A Persian Wedding

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in The Wedding Service, Weddings | 0 comments

A Persian Wedding

Dear Engaged couples—This weekend  I had the  privilege of officiating at a Perisan wedding–or at least a wedding with decidedly Persian elements.  It was so much fun, and so meaningful.  I hope by the time you finish reading this blog, you will think so, too.  If you, too, are thinking of combining different traditions into one wedding service, you will want to take notes, as you continue to read. Imagine this:  a pale skinned, blonde and blue eyed bride and a dark, handsome brown-eyed groom.  She has a warm and wonderful mother, who actually escorted her down the aisle and presented her to the wedding guests and the waiting groom.  The groom has equally wonderful parents who settled here from Iran.  The three of them, the parents of the groom, and the groom himself speak English, but they also speak Farsi. Both bride and groom wanted to honor each other’s traditions  The American/Christian part was not so new to this officiant.  The scripture reading was one that is familiar in the Christian tradition—1 Corinthians 13.  The music was typical of North American weddings—Here Comes the Bride for the Processional and the recessional was traditional also. But the vows!  They were distinctly Persian.

Honey for the bride and groom in the Persian tradition

The bride and groom dipped their fingers in honey, as in a traditional Persian wedding

Following the Persian tradition, the wedding officiant (me!) asked the groom in English, Do you take this woman to be your wife?” And he of course, said, “I do.”  Nothing odd about that.  Then I asked the bride, also in English“ Do you take this man to be your husband?  ”  This is where the Persian tradition kicked in. The bride did not answer.  Instead, someone among the guests shouted out (in Farsi) “She is out in the field picking flowers.”  And the Persian guests laughed.  Again, I asked the question.  Again the bride did not answer and again one of the guests shouted out (in Farsi)  a lame excuse (she is shopping for groceries). More laughter.  I asked the question one last time, and THIS time the bride answered back (in Farsi, mind you—kudos to her for that!),  “With the permission of my parents and elders, yes.”  At this point in the service most of the guests, teared up and the bride and groom laughed and cried both at the same time—It was the highpoint of the service.   Then came the exchange rings. The groom’s dad offered a final blessing by the 13th century poet, Rumi.  He read it, appropriately enough, in Persian, the language in which the poem was originally written.  I am reprinting it here in English. “May these vows and this marriage be blessed May it be sweet milk this marriage, like wine and halvah. May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm. May this marriage be full of laughter, Your every day a day in paradise. May this marriage be a sign of compassion, A seal of happiness here and hereafter. May this marriage have a fair face and a good name, An omen as welcome as the moon in a clear blue sky. I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.” The service ended with the bride and groom dipping their pinky fingers into a glass of honey which I held for them.  They fed the honey to one another, symbolizing the sweetness of their future lives together.  And they are right.  For sure their future will be sweetness and delight, as they continue to honor each other’s traditions, growing in the process. May it be so for you, too, whatever traditions you bring to your marriage. Happy wedding planning! Your wedding  preacher for hire

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