Persian Jewish Wedding Customs: Before the Wedding

(Image: Luna Photo. From one of our weddings at the Darlington House! See more here. It was featured on Style Me Pretty as well :) )

So you’re trying to plan a Jewish Persian wedding, and you don’t know where to begin. You’d be surprised at how similar both cultures can be when it comes to the wedding traditions. We are going to break the process down so it doesn’t seem so complicated (or scary!).

Both celebrate a formal engagement process involving both the bride and groom’s families. You can practice and incorporate both sides, or you can “pick and choose” based on how traditional you and your groom want to be. As a Persian Jewish or Jewish Persian bride, you really can get the best of both worlds!

The Formal Engagement/Proposal

Before getting the “on-bended-knee proposal” your groom will probably be going through your family first.

The Persian traditions:

It’s a two-step process, “khastegari” and the “second khastegari.” The first khastegari ceremony is where one or more of the groom’s family members visits the bride-to-be’s family to introduce themselves for the first time. This meeting comes with no obligations or commitments to a marriage–it’s just a meet and greet; sometimes you can have more than one khastegari/meet-and-greet if the man and his family feel it is required.

For the second khastegari, a marriage proposal is made by the intended-groom and his family! Traditionally, the bride’s family will welcome the suitor and his family into their home. The bride’s family will discuss what makes her an attractive wife, and the groom’s family will do the same. Then, the bride’s father will announce that tea will be served, and the bride will serve it for her guests. Afterwards, the newly engaged couple will have some alone time to discuss their future (and wedding plans!).

Since most couples usually meet on their own now, as opposed to their families fixing them up, the first and second khastegaris can be done in one day.

Now… for the “engagement fun!”
Bale Boroun: the ceremony publicly announcing your engagement! Here is where the groom’s parents will give a gift to the bride, traditionally a cloth to be made into your wedding dress and a ring.
Majless: Takes place at the bride’s home, it is when the couple (with the help of their family) decides what the “gift of love” will be, also known as mehriye, and the wedding date.
Namzadi (THE ENGAGEMENT CEREMONY!!!!): This is where you and your groom will exchange rings, and then proceed to party & celebrate!
Shirini Khordan: Don’t party too hard because you still need to do “Shirini Khordan” a.k.a. the sharing of refreshments. This can be done during the namzadi as well, but you’re basically eating sweets (cookies, chocolates, fruits/nuts, tea, desserts) with your guests to symbolize the sweetness in your marriage.

The Jewish traditions:

Choose a date… with the help of your Rabbi! Your Rabbi will be well-versed on which dates in the Jewish calendar are not available for your wedding. For example, you can’t really plan your wedding on a Saturday because of the Holy Sabbath, but you can if you wait until sunset to begin the ceremony and festivities.

Now it’s time to get engaged officially! To put it simply, a contract, Te’naim, containing your wedding date and financial obligations between both families, is read aloud by your Rabbi or close friend. Then, the mothers of the bride and groom break a China plate to seal the agreement. Then a party is thrown immediately afterwards! Yay!

According to Jewish law, the Te’naim is a mutual agreement between the bride and groom’s parents of the couple’s intention to marry, and it carries a lot of weight! (Note: this is an Orthodox Judaism practice.)

Eirusin, Kiddushin, and Nissuin (this 3-step process has gone from a year-long period to happening within minutes under the chuppah [bridal canopy representing the couple's future home]. So we will share this information here, but for the most part, the Eirusin, Kiddushin, and Nissuin will happen on your actual wedding day.)

Put a ring on her! This symbolizes that the groom wants to take the bride off the market.
You (the bride) accept the ring! (Note: this is VERY similar to when you exchange vows and rings during a traditional Western ceremony)
Share the home (the chuppah) and make that marriage official… with a kiss!


The next step of the wedding process is coming soon! Keep an eye out for that on our blog!

Related posts:

Wedding Fashion Trends ~ Ethnic Bridal Couture
Real Wedding: Persian Glamour
Real Wedding: Beach Elegance at L'Auberge

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