A Different Kind of Wedding

Thursday afternoon I was at Starbucks awaiting the arrival of my coffee date when my phone rang.
It was a friend, a Somalian lady I had met a few months ago when she filled in for the school nurse.
She was super sweet and spunky and we hit if off immediately. We became instant friends and have been since then.

The reason for her call was to invite me to a wedding THAT night. Despite the short notice, I gladly accepted. I am always up to experience something new. I had never been to a Somalian, Muslim wedding before.

It was a bit tricky getting ready for the occasion. What do you wear to a Muslim wedding?
To complicate matters it was UAE wedding which meant blinged-outness. I knew everyone would be dressed up and sparkly.
I had nothing to suit the bill but that wasn't going to stop me from going.
My friend assured me that I could wear whatever I wanted but still, you just don't want to inadvertently offend anyone so I knew that it had to be somewhat modest.

I had a couple options but went with this dress that I had picked up at the Loft over the summer. I had a shawl for back-up.

The wedding was really interesting.
First of all there were no men for the first four hours.
The ladies arrived at the designated time to eat, dance and mingle. This is the time they can totally let loose; they take off the shaylas (head scarf) and Abayas and dance it up.
A couple hours later the bride arrived. It literally took her 30 minutes to get from the door to the beautifully decorated stage.

She had to stop every two minutes to have her train rearranged and have her picture taken.

They played a lot of Somalian and Arabic music. It was fun watching the girls do the Arabic and Somalian dances.
This went on for about two hours before the signal was made that the groom and the men were coming. The ladies quickly threw on the abayas and shaylas. They are super quick and very ninja like, it always makes me laugh at how quickly they can get back into character.

The men all came in in grand procession.
They were lots of greetings and posing for pictures.
After all of that was complete,the groom and bride had their first dance. Then they were joined by their friends and family. Loads of dancing and fun.
The cutting of the cake was left for the end. No kiss...and no actual  exchange of the vows.
Apparently that comes later, maybe the next day. Oh I might be wrong, may have missed that part when my friend was explaining to me how it works. Ooops.

I am happy I went. I got to experience a new culture and met some really lovely girls. They've already invited me to the next wedding.
Inshallah, I can make it.

P.S. Here are a couple photos of me and the girls.