When I began researching this chapter, I asked my father-in-law, “Why do Iranians love to party so much?” “Because Iranians enjoy life,” he said.

I suddenly understood. What he said and the way he said it were so simple and endearing that I needed to look no further to know why each step in an Iranian courtship and marriage seemed to have so many bells and whistles.

Iranians enjoy life. It’s that simple. They value the experience of living and have made it part of culture to enjoy it in the company of others as often as possible.

Friendship isn’t reserved for those who have passed enough tests to be allowed to invade your personal space. People are welcomed. Everyone is considered a friend till proved otherwise. Guests are welcome without notice needed, get the best seats, are served first and always honored. When two friends gather for dinner, it turns into a feast.

And even for only two friends on a Tuesday evening, there will likely be music and dancing and laughter. The door is always open in an Iranian home for additional guests to join, and Persian meals are customarily prepared preemptively large for this purpose. Having a celebration isn’t something special. It is something you can’t avoid!

The idea of vivid celebration and fellowship is a part of every day; so special events like weddings pull out all the stops.

Iranians frequently invite friends to what others would call lavish if not spectacular dinner parties on a regular basis. To be Iranian is almost by definition to be polished and expert at hosting events.

So, when there’s a definite occasion for a large and lavish celebration such as a wedding, is it any wonder that the preparations and the ultimate celebrations become even more over the top and elaborate?

From Chapter 3 of The Persian Wedding Book by Christen Flack Behzadi.

More about Persian party traditions is available in the Persian Wedding Book at Amazon.com.