Muslim Wedding Etiquette
If you are going to be attending a Muslim wedding soon, or are Muslim and are planning a wedding, it's important to be aware of some etiquette rules. These regulations will help the day to go smoothly, and serve to properly accommodate guests.
During the Ceremony
While the Muslim wedding ceremony is taking place, wedding participants are expected to be silent and render their full attention while the imam, or member of clergy, is speaking. The sermon that is offered during the ceremony is mainly for the purpose of giving the bride and groom counsel about how to live harmoniously; the cleric will also remind the man and woman of their responsibilities within the marriage.
Exchanging of Vows
In many Muslim weddings, the bride and groom do not formally exchange vows; the imam's sermon usually takes the place of the vows, although the couple can arrange to recite vows that display their commitment to one another and Allah. The bride and groom are asked three times if they agree to enter into marriage according to the nikah, or Muslim marriage contract. After the couple agree, they sign the contract, which seals the marriage. At this point, the congregation will bless the couple by embracing them or praying good will over them.
The Muslim feast, or alimaa, as it is referred to in some countries, should be adequate enough to feed every guest that has attended the wedding. While some couples will choose to spend a significant amount of money so that speciality foods can be served, it is perfectly acceptable to provide a simple meal, as long as all guests are served.
While it is common to see a bar at most wedding receptions, alcoholic beverages are forbidden at Muslim weddings. As a guest, it is considered bad etiquette to bring alcohol as a gift. Instead of toasting the bride and groom with champagne or wine, a drink called sherbet, which is made from ice and fruit juice, is shared among the guests.
Bringing a Gift
While it is acceptable to bring a gift to a Muslim wedding, the present should not be terribly expensive. Giving extravagant gifts that are not practical for the bride and groom to use in the home is not recommended; for modern weddings, some small household appliances and kitchen utensils are acceptable. It is also common for the family or close friends of the bride and groom to present the couple with money that can be used for future expenses in the marriage.