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Persian Wedding Spread (Sofreh Aghd)
            


The beautiful wedding spread, its components and what they represent.

Like many other Iranian occasions, the Persian wedding ceremony is one with deep ties to the ancient Zoroastrian culture. The wedding occurs in two stages; the first part being the “Aghd”, which is the legal process of getting married, followed by the “Jashn-e-Aroosi”or reception. 

Traditionally, the “Aghd” takes place in a beautifully decorated room in the bride’s family home or other venue in front of a “Sofreh Aghd,” which is an exquisite spread laid out on the floor, or a short table or stage containing many symbolic items. 

Because the Sofreh is such an essential part of the Persian wedding, it is important to find and meet with the right designer who can create the perfect Sofreh. By looking at the profiles of Party Bravo!’s Sofreh Aghd designers, brides can see some pictures of each stylist’s creation and determine which can help her create the wedding Sofreh of her dreams. 

Traditionally, the Sofreh is made of luxurious fabrics such as silk and “Termeh”, a rich hand embroidered fabric originally made with cashmere. The collection of items on the Sofreh varies based on the Sofreh’s designer, the couple, and their likes and dislikes. However, there are several significant items which are found in almost all Sofrehs for their symbolic meaning. These items include:
    
Mirror & Candelabras:  A mirror called “Aayeneh-ye-Bakht” or the mirror of fate and two candelabras on either side of the mirror. These items are symbols for light and fire; two crucial elements in the Zoroastrian culture.

Holy Book: If the couple is religious, they will also have an opened Quran in the center of the spread. A prayer carpet is also placed in the center of the Sofreh to remind the couple of the importance of prayer in good times as well as hardships.

Colored Seeds: A tray containing colored “Esfand” which are seeds from an ancient plant are placed on the spread to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye. 

Nuts and Eggs: A basket of decorated shelled walnuts, almonds, pistachios and eggs are used to symbolize fertility.

Gold Coins: A bowl of gold coins is used to symbolize a future of wealth for the couple.

Pastries: An assortment of sweets symbolizes a sweet life for the newlyweds. These usually include “Noghl” which are sugar coated sliced almonds, “Baghlava,” a sweet flaky Persian pastry and other traditional Persian cookies. The pastries are then shared with the guests after the Aghd ceremony.

Bread: “Naneh-e-Sangak” which is a baked flatbread is decorated and placed on the Sofreh to symbolize prosperity for the couple’s life thereafter.

Fruit: A basket of heavenly fruits such as pomegranates and apples are used to symbolize the divine creation of mankind.

Rose Water: A cup of rose water called “Gol-ab” is also on the spread to perfume the air during the ceremony.

Honey: A cup of honey to sweeten the life of the couple.  This honey is  used in the ceremony when the bride and groom dip their pinky fingers in it and feed it to one another. 

Silk: A silk veil-like piece of fabric is held over the couples’
heads by their female relatives throughout the Aghd ceremony. 

Sugar Cones:  Two whole sugar cones called “Khaleh Ghand” are used during the ceremony.  The cones are grinded together over the silk fabric over the bride and grooms heads throughout the ceremony by close female friends and family members; further symbolizing sweetness and happiness. 

In addition to all the items listed, Sofreh is lavishly decorated with fresh flower arrangements that match the wedding’s theme and color, further giving the bride and groom the opportunity to customize it to match their taste and style.  To find a Sofreh Aghd designer or to see pictures of real Sofrehs, please view Party Bravo!’s “Sofreh Aghd” vendor profiles.