The “Aghd” which is the legal ceremony of the Persian wedding, is a spectacular and joyous event celebrated with family, friends, music and fun. The Aghd usually takes place in the afternoon at the bride’s family home or other venue of choice in front of a setting called “Sofreh Aghd”. This is the time when the bride and groom sign a wedding contract, legally binding them as husband and wife.
.During the ceremony, the couple is seated at the foot of the Sofreh facing the mirror placed at the head of the Sofreh with their backs to their family and friends. Some couples prefer to be facing their guests and the mirror. The bride usually sits on the groom’s left hand side with her veil covering her face.
In religious Muslim families the “Aghd” ceremony begins with an officiant reading versus from the Quran, while non-religious families read versus from famous poems and poetic literature. During this time, a silk veil-like fabric is held over the couple’s heads by female relatives. Other close friends and family members then take turns grinding sugar cones over the silk veil to symbolize their wish for a sweet life for the couple. Next, the ceremony officiant asks about the couple’s mutual consent of the marriage. The groom is the first to be questioned and is asked if he wishes to enter into the marriage, to which he gives a quick positive response.
The bride is then asked the same question. However, the bride does not give an immediate answer, making the groom wait for her hand in marriage. The question is then asked again. At this point, family and friends yell out funny comments about the bride’s whereabouts. For example, “Aroos rafteh gol bechineh”, meaning “the bride has gone to pick flowers.” This process is repeated three times until the bride finally gives her response by saying “Ba ejazeyeh pedar va madar va bozorgtar-ha, baleh” which means “with the permission of my parents and elders, yes.” This moment marks the point in which the couple is considered married.
Then the groom lifts the brides the brides veil, they kiss and exchange wedding rings. Then the bride and groom dip their pinky fingers in a cup of honey placed in their Sofreh and put it in the others’ mouth. This gesture symbolizes the start of their marriage with sweetness and love.
After the “I-Do’s”, it is tradition for the couple’s families to present them with wedding gifts. Usually, these gifts include fine jewelry such as gold coins and bridal jewelry sets. Nowadays only the close family and friends get jewelry for the bride, the bride’s family gets the groom a nice watch and the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents give the bride jewelry sets. Sometimes the bride wears them before the ceremony for the pictures.
At this time the Persian pastry that is on the Sofreh is passed around for the guests to eat.
Then the guests take turns giving the presents to the bride and take a picture with them. There is usually someone (like a bridesmaid) which stands by the Sofreh and collects the gifts and cards that are handed to the couple and puts it away in a basket. These guests are usually Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and siblings. Other guests buy items from the registry.