In America, most weddings are traditionally a one day event in which two people with a relationship based on love commit to one another in the presence of family members and friends. One would think that whenever a being commits to another being, the reason for that commitment would be love. After interviewing Zohra Ahmed, I've come to the understanding that in Pakistan or, in a broader sense, most Islamic weddings or marriages, love is furthest from the reason to commit.
In Pakistan, where Zohra was born and raised, marriages are mostly arranged by parents or immediate family members, and although people outside of the family and distant cousins are as eligible, first cousins are preferred for marriage partners. Usually the parents of the groom select a bride to be. An important factor in determining a bride is the status of the family of the bride-to-be. Those with higher status tend to be more eligible than a family with lower status or bad reputation.
Once the family has selected a potential bride-to-be, a picture of the woman is taken to the groom. If the groom approves, the parents of the groom meet with the parents of the bride and propose their sons hand in marriage. Then it's the brides turn to view a picture of the groom. If, and only if, the bride approves, the parents accept the proposal. After the proposal has been accepted, the groom's family goes to the bride's home and has a small ceremony of acceptance. This is the first meeting in which the bride and groom meet. In more conservative families the bride views the groom, no words are exchanged. In more westernized families the bride and groom can talk, or the families have dinner together. The parents then meet again and arrangements are made for the actual wedding ceremonies and to agree upon how much money will be given should the marriage fail.
One week before the start of the ceremonies, a separate ceremony is held at the bride ... Continue Reading