A custom made wedding dress that costs over $5000. A variety of cars ranging from vintage, sports, luxury, a Hummer, oh and throw in a motorcycle or two. Flowers covering the reception hall. A candy buffet groaning under the weight of cupcakes, strawberry towers, cakes and custom monogrammed biscuits. Wedding reception entertainment including, but not limited to: a magician, whirling dervishes, a cultural dance group, elaborate meal presentations that require the guests in the room to stand up and SAME DAY edits played on large screens in the reception hall showing the bride and groom in various loving embraces…
No, I’m not describing an extravagant celebrity wedding.
I’m talking about the Big Fat Muslim Wedding that is currently trending.
Being a blogger in the seemingly frivolous wedding industry, I make it my job to keep up-to-date with current trends in bridal fashion, hipster weddings in museums and of course, Muslim weddings. Most of them don’t feel like a genuine celebration of two people committing their love and friendship to one another. They generally feel disorganized, chaotic, and to be honest, awkward. Awkward because they usually show a compromise in values- such as the extravagance in dress, décor and the presence of mixed dancing, music and so on.
I think the problem lies in intentions. The majority of the time the intention is blatantly to “impress the community” or to pull off a better wedding than a relative or family friend. As a result, many a bride and her parents/in-laws get caught up in the planning of a wedding, resulting in tears and disagreements. Such irreconcilable differences between the two families have resulted in many broken off engagements. And in an environment where it is getting harder and harder for young people to get married due to the rising costs of living, or the high amount of the mahr demanded by families of the bride (or the bride herself), amongst a plethora of other issues, pushing to have an extravagant wedding is just (forgive me for the pun) the icing on the cake.
Most importantly we come from a religion that espouses moderation in all things. The lessons from our Prophet (pbuh) often center on humility. How is it then that when it comes to the (apparently) Most Important Day of Our Lives, all such considerations are thrown out the window and exchanged for pomp and exhibitionism?
The most beautiful walima I’ve been to was an intimate affair, with the couple’s nearest and dearest, in a space that was important to them. The evening was spent in valued company, where guests could speak to the person next to them without shouting, the food made you come back for seconds, speeches heartfelt and most importantly, the bride and groom’s sheer joy palpable from their faces, reminding everyone that when Allah swt places love in the hearts of two people, it truly is a cause for (modest) celebration.
Image via Tiffany Rebecca Shop