Perfect Muslim Wedding Planning
Almost everything you need to know
about planning your Big Day.
Compliments of PerfectMuslimWedding.com
Copyright PerfectMuslimWedding.com, 2014
Photo by dMap Travel Guide on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
Table of Contents
Perfectly Simple Muslim Wedding Planning ................................................................................................. 3
What is the Perfect Muslim Wedding? ......................................................................................................... 5
How to have a Muslim wedding in 10 Easy Events (or Less) ........................................................................ 7
Who pays for what in a wedding? .............................................................................................................. 11
7 Steps to Planning your Perfect Muslim Wedding .................................................................................... 13
13 ways to be your beautiful best for the Muslim bride ............................................................................ 16
33 Ideas for a Simple Inexpensive Muslim Wedding ................................................................................. 19
13 Mistakes to Avoid for your Perfect Muslim Wedding ............................................................................ 23
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue .................................................................................................... 25
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Caterer .................................................................................................. 27
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Planner.................................................................................................. 27
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Florist .................................................................................................... 27
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Decorator .............................................................................................. 27
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Photographer........................................................................................ 27
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Videographer ........................................................................................ 27
Perfect Muslim Wedding Budget Tracker ................................................................................................... 28
Muslim Wedding Planner Budget Estimator .............................................................................................. 30
Perfectly Simple Muslim Wedding Planning
Planning a wedding is no small task. The good news is people have been doing it for eons and
will continue doing so. Although we talk about the "Perfect Muslim Wedding" that doesn't
mean they have to be or should be extravagant, lavish feasts. This is contrary to the spirit of
Islam and to the example set by the Prophet (SAW) which is all about simplicity. Now fast
forward to the times we live in, and of course it is hard to correlate the two. Given that the
average American wedding is around $27,000, Muslim weddings are probably not too far from
that mark. You can have a basic wedding and pocket the rest of the money for a down payment
on a house or use it another way. Or you can make it a grand event or somewhere in between.
Photo by dMap Travel Guide on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
Only you and your family can and should decide how, where and when you will use the funds
for your wedding. Remember other than the nikah ceremony which can be conducted in a
mosque with two witnesses and the brides guardian and a simple Valimah (reception) hosted
by the grooms family for close family and friends, you do not need to do anything else. Keep
the Mahr (dowry) that the groom has to pay, easily affordable.
Engagement and Wedding rings are a relatively new trend not present in most Muslim cultures.
Photographers, Videographers, are luxury. With digital bringing the cost of taking photos and
video down to consumer price points, anyone with a Smartphone or better can take them.
We're not saying the results can be compared to staged productions, but hey it's almost free.
Similarly Wedding planners, wedding decorators, wedding florists, and wedding confectioners
(eg for cake) are new roles, that in the past were done by Aunty Soraya or Uncle Jamil. For the
catering and serving Hafiz Nai, the village barber cooked the food and the young men in the
community served it. A Tent was erected a couple of hours before the reception and that
became the venue. Thos were the good old days.
What you balk? OK We're not advocating you go back in time to the stone age but we are giving
you a baseline. You can do as much or as little as you want based on you, your spouse and
respective families budget and expectations. You can plan the wedding in six weeks or six
months or a year.
Go ahead make it a Perfectly Simple Muslim Wedding.
What is the Perfect Muslim Wedding?
When you hear the word perfect, we take what is a divine attribute and expect people, events
or relationships to be flawless. A perfect wedding doesn’t have to be picture-perfect or meet
the expectations of a fantasy wedding. The wedding industry in the end is a business and there
is nothing wrong in that. However, you should make a conscious choice of where you are
spending your hard earned money. You don’t need to super-size anything, most of all your
Photo by Faiz on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
We will cover in more detail about how to hold a wedding on a budget and make them simple.
The following are some further ideas about what you can do to make your or your children’s
wedding a “perfect one.”
1. Use time over money. There is no substitute. The more thought and caring that goes
into a wedding the more memorable it will be.
2. Pick the M.C. early and determine the agenda and order of events at the reception. The
M.C. should have a sense of humor, one who has good people and time management
skills. If they can relate to the community that will not only give the event personality
but an emotional connection.
