IDEAS & ADVICE

Here in Bangladesh, we are rooted in tradition yet there is diversity seen in every realm of life, starting from food and customs that are reflected in Bangladeshi marriages. Weddings in Bangladesh take several days and are very elaborate. Typically, wedding customs in Bangladesh take three days from engagement to post wedding rituals. Bengali weddings involve the groom, bride and close relatives. Marriage is viewed as very special and sacred and is met with great enthusiasm. In our culture, marriage symbolizes not just the sacred union of two individuals, but the alliance of two families and extended relations as well. Their level of involvement is so profound that typically the family decides the bride/groom. But things have been changing. Here we have put some ideas and advice for the marriage seekers or newly married couples.


TRADITION OF MARRIAGE IN BANGLADESH

Ans: The legal age of wedding in Bangladesh for boys is 21 and for girls 18 years of age. Early marriage is a widespread problem in Bangladesh, which has the world’s worst record on child marriage: according to UNICEF, nearly two-thirds of girls are married before the age of eighteen. More than a quarter of girls are married before they reach fifteen.

Ans: The matchmaker always played an instrumental role in setting up the families of children who are to be wed. He is the man who resolves possible misunderstandings between the families. He reveals facts about the family history. Academic qualifications, employment, business, social associations and so on are all shared. Socially, families both in rural and urban Bangladesh have used 'ghotoks' for a very long time. The matchmaker was a thorough professional who was fittingly paid for this service. Today, however, there are matchmaking websites and it is an effective way to reach a large audience and clientele. The main purpose of all this is called 'Palta Palti Ghar' to make sure it is the ideal match.

Ans: This is the day the prospective bride is visited by the prospective groom's family. They are actually meeting her family to exchange pleasantries and in a way acquaint with each other before the final agreements are made. Traditionally groom and bride did not meet but it is now customary for them to meet as well, as the sides deduce and gauge each other. The girl is demurely attired in a sari or an ethnic suit. The boy likewise is casually dressed.

Ans: This is the official engagement. It is a tradition in Bangladesh and in the region to give two betel leaves and areca nuts to the guests at any auspicious occasion. Thus the name was derived from the servings. 'Paan' (betel leaf) being served with silver foil signals festivity and during such propitious occasions it is also common to bring sweets. These gestures friendship and a heartening promise.

Ans: This is the ceremonious announcement of the intended marriage, also giving the opportunity for objection. In the old days it was physically made within the community and it is now sometimes posted on social media. It allows people to be notified about the impending wedding dates so that the invitees keep themselves free. Secondly it also introduces the wedding couple to the respected relatives and friends.

Ans: This refers to the last meal that the bride-to-be enjoys in her own home before she is married off. It calls for a mini-feast where the bride's extended family and close friends join in the celebrations and wish her all the best. The 'ai buro bhat' feast consists of typically Bengali fare such as rice, fish, luchis, vegetable preparations and sweets such as rice puddings and other traditional delicacies.
Conversely, sometimes close friends and relatives invite the would-be bride to their house for the feast and celebrate the forthcoming wedding where all their favourite dishes are prepared.

Ans: Musical soirées are a wonderful way to have a pre-wedding party. Love songs from the past and the present are sung by friends and family. Although these days professional singers are hired, but the general idea is and should be, to participate in the singsong experience. In recent years spoken parlour games are often played. This is popular and a cultural import from our neighboring nations. Dancing also revitalises the spirit of the party. This is a late night event where tea, savouries and sweets are served.

Ans: It is our custom to send a pair of 'ruhi fish' to the bride's home on the morning of the holud ceremony. Fish in Bangladesh symbolise fertility, eternity, good fortune and wisdom. It is accepted and taken as a beautiful gesture of blessing. The pair of fish is dressed in fun and amusing attires, typically a sari and lungi, to add some humour to the presentation. The size of the fish is exhibited and paraded to show the breeding and generosity of the groom's family. It is also a time-honoured tradition to cook the fish for distribution amongst close relatives or eaten together with family.

