In case you missed The Machine Guns and Bride post from a few months back, you may want to read it now before venturing into part two. Otherwise, it would be like watching Game of Thrones in the wrong order.
When I said that arranged marriages drag out here in Saudi, I had no idea how long. The friend whose family was trying to marry him off in the last post struck out with the first choice. Despite a banquet and some genuine interest in the pairing, promises had been made to cousins and so it wasn’t to be. My friend’s dad still got to keep the machine gun that the father of the bride-that-almost-was gave him, so it wasn’t a total loss.
So, the search continued. Somehow my friend heard about a girl who was of marrying age in the town he grew up in. His father and uncles piled into the car to start the negotiations with the father of this lady. Mind you, my friend is somewhat apprehensive as he’s never seen or met this girl that his family is trying to convince her family to let him marry, but a box of gold and some candy can help persuade. They got a ‘yes.’
As it turns out, my friend had a single brother and the future wife had a single sister, so why not a two-for? Families agreed and the double wedding and double honeymoon was on! Unfortunately, it was scheduled for a day I’d be outside the country, but I asked for lots of pictures. Let’s just say that Saudi would be an awful place for a wedding photographer to try to make a living, as there aren’t many pictures taken and the ones that are taken are not shown. It’s view it live or not at all.
Another unique twist to the wedding is that the receptions don’t allow for the men to mingle with the women, so there are parallel receptions held in separate halls. None of the male guests meet the bride, it seems.
Before the wedding, my friend and his brother scoped out a place to move into (all four of them) once the knots were tied. As an American, observing all of this was very interesting. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they didn’t like each other, but I suppose arranged marriages have been going on for centuries and it somehow seems to work out a lot of the time.
My time in Saudi is almost up, but I can’t wait for updates on how the families grow – via instant messages with no pictures. I’ll let you know.