Saudi Arabia: It’s Wedding Season

 

Ramadan 2012 will start on or about Thursday, 19 July.  However, prior to the holy month of Ramadan, there will be a flurry of weddings in Saudi Arabia.  That is not to apply weddings are quickly arranged….oh no…just like in America weddings are well-planned and eagerly anticipated.  It has though become a tradition for there to be more Saudi weddings in the weeks prior to Ramadan though than at other times of the year. 

Just like a Western style wedding, the bride will search for the perfect dress.  Most Saudi brides do wear a long white wedding gown just like the gowns in fashion in the United States.  Right now in the larger Saudi cities there are bridal shows and fairs going on.

Unlike American weddings, there is not a large wedding party with bridesmaids.  Due to the segregation of sexes in the Kingdom, there is a separate reception for the bride and a separate reception for the groom.

The men will typically wear their traditional thobes to a wedding.  Special guests and male members of the groom’s family may wear a bischt over their thobe.  The wedding hall for the men is generally a large room with comfortable chairs and perhaps some couches.  The groom’s party may have either live traditional music or recorded music.  The men will enjoy dancing traditional dances and everyone will congratulate the new groom and his family.

 

Here is a video clip which portrays a typical wedding reception/party for the groom:

The bride’s party is likely more livelier than the groom’s party.  The women guests will have given careful thought and consideration on what they will wear to the party.  It’s not uncommon for Saudi women to buy a new dress (gown) for each wedding attended.  In addition to the gowns which rival what one would see at the Academy Awards, women also have their hair and make-up done in addition to wearing some of their finest jewelry.  Like the groom’s party, there is also either live traditional music (played by an all female band) or recorded music.  The women will pay their respects to the bride after she makes her entrance and enjoy visiting and dancing with each other.  Weddings are also a key time for the young single women to be seen and assessed as prospective marriage partners for single sons, grandsons, nephews and perhaps cousins.

     The two wedding parties, that of the bride and the groom, are usually side by side at a wedding banquet facility or large hotel.  A married couple may arrive at the wedding together but they will go to different entrances which are usually separated by distance.  The bride’s reception usually lasts longer than the one for the groom.

It’s customary for one not to arrive prior to 11:00 pm for a wedding party regardless of the time specified on the invitation card.  Most wedding parties, especially for brides, generally last until about 4:00 am.

The wedding celebration is considered over after the meal (and dessert) have been served.

The Saudi wedding is also an occasion for the “tribe” to gather.  Both close and distant relatives are invited as well as friends and sometimes colleagues.  Saudi weddings can easily have 500 – 800 guests or more.

In closing, I found another video on youtube which is presented as a comparison between Saudi and American weddings.  Enjoy!

 

67 Responses

  1. Weddings seem to be a huge, huge deal in SA. Has anyone ever heard of a Saudi Arabian couple having a very small wedding?

    Also I understand that Islam frowns on music but there is almost inevitably music at weddings. Is there an explanation for this?

  2. Hi Annie,

    Most music you do hear at a Saudi wedding, whether live or recorded, is traditional music generally made by the sounds of drums. This music is acceptable at Saudi weddings.

  3. Thanks AB.

  4. You’re welcome, Annie!

  5. The sad part is that the bride and groom are the ones that least enjoy the wedding.

  6. to enjoy*

  7. Carol, what you failed to also mention was the traditional jewelry worn by the Arab bride, by far as substantial today as the armor of the knights of old, quite literally.
    While I was on TDY and in a hotel, a rather accidentally stumbled into the female wedding. My embarrassment was obvious, my graying hair gave some further excuse, my western attire gave further. I bowed my apologies to all and rapidly retired to no complaint.
    But, I also had my wife at said nation, for an “unscheduled” familial appearance, TDY has it’s privileges! SHE ran into said bride, who was just entering when I blundered into the rear entrance of said happy function. She mentioned to me how she was LITERALLY staggering under the weight of the jewelry (formerly, it was silver and various semi-precious stones, today, it’s more Indian in appearance, 18k gold jewelry in massive amounts, along with precious stones. Typically, the husband is paying many years for that wedding!

