The Iranian or Persian wedding ceremony is based on the ancient Zoroastrian tradition. Although there are some local and regional variations, the concept and traditions of a Persian wedding is always same. Of course, this wedding ceremony is also based on holy rituals as per the religion. Today, you may find slight variation in the modern day Persian weddings, but the actual ceremonies and rituals are more or less the same.
For Persian marriage event, families and friend unite and celebrate together. In the past, marriages were arranged by the parents and older members in a family. In this modern age, couples choose their own mate. Once the groom and bride’s families approve, they go ahead with the marriage ceremony. After that, the families announce the marriage dates. Some families also send out formal invitation cards to their relative and friends in order to invite them to the marriage ceremonial functions.
In all Persian weddings, the famous Persian Spread or Sofreh Aghd is used. It is a century-old tradition in all Persian weddings. Traditionally, the Sofreh-ye Aghd is passed from parents to offspring in a family. This spread is of fine-quality fabric such as silk, satin, and wool. On Sofreh-ye Aghd, there are a number of specific things that need to be kept.
Mirror or Aayeneh-ye Bakht:
A mirror is a must in all Persian marriage. Alongside the mirror, there will be two candelabra; these actually represent the bride and groom. Persian weddings use mirror and two candelabra as a symbol of light and fire. The groom sees the bride’s face in the mirror once she removes her veil.
Herb & Spice Tray:
On the Sofreh, an herb and spice tray is kept. This tray features seven multi-colored herbs and spices. This ritual is done to protect the newly wed couple from evil spirits. The tray contains wild rice, poppy seed, salt, and Nigella seeds, Frankincense, black tea, and salt.
A specially made baked and decorated flatbread or "Noon-e Sangak" is also kept on the holy spread. Some families also have "Mobaarak-Baad" written on the bread in calligraphy. This bread is a symbol of prosperity for the feasts and for the couple's newly wed life. Alongside this bread, there will be another bread, feta cheese, and herb platter. This is shared with all the guests who attend the ceremony.
On the Sofreh, a basket of decorated eggs and dry fruits are kept. This symbolizes fertility. Alongside this, another basket of apple and pomegranates are kept. This basket represents divine creation of humans.
Rose Water, Gold Coin and Sugar:
A cup of rose water is also kept on the Sofreh. Basically, the rose water extracted from Gol-e Mohammadi, a special Persian rose is used in the wedding. A bowl of sugar is also used in Persian wedding. This is to sweeten the newly wed couple’s life. Two sugar cones are used in the ceremony to grind over the couple’s heads. A bowl of honey is also used in the wedding ceremony. Another bowl filled with gold coins is also kept on the holy spread. This is to wish luck and prosperity for the newly wed.
A silk shawl or scarf is used to be held over the bride and groom's head throughout the wedding ceremony. Usually, the married female relatives take part in this ritual to hold this fabric.
A copy of the couple's Holy Book is also placed on the spread. If it is a Muslim couple, a copy of Quran is kept; alternatively, the holy Bible is used if the wedding couple is Christian. This ritual is done to symbolize the supreme God's blessing for the couple.
Sweets and Pastries:
No Persian wedding can be done without sweets and pastries. These sweet treats are to be shared with the guests, just after the ceremony gets over. Some of the popular sweets used in the wedding include Noghl, Baklava, Tout, and Noon-Berenji.