A Persian marriage consists of two stages. Usually, the two stages are on the same day but in some circumstances there can be a time gap in between each stage. 'Aghd' is the first stage and represents the legal side of getting married. During the first stage, both the woman, man and their guardians sign a contract to legalize the marriage. The final stage is known as 'Jashn-e Aroosi' which is the wedding reception. This stage is perhaps the most enjoyable as it entails all of the celebrations and feasts. Jashn-e Aroosi is celebrated from three days up to a week.
Traditionally, the ceremony should be held in a carefully and specially decorated room. The room should be graced with flowers and a uniquely designed spread on the floor referred to as 'Sofreh-ye Aghd. It is important that the Sofreh-ye Aghd is placed so that it is facing the direction of sunrise (light). As a result, the bride and groom will be seated facing 'the light'.
According to traditions, the Aghd should be held at the bride's family home. The ceremony is initiated when the guests start to arrive to witness the marriage ceremony. The bride and groom's parents should be present before the guests arrive so that they can greet and welcome them. The bride should sit down after the groom. A small yet crucial detail is for the groom always to be sitting on the right side of the bride as in Zoroastrian culture the right side represents a place of respect.
For centuries, the Sofreh-ye Aghd spread has been passed from mother to daughter. The spread is created using precious fabrics like cashmere and silks.
[caption id="attachment_1215" align="alignnone" width="661"] Sofreh-ye Aghd[/caption]
Many essential items should be present on the Sofreh-ye Aghd spread, including a mirror and two Candelabras. The candelabras represent the bridge and groom and their bright future. The mirror and two candelabras symbolize light and fire. These are two crucial elements in Zoroastrian culture. The brides face should be covered with a veil when she enters the room. She then sits beside the groom and removes her veil. It's important that the first thing the groom sees in the mirror is the bride's reflection. It's also customary to have a tray of seven multicolored spices and herbs. Apparently, these protect the newlyweds during their lives from evil spirits and the evil eye. The plate should consist of the following colors:
In addition to the above, a specially prepared and decorated flatbread should be on the spread. It should have the words 'Mobaarak Baad' carefully scribed onto it. This tradition represents the current and future feasts for the couple. Another important tradition is a cup of honey. Immediately after a couple marries they should dip one finger into the honey and feed it to each other, this will ensure the couple has a sweet life together. A bowl of gold coins should also be visible to bring the couple wealth and prosperity in the future. There are many more objects and pieces that should be present at Persian weddings, however above are the most common and important traditions.