The Big Fat Muslim Wedding

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.

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Image via Tiffany Rebecca Shop

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2 Comments

  • Naeema says:

    I couldn’t have said it better! This is exactly how F and I felt when organising our wedding…and i’m also super awkward in front of heaps of people so the thought of being all dressed up in front of hundreds of people terrified me! Alhamdulilah our wedding was soooo chilled out and we had it at my mums place so it was super comfortable and relaxed!

  • Erin says:

    I whole heartedly agree with this post although I don’t think it is constrained to Muslim weddings only. I see no real weddings on any of the major wedding blog websites that are actually a real wedding. It’s more, “look how much money we spent on cars, the dress, the suits, the reception”. I hate it. Why can’t weddings go back to what they’re supposed to be about – love.
    We had an awesome videographer for our wedding who also helps out major videoing companies like Iconic films etc. He likes to tell the story of the couple and show the love, rather than it being about materialistic things. He edited together our story so beautifully and it is a treasure we will keep forever. It’s a shame more weddings these days can’t be about the love and the story. Very sad.
    Rant over.

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