No matter where you are in the world, a wedding day is one of the most important days of a couple’s life together. It is a time to celebrate with family, friends, and relatives. However, in different cultures, there are different ideas regarding what location is best to make that day as special as possible. In Saudi Arabia, for example, couples have private halls for each gender, with the most important being the wedding hall for women. Five months ago, I found myself in one such wedding hall to celebrate my cousin’s ceremony. There were several things that made it a romantic place to celebrate a new step in a relationship.
When I entered the hall, I was astonished by the gorgeous entrance. Water glistened on the soft marble floor as I made my way inside. All around me were reflections of light emanating from a decorative hanging light with branches holding several light bulbs. Directly inside was a beautiful black and white coffee cart carrying cups of delicious mocha. Next to the coffee cart was the bride’s panel sign.
I stopped in the middle of the main door of the hall. At the end of the corridor was a wide, bright stage. The back of the stage was covered in silk curtains lit with a colorful, but a dim light that matched the aesthetics. In the middle of the stage, there was a small, white sofa without a back and a square marble table with wooden legs that looked gold. On the table, there was small, circular basket made of crystal basket and covered by pink plastic flowers, though they looked real to me. Inside the basket was a black gift box that the bride would late give to her groom in front of everyone. Both to the left and right of the sofa, there were big baskets of real flowers. Additionally, there was an enormous line snaking around the stage made up of many kinds of flowers and crystals. When I saw it, I imagined this line as a huge necklace.
Mirrors at the top of the tall, white corridor reflected the background of the stage. To the left and right, there were six stands over the flower baskets. The corridor was vast enough to give the bride and groom plenty of comforts as they walked. In fact, there was enough room for most of the groom’s family to walk and dance from the beginning of the corridor to the end of the stage.
Additionally, there were circular dining tables with eight chairs covered with pearl satin. On top of each table were three plates with different kinds of snacks. There were also thermoses containing Arabic coffee and tea, as well as six sparkling glasses per table. There were forty tables in total around the stage since there were a total of 320 guests invited to the wedding.
From this experience, I learned that Saudi Arabian wedding ceremonies are very different from those in other countries. This is their traditional way to celebrate before the newlywed couple goes home together.