Do you ever wonder how Qataris celebrate that most special of events in their lives—the wedding day?
While it is true that weddings worldwide have changed over the years to reflect the times, the traditional aspects of Qatari weddings have stayed constant over the years.
Although vitally important outward aspects of the festivities, such as wedding dresses, may have altered slightly to reflect current fashion trends, it is heartening to know that many accepted historical customs have remained.
And yet within that overarching sense of tradition, many contemporary wedding entertainments are also famed for their superb decor and awe inspiring organization, making them instantly recognizable by their sense of style, fun, charm and pursuit of excellence.
Qatari weddings are usually arranged in a large tent or hall, which quickly becomes the most physically visible signifier of the joyous festivities to come. Attention to detail is profound, even extending to the fact that guests very often attend courses that instruct them in the intricacies of wishing the groom and bride well on their marriage.
Two separate wedding parties are held in this hall—one for the groom and one for the bride. The bridal celebrations are surrounded by a flowing curtain, provided to protect their privacy. These gorgeous parties can easily make a Qatari wedding one of the largest expenses undertaken by any young man, as it is traditional for the groom's family to pay for the wedding.
Traditionally, a Qatari wedding ceremony is an opportunity for brides to show their love for fashion and beauty by adorning themselves with beautiful dresses and makeup. Multi-faceted designs often incorporate timeless silhouettes with ultra feminine twists. The designs are the epitome of elegance, utilizing many textures and weaving them into a sumptuous combination of luxurious shades, distinct detailing and Arabic accents.
Some women wear abayas and sheylas at wedding events, though the bride usually wears a gorgeous creation so heavy with detail that she might need help with her every step entering the hall!
The groom traditionally sports a black robe called a bisht, typically worn only by VIPs, or at special events. Typically, only the groom and his father (and perhaps an uncle or the bride's father) will wear this traditional high-end garb at weddings. It is a superb way to spot the groom in a crowded wedding hall, as almost all other attendees will be wearing white dishdasha.
Music is one of the most important components of the Qatari wedding celebration. The beautiful harmonic creations that emerge from the many small melodic instruments accompanied by the slow smooth movements of traditional khaliji dancing are the perfect background for the celebration, with the style of movement differing depending on each song.
Guests are served an array of delicious traditional cuisine, including roast lamb on a platter of rice, seafood stews, and stuffed vine leaves.
They are accompanied by a wide range of sumptuous sweets such as mehalabiya—a rose water and pistachio pudding—and umm ali, a bread pudding with nuts and white raisins. The mouthwatering food is complemented by delicious beverages.
To conclude, a Qatari wedding is often a fabulous fairy tale of vibrant colors and textures, with upbeat music, dancing, and superb cuisine, creating the ideal magical environment to celebrate happiness!