This is Amir, minutes after proposing to the girl that’s grabbing his face. She said yes, and the day after, Amir went to her parent’s house to do it as it should be done in Iran. Don’t be Amir — when you propose to a Persian, run it by the parents first.
Welcome to part 1 of 34 in a series about Iranian marriage. To start things off, we discuss the Iranian courting custom known as “khāstegāri”.
If you yearn for an Iranian girl and wish to take her hand in marriage, this episode is for you. Or, if you’re just curious as to know what a man must go through when taking an Iranian girl’s hand in marriage, it’s still for you.
To help us explain almost everything you need to know about proposing to an Iranian girl, we were joined by Amir. He is better known as being the best man for a great many couples when they get married, so he’s quite familiar with the customs both in and out of Iran. Between sharing the story of his marriage proposal we discuss the traditions and customs of this occasion. So, listen here, to learn about how, when and where you should propose to an Iranian girl.
Question we also get answers to in this episode
- Do I need a PhD to marry an Iranian girl?
- How should I propose to a Persian girl?
- What shouldn’t I wear at an Iranian proposal ceremony?
- Who should I bring to a Persian proposal?
- Can Iranians get residency in Dubai?
- How do I know you’ve been successful in an Iranian proposal?
- Do I have to get circumcised if I convert to Islam?
- Should I get circumcised if I marry an Iranian woman?
5 tips on what to do when you propose to a Persian girl
Traditionally, Iranians officially show their intention to marry during a process known as “khāstegāri”. In times past, this process may have been the first time the potential bride and groom would have seen each other. These days everyone pretends that it’s the first time as one family meets the other to see if there’s any future in it. If you are a man, looking to marry an Iranian/Persian women and you’re new to all this, then the list below will be of help.
1/5 – DRESS TO IMPRESS
You may not need to get suited and booted, but you should dress to impress. If you really want to seal the deal with the love of your life, don’t make it hard for yourself. You’ll be making a first impression on people that pretend they’re not conservative — they’ll read your “SUPREME” t-shirt as you expressing arrogance. Wear a shirt like the man you’re going to be.
2/5 – COME WITH FLOWERS
Bring a bouquet, but not one that is literally bigger than you. Make an impression, but don’t make it one that will be joked about when you leave. Bring confectionery too, because that’s what Iranians do when they go to a person’s house. As a heads-up, if the hosts don’t touch your confectionery, you’re not getting married.
3/5 – BRING THE FAMILY
For Iranians, families marry families. Whether their influence is exerted these days or not, doesn’t matter — it’s tradition and it’s respectful. If they’re still around, bring the parents. If they’re not going to ruin it for you, bring your siblings. If you have one of those family representative uncles or aunties, bring them too. Stay streamlined though — don’t make it feel like an invasion.
4/5 – PRESENT YOUR CREDENTIALS
Iranians place high importance on social standings. If you don’t have one, try and get a PhD before you propose to a Persian girl. If you don’t have the time or the cognitive ability, prepare a summary of your social standing nevertheless. Listing achievements will also help. Be careful when showing off your net worth — it will help you in the short term but elevate expectations in the long term.
5/5 – FEIGN IGNORANCE
Let’s face it, you know a lot about your bride to be’s family. You know about her father’s weird nightly habits, the mother’s obsession with horoscopes and the brother’s addiction to semi-erotic Japanese manga comics. As far as they know, this is the first time they exist for you, so don’t let up, no matter how much you want to show friendly intention.
Translation of Persian (Farsi) words used in this episode
|Persian (Pingilish)||English translation|
|Āghed:||The term for the person who marries couple, similar to a pastor|
|Khāstegār:||A person who actively wants, yearns and asks|
|Gheirati:||The term for somebody who is protective in a traditional way|
|Koloft:||“Thick” – used in the episode to imply the person is a thug|
|Pesar huji:||Son of a respected Muslim that has been to Mecca|
|Khejālat bekesh:||“Be ashamed”|
|Gheibat kardan:||A word used for gossiping or talking behind a person’s back|
|Bezan be takhteh:||An Iranian equivalent to “knock on wood”|
|Khāk to saret:||“Mud on your head” – something like, “die!”|
|Baleh boroon:||“Taking the yes” – a ceremony of negotiation before marriage|
Image credits: photo by Amir, of him and Tannaz, post proposal – edited by Ask An Iranian. All of the Ask An Iranian podcast covers are available as NFTs here.