Sunday, August 20, 2006

Our first family wedding

Well this weekend, my brother-in-law got married in a fabulous ceremony. For those of you who are not aware of the events that surround a typical Arab wedding, let me share them with you. A couple of days before the wedding, the groom has a "bachelor's party" which traditionally has included a hair cut. I'm afraid that the unfortunate pictures of grooms resulting has thrown that tradition a bit out of favor, so for this wedding, there was more of a traditional American style bachelor's party. You know they type, a bunch of guys drinking and having fun. I have to admit having contributed a very nice cake (if I do say so myself). It was in a predictable double-circled shape and much enjoyed from what I understand. The bride also had a party with her friends (to which I was invited) where we danced and generally had a nice time.

After the rehearsal, there was a "family" dinner which included about 70 people. From what I could tell, most of them were friends rather than family, but we danced, ate, and generally had a good time until late in the evening. Finally, on the day of the wedding, an hour or so before tee-time (as it were), my husband's entire family (I would expect there were probably about 50 people) went to the bride's house to formally ask for her hand in marriage and escort her to the church. At her house, her entire family (same number again) waited. After consent was given and congratulations exchanged, a procession left her house for the church with her in the lead. Horns honking and people cheering are typical. This is my most favorite part of the wedding events. I felt like royalty on the day of my wedding. Small children pushed and shoved to get a glimpse of the bride and I felt like a princess decked out in my finery and waving.

As we're Episcopal, the service looked much the same as one in the US would, except for the language. However, prior to the wedding, the groom and groomsmen greet all of the guests as they enter. Immediately after, the entire wedding party stands to greet the guests as they leave. As you can imagine, the service and greetings take about 2 hours to finish. After you finally finish, it's time to run home to change for the reception (yes they actually change clothes!). As the bride and groom enter the reception, they have a group of men in traditional costume who play drums and call out to greet them. A large crowd gathers to escort them into the hall. The reception goes on until 2 or so in the morning and has lots of dancing.

Notable events for this wedding were the roles ButterBean and JoojooBean played. ButterBean was asked to be a flower girl in the wedding. At 4.5, she's just the right age, although given her extreme shyness, I was a bit concerned she wouldn't walk. She chose to and did an excellent job. She dropped the rose petals on the way in and stood like such a sweet big girl. However, JoojooBean decided she ought to join the action at the front of the church and went to be with ButterBean. JoojooBean is not shy... at all. As a result, she thought the stage with all of the nice people watching her was a call to entertain. She called out to her grandmother, "Teta watch me twirl!" Then she began to twirl about like a tiny drunken ballerina. MommaBean told her to Shuuush. Her only response was, "I don't want to shush, I want to twirl." Too funny. Eventually I did have to go and get her and take her away from the action. During the course of JoojooBean's antics, ButterBean managed to dump the remaining rose petals from her basket on to the floor inadvertently. But, never fear, she bent down and picked up each individual petal. I'm glad it kept her busy and focused so she forgot to be scared until the very end. At that point, I picked her up and told her what a great job she had done. It seems that the two years between them and their personality differences made one the perfect backdrop to the wedding and the other a show stealer. It will be a joy to see if these difference remain and if they stay comfortable in their chosen roles. For now, we got great video that will, someday, be excellent leverage. Our girls had a great time at their first wedding and I'm sure they'll enjoy the next one from a less central position.



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