Saudi Arabia: Engagement Rings and Wedding Dresses

I have received multiple queries about Saudi weddings.  I have written some posts about Saudi weddings before so with this one, I’ll focus on the engagement ring and wedding dresses.

Like most engaged women the world over, the engagement ring will be presented in advance of the marriage.  Depending on the family the future bride may receive the ring a year in advance of the marriage or perhaps a few weeks before the marriage.  Some families may allow the future groom to present the ring to the future bride in their presence whereas in other conservative families a male relative has accepted the ring from the future groom and in turn presents it to his sister.

In the Western world it is more traditional for the engagement ring to be a diamond ring which is ultimately part of a set with a matching wedding band.  The diamond ring may be set in white or yellow gold or even platinum.  Many western couples will go together to jewelry stores to looks at engagement and wedding ring sets.  Whereas in Saudi Arabia, the engagement ring can vary widely in what kind of style and stone is chosen.  And I am not aware of any case where a future bride and groom have selected or looked at rings together.

Some Saudi women will receive a diamond engagement ring similar to those seen in the Western world.  However in my own experiences, most Saudi women whom I know have simply received a beautiful ring which is referred to as their engagement ring.  This ring can be in either white gold or 24K yellow gold.  It can be very intricate or simple.  And the stone(s) can vary.  I have seen engagement rings where the primary stone is an exquisite emerald or a brilliant sapphire.

My own engagement ring, for example, was not a traditional diamond engagement ring yet it was representative of the traditional engagement ring given to brides in the earlier days of Saudi Arabia.

Although the pictures are not as clear as I would have wished, I hope you can see that my ring is a very old style gold ring in the shape of a triangle on top.  The two corners of the triangle are to signify Abdullah and I and the point at the top indicats our new life together.  My favorite stone, a sapphire, in the center of the ring.

On the other hand when it comes to wedding dresses, most Saudi women will prefer the traditional white dress and veil.  Vera Wang or Dior wedding dresses are popular as are many other haute couture designers.  It is also popular to have a bride’s wedding dress custom made in Saudi Arabia as there are a wide variety of fabric stores and excellent tailors with books of designs to choose from.

Like weddings the world over, the wedding day is for the bride to shine and look her most beautiful.

24 Responses

  1. Bedu
    Beautiful jewelry! I have a question, what were (are) the Saudi traditional wedding dresses? Are (were) they always white?

    I was married in Red! The Indian influence… But I did also have the white- even though I had been previously married. Since in some families/tribes weddings can be a two or more day affair- brides have more than one wedding dress; in different colors.

    Is this in any way similar in Saudi nowadays?

  2. Some individuals do not believe it is necessary to wear an engagement ring .

    Others get what is called a shabkah, which could mean anything from a bracelet or a necklace to a whole set.

    There is no such thing as 24K gold jewelry:) it would be to soft to hold a shape.

    Maha has a new post, an artist by the name of Safeyah Binzagr drew some pictures of how things were done back in the day.

    I also wrote a long post about how weddings happen in Jeddah these days after a media company approached me to write it after they saw the wedding video I made for my cousin’s wedding.

  3. @Inal,

    I recall from my times in India and Pakistan how most wedding celebrations lasted for three consecutive days.

    The Saudi bride does not have to wear a white wedding dress although many prefer to do so. I would have to ask my MIL about the earlier times in KSA and what the bride wore and perhaps other American Bedu readers can advise.

  4. @Qusay,

    Thank you for correcting me. I meant to say 22K gold. And I appreciate the link and information that you have also written about Saudi weddings. This is a popular topic.

  5. The blue ring is absolutely gorgeous

  6. @Lakia,

    I thought it was too; I found it via google images and thought it was a good image to compliment this post.

  7. I love your ring and the symbolism behind it, Carol. Very nice piece.

  8. Just curious if on her wedding day the bride doesn’t have to cover? I never gave much thought to wedding dresses and just assumed they would have to remain completely covered even though it was their wedding day.

