Iranian pre Wedding Process
(Persian: خواستگاری) is the first step of the traditional Iranian wedding process. In the olden times, when it was time for a young man to get married, his family would look for potential brides who came from family's of similar standing in the community. Once the man, or his family, had decided on a potential bride, the Khastegāri process would take place. In modern Iran, this practice is replaced by the courtship of the man and woman and their mutual decision to start the khastegari process.
For this ceremony, one or more representatives of the man’s family would visit the woman's family. The first visit could be for the parties to become acquainted. At each visit, the man's family would present a bouquet of flowers and the woman's, as good hosts, provided tea, fruits, and sweets. Both the woman and the man had their say in whether or not they would like a follow up on the visits. Once both parties had established serious intentions for the relationship, the man's family would bring sweets and a larger bouquet and officially ask the question. In modern day Iran, the Khastegari is a one-time formality. It is a sign of respect to the parents of both parties and for them (as wiser/elders) to have their thoughts shared with the potential future bride and groom.
At the Second Khastegāri
(Persian: خواستگاری دوم) a marriage proposal is made by the suitor and his family. The woman’s family welcome the party and invite them to sit in the reception room.
At first, members of the Persian bride’s family talk about the virtues of the girl. Traditionally, modesty was among the most highly valued qualities, along with domestic skills like cooking, embroidery, and entertaining at social gatherings (Mehmān Navāzi). Less emphasis is placed on these characteristics nowadays. In modern times important characteristics are the education level and intelligence of the girl, her ability to make the most of the situation when times get tough, and her future prospects. After hearing about the potential bride, the man's family will discuss his own merits, usually his education and/or career prospects. The woman's parents will normally ask the suitor if he is able to provide her with accommodation and if he is able to support their daughter financially. They may also discuss any religious commitments.
The most important part comes when the bride’s father calls for the tea to be served. In the most traditional families, the first time that the man and woman see each other is when she enters to offer tea and pastries to the guests. At the end of the second Khastegāri, the man and the woman will be given time alone to talk in private. This usually involves a discussion about what they want for the future.
It is important to note that, nowadays in most families, the first two Khastegaris are done in one step. Usually, the man and the woman already know each other and are the ones who have instigated the ceremony.
(Persian: بله بران) is the ceremony which takes place a short period of time after the formal proposal, publicly announcing the couple's intention to form a union. At this stage, both the man and woman are happy with each other and, traditionally, both their families have agreed to the union and any conditions surrounding the marriage.
The groom's parents usually give a gift to the bride at this ceremony. According to an ancient Zoroastrian practice, this is done by the groom's family in order to persuade the bride to accept the proposal. The traditional gift is a ring.
Persian: حنابندان, Azerbaijani: Xına Gecəsi خینا گئجه سی) is the ceremony held one day before the wedding in the home of bride and groom. It generally takes place at the girl’s home and among women, although either side can choose to host it. It is very popular in Iranian Azerbaijan region, neighboring Azerbaijan Republic, and Turkey. Usually dry henna brought by the bridegroom’s family is broken to pieces in a silver or copper vessel by a woman whose father and mother alive, not experienced any separation. After preparing the bride, veil ornamented with red flake is placed over her head, and she is brought into the middle with hymn and folk songs about henna.
Henna that has earlier kneaded with water is brought in on a tray surrounded by candles and placed in the middle of the room. In some places, the henna is first put on the hands of the bride and then distributed to the guests; in other areas, the henna is first distributed to the guests, and only after everybody has left is it placed on the bride’s hands. If the woman so wishes, henna can also be placed on her feet and hair.
Considerable attention is paid to charging a woman with a happy marriage to knead and distribute the henna and apply it to the girl’s hand. The woman places the henna on one of the bride’s hands, and a young girl places it on the other. Before the henna is applied, coins or gold are also placed in her hands. After the woman who came together for dying henna leave, a close friend of the bride remain with her and enjoy themselves till morning.
The Nāmzadi ceremony
(Persian: مراسم نامزدی) takes place at the bride's family home. The man and woman, alongside their families, will determine "the gift of love", known as the Mehriyeh, as well as the date of the wedding. This may be held as early as a year before the wedding itself, in order to allow time for all the wedding arrangements to be made.
The Iranian engagement ceremony, known as the Nāmzadi, involves the bride and groom exchanging rings, followed by a reception and/or party.