Friday – Nikah

In Islam, a marriage is a legal contract between two people, and both the bride and the groom must consent to the marriage of their own free will. They sign a formal, legally binding contract, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both the bride and the groom.

After a long day, the families are hanging out. Most are still fighting some level of Delhi belly and so lots of resting and hydrating going on <insert link to stomache post> going on.

The original plan had us heading out about around 1500, but as always, the schedule changed and the current plan is to head out at 1630 with the wedding to be held at 1715. According to Islamic law, it must be held before sundown today.

Karachi is at located at Long 25.1982N, Lat 67.1166E, so sunset on Friday Feb 9th, is at 1823. Tick Tock…

We have our special outfits for the day.

The outfits for the ladies was prepared in advance. Measurements were dispatched from Toronto to Karachi and were made to measure. The following pictures are samples of the outfits with the array of fabrics and embroidery used.

Clive and I were also measured to get traditional suits as well.

As is the tradition, each of ladies has an accompanying scarf to go with them to finish off their outfit. Men are elegantly attired as well and are wearing an embroidered top and plain white baggy pants, called an shalwar kameez. I had one made for me…Definitely less colourful than the ladies!

The bride and groom are to be dressed in white and definitely the center of attention

As the day progressed, everyone was getting ready for the event. Ladies did their makeup and got dressed, while men cleaned up and put on their shalwar kameez and tried to figure out how to tie the pants properly.

Finally, 1630 came and the cars arrived. It was a lovely sunny day and relatively cool for this time of year. We drove over in two cars, one for our family and one with the groom and his mom and dad.

We headed out on the streets of Karachi, towards Naila’s house. She had been preparing the house all day, and Ayesha was already there getting dressed.

On the way, we passed fruit vendors, shops and busses. Traffic was busy being Friday and, as it was the first time I was out there during the day, I took lots of pictures as we drove.

Arriving at Naila’s, we were among the first to arrive. Flowers and roses were arranged everywhere and the ceremony was to be held in Naila’s living room, with 50-70 guests expected. It was expected that it would be cramped and it was!

The Imam arrived and the ceremony got under way.

First off, three men from the brides family and two from the grooms had to sign the paperwork in advance of the brides arrival. Clive and I signed for Sean and Salman and his two brothers signed for Ayesha.

At this point, Ayesha came down the stairs, looking very lovely in a white dress with brocade and a white veil and was led into the living room by her brother, Hamza, along with her bridemaids, who were all holding a red scarf over her head.

She signed the papers as well, 7 documents/copies and all and headed over to the couch in the living room with Sean, Ayesha and her parents.

The Imam said a prayer/introduction and I was able to get part of that on video. Then there was some discussion, culminating with Sean asking Ayesha to marry him and he said yes, with a set of vows in Pakistani, that Sean and Ayesha both spoke aloud, and it was seemed that Sean had been practicing them before hand as he spoke them perfectly although I found out afterwards that he had not!

After the vows, there was another set of prayers with responses from the guests, and suddenly the ceremony was completed and the bride and groom were officially married!

There were plenty of gifts provided for the bride and groom, and a big basket on the table in front of them was overflowing with boxes and cards.

Everyone lined up to congratulate the bride and groom and give them hugs from aunties and uncles to guests and other family members.

After that, a celebration was planned in the garden, with a light dinner and chai, tea, soft drinks. The event was catered by the Club we are staying at, and many of the wait staff were the ones we had at breakfast, so we were greeting like old friends.

Signing the contract

There is a big celebration planned for tomorrow to officially announce the marriage in Pakistan to Ayesha’s friends and extended family and a ceremony planned for March in Toronto to announce to Sean’s friends and family. This apparently is a requirement of the last part of the ceremony for the wedding to be officially official.

More to come.

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