here, there is always a henna party the night before the wedding and then a party the night of the wedding as well. we were invited to both, but only ended up going to the henna. it was at their house, and as they are a pretty traditional muslim family, the men and women were separate the whole time. so, rachel and i were inside with the ladies, and jason was outside with the guys.
jason had seen eyoub earlier in the day and he said the party started at 4. so we decided to show up at 5:30. which was a good call by us, because we were still some of the only ones there. when we got there, eyoubs family (like cousins, aunts, etc.) were there and so we danced and hung out. shireen, his sister who was getting married, didn't come until about 6:30 and her fiance's family didn't come until about 7:30. my camera died right before the groom's family showed up, but here are some pictures of shireen and her family.
my favorite part of the evening was when they began playing "yeah!" by usher and made me and rachel dance by ourselves in the middle of a big circle. and not just kinda sway back and forth - they wanted to see some good american booty shakin' - which was pretty awesome with my huge stomach. and this didn't just happen once, but twice, once with just the bride's family and once when the groom's family came.
i really enjoyed going to this wedding because it made me change my thinking a bit about arrange muslim marriages, at least here. my first thought was "holy cow, she is 16. that is way too young and it's so sad that she's throwing her life away and having to get married". but as i saw her at the henna, she looked so happy. genuinely happy, excited about getting married. in this culture, there wouldn't be much for her to do if she didn't get married now - she'd help around the house and wait for a husband. and while i don't think that is right, it is what it is, so if she is really happy about marriage, even if she's young and it was arranged for her, then it's probably a better thing that i once thought it was. she was really cute when the groom came in and they danced together. she was absolutely glowing when he gave her the gold jewelry. i think they'll be pretty great together.