With all the weddings we do here, we were actually amazed that this has not come up before. This past weekend we hosted the first (that we know of) Islamic wedding here in the Hawthorne Hotel. So many of the cultural and religious aspects of this wedding were new to us, so I did a bit of research, and thought I would share what I found on The Knot's website:
From "The Knot" with thanks, here is some information which speaks generally about Islamic weddings. Since this speaks in broad terms, it is not meant to fully represent what took place here this weekend.
From the United States to the Middle East to South Asia, Islam stretches across a diverse terrain of politics and culture with followers and practices as varied as the countries from which they hail. Marriage in Islam is viewed as a religious obligation, a contract between the couple and Allah.
The only requirement for Muslim weddings is the signing of a marriage contract. Marriage traditions differ depending on culture, Islamic sect, and observance of gender separation rules. Most marriages are not held in mosques, and men and women remain separate during the ceremony and reception. Since Islam sanctions no official clergy, any Muslim who understands Islamic tradition can officiate a wedding. If you are having your wedding in a mosque, many have marriage officers, called qazi or madhun, who can oversee the marriage.
The marriage contract includes a meher -- a formal statement specifying the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. There are two parts to the meher: a prompt due before the marriage is consummated and a deferred amount given to the bride throughout her life. Today, many couples use the ring as the prompt because the groom presents it during the ceremony. The deferred amount can be a small sum -- a formality -- or an actual gift of money, land, jewelry, or even an education. The gift belongs to the bride to use as she pleases, unless the marriage breaks up before consummation. The meher is considered the bride's security and guarantee of freedom within the marriage.
The marriage contract is signed in a nikah ceremony, in which the groom or his representative proposes to the bride in front of at least two witnesses, stating the details of the meher. The bride and groom demonstrate their free will by repeating the word qabul ("I accept," in Arabic) three times. Then the couple and two male witnesses sign the contract, making the marriage legal according to civil and religious law. Following traditional Islamic customs, the bride and groom may share a piece of sweet fruit, such as a date. If men and women are separated for the ceremony, a male representative called a wali acts in the bride's behalf during the nikah.
Vows and Blessings\
The officiant may add an additional religious ceremony following the nikah, which usually includes a recitation of the Fatihah -- the first chapter of the Quran -- and durud (blessings). Most Muslim couples do not recite vows; rather, they listen as their officiant speaks about the meaning of marriage and their responsibilities to each other and to Allah. However, some Muslim brides and grooms do say vows, such as this common recitation:
Bride: "I, (bride's name) offer you myself in marriage in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife."
Groom: "I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband."
-- Robin Beth Schaer
Here is the nice "thank you" email we received already from this lovely couple. She is from Saudi Arabia her new husband is from Turkey:
We just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful work. Your help through the entire planning. The patience you had with our (my) million questions. You made our dream wedding come true.
And please send a million thanks for Liz. She did an amazing job. Made our entire experience so smooth and effortless. She kept up with our nervous with grace and lots of understanding. Showing enough firmness when needed :) I can't thank her enough!
And please thank all the serving staff who were so organized and effiecnt. Also the chef and his staff for the delicious food. All of our guest loved it!
Tahani and Orhan
|Favors for the gentlemen, seated in the Essex Room|
|Tables for the gentlemen, in the Essex Room|
|Tables for the ladies, in Sophia's|
|Place card table and "guest book"|
|In place of a traditional "guest book" guests were asked to sign little hearts. This is not something traditional to an Islamic wedding, just something that the couple liked.|
|Favors in the room set aside for the ladies|
|Beautiful traditional cake|
|Beautiful sweetheart table with special lighting.|
|Sophia's rich red walls harmonized so nicely with the red rose petals, and other accent pieces chosen by this couple. In the background on the left side is a small love seat which was where the couple were seated for the exchange of rings.|