Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Qatari wedding (Arab wedding)

So I've done the occasional post about a Qatari friend of mine who was getting married -- well the time has come! He is getting married this week. Naturally, I'm invited, as is almost every other man he knows.

Much like the previous wedding I went to you do not have a lot of build-up, I got the invitation two days ago. That's okay though because unlike the West there are no gifts, no place settings at the table, nor many of the other planning details that go into a Western wedding. In Qatari society it's perfectly acceptable to even just show up, congratulate him, and walk back out the door. No pressure on guests.

Unlike the previous Qatari wedding I went to that took place in a large tent this one is taking place at a prominent hotel. He is the oldest child and his father is a VIP in the government so apparently the celebration has to be a bit more upscale. Qatar society does place some level of expectation on people for how grand the wedding must be, it is something that the government is trying to dissuade people from doing because of the cost, but so far to no avail.

My friend has been very gracious in answering my numerous questions about wedding customs, and knows that I will be posting about it on my blog, but the actual cost of the wedding is something I haven't asked because I feel that's getting a little too nosy. I do know that for a typical wedding (remember there are separate men's and women's functions) you should expect to splash out at least $100,000, not including the gifts and jewelry that go to the bride. My friend's family is probably spending more than that.

Now if you recall technically he's already married; months ago a judge visited the couple and their families and accepted the contract of marriage, but under Qatari culture they are not considered married until they have had this celebration. There is both the men and ladies party where congratulations are excepted, food is eaten, and likely some dancing occurs -- moreso at the women's party I've heard. There is no exchanging vows, an imam overseeing a ceremony, or any other kind of formal ceremony as we know it from a Western wedding. I have asked my friend if there is any specific preparations or ceremonies that he does earlier in the day (the wedding party I'm attending starts after the evening prayer). He said no, there is no other private ceremony he does. After the men's party, which will end 10-ish, he will go to the women's party and leave with the bride. At that point they are considered married by all and sundry.

After that there will be a honeymoon. As of a few days ago my friend still wasn't sure where they were going to go!? Apparently his wife-to-be didn't have any particular preference. I'm guessing the concept of honeymoons is a pretty recent thing, possibly a Western influence. I base this on the fact that he seems somewhat laissez-faire about where their honeymoon will be.

You bet I'll post an update once the party has finished.

1 comment:

Sameer C Thiruthikad said...

Stumbled upon your blog while searching for camping in Qatar. You are writing em all very open... It's rare to find such people in this country. :) Keep writing... all the best wishes.