Despite evolution in various traditions of Saudi Arabia, marriage is still an expensive phenomenon for Saudi men. They have to provide dowry money for marrying a woman. It is also the responsibility of groom to settle house for the wedding including its furnishing and other expenses. Due to huge marriage expenses, it may not be possible for all men to get married unless they are financially stable or settled. Those who don’t afford their marriage expenses take help from their friends and family for their marriage ceremony. Saudi marriage is a traditional ceremony which requires men to invest a huge amount in their wedding by inviting people and offering huge dowry money to the parents of the bride. In case a family can’t support a person, he is not able to get married unless he gets himself settled. The common traditions for a Saudi Groom during his wedding include;
Al-Aniyyah is a tradition prevalent in Arab culture where friends and family offer gifts and cash to bride and groom in order to support them to start a new life even when they don’t have the finance to do so. It helps me to avoid any kind of bank loan which further require interest and repayment later. Al-Aniyyah is a beautiful tradition which depicts the solidarity of Arab families and their concern for their fellow human beings in their social circle. The tradition of Al-Aniyyah varies from tribe to tribe. The average amount to be offered as per this tradition is SR 500 which is normally offered by each family member.
Cloaks: It is mandatory for the groom to wear a black, brown or white cloak which is known as Bisht on his wedding. It is considered as an integral part of a wedding and should be followed by groom even if it is expensive. In case the groom can’t afford to buy that expensive cloak, anyone from his friends or family lends him that gown for this wedding.
Saudi Dance: Not everyone, but a large population of Saudi Arabia arrange a dance function on Saudi weddings. A group of dancers comes to perform this act and invite almost everyone in the gathering to dance with them. Sometimes they perform a dance with the sword which is a classic Saudi dance.
Separation: In Saudi weddings, there is always a separation between male and female. Only bridegroom and his father are allowed to go to the female area. Sometimes, groom’s brothers try to sneak to that area. No one else is allowed. Even before the arrival of the groom, they make an announcement in the female area so that they can wear their abayas.
Huge Gathering: Wedding ceremonies vary as per affordability level of the groom. Some grooms celebrate their marriages at large scale and grand weddings are conducted. Friends and family at wedding ceremony offer expensive gifts to groom and his bride as per tradition of Al-Aniyyah.
Expensive Dinner: Some tribes offer meals and tea for their neighbors, friends, and family as a gesture of hospitality in Al-Aniyyah tradition. With such little efforts, people try to support grooms at their weddings to save their thousands of Riyals.
Cutting the Cake: Cake cutting ceremony is normally performed in the female area
Luxury cars are also considered as an essential part of a wedding. Again these cars have to be taken on rent for a wedding ceremony or from friend or family if the groom can’t afford to pay the rent. Along with these expensive items, families in past used to provide crockery, household items, furniture for the wedding ceremony and other gifts. Not only friends and family, neighbors also help each other during their wedding functions with an intention to promote brotherhood in a community.
There must be many other traditions about which I don’t know. I have written this article based on my experience of attending some wedding ceremonies in Saudi Arabia. If you like to share some wedding rituals with us, I would love to share it with others.