3. If you’re the brides side, the mahar should be not so low that it is not meaningful, but
not so high that it becomes a burden. In many middle eastern countries, young men are
putting off getting married as the mahar is being set to tens of thousands of dollars. It is
bad for not only the individual but for whole society. Keep the mahar low and
4. Wedding gowns and tuxedos look elegant, but ask yourself, is it worth spending all that
money for a few hours? Looking presentable and modest shouldn’t compromise
modesty. Borrow, rent, have someone make it are not unreal possibilities.
5. When coming up with the guest list, besides family don’t make it a “who’s who” of a
sea of well to do friends and peers. Rather than the rich and powerful, invite the poor,
or those are facing hard times. It will InshAllah be a blessed gathering.
6. Make it fun. Some people associating being Muslim or Islamic with boring. The bounds
of Islam are wide, and there are many cultural activities that can be done. Eg in Arab,
African, Afghan cultures dancing and singing is common. As long as it is not mixed and
modesty is observed go for it.
7. Make it poetic. Have young and old recite nasheeds, poems, and of course the Quran.
Finish with duas, and you can’t go wrong.
Of course there are many other factors that make the perfect Muslim wedding, these are just a
few to get you started.
How to have a Muslim wedding in 10 Easy Events (or Less)
Considering that there are over 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world (and counting), there is no
SINGLE way for all Muslim weddings to be held. There are 49 Muslim majority countries and
each contains many regional and cultural differences. Additionally, many Muslims living in the
West then mix family traditions with their host countries e.g. U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and
you have many permutations. We can discuss some of the major regional differences for
example, Arab versus Indian-sub continent wedding customs in subsequent write-ups, but this
is just meant to be a starting point. Feel free to adapt the information below to your wedding
Photo by amrufm on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
1. Marriage Proposal. Usually the groom’s parents and elders come to the bride to be’s
house and ask for her hand in marriage. There maybe a recitation of the Quran’s first
chapter, Surah Fatiha, and refreshments served. In “religious” and/or conservative
families, this act may not include the groom. However, here in the West, after being
given permission to ask by say the father or brother of the groom, it may be the groom
then proposes. Depending on cultural and family tradition the groom or his family may
give a gift e.g. jewelry or some small amount of money as a token gesture that they are
2. Engagement. Although not an Islamic requirement, with the flow of cultures, it is
common certainly here in the West for there to be an engagement. This can be a simple
informal event just between the families or more formal, where it turns into a prelude
for a simpler, smaller wedding. It can take place in the bride’s home or in a restaurant
with family and close friends. Again customs vary. In more affluent or less conservative
families, there may be an exchange of rings and gifts for the respective families with the
ring being placed by the grooms mother or sister on the bride-to-be. For less
conservative, the actual exchange may happen with the future couple under the
auspices of the respective families. There may be a short prayer to bless the upcoming
3. Dholki. This cultural celebration, more common with the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent and those that are more affluent, has started to become more common. The
greater the affluence, the more the dollies that are hosted by different family friends.
The dolce refers to the drum played and sung to by ladies at an all the functions. Now a
days this also includes dancing in all-female gatherings.
4. Mehndi or Henna. Mehndi, a skin decoration most commonly used on the Indian subcontinent and in the Middle East custom refers to a celebration usually one or two
nights before the wedding. Traditionally this used to be an all-ladies night event held at
the bride’s home, where the Mehndi or henna is applied to the palms and feet of the
bride-to-be. This was combined with the beat of the dholki (drum) and traditional songs.
These days the old has been replaced with the new. More commonly now in the West
and with affluent families, it is the groom’s side that brings the henna and sweets
depending on cultural norms both sides participate. There may be fun and competition
with the bride’s side teasing the groom’s family, but all with respect. Not only the brideto-be but also close family and friends also participate in the Mehndi application
although not as elaborate as the brides. In Indian/Pakistani culture the bride wears
green or yellow/orange, but this is very much cultural and personal.The event which is
now more formalized can take place at the brides home followed by dinner (potluck or
catered) or at a restaurant.
