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What are Muslim Wedding Traditions?


If you’re attending your first Islamic wedding, you might be wondering what Islamic wedding traditions might be involved. We’re here to help you navigate this so you know what to expect on the wedding day. 

Islamic Wedding Traditions

Muslims adhere to different Islamic sects so as such the Muslim wedding traditions differ slightly during these ceremonies.

Although there are basic traditions associated with Muslim marriages, many traditions are cultural rather than religious. However, Islamic sect traditions and gender separation rules may also play a role in the wedding traditions you’ll see.

As Islam is such a widespread religion, cultural traditions can include a variety of customs. We’ll run you through some of the Muslim wedding traditions you might see when attending a wedding.

Basic Muslim Wedding Traditions

Marriages have to be declared publicly and should never be undertaken in secret

The publicity is usually achieved by having a large feast or walimah (a party specifically for the purpose of announcing publicly that a couple are married).

In traditional Islamic wedding ceremonies, known as the Nikah, you might find that the couple do not recite wedding vows, instead, the Fatihah (the first chapter of the Quran) and durud (blessings) will be read aloud. These readings highlight the meaning of marriage and the couple’s responsibility to each other and Allah. In Islam, a wedding is not only a marriage contract between the couple but is also a contract between the couple and Allah.

For some sects, a Muslim wedding tradition is to separate genders during the ceremony; if you are at a Muslim wedding that is observing this rule, we advise you to respect the custom and not initiate interactions with someone from the opposite sex.

Muslim wedding traditions will not include typical western traditions such as champagne toasts as Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol.

It isn’t necessary at Muslim weddings for a religious official to be present but it is typical that the Imam (an Islamic leadership position) is present and performs the marriage ceremony.

Due to the differences between sects, Islamic wedding traditions could range from a bride wearing a traditional white wedding dress, to wearing a saree with their hands and feet painted with henna. Did you know that henna may include the groom’s initials for him to look for later on? Other Muslim wedding traditions might include the bride and groom sitting on thrones on a platform, large feats with hundreds of guests or small simple celebration parties with close friends and families.

Wedding Henna

Other Muslim wedding traditions that you might not see at the wedding ceremony but are very common include Meher, which is a gift given from the groom to the bride. The amount is decided before and is typically included within the marriage contract signed during the Nikah. This money is the wife’s to do with what she chooses, she can choose to use it for the family but is not obliged to, if she chooses this it counts as a charitable gift.

If the wife has her own money, she is still entitled to the Meher as a symbol that the husband supports his wife and their family. The wife is not expected to support the family with her money as this is the role of the husband.

Tips for Attending a Muslim Wedding

One important tip for attending a traditional Islamic wedding is to dress conservatively. Often the family or couple will indicate how guests should dress but if they don’t, the best option for both men and women is to cover arms and legs. Traditional Muslim weddings may take place over several days, if you’re invited to the whole event, you’re likely to need multiple outfits so ensure all outfits are modest.

Another important tip that we’d briefly touched on is not consuming or bringing alcohol to the wedding as alcohol is forbidden in Islam.

Planning a Muslim Wedding?

At Kettering, we have large event space available that’s perfect for smaller wedding celebrations, as well as large celebration events such as a walimah. We have experience holding a range of weddings so our events planners are on hand to help make your wedding a success. Speak to our events coordinators about our wedding venue today.