Afghan Wedding 

Wed Like an Afghan Native

Wedding is a significant event in the life of a man and woman who get united. It comes after the two have decided that they would share their happiness and sorrows until death does them part. The wedding ceremony only happens once in a lifetime. That's why it needs to be enjoyable, exciting, hilarious, and above all, memorable. 

If you have a wedding soon, you might be wondering what kind of wedding to have, modern or traditional. Today, many people opt for traditional weddings because the customs involved make them more fun and entertaining. If your partner comes from Afghanistan, then you are in luck. 

Afghan traditional wedding is full of exhilarating observances that will keep your guests entertained from the beginning to the end of the ceremony.  For a start, when a couple wants to get married, the groom will send a proposal to the bride's home. What follows is a series of events that will end in the couple coming together as a husband and wife.  

Khimcha, Dismal, and Shirini

When the bride's family accepts the man's proposal, they will send "Khimcha" and "Dismal" to the man's family to signify that they have approved the proposal. In the local Afghan language, the occasion that the bride's family shows a willingness to accept the proposal referred to as "Shirini" means sweets. In most cases, it is the elders from the family of the groom who takes Dismal.

Pre-wedding Etiquette in Afghanistan

The groom has sent his proposal, and the bride's family has accepted the proposal. Next, the groom's family will start to send gifts to the bride. Some of these gifts include: 

Iftari - Delivered in the month of Ramadhan month; it is a feast organized in the bride's family.

Eidi - Include traditional cuisines, dresses, etc; these are delivered on Eids.

Nowrozi - The bride receives more gifts, including traditional and seasonal cuisines. These gifts are usually part of celebrations for the new year.

Barati -  The bride gets Barati on the night of lights in the Islamic calendar.

Most of these gifts are in the form of cuisines, sweets, clothes, or money. Once the bride's family receive the food items, they usually distribute some to their nearby relatives. At the time of delivering these gifts, there's a small celebration where women and girls play the tambourine, and they also sing and dance to traditional songs. 

Engagement Party (Sher-E-Ne Khore)

The next step after the pre-wedding protocols is an engagement party. The bride's family organizes the party, and it is for their friends and relatives. This party is paid for by the bride’s family (the wedding itself is paid for by the groom's family). 

An engagement party is a vital component of the wedding process. It's this time that the bride and the groom get to know each other well. There's no specific time for the engagement party, but it must take place before the wedding ceremony. During this party, the bride wears a purple, pink, or blue dress.

Henna Night -  Khina Night

Henna (Khina) night follows the engagement party. The groom is supposed to wear traditional Afghan shirt and pant (jami) with headgear (lungy), while the groom is supposed to adorn conventional Afghan clothes. Musicians play music, and people enjoy Attan dancing.

 It is customary for the bride to close her hands, and the mother of the groom will try to open her hands. If she can't open the bride's hands, the groom's mother will give her an expensive gift. Henna night is more of women and girl's party, and the bride's hands are usually coloured using hena. The maiden girls from the family of the groom do the colouring of the bride's hands.


Rukhsati is the tradition followed when the bride is finally leaving her family to join the groom's family. The bride's brother is supposed to tie a green clothe around her waist. Rukhsati usually happens in the morning hours before the bride leaves her family. It can take place a few days before the wedding day. Some people prefer to perform Rukhsati and Nikah at the same time. It depends on what the bride and the groom agree to do.


Nikah usually takes place on the wedding day. It is a religious ceremony where the two families agree on the marriage contract. It takes place during the day, and the bride is supposed to be in green clothes. It is a private ceremony where only the couple's immediate family and the mullah, Islamic clergy, get involved.

After this ceremony, the bride will remove the green clothes and put on white garments. The groom wears a suit during the wedding ceremony. People enjoy the feast and take pictures. The bride and the groom cut a cake, and they eat together. 

The Wedding Ceremony 

At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a group of women will stand in a line on the right. Another group of men will stand in a path to the left of the entry to welcome guests. The families of the groom and the bride will lead the guests to their respective tables.  

At one corner of the room, there are two decorated chairs for the bride and the groom. And in front of these chairs is a decorated table with some candles on it. The guests will be in their best attires and also add some jewelry. They interact freely with their loved ones and discuss whatever they feel is necessary. After the arrival of all the guests or when the room is almost full, the musicians begin playing contemporary hits or traditional music. 

Wedding ceremonies in Afghanistan usually begin in the evening and ends around 2 am. Sometimes the ceremony may go for as long as the couple desires.  At about 8.30 pm, the musicians play a special song called Ahesa Boro commemorating the arrival of the bride. The song is more like a wedding march, and it plays until the bride and the groom settle at their places. The Quran is usually held upon the heads of the couple as they walk down the aisle. 

Sample Menu

A lot of food usually gets served at an Afghan wedding ceremony. The guests will line alongside a buffet with all manner of Afghan foods. You'll expect to get Shohla e Goshtee, chalou, palou, and kabobs such as shaami kebab, teka kebab, chaplee kebab, and kebab e chopan. Mantu aushak and naan, are also very common at Afghan ceremonies. 

For dessert, expect to see baklava, firnee, served with fruits. After enjoying the desserts, the music will begin. The groom and the bride move to cut the wedding cake. A family member will help with cutting the cake and serving it to the attendees. More music follows, and all the guests join the dancing floor. People will dance until the end of the ceremony when they perform the Attan dance. 

Some Special Traditions in Afghan Wedding


While the song Ahesa Boro plays, all guests are expected to stand up until the couple settles at their respective places. The guests are also to smile at the couple. 

Aina Mosaf

The couple gets covered with a shawl. They are then given the Quran to read a passage from while under the wrap. In the olden days, this could be the first time for the groom and the bride to see the faces of each other. This is because the marriages were pre-arranged. 


In the morning after the wedding, the bride's family brings her breakfast at the groom's home. The common trend nowadays is to bring lunch and not breakfast. Nashtaye comprises of very delicious cuisines from Afghanistan. 


Takhjami is usually celebrated one week after the wedding ceremony. The guests greet, give gifts, and wish the couple well in their new life. At this time, the bride becomes a full family member of the groom's family and not just a guest. The bride comes with all the items she needs to start her life in the new home (the endowment). These items may include bed-sheets, clothes, home accessories, etc. 


When the bride joins the groom's family, she promised some payment (Mehriah). The payment can be in the form of possession or money. It is something she'll own legally during her married life. 


At the end of the ceremony, all the wedding ceremony attendees participate in Attan dance. After the dance, people are supposed to go home. It is the last activity in a wedding ceremony.


All in all, a traditional Afghan wedding is the best you can think of if you are planning for a wedding. All the steps are exiting from the beginning to the end. However, you need to remember that it is the groom's family that pays for all the celebrations except for the Engagement Party (Sher-E-Ne Khore).

When you've decided to hold a traditional Afghan wedding, it helps to get a professional wedding planner who's conversant with all the Afghan wedding traditions and customs. With such a professional, you can even hold the Afghan wedding in the US.


 Click Afghan Wedding Checklist for Download 

 Click Afghan Henna Ceremony Checklist for Download 

 Click Afghan Nikah Ceremony Checklist for Download 

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