5. Barat. This refer to the groom’s procession which includes family and friends that go to
visit the bride’s home, or home city for the nikah. In traditional affluent Indian culture,
the groom may go on a white decorated horse. These days the horse has been replaced
with a car. The greater the affluence the more expensive the car. Although these days it
is possible to rent limousines, classic cars and Rolls Royce’s, so many options. The barat
may be received by a band. As they enter, the bride’s side of the family and friends put a
flower necklace (Lei) on the groom and some key family members. They also throw
confetti or rose petals on the groom’s procession, typically done by the bride’s family
6. Nikah. This is the actual wedding ceremony, usually officiated by a Muslim Cleric, an
Imam. Although a nikah can be done anywhere including the bride’s home or reception
hall, it is preferable and usually done these days in a mosque. Men and women sit in
segregated areas, just as they pray. The Imam will ask for two witnesses from the bride’s
side who will then accompany the Imam to the women’s side or just ask the witnesses
to get the signed permission of the wedding registration documents. Depending on
state and country the laws may be a little different. Once the witnesses return, the
Imam conducts the Nikah by giving a short sermon (khutbah) and then asking the bride’s
father (the Wali or guardian) if he gives permission for his daughter to be married. The
Imam then turns to the groom and asks him if he will fulfill his rights and obligations and
to pay the Mahr. Mahr does not translate easily into English, as it is loosely related to a
gift, tax or dowry. It is usually monetary, but doesn’t have to be. The Imam will finally
make a dua or prayer for the new couple. There are many duas, but the most common
and Prophetic one is ‘barak Allahu lakum wa barak ‘aleikum wa jama’ bainakuma fi
khair’ which means “May Allah bless you, surround you with blessings, and bring you
both together in virtue and prosperity.” It is a Sunnah to share something sweets e.g.
Dates, after the nikah. Depending on when/where the nikah is being held, you may
choose to offer a light lunch or dinner for the guests especially those who have come
7. Registration. Registration requirements vary by country and state. In places like the
U.K., it is a formal process, which can be attended by close family. In the U.S., and
specifically in California it is a three stage process for Muslims. First the bride and groom
need to fill out the paperwork at the registrars’ office and pay the fees. The bride should
have decided by this point if she is going to change her last name or keep her maiden
name. Islamically it is not a requirement for a woman to change her name.
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The second step of the registration takes place at the Nikah where the Imam completes
the paperwork provided by the city/county. The third and final step is that this
paperwork is returned to the city/county and legally the marriage becomes valid.
8. Reception and Valima (Valimah). There are many variants on the reception and Valima.
It is something that you and your families will need to discuss, maybe negotiate, and
agree upon. In certain cultures like Pakistani, it is the bride’s parents that pay for and
hold the reception. Most of the guests are from the bride’s side plus the barat that has
come with the groom. Later, next day or week to allow the groom’s side to invite their
guests and some from the bride’s side, a Valima is held. In other cultures like Afghan or
Arab, it is the grooms’ side that pays for the reception. Sometimes if the number of
guests on each side is similar or there are many shared guests in common a single event,
a reception and Valima may be held. Both sides can split the costs (or not). There are no
hard and fast rules about who pays for what, but as long as it is fair and mutually
acceptable and done in good spirit that is what counts.
9. Rukhsti (Farewell). Rukhsti is the farewell even when the bride leaves her home or
home city for the groom’s home. The bride’s father and family escort their daughter to
the waiting groom’s car. It is usually an emotional event, where the bride, bride’s father
and mother bid farewell with lots of prayers and, yes, many times tears. This will be the
first night the couple gets to spend together. The less the families and couple know each
other the greater the anxiety. Conversely these days it is not uncommon for a lot of
communication to take place and that bride and groom have some level of familiarity.
The couple may head to a hotel, their apartment (which the groom has secured), or
grooms family home.
10. Honeymoon. Although a recent cultural addition after the wedding, most Muslim
couples in the West go for a honeymoon to desired destination. Some who are more
religiously inclined go for Umrah to Mecca and on the return journey spend time in
Istanbul, Cairo or other destinations. Others chose exotic locations that have some
Muslim significance, for example, the Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Morocco… Not
sure why they all start with M, but they don’t have to be. This is a time for the new
couple to get privacy especially from family and get to know each other as husband and
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Who pays for what in a wedding?
