We arrived at the bride's home around 6:30. As is typical in this part of the city, the narrow street in front of the house was blocked off with tenting to form a reception room. It is not at all unusual to find a street in the village blocked off for either a funeral or wedding.
The tenting created one large room for the ladies and a smaller open-ended room for the band and DJ. The men were consigned to chairs in the street beyond the tented area.
Fortunately, there is a small mosque on the street next to the bride's home. Here the bride's father would give his permission to the groom to "take" his daughter and the papers would be signed by the men. That process was to begin inside once the final evening prayer time was over. We were escorted to the family's large reception room to wait with tea while prayer time passed. We joined the crowd in the ladies tent as the family men began to gather in the tiny mosque.
Once the men of the families had completed the marriage in the mosque, it was only necessary for the bride to sign her papers. The Imam brought the necessary paperwork out to her. That is her mom in black and gold looking on approvingly.
The bride signed and applied her thumbprint in the appropriate spot as her friends captured the moment on their phone and tablet cameras.
With all the paperwork done, the music began and the happy couple danced on the ladies' side of the tent. A few male brothers and cousins also danced briefly. After that it was almost exclusively women dancing on the ladies' side and men on the gents' side of the great divide.
I retreated to the gents' side to enjoy the very, very loud techno-sound from Mr. Habashy, the DJ for the evening. I have to say that the accompanying drummer was exceedingly talented. This is the broad view of the gents' side. Lit almost exclusively by a single high-powered fluorescent curlicue bulb, it is quite a challenge to photograph.
From time to time, family members passed through the crowd distributing Pepsi and mango juice cartons.
I spent most of the evening sitting with a young man named Ahmed and his friends. Between Ahmed's English, my Arabic and the loud music we really only established Americans are "good people," Ahmed is a great dancer and the music was quite good.
I will leave it to Linda to describe the wedding from the ladies tent point of view in a later post.