When moving to Saudi Arabia, I knew that I would have a wedding more extrvagant that I could have possibly imagined. Weddings here are always extravagant because they act as a socio-economic status for families. In a sense, if you didn’t have a extravagant wedding, its almost like you never had a wedding. As my friend Asma stated, “They have to see it to believe it; if they don't see it, it didn't happen”, and while that is true - I was not expecting to have a wedding less than 10 days after I arrived. I must say that I was incredibly blessed when it came to the actual planning of my wedding as my sister-in-law had handled all major details.
Having prior knowledge of a impending celebration, I purchased a dress in the US and nothing else. My dress was a very simple strapless dress with a simple beaded applique; which I purchased from David's Bridal a week before our departure. My husband and I were already legally and religiously married at the time of our wedding here in Saudi; and we truthfully expected to have about 2 months to prepare for everything, we were even hoping to get to the gym before the wedding took place - needless to say... that didn't happen.
My first week in Saudi Arabia was a whirlwind experience as I was sent out shopping for diamonds, watches, shoes, a tiara, my veil, a bouquet, and we had to pick out our cake - supplied by the venue. The jewelry shopping was something completely different to me, as I’ve never had anyone just take me to a jewelry store and say “Pick whatever you like.”. I picked out several sets of jewelry, one of which was worn during my ceremony, and another displayed for guests to gawk at during the celebration. While the shopping for shoes seemed to take longer than expected, as both my mother-in-law and I had different ideas for the shoes. Being as simple as I am, I wanted simple satin shoes while my mother-in-law did not think that they would serve the "party purpose", I got the party shoes - 6" stilettos covered with swarvoski crystals. Shopping for the veil was a funny experience because I wanted something ever so simple, to match the applique of my dress; while the shopkeepers in every store continuously handed me veils with so much embroidery and beading, I thought my neck would break. After visiting countless stores all over Jeddah, I eventually got my simple veil with just a few swarovski crystals throughout, which I had to take from a mannequin. My bouquet was picked from the florist who provided the flowers already picked by my sister-in-law, and Alhamduillah I picked a lavender colored rose that coordinated with her choice perfectly.
Our venue set up was perfect for the event; as the guest pulled in and were dropped at the door before walking a red carpet into our hall. In the center of the entrance was a ornate water fountain and surrounding was fish tanks containing exotic fish often found in the Red Sea. The layout of our venue included rows of seating and colored chandeliers throughout. My husband and I had only briefly visited the venue previously, to pick out the cake. We had a pink and purple stage, which held our seating and a mirage of flowers located under an ornate dome. Our cake was vanilla with a white fondant and pink roses; all of which was impeccably done thanks to our wonderful coordinators and family. As the each part of celebration proceeded, my husband was ushered out after about 30 - 45minutes in the hall; and then women removed the abayas and hijabs that they donned to reveal amazing party dresses. Dinner was served, and the women danced the rest of the night away.
Our wedding was held at a beach resort and restaurant on corniche in Jeddah called the Belagio; which did a wonderful job from coordination and catering to providing the cake. In the end, everything turned out absolutely perfect, we even walked out to Halo by Beyonce; although my husband and I were completely clueless about how our procession through the ceremony and how things would progress; it went off without a hitch. I have selected a few photos below to share with you!