Weddings in Saudi Arabia are a huge event and some weddings can have celebrations and functions that go on for three days. A wedding in Saudi Arabia is considered a high priority social event. Women eagerly look forward to attending the wedding and wearing their finest dress and jewelry.
However, due to the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia, weddings are generally celebrated in either a marriage hall or at a large hotel. There will be separate rooms for the men and women in which they will celebrate the joyous occasion.
The only time when a few men appear (usually bridegroom, father of the bride, brother of the bride and sometimes father of the groom) is when they come to pay respects to the bride. Prior to their arrival to the women’s section, the lights will be dimmed multiple times as a warning for any women who wish to don their abayas and/or cover their faces.
saudi gazette/okaz photo
An Egyptian couple were not aware of the wedding protocols and etiquette of Saudi Arabia. They were married in Egypt and then boarded their flight to Saudi Arabia while still dressed in their wedding finery. They thought it would be fun to meet up with some of their friends in the city of Dhahran at the local mall and continue the wedding festivities. They walked through the mall and made their way to the food court.
Unfortunately they came to the attention of the Hai’a (religious police) who broke up the party. The groom was apprehended by the Hai’a and taken for questioning while wives of the bridegroom’s friends took the new wife out of the mall.
The actions of the newly married and excited bride and groom remind me of when one of my own sisters got married. The church in which she was married was only minutes away from a popular tourist spot along Pymatuning Lake, Pennsylvania. There is an area referred to as “The Spillway” where people have come for years to feed the fish. The water becomes so thick with fish that ducks come in to land and then walk on the fish. My sister and her new husband decided to go and feed the fish after they exchanged their marriage vows. I’m confident they received the same looks of surprise as the Egyptian couple in the Dhahran mall!
Filed under: culture, expat, expatriates, relationships, Saudi Arabia, Saudi blogs, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, Saudi Living, travel, Uncategorized Tagged: | blogging, culture, culture shock, marriage, Saudi Arabia, travel