Do the bride and groom have to be present at the wedding party (waleemah)?

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Should the bride and the groom both be present at the blessing of their marriage?
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Praise be to Allaah.

If what is meant by “blessing” is the contract itself (‘aqd), then the groom and the guardian (wali) of the bride must both be present, because the ‘aqd can only be done with the proposal of the guardian and the acceptance of the groom. But if what is meant by the “blessing” is the wedding party and waleemah which is held on the occasion of the wedding, then it does not matter if the couple do not attend.  

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