Ans: This is a pre-wedding ceremony for both bride and groom. In the past it was a family affair where womenfolk would participate and men were not permitted in the rituals.
The brides got exfoliated with turmeric and other fragrant herbs as a pre-wedding beautification ceremony. Now, holud events are very elaborate with the bride's holud taking place the day before the grooms.
The trousseau of gifts and sweets are carried on this day. They are wrapped and packed beautifully making a clear statement about the theme of the wedding. The entire process is good fun.
Family and sometimes friends put in their share to make the presentations look magical. Clearly there is healthy competition of the two groups to out do each other with their personal styles. The observance of touching the turmeric and smearing it on the forehead is a ceremonial tradition. The brides are now seated before an assortment of finger foods mostly traditional pithas (rice cakes) and some savouries that are fed to her as a favour of approval.
Traditionally poems were read out to mock family and friends using humorous parodies that brought a hearty laugh to the guests, all done in good taste. The highlight of the holud in yesteryears was playing with colour both dry and wet. In the past, it was a small family affair, intimate and personal while today, this is a lavish event and lip-syncing and performing dance routines to Bollywood songs has become central to the events.

Ans: This is a ceremony, during which the bride's hands and feet are decorated with intricate patterns by the application of henna. It is believed that the deeper the colour of the mehendi (henna), the stronger the groom's love for the bride. There is music and dance at this ladies-only party where all the female friends and family wear henna to celebrate the joyous moment. When the bride goes to the groom's house she is not expected to do any housework until her henna has faded away.

Ans: In a Muslim wedding the 'niqah' is the wedding ceremony. It is usually held in the bride's home. The ceremony is conducted by the kazi while close relatives witness the happening of the event. The kazi reads certain verses from the Qur'an and thereafter the proposal and acceptance take place.
In a Muslim wedding, the legality of the marriage, that is mutual consent, is of prime importance. During this ceremony the families decide the amount of 'mahar' the mandatory monetary gift that the groom must pay to the bride. The 'niqah-nama' is a legal document signed by the bride and the groom that contains a set of terms and conditions that must be abided by both the parties. This is a morning or afternoon ceremony.

Ans: The groom's journey begins with a special prayer. Blessed by his mother and then by his other elders, a special turban tying ceremony is held. Traditionally the groom is handed down his father's turban material for good luck. This nuptial step towards wedlock is very auspicious to the groom's family. Sometimes a 'sehra' or a flowered veil is applied to the turban that is also very symbolic, to avoid evil eye.
The family proceeds with the procession with the younger ones in the front and the older and more matured members at the rear. The groom is somewhere in the centre. In earlier times, depending on the affluence and social standing, grooms were mounted on elephants or horses or even sat in horse-drawn carriages to their wedding. Today, an entourage of cars is used and the groom's vehicle is adorned with floral embellishments.

Ans: The wedding is an extravagant and fanciful event. Floral ornamentation, elaborate settings for the stage and sit down areas are all given importance. The ambience is made to echo the grandeur of the bygone era. Some of the popular themes are regal, classic, modern, vintage and outdoor.
The ambience does look enchanting and delightful. The 'rusmat' ceremony is held before a large audience. The bridegroom and bride are put under a single veil and the groom at first glance of a mirror held before the couple is asked to pronounce her loveliness. The bridegroom is also held hostage at the gate before he enters the wedding venue when the young cousins and friends of the bride ask for prize money.

Ans: It is customary for the bride's father to give away the bride to the groom. She is given farewell with blessings of her parents and relatives to start a new life with her significant partner. It is a highly emotional moment, joyous for the boy's side and melancholic for the girl's family. In earlier times in Bangladesh the bride would be required to travel far because well to do landed families were few and lived far away from each other. Today they may be living in the same neighborhood.

Ans: Once the couple arrives at the groom's house the newlyweds are greeted at the doorstep with prayers. The mother of the groom takes the initiative. Amongst Bengali Muslims this ritual can be simply performed with prayers from the Holy Qur'an. Some use husked rice during this ritual to signify good harvests and abundance and grass as a symbol of the land she will walk upon. The welcoming plate is laid out with welcome sweets and an oil lamp that represents an infinite spirit of love and bonding. Sometimes the bride may be asked to step on lac dye and milk that permanently heralds her first imprint and step into her new home.

Ans: Traditionally, the bedroom is prepared for the wedding night. Fragrant flowers are used to make string curtains that are hung on the poster bed or laid on the bed like bed of flowers. The entire arrangement of the 'bashor ghor' is aimed at encouraging conjugal bliss.