In Muslim cultures there are two very different cultural traditions of who pays for what. In Desi
(Indian sub-continent culture) it is the bride’s side who pays for most of the wedding. In other
cultures eg Arab, Afghan, it is the groom’s side that pays for most of the wedding. Along with
this add other variables, cultural influences eg American, different geographies of bride and
grooms families, as well as the dynamics of the family situation, gives you many permutations.
Below is a general guideline that you can adapt for your situation. There will be many other
expenses that do come up. Use your and your families best judgment and spirit to decide who
Photo by srizki on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
Bride, Groom or Joint Expenses
Reception expenses including flowers, decoration and wedding coordinator
Photographer and Videographer
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Bride’s wedding dress and accessories
Bride and Families Expenses
Bride’s family gift to grooms family
Groom’s wedding ring
Dholki (brides family friends)
Mehndi (Henna party)
Groom and Families Expenses
Brides engagement and wedding rings
Groom’s family gift to brides family
The bride’s bouquet
Boutonnieres for groom’s (barat)
Imams officiating fee or gift
Transportation from Reception for Bride and groom
Transportation and lodging expenses for the groom’s family
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7 Steps to Planning your Perfect Muslim Wedding
If you remember part of the definition of a Perfect Muslim Wedding is planning. Here are some
of the key steps you need to do to set the stage.
Photo by Guilhem Vellut on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
1. Get in the right frame of mind. Whether you look at Olympic athletes, or Nobel prize
winner, great accomplishments require you to be prepared mentally.
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This means dealing with conflicting needs, wants, opinions and then being able to using
diplomatic skills compromise and/or make decisions. It’s a fine line but figure out what
you are willing to be flexible on and what you are not and would oppose your core
values. You cannot micro-manage every detail, nor can you control the outcomes. Plan
for the worst by making contingencies and then pray and hope for the best. Yes and
don’t forget to have a little fun and smile. The rest of your team will take cues from you.
If you are all tensed up, it will impact the mood of every one else.
2. Determine your budget and stay in the spirit of it. Just as with constructing a house, it
is difficult upfront to estimate to the penny what the wedding will cost. Given your
means follow the Prophetic middle way, don’t be miserly and don’t be extravagant.
Don’t spend money you don’t have, alternatively even if you are blessed with wealth
contain yourself. A perfect wedding isn’t the most extravagant, or picture perfect. It is
how you make your loved ones and guests feel and that can’t be just bought. The largest
cost factor in the wedding will be the reception including catering. Whatever budget you
come up with it’s ok to breakout in some areas and hold back to balance the budget in
others. Some things you will only want a professional to do and others you can do DIY.
3. Converge on possible dates. Pick dates based on when all essential people without
which your wedding cannot go ahead. Although Summer is more popular than other
seasons for weddings, remember that if guests are flying in especially from overseas
peak travel times including holidays are premium in airfares. Depending on the size and
complexity of the wedding it can take anywhere from three months for a short notice to
up to a year for a larger wedding. Converge on possible dates and this becomes an
important reference point for the venue.
4. Pick the Venue. Based on the size, style and suitability pick a shortlist of potential
venues. Decide with your fiancé, family, in-laws whether you want a simple, outdoor,
grand, or other type of wedding. Put a first pass together of number of guests for each
side and determine if the venue has the capacity. Think about ambience, ease of access
along with convenience for guests and suitability and fit for vendors. Think about how
prepared the place is and or what you will need to get it the way you would like. Fridays,
Saturdays and Sundays are the most popular days for weddings. Saturdays carry a
premium. If you are using a Wedding Planner they can help you narrow down venues
and then based on your, their and host sites availability, budget and other factors pick
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5. Catering the guests. Depending on the venue you may end up choosing either a venue
that offers a package that includes the catering or work with an approved vendor of
your choice. Packages offer convenience. Selecting your own caterer and menu gives
you more choice and flexibility with the caveat that this becomes one more thing for
you or your team to manage.
