Last night, I got to attend my first Omani wedding! It was the wedding of my host sister's friend's cousin, and I don't think she actually knew the bride but that's okay because it was so much fun!
First of all: for an Omani wedding, you have to get REALLY dressed up. And you have to wear clothing that otherwise would never ever in a million years be deemed appropriate here. I wore a tight-fitted, beaded, knee-length, pink halter dress that I borrowed from my host family. Also, you do crazy makeup and wear a lot of jewelry. I wore more eyeliner than I had worn all year, and still I was wearing a lot less than the rest of the attendees of the wedding! Weddings are all female, so during transit to the wedding you wear your abaya and cover up your fabulously done hair (yes, I rocked a Snooki poof. I'm sorry I don't have pictures).
Anyways, when you arrive you have to give your invitation cards to these women who sit outside of the hall. Then you can go into the hall and you take off your abaya and shayla. Then you have to kiss the family members of the bride and you go sit down. The cousins and close friends of the bride are usually up front dancing, and everyone else sits to wait. Waiters (all female) serve juice and chocolates and the like. A few hours after it begins the bride comes in and there's a lot of ceremony of her walking down the aisle and then a photographer (female, of course) comes in and takes pictures of her with her family and friends. During that, everyone else can go dance. My host sister's friend made me go dance with her, and a bunch of the Omani girls had a lot of fun trying to teach me how to dance properly... apparently I'm not the best dancer ever but I guess I knew that.
On the topic of music: At this particular wedding, they played a lot of Arab music mixed in with some J-Lo and Shakira. So much Shakira.
Anyways, after a lot of this, the lights dim and everyone puts their abayas and shaylas back on because it means that the groom is coming to pick up his bride! When he comes in he's accompanied by the bride's brothers and father and his father. This particular wedding was quite interesting because the groom is already married-- the bride is his second wife. While not common here, it is legal and not looked on as too odd. The man has to be able to treat both of his wives totally equally, so only wealthier men do this.
Anyways, we didn't get home until 1am but it was so much fun. Apparently weddings do vary from tribe to tribe, so I hope to experience a wedding for a different tribe as well!