    For our 25th, I ‘threatened’ to encrust my wife with gold, like an Arab bride. That TDY happened about 8 months previous to our 25th, after which she rejected the consideration, due to the inability to carry such weight as a camel. ;)
    OK, not as much as a camel could hold, but, more than she’d be willing to wear, due to degenerative discs and some good conscience. She gladly accepted a small token of a few thousand dollars of jewelry in its place (a modest sum in *US* standards, due to purity of gold, workmanship and quality, which places it all higher in the US).

  8. Being of Sicilian/Greek backgrounds and having attended quite a few such weddings, there are a lot similarities with saudi/arab/muslim weddings. I know quite a few of my relatives where parents go into bankruptcies or severe financial hardships after the “fun” is done and over with.

    I told my parents that when my boyfriend and I decide to get married, we are just gonna elope :)- My parents aren’t too happy about it, but that’s exactly what we are gonna do. I told them that they should be happy considering how much trouble and money we were going to save them:)-

  9. It’s true that the weddings are quite costly. The groom and his family will present the bride with jewelry which is usually considered part of her dowry.

  10. “Most music you do hear at a Saudi wedding, whether live or recorded, is traditional music generally made by the sounds of drums. This music is acceptable at Saudi weddings”.

    Interesting to know that only “sounds of drums” are acceptable as musical instruments at saudi weddings. One would think that restricting playing of “just drums” takes a lot out of the FUN of making/playing of beautiful music with guitars, sitars, etc. Guess Ayatollah Khomeini was right when he put it so bluntly:

    “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.”

    I am sure khomeini based his ruling on koran and hadith, for his extremely sour view of life. One does not seem to find much “joy and fun” in the verses of koran/hadith, except in the hereafter. It is all about legalism: obeying the precepts of islam to win acceptance with allah in the present life. Too bad allah does not like fun. Allah does not like jokes. Allah does not like humor. Allah does not like music. Allah does not like .

    Not a religious person myself, I am not too sure if there are similar bans against playing of certain musical instruments and against having “fun”, in other cultures, religions, countries, etc. etc. etc? Allah Muaalim!

  11. Abe, it is interesting that you provide a “proof” from a Shia while discussing things Sunni.
    Though, if I were around that Ayatollah, I’d ask him WHO created humor and melody in his world view? If he claimed the shaitan, he’d be claiming that the shaitan also invented birds and their melodies. ;)

  12. W-1,

    What difference does it make if i quoted a shia. shias are muslim too. they share the same koran and same hadith. it’s one thing to be an apologist; its another to bend over backwards and stretch the facts to support islam and muslims; like you do. i feel better now :)-

  13. Abe, by your candle, the Roman Catholic church, various protestant church and Orthodox Catholic church all teach, have the same ceremonies, practices and “laws”. Something that is blatantly incorrect.
    Or did I miss those Baptist nuns and unmarried clergy in every other sect that isn’t Roman Catholic?
    So, if precision is being an apologist and stretching facts, I’ll still remain precise. Comparing same with same, not one sect’s interpretations with another sect’s interpretations.

  14. So the last video is supposed to show that American weddings are – what? – calmer than tribal drumming Saudi weddings? Include both sexes? Are black and white?

    Hey, the Saudi wedding dance looks fun, but part of the fun for me at most events is mingling with both men and women. Having to spend all my time with only women is the stuff of nightmares. Yes, I’ll admit it, I like guys. :D

  15. What difference does it make?starting to show tht you know NOTHING about Islam. The last part of your speech made u sound like a kid losing a debate.

    Theres a HUGE difference btwn sunni n shia,for starters the adhan itself.might i suggest you learn about Islam first before jumping onto the keyboard?

  16. While we were in the States Abdullah got to attend my nephew’s wedding. He had a great time and his eyes watered to during the father-daughter dance!

    The Saudi weddings are different from what I grew up with but I always enjoyed them too.

  17. As for your uneducated comment about sunni n shia sharing the same hadith,how so FALSE.shia rejects all hadith narrated by Aisha,Abu Bakr,Umar Al Khattab.

    As for the Saudi wedding,once one has experienced the night,one would most probably be exhausted.but beautiful night certainly.i myself wore a “westernize” white gown,designed n tailored by my brilliant mother-in-law.