6. Get Organized. It is easy to get overwhelmed with so many details and decisions in the
planning process. If you are taking on the Wedding coordination/project manager role
we want to help you. Even if you hire a wedding planner, you will still have to be aware
of what is going on in each part of the planning process. To help you with this we have
put together spreadsheets to remind you what to ask vendors and venues. Although
these lists are based on a lot of research and fairly comprehensive we encourage you to
compliment and/or edit these lists with your own questions. Also we encourage you to
share any “holes” or ways to supplement these resources.
7. Other Stuff. There are many other steps including selecting a theme, wedding dress,
grooms outfit, gifts, decorator, florist, honeymoon travel etc. These are covered in other
parts of the site as well as future blog posts. This list is meant to get you started with
some of the most important parts of the planning process.
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13 ways to be your beautiful best for the Muslim bride
Looking perfect, beautiful and dazzling on your wedding day means that you have to look your
best. To look and feel great you need to be rested, relaxed and let your happiness radiate from
your every pore. Making sure your dress, your hair, your makeup, eyes, lips and teeth are all
looking good is a key component of looking beautiful.
Photo by Mustafa Syed on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
However, beauty is often too narrowly defined. If you can view beauty as both inner and outer,
you can be your beautiful best. Put down the Brides magazines as our visual field is
impregnated with images of unreal women (often digitally enhanced and reshaped). When you
feel good about yourself and those around you it will project into confidence and love. When
you recognize that beauty comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes, you do not have to
conform to a single standard.
According to a Prophetic saying "God is beautiful and loves beauty ," as is "O Allah, as You have
made my appearance beautiful, likewise make my character beautiful." Beauty is about the
whole self. If we realize that Allah does not create anything except with beauty and perfection
we can learn to be content with who we are, and not die to be who we are not.
From a Muslim perspective, remember that we should pay attention to our appearance and to
look attractive within the permitted bounds. Showing your beauty is intended for your future
husband and mahram relatives. The general Islamic rule that you can apply is not go to
extremes. Following the path of moderation works every time. By default you will be the center
of attention so do not fall prey to viewing this as a fashion show or competition where you have
to outdo others.
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For your inner beauty focus on acts of worship including prayers, acts of charity and
supplications (duas). Do not let cultural superstitions take over your wedding. Take care of your
health. Eat in moderation wholesome foods and drink. Exercise regularly, take care of your
body and oral hygiene. Take good care of your hair. Wear clothes that are not only clean but
make you feel comfortable and good.
Iconic actress Audrey Hepburn once said in a beautiful quote, “For beautiful eyes, look for the
good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the
knowledge that you are never alone.”
Your inner beauty radiates to create your outer beauty, so you can start by accepting who you
are and your looks. Focus on the nice features Allah has blessed you with. Remember it’s all a
package that we are endowed with.
Caring about your appearance will reflect in your inner confidence. You will most probably work
with a beautician so we’ll let them take care of the details like the hair, the makeup and
everything else you need to get ready. In addition to looking your beautiful best here are a few
1. Less is More, even in Fashion and Beauty. This applies to jewelry, makeup and other
accessories. They should compliment your dress and looks not compete with them.
2. Wear moisturizer daily all over and exfoliate once a week.
3. When you feel good, you look good. The weeks leading up to the wedding are more
important than trying to do too much grooming on the day of or the day before.
4. Wear in your wedding shoes beforehand so they are comfortable on the big day.
5. Do a rehearsal of all the events and places, so on the big day, you are as prepared as can
be. The less surprises the less stress you will have to endure.
6. Visit the dentist if you want to whiten your teeth.
7. Drink water and stay hydrated.
8. Get plenty of sleep.
9. Start off the day by taking a shower and praying your Fajr prayer. Let your hair air-dry.
10. Although accidents can and do happen, simple precautions like not allowing coffee,
sodas or other spills ruin your dress and day.
11. Ditch the coffee, tea and anything with Caffeine. You’re adrenaline will keep you going.
12. Wear waterproof makeup as there is a high likelihood that you may cry or get teary.
13. Breathe. It sounds obvious but when you’re tense you take shallow breaths.
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A human being is far greater than the sum of her (or his) parts. Do what you can to make this
memorable day one that not only is blessed through prayers but shows yours and everyone’s
joy and beauty all around. May you, your spouse and families bring out the beauty of each
other and have a blessed and beautiful wedding.
