Saturday, November 10, 2012

Attending a Muscat Wedding, in photos

What I wore.
 Most non-Omani women, when invited to attend an Omani wedding, are usually invited to the urs [Arabic meaning: family, the Omani term for the wedding reception], in Islam called the walimah, the actual LEGAL wedding ceremony [melka in Omani and nikah in Islamic Arabic] already having taken place, along with the groom's request of enagement, presentation of maher [gifts and dowry presented to the bride], and henna party. Most non-Omani women when invited to attend an Omani wedding for the first time, will generally be invited to attend a Muscat-hotel white wedding.

Close-up of my dress and accessories. Being that my dress was over-the-top sparkly I didn't want to over-do it with huge gargantuam faux-diamond bling but really you can never wear too much jewelry I have been told;)
 It is an all-women affair, so usually the only abayas in sight are totally sheer and covered in a smattering of Austrian of crystal, and the headscarf is worn more as a topper to frame the face and outrageous Arabic make-up accompanying. Women like to dress up and Muscat white weddings girls go all out, so beyond the see-through abayas covered in crystal, you will find loose fitting but crystal embellished Omani regional traditional dresses and Arabic caftans, and also Western-style ballgowns. Usually more sparkly and frou-frou than what most Western weddings consist of. We generally try not to outdo the bride, but in Oman terms, the bride is already married for a few months already usually, so this is just time to party and look great for your friend or family-member who happens to be the bride. Most often no photos are allowed. In the case of this wedding, the invitation itself made the request to forgo photographs so there's only some things I can show ya'll from the night;).

My outfit: gold sequin mermaid-cut gown by Hamnas collection, and earrings, vintage
 I wish I had gotten a photo of the invite but I picked it up from my friend just a few hours before the wedding and then I was busy doing hair and makeup for myself and others. Many girls get their hair professionally done at the salon but I am proficient with basics like chignon and French twists, so my hair was similiar to the style below minus the tiara and bit lower on the crown of my head. My make-up was similarily light but if you've ever wanted to try a combo of green and orange eyeshadow with coral-toned lipstick, let a Muscat-white wedding be the time for experimentation!
This is not a photo of me or anyone else at the wedding;p
When we arrived at the wedding hall,guarded by two lovely Phillipina employees, our abayas were stowed away, inviatations presented, and then we were each handed a gift bag. We arrived early by Muscat-wedding timings. If the inviation says eight, most people will come by 9 and don't expect a  sign of the bride or supper until 10 at least. We chose a nice table nonetheless, close enough to see the stage and chaise lounge were the bride would preside over the festivities, the dance floor et al., but far enough away from the speakers to be able to speak to the other people at the table.

Zoom of the wedding hall's coffered ceilings.
 This particular wedding took place at nice venue and obsviously details were well-attended to. I've been to many expensive weddings in Muscat and money certainly doesn't guarantee that everything will look nice together lol @ the chocolate fountains+ ice sculptures [i.e ghetto fabulous) but this affair was really nice. The tables all had white roses and candles in centerpeices, and while not pictured there were big bowls of gold and silver wrapped chocolates and sweets for the guests to gobble down in anticipation of the bride's arrival.

Tables set and awaiting the ladies to arrive.
This wedding was outfitted for around 400 guests, and the tables flanked a carpeted isle which the bride would eventually trounce down leading to the dance floor and the stage with the chair called kosha. Since the bride was Zanzibari-Omani kiswahili language was spoken more than Arabic and for once I understood as much as anyone else ha ha ha because I know a little kiswahili. Nasema kidogo. :). More than my Omani-Omani friends anywys:). People definately got into the dances, especially the traditional swahili songs, which were interesting to watch.

Detail of one centerpiece.
Wedding kosha being set up before the arrival of the guests. White roses cascading and a gilded couch.
When the bride was to arrive she would slowllllly (most brides are accompanied by 1 assistant to fix her train and flounce her dress the whole promenade) and a photographer to capture evvvvery step to the dias of the stage. We were served dinner before the arrival of the bride but the fact that troupe of girls in Arabic gowns walked down the aisle with big silver insence burner and readied themselves with baskets of white rose petals, informed us she would be comming verrrrry soon. Our wait had ended.

Example of dessserts, although dinner was served buffet-style outside the wedding hall.
 Dinner was served in an adjacent area just outside, buffet style, and there were several delicious cakes served. I ate a gazillion sambusa. While we ate our dinners a troupe of professional Dhofari style dancers preformed for everyone to watch and traditional music from the region of Salalah in Oman was played (all by women). They wore costumes as pictured below:
Not an actual photo of the dancers from the wedding, but this is how a group of seven of them were dressed.
Finally, it was announced that the bride was going to make her grande entrance. An poem commisioned from a noted Omani poet by the families of the bride and groom with their names in it was read in Arabic as the bride made her walk down the isle. In Islam we aren't allowed to describe how to men ect... how other women look uncovered so I won't go there, and of course there ar eno photos, but she had her hair and make-up done, wore big diamond jewelry, and gown covered in crystals similiar to the real Emirati wedding photos pictured below (please note, the Omani bride requested no photographs):
 When the bride reached the dance floor the dance troupe and close friends pelted her with rose petals and said nice things. She was then seated for photos on the kosha for guests to come up and congratulate her and have her own personal photos taken by the professional photographer. I actually didn't stay much later than that because midnight was fast approaching, so I checked my abaya and went home to run around the house in my dress (which had a substantial train) chased by my daughter who still had not gone to bed and liked to be dragged around on the train while playing with the gift box the "thank-you" present for attending was wrapped in. Contrary to Western weddings, gifts are not presented to the bride at the reception, only if you happen to attend the maher ceremony, and sometimes, although rarely, the melka/nikah.
wedding favor: Arabic attar [perfume] in a silver coffee-pot bottle. The little plastic tray underneath will be very appreciated by some Barbie-loving children in our family;)


Arezu In Wonderland said...

That's an amazing dress,

xo arezu

The Duncan Adventures said...

Your dress is so beautiful!!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Arezu: Thank you. Though not nearly so amazing as some of the girls there lol. Believe it or not, my look was pretty understated.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

The Duncan Adventures: Your red peplum one was so classic and stunning though.... mashaAllah.

I wanted to go red but had no salary left lol.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! you pretty much summed up how the weddings are like there. do you mind me asking where you got your dress from? there's an upcoming wedding and im literally getting a headache looking for a dress *sigh*

Keep up the good work girl :) All the best!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous: I really like Malaak on the top floor of Bahja mall but when I don't have a budget or time for that store to make required alterations, sometimes I do Mango in City Center, or I go to Seeb Mall in Seeb Souq (all taxis in Al Hail/Seeb know it) and try my luck there. Sometimes I find something really crazy nice for 25 OMR after bartering. Always pretend you just kind of like it, not love it and check all the stores that have the same dress in Seeb mall and choose the one that seems most honest. Most dresses are marked up 4x their price and I always comment about fabric and where it is from (China, India) and be like, it is too long, I have to pay a tailor to bring it in... and they offer discounts.

Anonymous said...

wooow thank you so much for your advice! you sound like a pro haha :) inshaa allah i will explore all the options you presented to me and i might need your opinion on other areas soon (like makeup and hair). thank you for your quick response, i appreciate it!