Wedding is a ceremony which showcases the initiation of a new life of two individuals who used to life a separate life. The occasion of the wedding ceremony is a joyful event for both involving families. We usually observe in movies or in non-Muslim culture that it is a sophisticated ceremony followed by a formal reception and ball. But this auspicious ceremony when observed in Muslim culture and specially in Saudi is full of color and chaos with lots of noise and laughter drifting out of the ball room and not to forget the energetic Saudi dance which indiscreetly displaces the very sophisticated ball dance of the western culture.
- The ceremony is not a two place event but rather a combined function in which the ceremony is the last thing that takes place usually in the wee hours of the morning. So if you are expecting to attend the ceremony and then go home and go to work the next day, then you are going to be disappointed because Saudi weddings are the late night affairs or rather early morning affairs. Punctuality is a foreign concept in Saudi weddings, and if you arrive promptly at 10 pm then be prepared to spend time alone in the sumptuously decorated ball room.
- Unlike foreign weddings the bride is not the only one who is dressed elaborately and everybody else is dressed in little black cocktail dresses. In Saudi weddings each and every female attendant is dressed like a fashion show model in extremely elaborate evening gowns and showcases their professionally made face and hairstyles. Salon bookings for these affairs are done two weeks prior to the actual event.
- The wedding ceremony is not the place card on the table event but the guests are greeting and circulating within the tables the whole time, sometimes the guests are not even sitting and conversing with each other standing perfectly at ease enjoying Arabic Coffee and canapés and waiting for the “zafa” (the procession of the bride and the groom).
- The ceremony is a combination of small events which include the Nikah ceremony (saying of the wedding vows), exchange of rings and gifting of a set of jewelry to the bride in front of attendees.
- After the ceremony the bride and the groom take pictures with the attendees where male attendees enter the ball room briefly. This usually happens late night or early morning depending how you may look at it and is followed by a scrumptious buffet style dinner which consist of many courses and is full of traditional Arab cuisine and may contain continental cuisine depending on the bride’s parents’ finances.
- The last event of the ceremony is dancing which is done on the beat of drums with the voice of female traditional singer. This is known as Tagaga. This rhythmic thrumming gets everybody on the dance floor including the mother of bride and the groom. Usually these functions act as matchmaking events in which female attendees look for the prospective brides for their sons.
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