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33 Ideas for a Simple Inexpensive Muslim Wedding
If you want a traditional wedding that you have attended of other families and friends, or are
caught up in “gotta have that”, “what will my friends or family think,” you will be stuck in an
emotional roller coaster. On one side you and your mind want things to be simple and
inexpensive, on the other your heart tugs at you and you want it to be elegant and wow
everyone. Here is the reality. You can have anything (within reason) but not everything. For
each decision you, your spouse and family need to ask, “Is it nice or necessary?” Don’t try to
impress and you will offload a lot of in built stress.
Photo by fiat.luxury on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
Below are some ideas to get help you along.
1. Cut the guest list; again and then again. It is easy for the guest list to bloat. The cost of
your wedding is proportional to the size and number of your guests. Of course there are
many other factors discussed below. Cut the extras, the kids, the couple when you only
need the one, the nice to have’s, the club buddies, the people who don’t really care or
2. Cut the fancy reception hall or hotel in favor of a nice home or outdoors. The reception
as a percentage is for most people the largest hole in the wedding budget. Slash it by
having the reception in a spacious family or friends home or outdoors in the garden,
park or other venue.
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3. Cut the catering and do a pot luck or have family friends with cooking talent assigned to
making certain dishes. You can provide the ingredients or most probably they will be
honored to help.
4. Follow the one dish rule eg One appetizer, one main dish, one dessert.
5. If you are using a caterer buffet is cheaper than a formal sit-down meal.
6. Cut the florist. Have a simple bouquet for the bride. Raid family or friend’s gardens by
cutting roses or other flowers, trimming the thorns and putting in a few select vases. Go
to Ikea for vases, candles and other accessories.
7. Borrow or rent the wedding dress. Think about it, is it worth spending lots of zeroes for
a few hours. If not what about getting a graduation or other dress which can substitute
as a wedding dress.
8. If you are going to buy the wedding dress and accessories, look everywhere beyond
wedding dress stores and departments. Look for simple dresses without all the
handiwork and details. Look online. Look at the discount stores. Look at sample dresses.
If you have good contacts in your parents home country, they can have a custom dress
made for you at a lower cost.
9. Do online invites eg Evite or hand design and copy them or use a postcard from sites like
10. Be your own DJ, bring a home stereo, iPod/iPhone and have your favorite nephew or
niece have a fun time running the show.
11. Family and friends do not need to all wear matching clothes. It can be business casual or
whatever the best clothes each person has. Just a simple coordinating theme eg ties for
men or some other accessories for women is all you need. If it’s really important you
can rent tuxedos and other dresses.
12. Cut the makeup, you may gasp. Do your own, or have a friend who knows her stuff do it.
Remember less is more. You don’t need a lot to look good.
13. Cut the fancy jewelry. Borrow a family members or friends. Just one eg pearl necklace
or simple pair of earrings is all you need to accentuate your face, body and dress.
14. Buy decorations when there are sales going on or through Craigslist or other supplies
store. Use candles to accentuate. Put floating candles in a bowl.
15. Plan a simple, local honeymoon. You don’t have to go anywhere exotic, save that for
16. Ask a family or friend with good project management and communication skills to be
the wedding planner.
17. Pay attention to detail. It is Ok to take shortcuts but know the terrain well.
18. Cut the dowry (mahar). By that we don’t mean eliminate it; it is a requirement for the
nikah. However the trend these days is for the brides family to set large dowries. The
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Prophetic way is to make it meaningful but affordable for the groom. Not something he
has to save for life or go into debt for.
19. Similarly in Desi cultures (India/Pakistan etc) the brides family has to provide a large
dowry to the grooms side. This can be furniture, a car, and other expensive items. This is
a cultural custom that Muslims have adopted from their surroundings. You are giving
the greatest gift your daughter, ditch the brides dowry.
20. Cut the gifts to every family member and at every event eg Engagement, Nikah,
Reception, Valimah. Local customs can dictate that each side give gifts to not only the
bride or groom but also to the parents, siblings, uncles, aunts. Although giving gifts is a
nice gesture, when it become expected, it takes the heart and soul away behind the
gesture. Again communicate this upfront, “let’s eliminate the gift exchange,” it keeps
21. If you are going with a formal venue for the reception, remember for the meal, lunch is
cheaper than dinner, mid-week is less costly than the weekend. Fridays and Sundays are
less costly than Saturdays.
