Thursday, March 5, 2009
Our First Muslim Wedding!
There are invitations, and then there are invitations. I think is plain to see that the picture below is the latter of the two. Matt was the recipient of this beautiful invitation last week, and we were so excited to be invited to our first wedding in the region.
Our only problem was figuring out exactly what it said? Luckily the groom took pity on our poor monolingual souls and simply told us “You’re invited to my wedding, it is this Friday at 8:00pm”. Mazen, the aforementioned groom is a colleague of Matt’s and we were so thrilled and honored to be invited to share in his special day. Both the bride and the groom are from Lebanon and so I tried to brush up on any etiquette that I should know for the occasion. I wasn’t able to find any such helpful material, but I did hear from people time and time again “it will definitely start late”. While I appreciated the insight, I couldn’t risk this being the one Arab wedding that starts on time without me, so we showed up at the obligatory 8:00pm.Yeah, ok, so we were way early. Matt and I had time to sit at the hotel bar order a snack and have a glass of wine, as we found out the other guests hadn’t even left their homes yet! Around 9:20pm there was quite a stir in the hallway leading to the ballroom, and the bride’s mother rushed over to us to let us know “the bride is coming!” (again, translated for us from Arabic).
Boy, what an entrance! As the bride processed down the stairs she was serenaded by a horn and then these huge drums started beating while the crowd clapped and traditional dancers spiraled around her with swords. Then the entire wedding followed the bride and groom through the hotel lobby and hallway all the way to the ballroom, clapping and cheering and listening to the Arabic poetry what was being sung out. It was a really impressive experience and we were also able to take in the traditional dances that the family performed throughout the night. Mazen and his bride both looked great and seemed to be enjoying every minute of their night. We were really thrilled to be there, but of course now Matt is convinced we need swirling swords and drums at our wedding too!