About the Sofrey-ye Aghd
The Persian marriage ceremony takes place in a specially decorated room, with an elaborately decorated spread called the Sofreh Aghd. This spread contains many traditional items. By custom this event would take place at the home of the bride's parents. The ceremony begins with the arrival of the guests, who are to be witnesses to the marriage of the couple. The family elders and close family members are to be present in the ceremony room. The bridegroom is first to take his seat in the room at the head of Sofreh Aghd. Next, the bride enters and joins the bridegroom at the head of Sofreh Aghd. The bridegroom always sits on the right hand side of the bride.
As mentioned the Sofreh is the main focus at the event. Some of the traditional items needed are as follows:
Mirror “Aayeneh” (representing light) and Candelabras "shamdoon" (representing the bride and groom and brightness in their future) placed on either side of the mirror. The mirror and two candelabras are symbols of light and fire, two very important elements in the Zoroastrian culture. As the bride is seated beside the bridegroom the mirror ensures that the first thing the bridegroom sees is the reflection of his wife-to-be.
Bread "Noon-e Sangak" symbolizes prosperity for the feasts and for the couple's life thereafter. Sometimes a special blessing is written on the bread, usually with either saffron or cinnamon. A separate platter of this flat bread, feta cheese and fresh herbs are sometimes present to be to guests after the ceremony, bringing the new couple happiness and prosperity.
Decorated Eggs and Shelled Nuts symbolize fertility.
Pomegranates and/or Apples symbolize a joyous future. These fruits are considered heavenly and represent the divine creation of mankind.
Rose Water "Gol-e Mohammadi" is placed to perfume the air.
Crystallized Sugar "Nabaat" to sweeten life for the newlywed.
A Brazier "Manghal" holding hot coal and sprinkled with wild rue "Espand" is an essential element. Wild rue is used in many Zoroastrian ceremonies, rituals and purification rites. It is believed to keep the evil eye away and ensure good health.
Gold coins also represent wealth and prosperity.
A scarf made of silk or fine fabric to be held over the bride and bridegroom's head throughout the ceremony by various happily married female relatives (mostly bride's close family members).
Two sugar cones "Kalleh Ghand" made out of hardened sugar to be used during the ceremony. These sugar cones are grinded together above the bride and bridegroom's head (over the scarf ) throughout the ceremony to shower them in sugar (symbolizing sweetness and happiness).
A cup of honey to sweeten life. While still seated at the Sofreh, after the couple is married they each should dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed their mate.
A needle and seven strands of colored thread to figuratively sew up the mother-in-law's lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! The shawl that is held above the couple's head throughout the ceremony is sewed in one corner by the needle and threads.
A prayer carpet/kit is placed in the center of Sofreh-ye Aghd to remind the couple of importance of prayer both at blissful times and times of hardship. This prayer kit would include a prayer rosary or a cross & Holy Bible or a small rug "Sajjaadeh" and a strand of prayer beads "Tasbih" often provided by the family as gift.
A copy of the couple's Holy Book is placed on the spread. This book could be any holy book of your choice. The book symbolizes God's blessing for the couple. Traditionally "Avesta" the ancient Zoroastrian holy book was used by the majority of Iranians. Some couples use a poetry book such as “Hafiz” collection of love poems to be read during the ceremony.
An assortment of sweets and pastries to be shared with the guests after the ceremony. The assortment usually includes: Sugar coated almond strips "Noghl", Baklava (a sweet flaky Persian pastry "Baaghlavaa"), Mulberry-almond paste made in the shape of mulberries "Tout", Rice-flour cookies "Noon-Berenji", Chickpea-flour cookies "Noon-Nokhodchi", Almond-flour cookies "Noon-Baadoomi", and Honey roasted almonds "Sohaan A'sali".