Last week I had a great opportunity to shoot a muslim wedding. For me it was the first muslim wedding even as a guest let alone photographing the event. Besides the numerous hugs, the infamous briyani and the separate areas for men and women there is more to the Muslim wedding than I initially knew. The muslim wedding is a 3 days event with different rituals that reflects lot of love and affection for the couple and the guests equally. It started with Mangi, a ritual that is similar to Nalangu or a Haldi where turmeric is applied on the groom and bride. Next came the Mehendi. The female crowd smear turmeric on the bride’s face and hands.
The second day is the baraat and Nikkah. The groom arrives in a horse with a band of musicians making some loud music. Then the bride’s brother welcomes the groom to the hall where the Nikkah takes place. The groom was made to sit in the first floor and the bride and the female crowd is made to sit in the second floor. The Nikkah or the muslim wedding ceremony takes place separately. The men get-together next to the groom and have him sign the Nikahnama, a document which is considered to be the marriage contract. Then the bride’s father takes the Nikahnama to the bride and asks for her approval and the bride says “Kabool Hai” meaning “I agree”. Now they are considered a married couple. After this a sumptuous dinner is served and the groom is then taken to the floor where the bride and the female members are. Under a silk shawl they read kuran and see each others face in a mirror. This is when the groom is made to the see the bride for the first time. Though the actual wedding ceremony is short , the pre-wedding rituals take a long time and there is no time constraint so the guests and the couple take their own time. Every ritual is done without any urgency.
The final ritual is the Valima which is the reception where the guests greet the new couple.