  18. @Honest Abe..
    shia do not follow the same hadith fyi,..and to many..shia are not considered muslim as the fundamentals of islam i.e.: tawheed (oneness in God) in many Shia sects is not followed.. Just letting u know

  19. Carol, *MY* eyes water with *EVERY* father daughter dance, recalling my eldest child on her wedding and *OUR* dance (she exclaimed that if *I* lost it, *SHE* would, so *DON’T*. So, I didn’t until later, after we got home.)

    MrsB, you attended in western attire, but hid it under an abaya. ;)
    But then, my own wife wore an abaya, whilst not required to in either Kuwait or Qatar. Under, she wore a bikini. Upon arrival home, she tossed it off and ran straight into the pool!
    Though, she DID say it DID block the sun from baking her.
    Interesting side story, TONIGHT, I was going through some old clothing in a box and found an abaya I didn’t recognize my wife owning (as I bought them for her, while she chose them, but THAT is a family thing with us).
    It turns out, my Saudi friend’s wife loaned my wife the abaya when we were moving to a new villa and hers were all packed (the movers were Afghan men, so we respected their faith and culture, within reason). She loaned my wife that abaya, which was her first abaya, gifted to her by her new mother in law.
    I’ve contacted by friend to see how he wants it returned to his wife (though, it WILL need replacement of one lost snap that his wife lost during her first pregnancy (ALWAYS return something in equal or better condition than borrowed!)).

    Good night all! I have to chase my wife around the room for a bit. Considering the incoming inclement weather, we may catch each other or not.
    Or in less polite circles: We used to do it all night long. Now, we take most of the night figuring out what *IT* is! ;)

  20. Wzrd, i didn’t “attend” the wedding. It was MY wedding ;)

  21. Wzrd1, on May 20, 2012 at 6:38 am said: Good night all! I have to chase my wife around the room for a bit. Considering the incoming inclement weather, we may catch each other or not. Or in less polite circles: We used to do it all night long. Now, we take most of the night figuring out what *IT* is!

    Oh come on now! First your “drug” life. Now your “sex” life.

    What next? Will it ever end? Pathetic. Very pathetic.

  22. The drumming and singing at a Saudi wedding is absolutely beautiful and haunting music! I could not get enough of listening to the women who were performing at KSA weddings I attended. Adding other instruments to these beautiful old songs would not have worked.

  23. Rosemary C, my “drug life” was in response to someone claiming “you are off your meds”.
    As to my and my wife’s REAL sex life, that isn’t open for discussion. It was a joke referencing our ages and infirmities. That said, objection noted and apologies offered.

  24. Wzrd1:

    Yes, it was meant as humor as you went on a rant at NN. You like rants.

  25. jundub1404, on May 20, 2012 at 6:05 am said:

    @ … shia do not follow the same hadith fyi,..and to many..shia are not considered muslim as the fundamentals of islam i.e.: tawheed (oneness in God) in many Shia sects is not followed.. @

    okay. that explains it. thx.

    i always thought shias were muslim too. my bad. guess that’s why there is so much sectarian muslim-on-muslim killings in muslim countries. i already knew there was another sect (ahmadis) which are not considered muslims either.

    jundub, are there other sects that are not considered muslims. thanks.

  26. jundub1404, on May 20, 2012 at 6:05 am said:

    @ … shia do not follow the same hadith fyi,..and to many..shia are not considered muslim as the fundamentals of islam i.e.: tawheed (oneness in God) in many Shia sects is not followed.. @

    okay. that explains it. my bad … i always thought shias were muslim too. guess that’s why there is so much sectarian muslim-on-muslim killings in muslim countries. i already knew there was another sect (ahmadis) which are not considered muslims either.

    jundub, are there other sects that are not considered muslims. thanks.

  27. And how did this blog on weddings disintegrate to religion – Shia or Muslim? Let’s talk about Sufis for a little maybe. Geez!!!