22. For rings you can go with simple gold bands. Instead of a diamond ring you can opt for
some other semi-precious stones, or crystal. In Islam gold is not permitted for men.
Besides platinum which is very expensive you can go with tungsten or titanium. You
don’t have to broadcast the details, it’s your little secret.
23. Skip the theme or wedding color and you remove a large constraint on what you can or
cannot have at the wedding. Go for the rainbow!
24. Avoid holiday seasons eg summer when the costs for both venue and travel are the
highest. Also avoid holiday weekends as they are more costly.
25. Have the nikah and the reception in the same place.
26. Depending on state and city law, the nikah may be conducted by anyone. Find someone
in the community who speaks well eg gives khutbah and let them officiate and skip the
27. Skip the favors or assemble your own. They don’t need to be fancy. Eg a Date, a CandyAlmond, some M&Ms for color and maybe a dried fruit piece.
28. Avoid the fancy wedding cake vendors. Check out a local bakery and order a small cake
for cutting and get a flat sheet cake to serve the guests.
29. Ask friends or students at local film school or photography club to take the pictures and
30. Ask guests to share their photos on your wedding blog, website or in the cloud.
31. If you do have a photographer ask for the digital negatives. You can have the prints and
photobooks done cheaper yourself through Costco or Shutterfly.
32. Ditch the limo, and have a family friend who has nice set of wheels drive you.
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33. A wedding is one day in your life. Don’t get so caught up in it that you or your family
goes into debt trying to cover it and the expectations of all those around you.
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13 Mistakes to Avoid for your Perfect Muslim Wedding
Even though this guide and site is called “Perfect Muslim Wedding,” it does not mean that
everything in your wedding will go exactly as you planned. Stuff happens, you can count on it.
However, that does not mean there are some common pitfalls that you can’t avoid. Here are a
few thoughts. You know your own situation best, for the critical ones, have a plan B. Oh yes and
enjoy the wedding InshAllah.
Photo by activefree on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
1. It’s a wedding and everyone wants your attention. Make your guests and helpers feel
they are heard, but don’t get kidnapped by anyone, so that you give some guests a lot of
time and others none.
2. It’s nice to let key family and friends share memories, but don’t make it an open mike.
Even the best of friends and family can bring the energy down and make you want to
shrivel back to the cocoon.
3. Money matters should be discussed discretely both with your own family and your
future spouse. Have the important discussions one-on one, and set the stage with the
other side, so that when you do meet, it is not embarrassing or awkward.
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4. Don’t play the Lone Ranger. Even he needed Tonto. A wedding requires a lot of
coordination and help. You can’t do it alone. Play to family and friends strengths and
divvy up the work.
5. Given that everything may not go to plan, that does not mean nothing should go to plan.
Prioritize the most important things and work out the details. Rehearse, have alternate
plans and of course pray for the best.
6. Whether it be the wedding dress or shoes, looking good is important but feeling good is
even more important. You will be in the dress, suit, shoes for a while, and if you are not
comfortable it will show through. Better to go with flats than heels of pain.
7. For low priority accessories and items it is OK to buy online. For the critical eg wedding
dress it is best to deal with a physical entity person, shop etc. Allow enough time for
snafus and delays so that you’re not pulling your hair out, worrying if your dress will be
ready in time.
8. Avoid leaving for the honeymoon on the morning after the reception. You will be spent
and that is not a good state to be going on honeymoon. Give yourselves at least a
couple of days to recover and regroup.
9. Make different people in charge of major tasks, so that they are not coming to one
person for every small and large decision. An example is a person each for the decor,
catering, MC, music, guest greeting, usher etc.
10. With Muslim weddings it is difficult even with RSVPs to know how many guests will
show. Have a a10-15% margin for the catering and for the venue to have the flexibility
to add tables.
11. Whether you hire a professional photographer or ask Uncle Hakim to take the pictures,
make sure you have gone over the must have photos that you need. Have a backup too.