  9. @Sabiwabi,

    Thank you! I wish though that my pics had turned out more clearly.


    Most Saudi brides I have seen do have a wedding dress that usually has sleeves rather than a strapless style gown. The wedding party is typically a segregated event for the most part and as such, the bride does not cover. I say segregated for the most part because at a later point in the festivity, the groom and a few male relatives will enter for a short period. However before their arrival an announcement is made so the unrelated women can cover. At Saudi weddings you will see so many differing styles of dresses and gowns among the guests.

  10. Although the other two pictures of the rings that you posted are certainly bright and shiny, I think that your engagement ring is much prettier. I love the symbolism of the triangle shape.

  11. @Jaytoo,

    Thank you. And I am also partial to my own engagement ring! (:

  12. With regard to the wedding ring, which is worn on the occasion of marriage, this is not one of the customs of the Muslims. If it is believed that it generates love between the spouses, and that taking it off and not wearing it will have an effect on the marital relationship, then this is regarded as a form of shirk and is a kind of jaahili belief. Based on the above, it is not permissible to wear a wedding ring under any circumstances.

    Firstly, because it is an imitation of those who are no good; it is a custom that has come to the Muslims from the non-Muslims.

    Secondly, if that is accompanied by the belief that it has an effect on the marital relationship, then this is a kind of shirk. Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no power and no strength except with Allaah).

  13. The Westernized Muslim Wedding of Today

  14. Inal, nice! You can’t have too many wedding dresses!

    Qusay, those were lovely posts and the video was brimming with happiness and warmth! Thank you for sharing these.

    abu layla, that was an hilarious piece of writing! I laughed so hard I nearly fell of my chair!!!!
    You need to read up a bit on the sunnah of the prophet though.

  15. May I just say…you can spot Pakistani writing from five miles away…

  16. Aafke, I second the motion on the article. So much brimstone. Though I do denote a measure of “Eastern” influence with the Ceremonial Tent. But then I guess you can go so far East, anything is the West.

    The turbas I have heard of in some Levant areas, has a jewelry giving moment. Have not had the pleasure of attending one, but have seen pictures.

    The red sari believe it or not is influenced by the times of the British and the East India Company. Know a few Yemeni born of Indian origins in Aden who keep their traditions alive. I have one picture of a Yemeni groom whose semblance to the Indian groom is most apparent – sword, jambiah, turban, and garlands.

    But then again, barring photos from the time of the Prophet, how does any one know in complete detail what weddings were like then… customs and traditions start somewhere, and not necessarily in the last 50 years.

  17. isn’t that Melania Trump in the bottom photo? I loved her dress, but it always seemed so heavy on the bottom that it would fall down.. hehe. I went to my first Saudi wedding about 3 weeks ago and it was very interesting.. and the bride was AMAZINGLY gorgeous… Even though I work with her every day she was literally unrecognizable with her huge smile and veil.. wow

  18. That is one massive fancy colored diamond! Specially the blue stone Engagement Ring truly the royal color in royal finger. Girls should be really to have this l!!!

  19. vary nice & fantastic in this all gold desings

  20. Wow.
    Good post with beautiful pictures.
    Please keep it up,
    Saudi Arabia is one of the richest country in the world can able to spend more money for the marriage ceremony and it is allowed according to Islamic Law .Valima feast is more important for the marriage .
    Insaallah Saudi Arabia would think about the poorest countries of the South African countries which suffers of starvation. Unity is strength , Let us pray for that I am always think that I am the citizen of The world.
    With kind regards.
    Jazakallah Khayran
    Allâh Ta’ala is able to reward to all.

  21. Well for rich families only who marry in Leylati, But not everybody is rich.There is simple marriage too, but the dowry is always gold not specially a ring, and not “haute couture” dresses.

  22. olya asks -> whats her blouse-design-style

  23. how is a typical saudi weddlng like? who asks for the dowry and what is the dowry like? is it in form of money or assets or jewwllery? who should decide the dowry and the amount of dowry? and when should the dowry be presented?

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