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A Blend of Cultures

This past weekend, I was busy with a really close family friends wedding. I had the most amazing, hectic and fun weekend in a long time.

I got to experience the behind-the-scenes craziness that goes on before and after weddings. Let me tell you, it is fun-filled craziness! We got barely any sleep, overindulged on sweets, had numerous laughing fits, panic attacks and most importantly, lots and lots of fun.

The best part about the whole weekend, including the wedding? The lovely people. This wedding reinforced to me that while venue, decor, food etc may enhance a wedding, it’s the people that make the wedding memorable.

Anyway, on to the wedding: it was a blend of two cultures – Pakistani and Arab. Suffice to say, there was excitement and anticipation from both sides leading upto the reception.

Highlights from the event:

  • The Ring Ceremony: Traditionally, Arabs wear their engagement rings on their right hand. Once the couple is married, they switch their ring from their right hand to their left hand. What I loved about the ring exchange at this wedding?
    The bride and groom held up their hands – touching their own fingertips (creating a wide triangle with their own hands). First, the groom created the triangle and the bride transferred the ring from his right hand to his left hand. Then, the groom did the same to his bride. So cute!
  • Ululation: Okay sooo this isn’t really a specific moment or ceremony. Nor is it something new and having lived in the Middle East, I have obviously heard it many times. But, there’s just something about it that makes me say “ooooh… I want to learn tooooo!”
    For those who have no idea what I’m referring to – Ululation is a high pitched trilling done with the tongue. Arab women do this at happy events such as weddings. I love the sound of it and I wish I knew how to do it too! Whenever I heard it at the wedding, I would “WOOOO” instead 🙂 . Doesn’t create quite the same effect!
  • The Couples Entrance: Can someone say emotional?! The Mr and Mrs walked out on a Nasheed – MashAllah everything was so nicely done that everyone got really emotional. Everyone was tearing up – including me.
  • Dancing: Instead of bhangra, hip-hop or any other type of music, the bride and groom opted to have Arabic Nasheeds playing the entire night. The dance floor was packed and everyone had a great time trying to incorporate Pakistani and Arabic moves. Main highlights: doing the Dabke, a line dance where everyone follows the dance steps of the leader. I have always wanted to do this but never had the chance – it was super fun! At one point, the bride was dancing with her mother and mother-in-law and we created a circle around them doing the dabke (my idea! YEAY!). The second most memorable moment from all the dancing was when we decided that we need to do some Pakistani moves – as the bride danced in the middle, we created a circle around her while doing the Luddi – dancing in circles while clapping your hands and snapping your fingers.
  • Segregation: Oh yeah, did I mention that the wedding was segregated? The women and men sat in two separate halls but I don’t think anyone noticed the difference!
  • Car Parade: This was the newest thing I experienced. We found out that in the Arabic culture, there is a big procession that follows the newlyweds car to their home/hotel…. honking and dancing away. As soon as the reception ended, we all jumped into our cars and starting chasing the bride and grooms car – I don’t think I’ve ever honked as much as I did that day! The Arab girls were Ululating and we were “WOOOing” from our cars, we were waving shirts out from the windows, people kept cutting the limo, the brides brother was swerving his car more than driving it, and we got a middle finger and a bottle of water thrown at us. Fun times!

I am finally done with all the June weddings – the last wedding was the perfect way to end the wedding season 🙂

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About Shaza's Scrapbook

My name is Shaza and I'm a twenty something year old who's passionate about FOOD and Weddings! View all posts by Shaza's Scrapbook

6 responses to “A Blend of Cultures

  • Nazish Sardar

    Ululation!! LOL, is that what it’s called? I always thought it was such a happy, exciting version of “WOOO!”. I seriously wished Pakistanis did this so I won’t look odd in attempting it 😛

  • Tahira

    I’m dying to attend a segregated wedding, so I can actually dance around and do my hair! 😛

    btw, this is my first time here and I’m loving your blog, good luck with the wedding preparations. May Allah make things easier for you and your hubby -to-be! 😀

  • Yusra

    Salaam ! I’m happy u like our traditions 😀 I ‘m Arab n I’m the best among my friends n family ( after my mum lol ) doing Ululation ! u can learn but it will take lots of time n practice since I’ve been, learning since I was 7 heheeh 😀 for the segregated wedding , I wish if you could give more details n explanations about could you please ? we have many of them here ( especially if the bride wears hijab ) but i’ve never unfortunately been to one 😦 though I know tht insh’Allah mine is goign to be segragated !
    About that following the bride & groom’s car ( oh yea we do it here ) it’s really annpoying n many brides really dislike it . including me lol I hope I’ll get rid of tht for my day 😀 I LOVE ouyr posts keep going !

    • Shaza's Scrapbook

      Wsalam Yusra,
      That’s awesome – I wish I could learn! It seems fun 🙂
      Segregation: they divided one big hall into 2 rooms by using dividers. We couldn’t hear/see the mens side. Except when the speeches were happening – they connected audio in both rooms so everyone could hear the speeches (men and women). Most of the time the evening was segregated so we could all take off our Hijabs and PARTY! 🙂 But, a few times during the evening (i.e. when the bride/groom made their entrance and when the groom came in with close family/friends at the end of the evening) the men came to the women’s side.
      It was an awesome blend of cultures 🙂

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