The results are finally in for the Perfect Muslim Wedding and Marriages survey. It took a lot of outreach and follow-ups to elicit the over 108+ responses we got. Thank you to all of you who participated.

Photo by Amna Hakim Photography

Photo by Amna Hakim Photography

Our first survey last year was primarily quantitative, so it was easy to summarize the results. This time we wanted to not only go far and wide in North America but also deep, so we went for a qualitative “fill in the details” survey. We got some wonderful insights.

To make this digestible we first reduced the 900 or so responses down to just over 100. How did we do that? We passed on one word answers, clichΓ©s, sexist comments or those that were pretty generic. We were then still left with over 120 insightful responses. It is still a lot of information to take in, so we are breaking down and sharing the highlights three questions at a time. Here is part one:

Think about a memorable wedding you attended. What made it memorable?

  1. A couple come to mind: 1. One family wedding in which we were included in the planning and hosting. 2. One friend’s wedding where they spent obscene amounts of money and went over the top.
  2. A lot of different things, but especially the enthusiasm of the family and the welcoming mannerisms.
  3. Being in a beautiful natural setting with Allah’s creation around.
  4. My own wedding. There was storm which broke 100 year record that day.
  5. The atmosphere and aura of two people who love each other uniting, a good and meaningful speech by the “aghed,” the person uniting the bride and groom.
  6. The bride and groom expressed how honored they were to have us guests attend their wedding. They made us ALL feel so welcome. It was a non-Muslim wedding.
  7. The simplicity – no expensive hotels or costs which you could otherwise use to literally make a down payment on a million dollar house. That’s right, a down payment on a million dollar house. Think about it.
  8. The speeches that were humble, warm, and genuine and made with kindness and respect toward both the bride and the groom. The talk given by the Imam that helped the couple and the guests learn about what marriage truly is from an Islamic perspective versus a cultural perspective.
  9. When two sisters decided to share weddings. It was memorable because I’ve never been to two weddings at once. It was also a bit odd. Who gets more attention?

What would a perfect wedding look like to you?

  1. A simple one with a couple of interesting or different features.. such a cool dessert bar. Nothing too elaborate thought. That is a waste of money.
  2. everyone is having fun, having meaningful conversations with all my favorite people, being together in a beautiful space, remembering God, all pray together.
  3. Good friends, good program with memorable speeches, remembrance of Allah, good food.
  4. Not too expensive. Women and men separated Dance and Islamic fun.
  5. Organized with things the bride and groom enjoy and things that represent them. Good food being served on time. Short but memorable speeches.

Is there anything you wish you/they had spent less or more time/money on?

  1. All the jewellery and presents for everyone. It’s not necessary to be so extravagant. Too many rituals, functions, and events connected to the wedding in the South Asian culture. Each one requires food, outfits, gifts, etc, which is not needed for a couple to fulfill the Sunnah of marriage. Wish we spent less money on the rings and dowry, it’s not necessary and it’s something you have to pay Zakat on.
  2. Definitely now I think money we spend for my wedding was waste of money and time.
  3. For my wedding I wish I had spent less. For the one I was invited to that money could have been spent to feed a thousand people for a week.
  4. I asked a friend to videotape it and wished I had asked a more reliable person.
  5. I wish I didn’t have to spend so much money on centerpieces because they get tossed the next day. It’s always sad to see your money being wasted.
  6. I wish I spent on a photographer and not on a videographer.
  7. I wish people would spend less time planning every detail and more time having fun I feel like the best weddings are the weddings that aren’t rehearsed to the T.
  8. I wish they’d arranged for out of town-fellow college student guests to be picked/dropped to nearest train station.
  9. I would have liked more time to plan a better, less boring wedding. Although, in hindsight, since it didn’t last, it doesn’t matter.
  10. In the weddings i am most accustomed to, i wish we spent less time on glamour and comparison to “raising the bar”, and more on the relationship between families coming as one, community members joining for pure support, and ANY dhikr. After all, marriage if half our deen.
  11. Picking and choosing during the planning stage was useless because on the wedding day i didn’t really notice much, i was just in a daze of amazement. it was beautiful though.
  12. Wish they spent more time enjoying their big day, rather than taking pictures all night.

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