Ironically, most customs and traditions involved in putting on a Persian wedding date all the way back to the second millennium, also known as Zoroastrian times. In Persian culture, the wedding day is one of the most important times of celebration. It is a day when extravagance is entirely acceptable and welcomed- elaborate celebration, spending time with friends and family, and a full on feast will commence. That is all part of the typical wedding day in Persian culture.
Although times have changed some traditional rituals that used to be performed at the Persian wedding, there are still many traditional elements used in the ceremony portion of the wedding. Much like western weddings, the bride (aroos) and the groom (damad) will sit before guests, wedding vows are made, and the marriage license is signed. In contrast to western culture, however, the groom will wait for his bride by sitting on a bench and over his head female family members will hold a canopy over him.
During the Persian wedding, it is a typical tradition for a special canopy, or cloth, called the Sofré, meaning tablecloth in Persian, to be present at the ceremony. In an outdoor ceremony, the tablecloth may be used overhead and situated on a wooden structure during the ceremony. Indoors, the Sofre may be on the floor like a rug of sorts. Before the wedding day, the family members are usually responsible for gathering items of sentimental value to both the bride and groom and using these items as part of the ceremony on the Sofre.
Incense and Spices
During the wedding ceremony, there are some Persian traditions that involve smelling good spices and incense. Specifically, a tray of seven or more different spices is used to signify a prosperous and spicy life between the couple. Also, someone will usually make their way in front of the bride during the ceremony holding a particular incense called the Esfand. This fragrance has been known to fight off an 'evil eye' spoken of in Persian culture.
Other Persian Elements
In a traditional Persian wedding, many other significant elements are used for different reasons. Flowers are often present to symbolize life, beauty, spring, and may also be used for decoration along the Sofre. Next, rosewater is a very symbolic and important part not only of a Persian wedding but also utilized in the culture for varying purposes. In a marriage ceremony, rosewater may be used as an incense to perfume the air during the ceremony.
Marriage Poetry and the Quran
If a Persian couple is religious and wants to add elements of faith into their wedding ceremony, they may use a Quran during the ceremony and use a verse or quotation on marriage. For a less religious couple, the bride and groom may choose to simply use verses from a Persian poetry book or saying that is close to their hearts and means a lot to both of them.
While these are only a few significant parts to a traditional Persian ceremony, knowing these key elements will familiarize anyone with many of the Persian culture traditions used in wedding ceremonies.