Celebrating the wedding of our young couples is an occasion to go all out to ensure the enjoyment by as many members of the families and friends as could be accommodated.
Such was the case at this wedding. It was held at a seven stars hotel overlooking the Nile. Some aspects were typical of most weddings of that category, but others were most certainly unique for this one.
The layout and decor were very rich indeed. The colour scheme was white and gold, with the latter prevailing. The flower arrangements and table centrepieces were something that needs to be seen to be believed. It was a combination of flowers, candles and glass that was rich, ethereal and vey beautiful indeed.
The tables were placed on different levels. To have this happen the huge ballroom had to have stages, with steps erected and covered by the most tasteful one coloured carpet that made the whole room shimmer with the soft, pale rose, blending the white touches with the gold.
The only drawback was the fact that these stages were made of wood that rather gave way and wobbled a bit when someone walked by. So while sitting at my table I was constantly being rocked by the waiters hurrying about their business. I was really grateful to that fact because of what happened later on.
Entertainment was in the form of a string band of 12 with their leader, playing soft music of many popular songs. This is not typical as most Egyptian weddings go for the loud hard rock music and blaring speakers that reverberate through your rib cage. This was such a pleasant surprise, and was deeply appreciated by the guests who could actually converse and hear one another without shouting.
There was no seating arrangement – except for some tables that were reserved for close family members – so there was a very relaxed atmosphere where people drifted to sit with friends and kindred spirits.
As this was a very formal occasion all the guests were dressed to the nines. But the contrast in women’s dresses reflected the divide in the country itself. Half those attending, but mostly of the elderly, were veiled and wore extremely conservative dresses, that were nevertheless very tasteful, very colourful and very haute couture. The second half, mostly the young generation, wore the most gorgeous dresses, showing off fantastic figures, mostly mini skirts with bare backs and shoulders, clinging and in many different, bright colours. Long hair rippling down bare backs was very prevalent. They looked like birds of paradise in their different coloured plumage, flitting from table to table greeting family and friends.
What was also typical of Egyptian weddings, but was done with a great deal of taste and beauty was the distribution of sweets. In the long vestibule leading to the ballroom a long table was set up loaded with all kinds and types of sweets to be picked up by the guests on their way in.
Though the invitation was for 8 pm, yet typically Egyptians were late. People started arriving at around nine, so another tradition was held for this wedding in that the bride and groom did not make an appearance till 10 pm. The fanfare for their entrance hushed the guests who watched as the father of the bride handed her over to her groom, who then transferred her wedding band and engagement ring from her right hand to the left indicating that now they were married not just engaged. She did the same, then they had their first dance. It was very lovely and very touching.
Once they started dancing, a singer came on, and in a melodious voice sang all the traditional love songs one hears at weddings. Gradually the beat started to get faster, and unfortunately louder, as the waiters started serving the aperitifs to those seated st the tables. These included all types of caviare, cheeses and fruit.
Copies of the menus for dinner were tastefully placed on the tables, and the food itself was beginning to be served. Every course was an adventure of culinary delight, teasing and stimulating the taste buds.
Half way through dinner the band packed up and left and a DJ took over. From then on this was catering to the younger generation of the guests with the fast, upbeat music to which they enthusiastically and gracefully swung.
By the time the multi-tiered cake was cut and dessert was served, it was way after midnight and people started taking their leave. As I had gone with a couple of neighbours, I went in search of them to take our leave. On my way I missed a step and took a flying dive, throwing my bag and coat all over the place and landing ungracefully on my face. And here comes the reason for my gratitude for the soft floor that gave way. I did not feel a thing. My fall was beautifully cushioned and am none the worst for wear, except for the embarrassment and loss of dignity in being picked up off the floor by some waiters and some guests. As this was just before leaving I did not have to suffer my embarrassment for too long.
It was a lovely wedding, very tastefully and richly decorated, a delicious, served meal as well as a huge buffet, great entertainment and very distinguished guests including the widow of an ex President. Despite my end-of-act swan dive I really enjoyed it and wish the bride and groom a long life of happiness and love.
29 November 2015