Ans: The first meal of the day following the wedding is important to many Bangladeshi families. It is a time-honoured custom for the bride's family to send this meal to the groom's home in an elaborate assortment of traditional delicacies. Homemade desserts and appetising snacks of a large variety are exhibited such as parathas, kababs, curries, plain or sweetened pitas (rice cakes) and fruits.

Ans: This is a wedding banquet held by the groom's family to honour the newly weds and introduce them to their family and friends, many of whom meet the bride for the first time. It is also an opportunity to return favours to the bride's family for their hospitality.
It is common for guests to shower gifts on the newly at both the wedding and the 'bou bhaat'. In the past this was a meal or feast that was personally cooked by the bride for her in laws and close family members.



DESTINATION WEDDING

Destination weddings are the new trend. A destination wedding is typically an event where the bride and groom plan an away from home wedding, inviting their closest family members and friends to an ideal location and make the event a semi-vacation. It doesn’t have to be in a foreign country or even on a beach. Many people think destination weddings are only in warm and tropical luxurious locations but that is just one of the many different destination weddings you can have. More and more couples are choosing locations that are special to them. So basically having the wedding in a different location away from home that is usually a vacation spot or an exotic location.

An opportunity for a couple to hold a wedding in a romantic location without spending a fortune, a destination wedding removes many of the stresses of planning a regular wedding. Every wedding detail can be arranged at a resort destination to suit your taste from afar. After the wedding ceremony, the celebration can last for hours or even days, with meals and outings arranged for you and your guests.

The etiquette of a destination wedding generally calls for invited guests to pay for their own airfare and accommodations. The bride and groom pick up the tab for the ceremony, reception, guest food and beverages, and additional festivities. They may also want to prepare goody bags filled with a location map, SPF, flip-flops and a welcome letter.
It's smart for a couple planning a destination wedding to negotiate a discounted rate for booking multiple rooms and also check with airlines to determine if group airfare rates are available.

Destination wedding cost does depend on the type of wedding that you have, where you choose to go (the location and venue), what you have to pay for (accommodation, lunch, transport etc), number of days and rituals, how many people come with you, types of decoration etc.

Attending a destination wedding is an expensive venture most guests so couples tend to want to spend more per person than they would at a traditional wedding. Consider these additional expenses that you incur by having a destination wedding instead of a traditional one: Airfare, Accommodations, Meals, Gifts, Transportation, Guest activities, Party Back Home etc. All these costs are in addition the standard expenses that are normally associated with weddings (dress, rings, officiant, venue, ceremony etc).
While the cost per person is higher for a destination wedding, remember that fewer people will attend so your overall cost for the event will be lower than a traditional wedding. There are others ways to lower the total cost. The easiest way to lower the cost of a destination wedding is to book one at an all-inclusive resort. A decade or so ago, a wedding at an all-inclusive resort would have been considered a terrible choice since many resorts were not designed with weddings in mind. That, however, has changed.
Nowadays, many resorts offer spectacular destination wedding packages that include a ton of extras at a minimal cost. For example, the beautiful beginnings wedding package at these resorts will cost you very low for about 50 guests. These packages include: Orchid Boutonniere, Table with White Linen and Centerpiece, White Fondant Cake, Personal pre wedding Planner and resort wedding planner, Preparation of marriage documents, Pre-recorded music, Wedding gift , Personal Wedding Website, Wedding and Honeymoon Gift Registry, Honeymoon dinner for bride and groom, Photo package, Decorated honeymoon room, Mimosa breakfast-in-bed any morning of your choice. As you can see, the package above offers a lot of value when you take into account the location and the setting of the wedding.
While it may seem high, a destination wedding will actually be a lot cheaper in terms of cost because fewer people will attend one. So while the cost per person may be high, only your closest of friends and family members will make the effort and the expense to fly thousands of miles to see you wed

Having a Destination Wedding is a dream for many young couples with so many options that crop up while you search the web for exotic and budget destinations.
There are many benefits of having a Destination Wedding; to name a few:
1. Only your close group/family can be invited and avoid unwanted crowd, which becomes difficult when you are hosting in your own city or town.
2. At times everyone is invited but many skip due to prior commitments or constraints.
3. You may limit the expenditure on excessive guests.
4. You get to be with your close group and enjoy the duration completely.
5. It's a close knit affair.
6. In case your guest list matches with the number of rooms available at the host property; the entire property belongs to you during your stay for private and late night parties