  28. One way for a westerner to comprehend the different sects and occasional sectarian violence is simply say, Protestants and Catholics a few centuries ago (and actually, a bit later than that).
    But, I agree with Wendy, the topic isn’t the various sects of the faith, but of weddings. Let’s try not to permit the thread to devolve into things that would be better discussed in other blog entries.

    As I recall, Persian weddings have music as well, more string than percussion.
    Both sides of the Gulf tend to have the woman’s wedding resembling, in one part of the celebration, a fashion show.

  29. Wendy,you’re right,this is about wedding.however,as can be seen abovr,one abe couldn’t resist sharing his animosity towards Islam(gets tiresome but thts all he got).i corrected his mistake per the sunni shia comparison.

    As the topic is about Saudi wedding,thought i might share thr song the Mr and I danced to (yes we did dance,oh the horrors)

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?gl=MY&hl=en&client=mv-google&v=ijbJW0VZeGw

    The song was perfect for us since we were in two separate countries for almost four years n finally get to be united,hmdulillah.

  30. Other cultures do also over-focus on weddings and the exorbiant costs. And tv shows in North America: ie. Bridezilla on the preparation hype for weddings.

    Better to save the money for the honeymoon vacation for the couple to get away. It’s their time together and everything else to provide witness of their reunion in public.

    If you must spend on money for the guests, then have a memorable interesting meal. It was the Chinese wedding banquets with many special dishes, where we learn to acquire gourmet broad tastebuds as a children when raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada.

  31. Saudi weddings are suberb. I like the delicious food, music and dance. wow its realy amazing.

  32. Louise Enakai..”i already knew there was another sect (ahmadis) which are not considered muslims either.”…surprisingly you got that correct ..
    When you have read and studied about Islam in depth and know the fundamentals of Tawheed which is the basis of Islam ..then you should comment on this topic otherwise personally its clear that you don’t know much about Islam.

  33. Jubdub1401, very true, agree with you.

  34. Thank you Jundub for excluding the Shia as a part of Islam and lying about them not believing in the oneness of God and feeding that info to everyone here. Great job.

  35. Louise Enakai (HI), on May 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm said: i always thought shias were muslim too. my bad. guess that’s why there is so much sectarian muslim-on-muslim killings in muslim countries. i already knew there was another sect (ahmadis) which are not considered muslims either. jundub, are there other sects that are not considered muslims. thanks.

    Hi Louise,

    Declaring each other “not muslim” or “kafir” is a favorite pastime amongst jundub and various sects of muslims :)- Instead of answering your SIMPLE question, Jundub basically told you take a hike: When you have read and studied about Islam in depth and know the fundamentals of Tawheed which is the basis of Islam ..then you should comment on this topic otherwise personally its clear that you don’t know much about Islam. Oh well. His incendiary answer is typical of many muslims that I know.

    Louise, I am not too sure of this but according to my information, there are close to an estimated 150+ muslim sects/subsects in islam and increasing daily. Muslims have laid to waste Mohammed’s prophecy of 73 sects at the end of times. Each of these sects do not consider the others as “muslims” and each accuses the others of violating the sanctity of “oneness of god” and “setting up other gods” besides what each perceives to be their one and only true god. Go figure!

    You are right about sectarian muslim-on-muslim violence and killings. The death toll is in thousands upon thousands and counting; in pakistan, egypt, nigeria, sudan, etc. In addition to that, there are ongoing burnings of churches, synagogues and hindu temples, alongwith with killings of christians and jews and hindus; because their “gods” are the “wrong” gods in the eyes of many muslims … at least this is one thing all muslim sects/subsects agree on.

    As a disinterested observer, I believe that all 150+ of these muslim sects including the ahmadiya sect are all muslims; at least in my book. Who is one to question who is a muslim and who is not except their god on judgement day? In their own minds, ahmedis and other sects believe in the “oneness of god” in their own way and consider themselves devout muslims. The same goes for other religions besides islam.

    Now a disclaimer. Louise, I am not a muslim but have been studying koran, hadith, sira/life of mohammed, since soon after the 9/11 tragedy. Besides, because I was stationed in the middle east and south/central asia in the not too distant past, I have conversant/working knowledge of arabic, urdu, hindi, pushtu/persian. Frankly, like many americans, I could care less about islamic/muslim teachings prior to 9/11 tragedy. However after 9/11, I made it my lifetime goal to expose the real makeup of islamic teachings and what makes an average muslim tick to carry global jihad. I have been called a “bigot” by some but I don’t mind. It comes with the territory.

