The Nikah is part of the marriage celebrations in a Muslim wedding ceremony. It permits a woman and man to unite in Islam and live together as wife and husband. Muslim wedding celebrations are a three day affair. It starts with the mehendi ceremony, followed by the Nikah or wedding and ends with the Walima or reception. Different types of attire are worn on these three days and range from the graceful saree to the elegant sharara. During all three celebrations, the female covers her head in a veil called a ghunghat. This is drawn partially to cover the forehead, eyes and sometimes even the entire face.
During the Mehendi Ceremony, the bride-to-be wears a yellow colored outfit to match the significance of the mehendi. The outfit can take the form of an elegant salwar kameez or saree. She is ushered into the ceremony under a yellow dupatta by her female relatives and friends.
On the occasion of wedding, the bride is dressed in a heavily jeweled or beaded lehenga that has several pleats. It is usually in a bright color such as red and features a lengthy blouse which is embroidered with gold accents. The dupatta is gently draped over her head and hugs her facial frame. It is styled further around her waist and shoulders to preserve her modesty and respect. In addition to the clothing, the bride wears the finest jewelry featuring precious and semi-precious gemstones. Every part of her body is bedecked in jewelry, starting with her forehead, ears and nose to her hands, feet and toes.
On this special day, the groom is dressed in a sherwani. This is a heavily embroidered kurta that is worn with churidar pants. During the actual Nikah, the groom must wear a floral veil made from roses.
The Walimah is the reception which is held on the third day. On this occasion the bride may wear a traditional sharara or a lehenga choli which is heavily embroidered and bejeweled. The groom may wear a Western suit or a fancy kurta with pajamas.
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