Will never forget my friend F.'s wedding. It was October 2003. The 3aqd or katb ketab or milcha - the official wedding ceremony I mean was supposed to take place on Wednesday afternoon at the mosque - just after noon prayers. Only men were going to be there. Then there was going to be a lunch feast at their house & at night a party.
On Tuesday she had gone with her father & her fiance to the Ma7kma AlShar3iya(the courthouse) in Abu Dhabi to sign papers to the effect that she was willing to marry this guy & allowing her father to sign the actual contract for her - as her wakeel(agent). Remember thinking that that made marriage seem like any other legal contract. You could have a lawyer or an agent sign it for you.
Was at her house later on Tuesday evening & I told her if you said you were willing to marry him before witnesses & he said the same & you signed papers then you're already married. And we had an interesting discussion about that. I still believe that btw. Can't actually see the difference between that & the actual official marriage ceremony.
But it was Wednesday that was truly memorable because guess what happened?She overslept!F. is Sudanese. Now I love Sudanese people. They are so kind. But they have an image as a relaxed, laidback people who never hurry anything & who take their sleep VERY seriously. Guess I never realized how seriously until that day!
So there we were at 1:00pm knocking on her door trying to get her to wake up without making too much noise but she is a really heavy sleeper. The house was full of women - mostly from the bridegroom's family & at 1:00pm her father called from the mosque to say that the katb ketab was finished & they were coming back to the house with all the men. And she wouldn't get up. She missed her appointment at the hairdresser's. All the guests were asking where the bride was & her mother told them she was at the hairdresser's!
She didn't actually get up until 2:30pm. She opens her door & stands there looking sleepy & confused & I wanted to STRANGLE her!I was a mass of nerves. But they were all laughing, telling her sabah elkhair mabrook you've been married for one & a half hrs.
We smuggled her out of the house by covering her up in a local 3abaya & niqab - borrowed from a local friend. She came back from the hairdresser's at 4:30pm & most guests had already left. And she had to go back a couple of hours later to get ready for the party at night.
Imagine sleeping through your own wedding!If only she'd let me borrow some of that nerve. I worry so much at weddings - wanting everything to be perfect.
The other memorable wedding was my friend M.'s. They had the official marriage ceremony & the wedding both at the InterCon. An Imam came to perform the ceremony at the ballroom infront of all the guests & after he left the party & zafa & everything was supposed to happen since you couldn't have music with him around. I remember those of us who came in with the bride remained standing around them at the center of the ballroom waiting for the ceremony to finish. We thought it wouldn't take that long. But this Imam decided to give a sermon about marriage in Islam & complain about all the problems with modern marriages & giving the bride & groom premarital marriage counselling for an hour & 15 minutes before starting the ceremony. My shoes were killing me but her sister & I were giggling because it was really funny to watch how the people who were standing started looking for their tables & sitting down one by one when they realized this was going to take a while. The circle around the bride & groom & their parents kept getting smaller & smaller.
Today I went out for sheesha & tea with K., D. & M. The girls & I were remembering these incidents & other weird weddings we'd attended & laughing.
D( to K): For sure you wouldn't want this Imam at your wedding.
M: La tab3an. One hour & fifteen minutes?She'll change her mind(meaning me).
Me: I will not!
D: I like the first option better. Do it while she's asleep.
Me: What am I?The Runaway Bride?
M: You know what your problem is?You think like a man. Usually it's men who fear commitment & women who want it. The homing instinct.
Me: Don't fear it. Just don't like to mess up. But anyway I think your wedding day is too late for second thoughts.
D: Well some women change their mind about having a baby when they go into labor so I guess it's never too late to change your mind.
K (to D): La ana fi 3ardik balash elseera di.
D: Ay seera?
K: Ma 7adish yigeeb seerit elkhilfa wala el3iyal allah la yisee'kum.
D & M: Laish?Shu fi?Shu sayer ma3kun?
Me: Ignore him. He's just a3sabu ta3bana because he's been working too hard.
K: Ana bardu illy a3sabi ta3bana?
He is never going to let me forget what happened on Thurs. Why does he have such a long memory? Like an elephant. An elephant never forgets. And now the girls won't leave me alone until they hear the whole story.