All wedding ceremonies are beautiful and meaningful. Regardless of the background and heritage of the couple to be married, the ceremony usually involves tradition, rituals, exchange of vows, rings and sometimes tears and laughter!
The Persian wedding ceremony is perhaps one of the most interesting and engaging events anyone has witnessed. Traditionally all the guests would stand around the couple who are seated in front of a beautiful Sofreh Aghd or ceremony spread. The Sofreh will have a collection of symbolic items on it, including mirror, candelabra, flowers, termeh or silk cloth, spices, bread, decorated eggs, nuts in shells, honey, crystalized sugar, a book (holy book or poetry), among other things. Each of these items symbolizes a well-wish for the couple’s life and marriage. The symbolism of the Sofreh has its roots in the ancient culture of Persia, with special emphasis on natural and spiritual elements.
During the ceremony, ladies will rub sugar loaves over a cloth held over the couple’s heads. This act is believed to bring sweetness to their marriage. It is also during this time when the Officiant will administer the couple’s vows. When the bride is asked the question, she remains silent and her girl friends will respond with “the bride has gone to pick flowers….”. The question is asked again and again and only after the third time, the bride will consent to the marriage! It is believed that this custom comes from the time when the groom was outside the ceremony room and the bride’s girlfriends teased him by saying “she’s not here, she’s gone to pick flowers”! It is an interesting custom and adds a humorous and fun element to the ceremony. Towards the end of the ceremony, the couple will share a taste of honey by dipping their pinky in a dish of honey and placing it on one another’s tongues. This custom is believed to bring sweetness to their relationship.