    Louise, I found the following websites extremely useful in learning about the REAL Islam; not the scripted rant you get from your average muslim and their apologists:

    http://contenderministries.org/islam/divisions.php

    thereligionofpeace.com/

    prophetofdoom.net

    apostatesofislam.com/

  36. Interfaith dialogue is the need of the day. Religions should be a source of peace and tranquality but unluckly the half educated scholars and freelance hardliners have wrongly intrepreted ISLAM. No one has the right to declare other non muslim. Shia and Sunni both are muslims.

  37. @ Honest Abe..
    “Each of these sects do not consider the others as “muslims” and each accuses the others of violating the sanctity of “oneness of god” and “setting up other gods” besides what each perceives to be their one and only true god. Go figure!”
    Hi honest abe..look to be honest i am sick and tired of having to explain my religion to first of all non muslims and second of all very uneducated ones at that. You say that you have studies Islam..do you know anything about Tawheed? In all these “sects” the question is never WHO is the one true god…so you are quite off the mark..even different sects agree on that unlike christians who can’t make up their mind yet..the problem muslims have is that a blurred line occurs when it comes to the 3 categories of tawheed..which you should already know about considering your a scholar of Islam right?

    ‘As a disinterested observer, I believe that all 150+ of these muslim sects including the ahmadiya sect are all muslims; at least in my book.”
    …you said it perfectly..you are disinterested..and its clear to see because you lack a lot of knowledge when it come to aqeeda so of course as someone without any knowledge of Islam i would’t be surprised if you thought a hindu could be considered muslim also…thats how ridiculous what your saying is. I am not trying to say my way is better..no..but i am trying to say there are fundamentals that are CLEAR and if they are overstepped then its CLEAR what the outcome is.

    “I could care less about islamic/muslim teachings prior to 9/11 tragedy. However after 9/11, I made it my lifetime goal to expose the real makeup of islamic teachings and what makes an average muslim tick to carry global jihad. ”
    What makes an average muslim tick to carry out “global Jihab”..hmm well simple..as soon as a non-muslim step foot into a muslim majority land and wages war i.e.: kills muslims..its jihad. apart from that the list could go on forever.. the war on Islam as an ideology needs to stop..get out of our countries..get away from our religion..stop killing muslims…stop waging war on muslims and hiding underneath the banner of “liberating people” …recognise that you are the real terrorist…enough said?

  38. Jundub, you proved my point. that’s exactly what i thought you would say and react. Peace, Abe

  39. abdullah, on May 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm said: Interfaith dialogue is the need of the day. Religions should be a source of peace and tranquility but unluckly the half educated scholars and freelance hardliners have wrongly intrepreted ISLAM. No one has the right to declare other non muslim. Shia and Sunni both are muslims.

    Abdullah, you got it right! If folks will just mind their own business and let others worship their gods or god or no god in their own way, this world will be full of peace, love, joy and happiness! Same goes for hijab or no hijab … or abaya or no abaya :)-

    Peace, Abe

  40. Not sure whether Jundub is trolling…yeah he’s trolling.

  41. Abdullah, you got it right! If folks will just mind their own business and let others worship their gods or god or no god in their own way, this world will be full of peace, love, joy and happiness! Same goes for hijab or no hijab … or abaya or no abaya –

    Peace, Abe

    Ahh if only you would abide by this rule…unfortunately,you tend to be a hypocrite in your comments.

  42. Funny how u described yourself as a disinterested observer but you seem to be rather a troll when it comes to Islam. Quite hypocritical,dont u think?!

  43. Mrs. B:

    Go to the post regarding the black awrah sacks I think the conversation there is more fitting and highly educational.

