You Are Invited to a Wedding!!

As a young girl, I remember talking with my friends about what we wanted our weddings to be like. Most of us young women still do this today with friends. We talk about where we want to hold the ceremony such as a church or the beach, what our dress will look like and where we would go for the honeymoon. I have always been interested in what customs go along with Arab weddings. Does the groom still propose? Does the bride still get to wear a gorgeous dress and walk down the isle? To my surprise, Arab weddings can be a week long

Engagement Celebration

The engagement celebration is when the bride’s family holds a party at their house where the groom formally asks the bride to marry him. Instead of the groom just popping the question like they do in America, the bride and grooms family must condone the wedding first. The mothers and fathers meet to see if their children are a good match for each other and if both of their families would get along. If they agree, then the engagement celebration is held where it is formally recognized that the couple is planning to get married. At the ceremony the father of the bride again must agree. If he agrees to the engagement, the families read the Fatiha, or the first Sura in the Qur’an.

blog 3Engagement Party

After the engagement celebration there is a party held for the couple. It is similar to what Americans would do when a couple gets engaged. The bride can wear whatever dress she chooses but most of the time they bride and groom wear the same color. At this party the bride and groom exchange rings. However, they put their rings on the right hand ring finger. In the United States, we put it on the left ring finger.

Katb el-Kitab

After the engagement party the bride and groom and their families meet to sign a marriage contract. It usually begins with a sheikh or an imam give a short speech about the prophet Muhammad and how he treated his wives. They also talk about how the bride and groom should treat each other. Again the father must accept the proposal. The legal documents or the marriage contract can include how much money the bride will receive if they get divorced, her duties as a wife and his duties as a husband, if he is allowed to take a second wife and what will happen if the wife was given a dowry. Two witnesses are usually present when this contract is being written and signed. They are usually the two eldest men from each family. Once they sign their names, the couple is officially married. In more traditional households, the marriage isn’t seen as official until it is consummated.

blog #3!However, many times the bride and groom will hold a big celebration with friends and family. Sometimes the wedding celebration is separated by sex, meaning that women are in one room and men are in the other. The brides have also been known to have henna nights, which is the equivalent to a bachelorette party here in the United States.

Middle Eastern weddings are a lot like weddings in the United States but with some more strict traditional customs. The celebrations last for a week and the whole family participates. Weddings are taken very seriously and are not legally recognized until the couple signs the marriage contract. Unlike in the United States, the couple does not sit down and outline their duties in the marriage. I thought this was very interesting since 50% of marriages will end in divorce in America.

References: “Arab Marriage Customs.” Arab Marriage Customs. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.


6 thoughts on “You Are Invited to a Wedding!!

  1. This was a really interesting read! I love how different cultures have unique traditions for weddings. It is interesting to me that exchange rings at the engagement party not when the engagement actually happens. The entire engagement aspect is very different from the United States but it seems that the wedding aspect is also based on traditional values.

  2. I love the henna nights! I feel like henna is a growing art in the United States, and it is nice to see it embedded in a ceremony such as this. When they go over how they are going to treat each other, I wonder what they specifically say. It would be interesting to attend a wedding with these traditional values.

  3. This is really interesting! I had no idea that the wedding ritual was so different than the weddings that I have been. I love that it is a week long process where you get to do something different every day and I think it is probably less stressful due to the fact that the whole wedding isn’t crammed into one day. I wonder if anyone other than Arabs that have this type of week long ceremony.

  4. This was really cool to read I really didn’t think weddings would be so similar to weddings here in the states. there are very similar in ways but I think that they definitely have a lot more strict customs to follow. Here in the states most people are more interested in the idea of a wedding in a church, but most of the time the couple provably does not attend church regular or even practice the faith. It nice to see the process of how the whole family is involved during the process from engagement to the actual wedding. I think its super cool how they don’t have such a high divorce rate as u, and I think that is because of how devoted they are to their religion.

  5. I absolutely love to hear about other cultures customs, this was so interesting to read. I thought here in America weddings were a big deal but I cannot even imagine a weeklong celebration. I really loved the last two lines. I think it is so important to fully understand and agree on the duties as husband and wife and that seems to be a huge factor when it comes to Arab weddings.

  6. I’ve found that there are similar wedding experiences, such as in Swahili culture in East Africa. It’s very focused on family approval and celebration, as well important documents like outlining the marriage. However, I find it interesting that the bride and groom in Arab culture sign the marriage contract in front of only two people. It’s very different than the large wedding ceremonies held in the U.S. It’s a lot more similar to when people go to the courthouse in the U.S. to get married. I also really like that they must outline their duties…this helps with expectations within the relationship. This is a serious issue in the U.S., and something like this outline might help decrease our divorce rate.

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