The day before their baraat, Ayesha and Ayaz perform a nikkah. The bride traditionally wears white on this day. During nikkah, the couple says their vows and signs their marriage contract. It is a very significant and legally binding occasion within Islamic culture. The bride traditionally wears white during this ceremony.
Sadaf Sadal, overcome with nerves, is comforted by friends and family on the day of her baraat. The baraat is a particularly emotional day for brides, because it is the day that the bride goes to her new family's home. Having usually lived with their family their whole lives, this day is oftentimes wrought with emotion as the bride says goodbye to her family and home and is welcomed into her new husband's family.
The groom's home is decorated with roses during the week of the wedding. Family members come from all over the country to visit with the family during the celebration. Every day, after the ceremony and festivities are over at the wedding venue, the family heads home to celebrate even more - oftentimes staying up until dawn.
Newlywed Ayesha Sadal adjusts her jewelry before heading to the walima for Sadaf and Kashif Malik. The walima is a wedding tradition in which the groom's side provides a large feast to the bride's family and other guests. Beforehand, on the day of the mhendi, the bride is painted with henna from her hands up to her forearms and along the sides of her feet. The henna usually lasts about two weeks.
Sadaf Sadal is walked "down the aisle" to her new husband on the day of her baraat, with her brothers Ayaz (left) and Zia (right) by her side.
Newlyweds Ayesha and Farheen have their makeup done in advance of Sadaf's final wedding ceremony, the baraat. Even though this ceremony is for Sadaf, tradition dictates that new brides dress nicely for a month after their wedding. All three brides - Ayesha, Sadaf, and Farheen - are subject to tradition, which in this case means elaborate clothes, jewelry and makeup for public events. They are also treated as guests of honor at the ceremony.
Sadaf Saeed does a final check of her wedding attire before leaving for the wedding venue on the day of her baraat.
Clothes are hung to dry at Ayaz's family home in the days coming up to the wedding in Lahore, Pakistan.
Kashif Malik escorts his new wife Sadaf out of the wedding venue on the day of their baraat. She is about to head to his family's home and spend the night there for the first time.
Ayesha arrives to her new home on the day of her baraat. The groom's family arrives early to welcome her with flower garlands and rose petals thrown upon the newlywed couple as they enter the home.
Ayesha wipes a tear from her face as she heads into her husband Ayaz's family home on the day of their baraat. The groom's family cheers them on as they enter.
Ayesha and Ayaz Sadal sit together at the wedding venue on the day of their baraat.
Farheen is kissed by Abdullah, her brother, as she is escorted out of the wedding venue on her baraat. Her husband, Zia (left), waits to escort her to his family's home. The baraat is a somber occasion for the bride's parents as it signifies the departure of their daughter from their home. The departure of the bride during this ceremony is a very emotional scene as she says farewell to the home of her parents and siblings to start a new married life with her husband's family.
Ayesha is welcomed into Ayaz's home on the night of their baraat, and a new tradition takes place. During God’a Baithai, family members and friends surround the couple and ask the bride for money as a present. If the bride doesn't give them money, they will not let her go to the couples' bedroom. This is a lighthearted custom, and usually the bride will argue with the friends and family for a while before finally giving in. Both the bride and groom will usually have a lot of cash just for this occasion.
Kashif Malik hugs his new mother-in-law before departing with his new wife, Sadaf, to his family's home on the day of their baraat. The departing of the bride is usually a somber affair, and Sadaf's family watches on in silence as she and her husband say their goodbyes.
Ayesha Sadal waits for her husband in the candlelight of their bedroom on the night of their baraat. This significant ritual is called suhag raat, which refers to the first night and consummation of the marriage. Traditionally, the female members of the families guide the bride to the decorated bedroom where she waits for her husband's arrival. The bed of the newlywed couple is decorated with rose petals and other flowers, which are believed to bring sweetness to their relationship. On the other side of the door, Ayaz's friends set up camp and block him from coming in - a lighthearted tradition that results in him acquiescing to demands for hours and "paying up" before finally being let into the bedroom.