  44. @ MB

    Just curious. What are your thoughts on Irshad Manji and her new book,
    Allah Dan Kebebasan Dan Cinta. I read the english kindle version Allah & Liberty & Love and found it fascinating. Thanks …

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/5/20/nation/11326685&sec=nation

  45. What’re your thoughts,as a disinterested observer on this http://www.adl.org/internet/internet_law3.asp

  46. Mrs. B:

    Better develop some thick skin as violating the Brandenburg v. Ohio is quite difficult. Is this where you are going? (hehehe) :D: :twisted:

  47. Good luck with that. It will not work but good luck anyway. Besides disagreeing with a belief system, pointing out the utrocities, their symbols of hate (abaya), and the need to believe in make believe is not hate nor does it create violence unless you plan to whip up on someone. Then you can be put in jail for it.

    Disagreeing is not hate nor is difference of opinion. Learn the difference.

  48. So you are threatening to call me a kufir and send someone to lunch me?

  49. Sorry, should read lynch me.

  50. U said …it does not lead to violence..but many many awful cases hv turned up due to your “disagreement” which by the way is not what some ppl here are doing. According to bardott’s case, the court has ruled tht her readers could be misled into rejecting Muslim community… you do the thinking.

  51. Umm No bstick but based on your numerous I hate Religion n Religious comments, the question should be directed to you.

  52. Yes I have done the thinking. It is the same as religious books stating that homosexuals should be put to death, apostates should be put to death, or heretics should be put to death, or adulterers should be put to death, or witches should be put to death, or children who don’t listen to their parents should be put to death………….you do the thinking.

  53. Oh, I have never stated that anyone should be put death, beaten or anything else violent. I have however, pointed out the fallacy and hatred of the religious. Maybe you should take this to the debate page.

  54. I did do the thinking and two evils does not make you correct. By your understanding,since some religious fanatics are hateful,you should be too.

  55. See you on debate page. :)

  56. Ms. Bardot should have the right to freedom of speech. She said nothing worse than was recently discovered being taught to Muslim children here in Canada in one school at least. We are not rioting here because of it!!!

  57. According to you then it is acceptable to call African-American or African in general as slaves, nigger and monkeys then, Wendy? These are the common detrimental words i saw being used. How absurd to say tht bardott has the right to label qll Muslims as invaders, barbarics etc.

  58. Unlike In Saudi and other closed up places, freedom of speech is allowed and especially in literature. You can read or not read and I can tell you that if my husband read anything about Africans (and he is from Africa) being called niggers or monkeys he would consider the source and ignore it. That’s what grown up, mature and educated people do. Did you not learn the rhyme that goes like this …
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can NEVER hurt me”.
    If not you and others should learn it and live by it.

  59. Maybe your husband wouldn’t react.maybe i wouldn’t go lynching ppl.maybe you are indifferent to racism.but dare you guarantee tht some rather unstable (mentally) or the usual jane and joe to all disregard n be indifferent to verbao n written racism?hv you heard of Marwa El Sherbini?why do you thnki she was killed?she isn’t an isolated case.there hv been many disruptions inflicted upon groups of ppl due to racism whether in written or speech.

  60. The best wedding I have been to was my own!

    mrs Bawazir, I am sorry you had to spend four years apart from your husband, and glad you finally got united!

  61. How to define the best wedding. Its relevant. Every one will like his/her own wedding and will rated the best one;)). Wish You a very happy life.

  62. Thank u Aafke.

  63. Mrs. B … freedom of speech is of utmost importance to humans. It’s a basic right. There are crazy people out there who are going to do crazy things and that’s a fact. If we want to stifle books that appear racist or damaging in some way we would have to destroy thousands upon thousands of classics including the Bible and the Koran so think about it. There are a lot of murders and killing committed by crazies BECAUSE they have read and followed the holy books. Now I am sorry this has gone off topic.

  64. re: muslim sects. abe, thx for your response. sorry couldn’t thnk you earlier. we have only one computer at home and had to wait my turn. i have started going thru the links that you sent. thx again.

  65. It is not just wedding season for Saudi’s. I am an American Muslim and my fiance is Jordanian. We want to get married and we live in Riyadh. Does anyone have any idea on how to do this? I have no Wali as my father has passed and I am the only Muslim in my family. I can not find anything on the internet about what we need to do to get married.

    Challenges like this really make such an exciting time such a headache!

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