This Is The Complete History Of How Pakistani Shaadi Has Evolved

By Arslan Athar | 4 Aug, 2017

Hate them or love them, shaadis are always happening. They’re everywhere! You will spot a baraat going towards the shaadi hall at least once. Everywhere you look, you see shaadiyan. Even this article is about shaadis!

No matter how old you are, if you think hard enough you will realize that all of us have seen a huge change in the ways we shaadi it up. Every ‘shaadi season’ the average Pakistani shaadi sees changes, and the further we ‘evolve’ away from the shaadis of the past.


The ‘Baat Paki‘ 


Well before the event evolved, the name evolved. It went for baat paki to mangni then to engagement (because hum thora burger hogaye the) and guess what? Now we’re slowly coming back to baat paki ceremonies, again. The event used to be pretty intimate, with the ghar ke baray being involved (which basically means that daadi jee puts the ring on the dulhan, because na mehram can’t touch, obvi). Now, however, it’s a huge deal. The entire town is invited and 3/4th of the people there have no idea who’s getting engaged to whom.


The Invitation Card

This used to be a pretty simple affair. The absolute basics were covered, who’s marrying whom, where and when. That’s it.


Now the invitation has gotten a whole lot more complicated, now there’s a pre-invite which is called a ‘Save The Date’. A totally ‘candid’ picture of the couple with the dates of their wedding on the side of that photo. This is usually followed by a ‘formal’ invite. Nowadays these say ‘no boxed gifts please’ but what they mean is, ‘the bigger the better’. Oh and the best part, all the invites have to say “RSVP” on them, although no one knows what it means and ain’t nobody going to RSVP to the shaadi. They’ll just show up with themselves plus 50 people you didn’t invite.




One thing hasn’t changed with time, and that is the amount of dholkis hosted before the shaadi. A week or two before the main shaadi festivities, the pre-party starts. Dhol pe thaap, thappay, and all aunties (young, old, not aunties) would sing together because they knew the words.

Source: Harpreet Kaur / YouTube

Fast forward to today, literally just one person in the entire gathering knows how to play the dhol if you’re lucky, no one knows the words so they start singing the few Bollywood songs that can be dhol-ified! Then the dholki quickly becomes a photo session (naye DP-iyan tou ‘click’ karni hai na!) and a Bollywood dance party tops the night off.


Also see: This Is What Happens If You’re The Only Friend Who Knows How To Dance At Mehndis


The Nikkah

Nikkahs were not a grand affair. Everyone would get together at the girl’s house, ‘Kabool Hai? Kabool Hai!’ hota tha and then everyone would eat mithai.


Today, Nikkahs just HAVE to be either at Faisal Masjid or Badshahi Masjid followed by a photo-shoot at an equally exquisite location. Plus points for if it’s raining because everyone loves to see photos of dolled up women running towards cover with umbrellas. Shukar hai they haven’t taken away the mithai at least.

Source: Nida Ahmed Photography



Watch your parents’ wedding video, the bride wore simple yellow, her face was covered and the mehndi didn’t look like the set of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.  Back in the ‘day’, mehndis were the opposite of extravagant. They were small functions with family and close friends and it wasn’t boring. Those mehndis were equally able to ‘bring the roof down’ as today’s.


Aaj kal, the dulhan HAS TO be wearing a super expensive jora (by a certain Doctor or a Mrs. Kazmi) and the mehndi entrances usually involve some sort of public transportation.

Source: Kashif Qadri Photography


Also see: The Longest Pakistani Wedding Ever Just Ended And Here Are All The Dirty Details


Sehra Bandi 

Pretty sure half of you are actually wondering what that reeeallly is. It’s a puraani rasam where a nazm is written for the dulha, wishing him luck. It was read out before the baraat leaves, after which the dulha has to wear the sehra. Somewhere along the line, the modern Pakistani dulha became too cool for all this and the tradition has unfortunately died. Unless you belong to one of those super cool families that does each and every shaadi rasam.


Now the sehra bandi, if there is one, is merely an opportunity for pre-departure, pre-makeup-meltdown pictures.


Joota Chupai

Thank God this rasam stayed on with all its glory. This rasam basically establishes dominance and reminds dulha jee that his saalas and saalis are the most important people in his dulhan‘s life, he can never take their place 😉

Source: Tayyaba Yousaf



Pehle ke zamanay mein, rukhsatis were all about playing ‘Sada Chiryan Da Chamba‘ in your head while ugly crying as the dulhan went away to her ‘new’ home.

Source: Harpreet Kaur / YouTube


We then went to phool bootay wali cars.



And then when shaadi shifted to hotels and the couple had a room in the same hotel, the rukhsati moved to the lift. Now everyone just cries in front of the elevator  and in true dramatic fashion, the doors close aur phir beti apne walidayin ke liye ghair hojati hai *hayee, sed lyf*.



The shaadis of aaj kal aren’t terrible, they’re fun in their own right, but let’s not forget that weddings are the greatest expression of our culture.


Cover image via: Kashif Qadir Photography

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