So I have to tell you about the wedding before I forget the whole occasion, as does happen as you get older 🙂
The wedding was held at the Ritz Carlton
All the ladies arrive in their Abayas and you check in at the door with your invitation. Your bag gets checked and all cell phones and cameras are taken away. Once inside and out of sight of any men, the Abaya comes off and all the ladies are dressed to the 9’s. We were quite early so managed to sit and watch everyone coming in. I would say there were ladies dressed quite demurely and sophisticated to bollywood style sequined, crystalled or diamonded dresses. Quite a lot of over the top dresses too, with some younger girls with butterfly wings, feathers or lace streaming from their bodies. And then a few young and older ladies that went in their Abayas.
The evening started with a few starters – salads, dips, breads, then onto Arab coffee and sweets and savoury Arab food. A short while later the main meal was served and the bride arrived. She walked up onto the “stage”, which essential was like a model ramp with a decked out sofa at the end of the runway. She walked very slowly and looked extremely nervous and we all commented “not very happy”, it turns out that she was just scared and nervous. She is only 20, is marrying her childhood sweetheart who lived next door to her from the age of 3. They are madly in love, which is wonderful in this world where organised marriages are the norm.
She sat on the stage for about an hour, while girls danced on the stage (very provocatively) and congratulated her on her marriage. The Groom and his parents and siblings arrived about an hour later, the abayas went back on and I felt very exposed….and Leonie and I were the only two people with nothing covering us….
They stood on the stage and were congratulated, while the brides chair was turned to face the back, when the congratulations were completed (and loads of photos finished being taken), her chair was turned around and he joined her.
It was strange though, as they did not acknowledge each other, did not touch, dance, kiss, etc etc… They were once again congratulated, photos taken, and after about 1/2 hour they left together.
Apparently what happens is they do not eat or join in celebrations with the guests, but join together at the women’s ceremony, leave and have their first meal together as a couple and then do the deed ….!
I do hope the deed was good for her and that she is no longer so scared!
Once the couple had left, the food ceremony continued, with the music flowing and the girls dancing. There was a lot of socialising and it is a platform where mothers check out other young eligible girls for their sons to marry!
Leo and I had our photos taken which was an experience in itself. you are not allowed to take any photos, but they have official photographers who take pics for the couple and then as individuals you have photos taken and printed there and the photographers delete the pics taken in front of you as they are not allowed to leave the venue. Interesting!
Leo and I then went to have a drink at one of the hotels at 1:30am but nothing was open….I crawled into bed at 2pm, really exhausted but happy to have experienced a muslim wedding.
Must tell you all about the divorce I heard about….also interesting reading!