Thursday, December 30, 2010

Qatari Wedding (Arab Wedding)

Okay, I've got a lot of blogging to catch up on. My Qatari friend is back from his honeymoon and gave me some photos from the wedding! Looking back through the blog I realized I hadn't told everyone what happened at the wedding (see what I mean about backlog).

I met up with a group of friends and we all went to the Sheraton hotel where the wedding was being held after the evening prayer in one of the large conference rooms.

Having the wedding in the hotel rather than a tent definitely makes it a touch more upscale, and expensive. But I don't think this was a typical wedding -- that day another Qatari colleague came to me to show me a full page ad in a local newspaper about my friend's wedding and congratulating him. A full page! My first question was, does the ad mention where the wedding is going to be held? Thankfully the answer was no, or else half of Qatar might have shown up.

When we got there I estimate there was about 100 men there already, and over the course of the evening I estimate that well over 800 people were there at some point or another. My friend (the groom) was at the far end of the room with two other men all wearing black bishts, his father and the bride's father. We immediately went over to shake hands with all three and congratulate them, then got out of the way as there was a lineup. We had an opportunity later to meet up with the groom again to have pictures.

We then spent most of the time chatting amongst ourselves and eating the appetizers provided by various waiters wandering around the crowd. Other colleagues and friends came in and we would chat with them after they had greeted the groom. We also briefly met a couple of ambassadors who had attended the function. It turns out many ambassadors were there. A few other men had shown up also wearing bishts, which meant they were likely VIPs (I found out later that some Ministers from the government attended). No chance that His Highness would be showing up though -- he was in Europe working on last-day efforts to win the 2022 World Cup bid, which as we now know succeeded.

After a while dinner was served in the banquet room next door. Like the previous wedding the main dish was lamb on rice on a platter, with a variety of mezzah in small bowls around the table. The difference in this case from the previous wedding I attended was that all of the food was served on tables and everyone had cutlery. Some Arabs stuck with tradition and used their hands anyway. There was also a dessert buffet.

It was during dinner that we noticed there was a woman eating at the head table, which I found odd because I didn't think women went to the men's wedding. She was Caucasian and not wearing an abaya so she definitely was not a family member. Someone speculated that she was likely an ambassador and so as a representative of a nation be allowed at the men's wedding (I found out later that she was the German ambassador).

After the dinner many returned to the main room where they continued to chat with the groom and occasionally did sword dancing when a group of singers started performing.

Eventually the groom joined them at which point most of the men were dancing.

I don't know this kid but he's dressed to the nines. :-)

The wedding was over by about 10 and I returned home. In the next coming weeks some of the local Arabic newspapers had full page or in one case two-page spreads with photos from the wedding. Looks like the wedding hit the society pages.

A great time was had by all.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am doing research on Qatari Weddings and your blog helped a lot (and it was a nice read).

maria-mexican living in Doha said...

Nice page and information! But you just tells what men do but what about the women??? they don´t get together at any time? they don´t mix ? and then their are two parties????
Thank you in advance!

maria-mexican living in Doha said...


Glen McKay said...

Hi Maria. Yes the men's and ladies' weddings are completely separate and they do not mix. Yes, that's means two parties. I will never be able to attend a ladies wedding party.

If you go to my post of December 28, 2011 I have a link at the bottom to a blog where a lady attended a Qatari ladies wedding. It's more elaborate than the mens.