Like in the case of Muscat White Weddings, it all starts with the potential groom requesting to speak to a father about his daughter. If the girl has no father or male relatives (like myself) then he goes to ask an Imam (religious Sheikh) to act as her guardian. If the father or guardian accepts, the man proposes, and if the girl accepts, her maher (dowry) is requested, to be paid to her. In the interior it is usually 2000 between family members - 7000 for outside the family. If the family doesn't like the groom, they come up with a number that he couldn't possibly pay. But the girl may choose anything for her maher that she likes. The maher is usually money that the bride buys wedding gold from, and her wedding clothes, and wedding expenses. My maher was a single silver ring and some promises written down in a legal contract. My guardian kept asking me if I was absolutely SURE the ammount was enough because it was apparently the lowest maher he had ever seen in Oman. I was certain and that was enough. I also asked for a gift not part of the maher of wedding shoes since I didn't have a pair to match my wedding dress, which was a traditional but designer Omani one borrowed from a friend. Traditionally these dresses are green although mine was a white pearl colour, and the bride's face should be veiled. Because I considered myself a Muscat traditional bride I wore the birqa that was common in Mutrah in the 1900s instead of a veil. Usually the maher is delivered just before the melka (the engagement and religious nikah part of the ceremony), and women and men, though both seperate in most cases, have traditional dances and songs for this. Since I had no family, I simply recieved my maher in a lovely traditional box and we read some Qu'ran. Sometimes the female family members carry the bride about on a litter or a chair and give her gifts, like watches, gold, and nowadays, gift certificates to Homecentre:D
(This pic is not from an Interior wedding but was the most similiar to what I've seen that I could find) The Melka/Nikah usually takes place in someone's home [decorated with Christma lights], though it may take place in a Mosque. If it takes place in a Mosque then the groom and the bride are usually seperate. I have mainly seen them take place in individual homes. My nikah was done seperate from my husband, with two male witnesses and the Sheikh (my guardian) coming to ask me if I wanted to marry, what my maher was and if I recieved it and if it was enough, and if I agreed to this Islamic marriage. With my assent and saying I was not coerced into a wedding. Usually at this point, male and female guests take a meal of rice and meat seperately, and the groom and bride may possibly take photos together. In my case, we did not.
After the Melka Islamically it is completely okay to consumate the marriage though in the Interior this is not culturally acceptable AT ALL. In fact, many families do not even allow the husband and wife to speak to eachother yet, which is Islamically ridiculous but it is tradition. [Men's wedding tent pictured]
My Urs (Islamic term for it is Walima) was right after my melka, but usually they are a month or a year or more apart. For the Urs, at least in the Interior weddings I have been to, the wedding takes place after Magreb (dusk) prayers, and wedding tents are rented by the village or a tribe for a whole month and everyone shares the tent's expenses and many weddings take place in the same facilities over that month. Also, the families share a Sablah which they own (Majlis---like a community hall) to keep wedding expenses in check unlike in other regions.[Female guests in their wedding clothes at the bride's homemade kosha pictured]
The bride and women and men have seperate celebrations, and the bride sits on a usually simple chair or sofa wearing a white western wedding dress or an Omani traditional one, and the female guests usually wear more traditional GCC clothes, from Kuwaiti and Saudi thobes, to Omani dress. Henna has usually been done two days prior with female family members, and on the men's side is a meal of rice and meat with the groom wearing full Omani male regalia, dishdasha, musayra, bisht, khanjar, rifle, sword, and two assa sticks. Both sides eat and the point of this is to publicize and celebrate the marriage. After this the bride and groom usually go to the groom's house, and traditionally this was done by donkey, with a big parade carrying the bride's pocessions to her new home. Nowadays, people prefer a Mercedes. Then the honeymoon period begins.