’ve woken up and you have to scramble to get all dolled up before joining them.

There are many many more differences of course, but these were the first 5 I thought of and 5 is always a good number for a list, don’t you think?

 

Interested in knowing more? Leave your questions in the comments!

 

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25 thoughts on “5 Ways Pakistani Weddings are Different from Western Weddings

  1. Weddings in India are pretty similar. Just that we don’t do 3. & 5. Oh and have you witnessed the henna night (bride to be women relatives wear mehndi/henna on their hands and feet, more like a temporary tattoo)..that’s like a traditional hen party πŸ˜‰

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  2. Weddings in India are pretty similar. Just that we don’t do 3. & 5. Oh and have you witnessed the henna night (bride to be & women relatives wear mehndi/henna on their hands and feet, more like a temporary tattoo)..that’s like a traditional hen party πŸ˜‰

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  3. My second mistake… er… ex-husband was from Pakistan and he showed me pictures from his brother’s wedding. Wow! So many colors! So much dancing! Their wedding lasted five nights. She didn’t look happy in any of the videos, just… tired. There was one night when the groom danced and everyone gave him money? Or am I remembering that incorrectly? And the dresses are out of this world! I love the colors. I totally didn’t wear white at my wedding. Boring!

    While we were still married, his brother threw a birthday party for their son — two years old if I remember correctly. They rented a hall, invited the whole community. I’ve never seen such a birthday party for a two year old. Drinking, live music, dancing, lots of food, everyone all dressed up. It was pretty amazing. I guess I’m saying that it’s not just weddings that are different. ^_^

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  4. I have a girl who’s pretty sure she’s a princess who would love the idea of multiple dresses to be worn multiple times! I love that you are expected to wear your dress again, that’s an excellent custom!

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    1. When it’s time for her to get married, give her a South Asian wedding, she’ll love it! :p
      And I’m glad we get to re-wear our dresses as well! With the kind of money you spend on it, it would be a crime to only wear it once!

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  5. What an insightful post, Sally. I love the differences between cultures. Things like this are obviously the better parts, from my perspective. Then again, maybe it’s not as much fun as it looks from the outside….?

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  6. Though Indian weddings are very similar (i consider all of us from the same place πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ i find all of these very beautiful. I have always love Pakistani outfits plus the bride’s , they look like dolls. Thanks for the share πŸ™‚ This was beautiful.

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  7. This is so awesome. My maternal grandmother was Pakistani (so I guess that makes me a quarter Pakistani??) and I didn’t know about some of the points on this list! I think it’s awesome that you get to wear your wedding dress again. I have quite a lot of pakistani friends actually but I couldn’t possibly wear my wedding dress because it is too stereotypical, and would really stand out among all the beautiful colours of Pakistani wedding dresses. My mum had three events on her wedding, and all her dresses were bought by my grandmother, and were so intricate and beautiful, I half wish I’d worn one of them for my own wedding.

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    1. I think the reason we can re-wear ours is because the style and colors of the dress aren’t only for the bride: even if we’re not wearing our wedding dresses our formal dresses are the same sort as well πŸ™‚
      Quarter Pakistani? Then we’re practically related you and I πŸ˜‚ Which part of the world are you from other than that quarter, if you don’t mind me asking?

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      1. Hahaha, I guess we are! Well, my father is part Moroccan, part Irish and my mother is part Pakistani, part English πŸ™‚ So, I guess I am a mongrel of Asia, Africa and Europe.

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