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There are two practical aspects to any Muslim wedding: the nikah (contract) at the masjid, and the dinner banquet or walimah (reception) afterwards.
In Islam, it is not considered wrong to celebrate and enjoy the happy occasion of a wedding, in moderation.
In fact, this celebration is part of the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The only thing that a Muslim should keep in mind is that there should be no disobedience to Allah’s commands during the wedding festivities.
In this regard, a Muslim bride and groom should be careful about a few things that are sometimes overlooked when hosting a wedding reception:
- Free intermingling of the two genders
- attendees not observing hijab
- extravagance i.e. spending too much on the celebration and allowing food and money to be wasted.
Since you will be inviting your relatives and guests who belong to other faiths, it is probable that you will not be able to stop all transgressions against the limits set by of Allah. e.g. attendees might shake hands/hugs with the opposite gender, mix freely, or dance.
However, you should try your best to do whatever is in your power to see that Islamic guidelines are met.
In such a situation, it is advisable to proceed with caution, wisdom, and discretion. You can take certain steps at the nikah ceremony at the masjid and the reception afterwards, to make sure that violations of Islamic rules are avoided.
(i) Your wife should observe hijab whether at the masjid or at the reception. This is an obligation in Islam. To manage this matter, she can can dress up in full adornment for you to see after the nikah and for female guests during the celebration, and there is nothing wrong with her dressing up.
However, when she enters any area where men can see her, she should wear hijab, or remain behind any barrier that prevents her from being seen by non-mahram men.
(ii) You can play uplifting Islamic poems, beat boxing, or nasheeds (e.g. those by Zain Bhika, Omar Esa, Siedd, or Muslim Belal) at the reception. Basically, any decent songs that employ the use of only the human voice and “duff” or one-sided drum.
(iii) If you think that having a barrier erected in one hall to separate the genders might not succeed in preventing free mixing, then you can arrange two venues that are located a short driving distance from each other.
This will allow the bride to take off her veil in front of the women and children attendees, and enjoy herself freely. After the dinner, you can bid farewell to your guests and return to be with your wife and close family members.
(iv) You can inform the guests beforehand, that they should seek permission before taking anyone else’s photograph with their phone or camera, at the nikah or reception (if guests are not wearing proper hijab). You can dedicate a specific family camera for the purpose of saving some memories for yourself, which should be in the sole, exclusive access of you both – the bridal couple – and/or your closest relatives.
(v) You should take practical steps to prevent wastage of any kind. Arrange beforehand with a charity, needy relatives, or a soup kitchen that accepts donations, to come & pick up any leftover food after the banquet is over.
You can provide boxes and containers at the reception for guests pack and take home leftover food. Food should not be thrown away.
(vi) Within limits of moderation, there is nothing wrong with your wife hosting a small, sisters-only pre-wedding party to have some fun with her female friends and relatives before the nikah.
This way, the bride and other women can dress up and enjoy themselves freely.
May Allah grant you both a very blessed marital union. Ameen.
Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.
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