#8 – The Somali Wedding

There are many different cultural aspects to weddings, so I am only going by what I have experienced and seen.

A Somali wedding tends to be segregated. The men will come to the venue during the afternoon for the ‘Meher’, also known as an engagement, which is the ceremony in which the bride’s father will speak to the groom & his family to give his daughter away. The bride must make it clear exactly what she wants from the groom, as he has to give her a dowry during this ceremony. The bride is not physically here for this. The dowry does not have to be paid straight away, but the groom should agree to give it to her eventually. There are sometimes a small number of women who are in a side room – in our case, the bar – and during the celebrations, they will chant as a way of celebration. Once the Meher has finished, they will chant as a way of celebrating the completion of the engagement.

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Then come the women.

They will come along in the evening, dressed in beautiful, colourful outfits. In all my time here, I have only ever seen all Somali women look elegant & beautiful. I absolutely LOVE their attire! I tend not to take pictures of the guests during the event out of respect.

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During this particular occasion, they wanted a head table just in front of the dance floor.

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Whenever I think ‘wedding’, the colour green never springs to mind. However, it does look beautiful.

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A simple, green colour scheme with a half moon stage. There’s not a lot going on, but it still looks lovely.

Trying to serve food to 350 guests isn’t the simplest of tasks. You have to serve every table as quickly as possible so you need to have enough staff to be able to do so. During the majority of Somali functions, it tends to be easier to serve the starters, mains, rice, naan and salad all at once. This is because, if you tried to serve starters at around 9:30pm, you’d have nobody to serve it too. They tend to get to the hall at around 10:30pm, even though the invite says the event commences at 8.00pm. During this function, the food was served at 11:30pm. No that’s not a typo. You read that correctly. 1 1 : 3 0 p m.  That’s my bedtime (on non-event days).

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As the food was served so late, this fruit display was demolished well in advance. The guests were hungry, as I’m sure you would be too.

A Somali function always works better on a Friday or Saturday night. On your average weekday, most licenses tend to finish at 11:30pm. However, on a weekend, you’re more likely to be able to stay in the venue till around 1:30am. For this type of event, you have no other option. There are temporary event notices that you can apply for, but that’s another post in itself.

There is a lot of hard work that goes into making a Somali wedding go off with a bang. Setting up the tables.. chair covers.. centre pieces.. the fruit display.. the folding of the napkins.. there’s so many little jobs that make the whole thing come together. But these functions are so much fun considering the fact that Somalians know how to partyyyy! When you hear the music, you just want to dance along with them.

ANYWAY! I hope you enjoyed this & it didn’t sound like too much of a ramble.

Till next time.. ☺

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