Wedding Customs, Jiddah
this seems to be a long tradition that has originated in arabia but certainly not from jeddah. it's a mixture of henna and water i think. then, it's stirred and mixed in a bowl to make it a thick texture and then poured into a materlia tube, ready for squeezing and drawing.
i always hated the smell of henna and the colour it gets when it starts to fade away, ie, light orange. although i'm not a tattoo person, but henna seems to be a good option for a temp fashion that lasts for few days. i got my first and last tattoo in india, 2004!! wonder!
here in jeddah it's becoming a popular fashion at schools, weddings or any occasion. Lower-back, neck, shoulders and belly-button drawings are quite common. the tradition used to be for the bride's preparation. she used to be tattooed top-to-toe, hands, arms and feet. the bride was usually presented with a catalogue of drawings. she had to prepare for her wedding night one week in advance. that meant, to stay 'hidden' at home for one week not seeing any people but only the very close relatives. well, this's what mother told me, so the bride would have a really impressive Tallah, surprising coming-out to the guests on her wedding night, as she kept everyone waiting!
this tradition is no longer practised, nor i heard if anyone has done it recently, but certainly would love to see such a thing, and do a touristy thing in my own hometown;^)
i think this subject is every groom's nightmare. The groom, in Jeddah or western saudi as far as i know, is supposed to prepare for the whole wedding process, financially. that means, to pay for flat rent, get jewels and presents, and most important to pay the legal Mahir or dowry to the bride.
there's no minimum or maximum for the dowry. but there's definitely a classification. if the bride is virgin and first-time wife-to-be, then her dowry should be higher than second-time brides. The convention for first-timers of middle-class is SR20,000 to SR35,000 excluding the jewels and all the other presents, while it ranges between SR10,000 to SR15,000. I honestly don't know if this range is still being practised but what I heard when i was a kid,lol. i should ask my sister when she gets married, how much she wanna charge,lol.
i don't agree with all this hustle and burden thrown on the groom's shoulders. definitely you don't want to freak out your beloved wed husband, though you do hear these stories where brides set their dowries as SR10 only!
The custom of dowry goes back to the Islamic tradition of Mahir where first set by the Prophet Mohammed, as a sign of respect to the bride and her family. women used to be equal to dirt those days and paying her a dowry had indeed given her some dignity, as you cannot pay for dirt!
anyhow, although woman's status in arabia of course has changed considerably, i don't bother about any of these customs. just observe from a distance and say, 'interesting';^)
At first you will drive at the main gate where you will be stopped and asked, which wedding are you attending…of course you have the wedding invitation, so you will have no problem with that.
When you are dropped off in front of the hall's gate, another security guard will take the small card from you and allows you to enter the ball.
Then you will need to place your Abaya at the front desk kind of like the coat room in nightclubs.
You enter and you will see a line of ladies sitting next to the door, these are the family members of the bride and groom greeting people at the door and guiding them to their acquaintance.
So many chandeliers that make the ball so sparkle, the air is filled with incense and the ladies are glamorous.
There will be an all ladies music band that plays mainly Arabic music, ladies dance the night away until about 12-1am.
Then they announce that the bride and groom are coming down, so every one rushes to take their Abayas,
When everybody is covered, the couples walk down the aisle to certain music,
The ladies then express their feeling by doing what we Arabs call a Zaghroodah (or Zaghrootah), it's a loud voice done with the tongue, which may sound to you as (Lu Lu Lu leyy)!
This is by far the most amusing thing in Arab weddings, each country has it's own poems and wishes to say after or before a Zaghroota, here in Saudi we mostly say what is translated into (Thousands of prayers and peace be upon you, oh Allah's most beloved person, Mohammad).
This picture shows the stage (called Koosha in Arabic)where the couples are seated,you can also see another seats next to that,for the band.
When the couples reach the stage, they will be seated, drinking a juice (not champagne) pictures are taken, then they might dance together (Arabic dancing, although some like to slow dance).
Then the cake either brought to them to be cut, or they walk again to the cake in order to cut it.
After that the ladies are invited to the buffet.
The groom and bride have their own table to eat (they need all the energy) LOL.
After the buffet most of the people leave, but the close friends and relatives stay to dance with the bride (the groom leaves after the meal so he gives a chance for his bride to enjoy her friends).
At around 4-5am the groom comes back, takes his bride and off they go to their first night together.