12. Accidents happen. Some of the more obvious ones like coffee or other spills are a
nightmare to deal with. Have basic rules eg no drinks in the brides quarters etc.
13. Don’t leave helpers and guests guessing about the itinerary. Create a schedule, share it
and try to stick to it.
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How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue
There are many decisions you will be making in the plans for your wedding. Although each is important
in its own way nothing is more central and significant than the wedding venue. Your decision to consider
places will be based on some major themes and many smaller ones. The main criteria are your budget,
location, number of guests, ambience/look/feel, and flexibility to work with your preferences and
vendors. Popular venues get booked months in advanced.
Photo by Kenny Louie on Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution - License
The detailed questions for you to consider venue are listed in the Perfect Muslim Wedding Planning
Kit. However to help you get started and give context here are things to think about.
1. Determine the timing. What season are you looking at? Does it work for you, your spouse,
families and key people eg distant relatives, the Imam who will be conducting the wedding etc.
2. What month and day of the week. Most weddings occur around the weekend. As Muslim
weddings depending on the culture can be quite elaborate, they may span over a few days.
P a g e | 26
3. Most venues offer similar rates for Fridays and Sundays, with Saturdays carrying eg a 10-15%
premium. There are pros and cons of each day. Friday gets the activities going, Saturday gives
everyone a buffer Sunday to recover and or do other wedding related customs. Sundays,
besides being lower cost than a Saturday, allow you to get eg the Nikah addressed earlier.
4. Think about public holidays
a. New Year’s Day, January 1.
b. Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
c. Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
d. Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
e. Independence Day, July 4.
f. Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
g. Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
h. Veterans Day, November 11.
i. Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
j. Christmas Day, December 25.
5. Think about Muslim holidays and events. Eg Eid ul Fitr at the end of Ramadan and Eid ul Adha on
the 10th day Dhul Hajj based upon moon sightings and/or calculations.
6. Visit potential venue sites if possible around the time and day of your planned reception. This is
usually lunch or dinner time. Take notes, bring your digital camera. Note everything of
significance. Imagine you are the guest.
a. What is it like finding the place?
b. How is the drive up to the reception hall?
c. How is the parking?
d. What is the walk from the parking lot to the reception hall like? Is it easy to find?
e. Does the entrance look grand?
f. Does the reception hall feel spacious and with help from the decorator give you the
ambience you are looking for?
g. How are the restrooms?
h. How comfortable are you with the event manager? If you or your planner will be
working with them is the chemistry good?
7. Consider the logistics. Will they work for you, your guests and vendors?
8. As you start visiting venues with key members of your family, you will start being drawn to some
as finalists and others will get crossed off your list. You won’t be able to get everything in one
visit so allow for follow-ups.
9. Besides capacity and availability, your budget and their fees need to be on the same plane. Once
you are serious about the finalist venues, see what you can negotiate either in price reduction or
getting things included.
10. It is OK to go non-mainstream with a venue eg museum, golf course, botanical gardens etc. As
with any other decision there will be trade offs you will make, eg how much you take on versus
the venue. Just be aware of them and make it a conscious choice.
P a g e | 27
11. Before you sign on the dotted line read the contract. Understand change and cancellation
policies. Pray your Istikharah as with any major decision you want to invoke Allah’s blessings.
12. Last but not least ask lots of questions. A comprehensive list of questions for venues and
vendors is listed in the Perfect Muslim Wedding Planning Kit which can be found on the
This document is meant to help you get a start and cover the basics. For more details of the following
please check out the website, www.PerfectMuslimWedding.com
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Caterer
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Planner
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Florist
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Decorator
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Photographer
How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Videographer
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Perfect Muslim Wedding Budget Tracker
Wedding Hall Rent
Tax & Gratuities
Sodas, Chai, Coffee
Flowers Bouquets & Centerpieces
Apparel & Gifts
Gifts to New Family
Masjid Nikah Fee (If applicable)
Photographer, prints, albums
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Thank you cards, Guestbook
Total Other Expenses
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Muslim Wedding Planner Budget
(For Spreadsheets, please go to the site,
1. Set a budget goal
Dress & other
2. Adjut Default
3. Make sure the Percentage total 100%
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