Week 13 – A Dubai Wedding!

I’ve lived in the UAE for over 9 years now and I’ve finally attended a friend’s wedding here – this past week! Wedding #2 of 4 this year.

When I first moved to the UAE, I was invited to some random wedding, however since I didn’t know the people and only spent about an hour or so at the event, I’ve decided that my friend’s wedding last week is a more fitting “something new” as my first-time Dubai-based wedding 🙂

The wedding was held at the Ritz Carlton, JBR, on a Thursday evening. Thankfully the weather really played its part as we’d had some awful, temperamental weather up to that weekend, but the night of the wedding was gorgeous with clear skies, a light breeze in the air and perfect temperature – perfect for an outdoor wedding!

She’s Iranian-British; he’s Palestinian-American, so you can imagine the different cultures and nationalities joined together on the night – apparently 30 different nationalities attended the wedding! And it was completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced before.

There were no pews where the family & friends sat, waiting for the bride to arrive, while the groom stands up by the altar. Oh no. For this wedding, there is much fanfair and loud music played on bagpipes and drums while the groom walks up front with his family and groomsmen. The bride then follows with her family and bridesmaids. And all around all of this are the guests of the wedding, all clapping and getting involved in the hype, until the bride and groom reach the front where the blessing takes place.

After all the excitement of the arrival of the couple, there is a blessing done in much the same way as all the weddings I’ve attended in the past – the Christian / Western-style weddings – and after that the guests all sat down again, enjoying a meal and waiting for the couple to have their first dance.

And just like any wedding anywhere in the world (at least, I’m sure it would be so), the newlyweds have their first dance and then the party gets underway!

Week 12 – Tulbagh

Living in an expat city such as Dubai often means travelling to all sorts of places for weddings… and this one was no exception.

Friends of mine who live in Dubai – she’s South African, he’s Australian – chose to get married in South Africa, in a small little town / wine estate region called Tulbagh… somewhere that I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting while I lived in SA 🙂

I was able to tie this wedding visit in with a sneaky trip up to Johannesburg to visit my family… but you can read about that here. This post is entirely dedicated to the beauty of Tulbagh and the wedding ❤

I arrived fairly late in the evening, after the sun was down, and then had an approximately 1.5 hour drive from Cape Town International Airport to Tulbagh. I zapped the directions into the GPS, put the radio on, had my dinner laid out on the seat next to me, and off I went.

The roads were absolutely pitch black except for the occasional car in front of me, or approaching me, which made for stunning views of the clear night sky… if only I’d been able to see enough on the sides of the roads to stop and marvel at the stars! They were gorgeous, but as the roads had ZERO street lights on, and there was barely a light anywhere in sight, I had no idea how safe the sides of the roads were and so I drove on, just having a quick gaze out the window every so often.

I eventually arrived at Saronsberg Wine Estate and after some confusion on getting in (entirely my fault!), I made it up to the cottage where I would spend the next 2 nights with other friends from Dubai. It was pretty much straight to bed as the next day was the wedding and was bound to be a busy one 🙂

The morning brought us absolutely perfect weather for a wedding – slightly overcast to keep the heat down, no rain in sight, and little specks of sun bursting through the clouds every now and then to make the scenery gorgeous. Buki and I headed off into Tulbagh for some breakfast, and then spent the rest of the morning lazing by the pool while we waited for our other Dubai friends to arrive.

Later that afternoon, after a bit of napping, lots of resting and some snacks to keep us going, we got ourselves ready for the wedding and headed off to the venue (onsite at Tulbagh Wine Estate) to wait out the arrival of the Bride!

The rest of the afternoon / evening / night was a great success; everyone looking fabulous in their outfits, lots of free-flowing drinks, delicious nibbles to tide us over until dinner and then an amazing dinner in itself, in a stunning setting like I’ve never seen before.

Not long after dinner and the speeches, the heavens decided to open – they say it’s lucky if it rains on your wedding day – so we all moved indoors for the rest of the night; cutting the cake, dessert, the first dance and lots and lots of dancing by the rest of us.

The next morning we all gathered around the pool area for a yummy breakfast and to enjoy some light banter with the newlyweds… and then it was time to pack up and head off to the airport for the flight back to Dubai!

Week 33 – Jordan

This song has nothing to do with this post, but when I wrote the name, Jordan, the first line of this song came into my head and since I’m a MASSIVE MJ fan, I thought I’d share the video anyway 🙂

Now onto the real thing… my trip to Jordan – another new country for my something new this week!

Friends of mine from Dubai, who have moved to LA, got married in Jordan this past weekend and of course that meant that all of us headed over there in a big group to share in the celebration and have a mini reunion with people we’ve not seen in years!

The wedding was to be held on Thursday night so we took Thursday off work and flew out at some insane hour of the morning, but we then got to enjoy a little bit of chill time in Amman before having to get all dressed up for the party that night.

We arrived at the wedding venue, (Canvas, Amman), all donned up in our beautiful dresses and smart suits and hung about while the bridal party were having some photos taken. As more and more guests arrived, the conversation grew louder and the party started getting lively.

As with pretty much any wedding, there was then the bridal dance (which I missed the start of, doh!) and then lots of dancing from guests, followed by some delicious food, and non-stop drinks.

The day after the celebration, we all climbed into taxi’s and headed off down to the Dead Sea – approximately 55 km’s so a reasonably short trip which we turned into a lengthy one because we kept stopping for sightseeing along the way 🙂

On arrival the Dead Sea we checked into our hotel – the Kempinski Ishtar – and let the chill time begin… starting off with a bit of floating in the Dead Sea and a mud bath! The Dead Sea is the weirdest feeling in the world – the immense saltiness, and the total inability to move in the direction that you want to move… the water does it all for you. And then after the mud bath, you rinse yourself off and your skin is literally the softest it has ever been – a-ma-ZING!

From there was just a lot of hanging around, enjoying the weekend away with friends from near and far.

Unfortunately on this trip I didn’t get to Petra so that’s going to have to be done another time, but I hope you enjoyed the photos regardless 🙂 (Click on each of the galleries to open up a larger view of the photos)