The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still very attached to its traditions, especially during weddings where the groom and the other men wear their customary attire but that’s not the case for the bride who will wear a white European-style wedding dress. Read our blog post to learn more about a women’s journey as a bride in KSA.
The marriage contract
After the engagement, the bride and groom will proceed with the marriage contract where they will be officially married in the attendance of two witnesses. This usually happens in the bride’s home or in a hotel, and it’s a close family affair. It is followed by a small party hosted by the bride’s family where she is presented with the engagement ring and various jewelry gifts. The formal betrothal takes place when the two families set a date for the wedding parties (one for the groom and another one for the bride).
The Henna party
The signing of the contract is then followed by a Ghumra or what is known as the Henna party, a traditional wedding custom in the Arabian Peninsula where the bride’s female friends gather around her and apply henna on her hands and feet about three days before the celebrations. The groom can attend for photos at the beginning of the celebration but needs to leave after that. The bride will also get all kinds of beauty preparations for her wedding like nail polishing, facials, and make-up. Nowadays, Ghumras are becoming more like theme parties or ‘bridal showers’ if the bride prefers the care of a beauty specialist.
If you are a bride-to-be, look out for evening dresses you can wear for your Henna party.
The wedding celebrations
The wedding parties usually takes place six months to a year after the assent of the wedding proposal. There will be two celebrations, as the men will have a party the day before the women’s or on the same day. The men’s party will mainly consist of a dinner with no dancing but will have traditional sword dances with hired performers and drumming instead. The women’s party lasts longer and includes lots of dancing where the bride wears a western-style wedding dress. The groom will attend the women’s party and take photographs with his wife. This is where he and his bride will walk down a walkway under the cheers of the women (called the ‘Zaffa’) and sit in front of the audience. The groom will then leave to meet his friends and male relatives in their own party.
Take a look at a wide collection of wedding dresses in Saudi Arabia.
If there are any customs we missed or if you have other information you would like to add, feel free to add your comments below.
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