The "Muslimization" of Wedding Services

While browsing through my Facebook earlier today, I came across an Ad on the side that stated "Professional photographer for Muslim weddings, willing to travel across the US and Canada". I was super curious and clicked to visit their Facebook page. After browsing through their portfolio pictures, I realized that this was solely a marketing scam, since the couples photographed had nothing special about their pictures apart from their outfits! I mean really, are Muslim weddings SO unique that there's a niche within photographers to specialize?!

My goodness, what else is next?! An Islam-specialized decorator? A Muslim butcher, baker, and candlestick maker? In my eyes, it's all baloney and probably a result of savvy professionals capitalizing on the growing Muslim population and the number of hitches happening.

Over the past couple of months, my fiance and I have been researching and meeting and talking and explaining and booking various services for our upcoming Nikah (Alhamdulillah!). And a common thread that has been running through all of our interactions with the people we've met is how we've been using these opportunities for Dawah.

Who would have thought you could perform Dawah during wedding planning?

Depending on the couples' cultural background, I have seen a tendency for most Muslims to stick with Muslim and/or same ehthnicty owned wedding services. This is either due to comfort or contacts they've been given. Sure, there's an advantage to this since there's a mutual understanding of one's needs...but then again, you're losing an advantage to spread the word and educate others about our faiths and needs.

For example, we had been recommended to go with a "same-ethnicity" (aka Pakistani) photographer. First of all, I don't agree with having a male photographer when a Sistah is dolled up (most of these photographers were male), it wouldn't feel comfortable. Second, when I looked at the quality of the pictures and the myriad of pose after pose staring at the camera a la cheesy Bollywood , the photos left me desiring more. After a quick Google search and looking through online portfolios, I have found a lovely lady with an amazing nature-focused eye for photographs. We met with her, and she ended up being THRILLED at having the chance to photograph her FIRST Muslim couple. SubhanAllah. And she even spoke about the Muslim friends she had when we went over some "no-no" poses during our photo session. Awesome! So we've opened her client database to a whole new population, and at the same time, we may have enlightened her with some of our practices and preferences.

Another common thread we've found is the fact that the Nikah is ONE day and marriage is the rest of our lives. So why on earth would you spend a huge chunk of money when it can be saved and invested into something more long-term? This is one thing we've been using to talk with various people we've met...how Islam is about moderation and we're therefore going for "simple and Sunnah and elegant" versus "blingy and outrageous". A wedding should be about memories with family and close friends, not about frivolity and making others happy. Which is why we often refer the Quran when we talk to others about what is Sunnah for a Nikah and Walima. So that if they understand where we are coming from, our needs could be better met.

There were smaller instances of "ah-ha" moments during our planning time. For example, asking for a room to pray in during the Walima and the venue accommodating that. Ensuring that the food was halal and that we would NOT be needing alcohol. When talking with clothing personnel, having to explain my hijabi preferences and them understanding that. I mean, why not use wedding planning as the chance to talk about Islam.

A wedding is a joyous and blessed occasion, and transcends religions and cultures. And much like food does, weddings bring people together!

So let the ummm...Adhan ring?! :)

Comments

  1. Recalling my wedding planning 2 years ago and comparing it to my sistah's wedding in Lahore just this last month...
    I was surprised by the inflexibility in services there. I am totally in love with Calgary venues for making many changes to meet our needs. Service providers do much more than accommodating to any specific requirements (Muslim or otherwise)—-only if people could get out of their hesitations.
    Happy planning for your big day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. it's kind of freaky that facebook would know which ads to show you..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Rimsha and yes, there's definite flexibility as long as Muslims are open to it! Brothah, there's been wedding ads on my page for a few months now, it is freaky, I think Facebook analyzes words on your page and shows ads that may meet you needs. Freaky indeed...

    ReplyDelete

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