As Muslims, marriage is a very sacred institution, and along with that, it is also very practical and real. Marriage is not meant to be celebrated only on the day of, or in some cultural cases, the week of. We have all heard of marriage completing half of our faith, and it is exactly that. Once we get married, we are now able to focus on bigger goals, and also going through our daily routines properly and making sure we are living our lives in a Halal manner. Compared to before marriage, we may be more focused on settling down, completing school, getting a job, social life, etc.
Whatever the reason may be, marriage is a blessed union in which we must make sure to understand to the best of our ability, and one in which we must also look at how Islam has guided us to celebrate it.
When it comes to having wedding ceremonies, there are a lot of things to consider: the place, the time, the food, the seating arrangements, the color scheme, the guest list, and even the "ambiance".
Again, when we say there are a lot of things to consider, none of these things are obligatory, but it seems they have become over the years. Nowadays, we find the to-be couple to be more stressed about venue, colors, food, and even "entertainment" than anything else.
As we have these blessed ceremonies, especially the Nikah, which is the actual marriage in itself, we should make sure that we are keeping it all Halal. Islam's guidelines are for every day and every era – yes, even on your wedding day, girls! This means the rules of Hijab apply to both men and women. Sure, it may be annoying to hear the complaints, or take some extra effort (and even money) to find a place that has a partition, or to rent one, but it is very worth doing so. Why would we want to start off our new lives by committing sin? Do we want Allah to be angry at us on our wedding day? So big deal if an aunty or friend is mad at you for putting up a curtain because it ruins the "fun" or "stops us from finding prospects for our kids". Would we want to put the blessings of a marriage and our new life in the trash for something so temporary and unnecessary?
Another main issue is "entertainment". Again, the rules of Islam do apply on this joyous day for us and our families. We must make sure we are not violating Islamic laws and committing sins just to entertain our guests with music while they eat or socialize – it is not worth it. Honestly, we can bet that nobody will even notice if there is no background music, and if they do notice, who cares? Sinning for others' pleasure is not it worth it in the long run.
We also find an overall problem of Israaf, or wastefulness. This might be one of our biggest problems today when it comes to our "Muslim" weddings. Trays and trays of food, piles and piles of dessert, extravagant décor, and the most expensive place in town are the trademark of even the simplest wedding. We are not saying it is prohibited if it is within one's status and budget, but it is something we need to be very, very careful of, especially when we are talking about a relationship which we begin in the name of Allah. Tip: when planning the wedding, we should ask ourselves, "Do we really need this?" Usually this can help us to narrow down and decide if we should use the money for it or not. Remember, there is much reward in helping to pay for a wedding in which the couple cannot afford even a nice outfit to wear, or even to feed their guests – our marriages will be blessed tenfold if our money is spent for helping our fellow brothers and sisters.
So to those getting married, planning a wedding now, or eventually will in the future, don't forget the rules of Islam do apply to us on our wedding day. Don't forget that just to please a few people, you will be allowing strange, unrelated men to stare at your daughters/sisters/aunts/cousins without Hijab as they look their best. We must remember that we only beseech Allah to bless our marriages and make them successful and fruitful, and if we go ahead and decide to have that temporary pleasure or become people-pleasers for just that one day or night, we are forgetting the very essence of marriage as taught by our beautiful faith.