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Muslims please help me re. wedding

(13 Posts)
MichaelaS Tue 23-Aug-11 20:24:56

Hi all

I've just been given a wedding invitation by my next door neighbour, who is getting married. It is lovely to be asked, but its an Islamic ceremony and I just wanted to check what might be expected before I gratefully accept or send my apologies. I'm a practising Christian and have never been to any Islamic ceremony or celebration before so i'm a bit clueless. Please can you let me know what I should expect?

OK, so the invite reads.... "In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficient, The Most Merciful"....."Wedding & Walima"

"By the Grace of Almighty Allah, We take great pleasure in inviting you, XYZ, to attend the wedding and walima of our xth daughter ABC with DEF, yth son of Mr GHI. You are cordially invited to bless the bride and groom. "
"we kindly request no boxed gifts please"

from the venue it looks like it will be a large wedding. I understand Hindu weddings are often 500+, is this likely here?

the family are not the strictest of muslims from what I can gather, the women don't seem to wear headscarves but obviously I don't know what the groom's family might be like.

Firstly - is this an invitiation to be polite, where i'm not supposed to actually go or would it be expected that by receiving an invitation i should move heaven and earth to go?

Re the wedding itself - what is a Walima? and what might the day entail? will there be a religious ceremony or would that be completed elsewhere or another time?

what might the expectations re. dress be for a non-muslim woman? i'm not generally very covered up and wouldn't want to offend anyone! also is there anything i should know about seating arrangements - should I expect to be away from my DH and / or 2yo DS?

what does it mean "to bless the bride and groom"? is that bless them with my presence, or bless them with a prayer or with a gift or what? what would the normal gift ettiquette be and what on earth does "no boxed gifts please" mean!

help, I have just realised how culturally ignorant i am! but i am very excited at the idea of celebrating the wedding with them as long as I feel I could do it in all good conscience (which i'm sure I could, just need to check to be sure!)

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 22:45:50

Hi MichaelaS, your message makes me smile (in a nice way!)
Will respond to your message shortly. But don't worry...it's easier than you think smile

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 22:46:54

Are there 2 different dates on the card, or just 1?

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 22:48:15

Walima tends to be a wedding celebration which the groom or groom's family tend to host. The bride's family take all their guests along but essentially the groom's side are the hosts.

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 22:49:33

However, it could be that they are having a joint venture, but that is irrelevant to this topic smile

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 22:54:04

It is hard to speculate how big the wedding will be but you may be able to guess from the size of the venue! They are not just being polite and if you have received a card then it is completely your choice whether you wish to go or not. Do not worry too much about what to wear. Skirt/dress/trousers are fine. Just ensure that they are all at least knee-length or below knee-length to stay on the safe-side. Same with any blouse or top that you may wear, as long as too much cleavage isn't showing then that is fine - and it doesn't mean that you have to go buttoned up to the neck! smile

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 23:04:48

I am still a little unsure whether it is a Walima or a 'Baraat' that you are going to. But either way it makes no difference to this invite to you. Generally the 'Baraat' is the first day hosted by the bride's family before a walima is hosted by groom as already mentioned. Sometimes the 2 can be hosted jointly on one day which could be the case here, but as i said, it won't make any difference to you what the name of the day is! smile Hope i haven't lost you yet!

All that you shall be expected to do is go there and have dinner. And that is it! Now to the question if it segregated or not. Hard to tell just like this. But generally, if it is segregated then men will either have a separate area in another part of the venue or just a separate table in the same place. If it is not segregated, then you will find families/couples sitting together at tables. There is no restriction on children, they can stay with mum or dad.

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 23:08:40

All in all, it is a happy occasion, and they have invited you so please go if you can, but there is no compulsion! Often, if more non-asian people have been invited, they tend to get seated on the same table to make it that bit easier for them. Do not worry about the do's and don'ts - there aren't many. Feel free to go and congratulate the bride and groom (or just the bride if it is segregated).

Firawla Tue 23-Aug-11 23:14:53

normally all it will really involve for you is to sit and eat dinner as the previous poster said. i wouldnt worry too much, as long as your clothes not extremely skimpy short skirts etc should be fine. noone would expect you fully covered, dressing as you would for any non muslim wedding would be okay. if the women of the family dont wear hijab its prob not segregated i would guess, but you will see when you get there! bless the bride & groom just means by attending. no boxed gifts is a typical thing you see on a lot of asian wedding invites, tends to mean people give cash gift

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 23:18:53

Bless the couple basically means - bless them with your presence! That simple! smile

And now to the 'no boxed gifts' - that means that they would prefer cash! Basically, buy the couple a wedding card and put some money in it. There is no hard rule about how much - I am guessing that you know them as neighbours rather than close family friends - but do correct me if I am wrong.

If it is in the capacity of neighbours and you are up North(!) then £20 will be a generous amount. I am not too sure what the etiquette is in London and further South!

BuzNuz Tue 23-Aug-11 23:26:23

I have talked a lot, but all you need to do is, turn up and enjoy the wedding. I have listed all the stuff above, but it makes no difference if you do not observe any of it. The invite is simply there for you to share in their celebrations. You could always ask them if it is a mixed wedding or segregated, they won't mind.

Just turn up, sample the rich food and enjoy the chaos and colours of an Asian wedding! You will never forget it that is for sure - any more questions, then feel free to ask. hope I was of some help. If i have confused you about wedding/walima then let me know and i will make a better attempt at explaining.

MichaelaS Wed 24-Aug-11 14:51:14

thank you all so much for replying! it really helps. I think i'll ask them if its segregated as i'm pg and don't think i could cope with DS alone (DH not likely to take him to the men's half). Otherwise i'm really looking forward to my first Muslim wedding!

bubblesincoffee Sun 28-Aug-11 01:27:42

I think you need to have a look at the culture as well as the religion. One of my close friends and her husband are Muslim, but they don't practice. I think their wedding was as much about the Iranian culture as it was about the Muslim religion.

Their wedding was lovely for me to attend, lots of tradiations that I got to learn about. There was something called a sofre agh ( I have no idea how it's spelt!) which was basically a big beautiful piece of fabric that had lots of traditional things placed on it. There was a mirror that the groom was supposed to see only his bride in, sugar, bread with feta cheese, and I can't remember what else.

Then all the married ladies had to hold a big piece of lace over the heads of the couple, and take it in turns to grind two big sugar cubes on top to add the sweetness from their marriages into that of teh bride and groom.

It was brilliant! Also, the Iranian ladies were dressed beautifully, it was all very very glam. I ended up feeling quite underdressed in my dress that would have been perfect for a conservative British church wedding. So I would ask.

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