Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Wedding

I took the day off work yesterday to go to The Romanian's son's wedding.  Why the whole day?  Because if you've ever been to a Kuwaiti wedding, you'd know that you had better go prepared because it is no joke my friends; those girls primp.  My prep started several days ago with a spray tan.  Yesterday, I got manicured/pedicured, make-up and hair done.  All that takes time.  Plus getting dressed and all that.  OMG the work.  So tiring.

I decided that I will never again have anyone do my make-up for me (I say this every time I go to a wedding yet every time, I have someone else do my make-up).  I'm with Kate Middleton - do it yourself.   I'm just much more comfortable in my own skin when I do my own make-up.   TR and I decided to have Kuwaiti style make-up done at her friend's salon.  I had so much stuff on my eyes that it was hard to drive back to my house.  It wasn't much better at the wedding because the air was so full of bkhoor that my eyes (and a LOT of the other ladies') got red and teary.  One of my eyelashes came off during the reception.  It was bad.  I tear so bad that people think I cry at weddings.  I do not.

I didn't know what to expect.  TR and I were so nervous that we had butterflies.   I always try to anticipate the worst-case-scenario and then back-up from there just to be prepared.  Not to air dirty laundry on a day that was actually happy, but it started for me with loyal-anger for my friend.  Out of the 450 women invited to the wedding, TR, the mother of the groom, was only given 6 invitations; a slight that we both considered a horrible insult.  After asking around, I have discovered that this is not uncommon when someone in the immediate wedding party is a foreigner.  I don't know if they think we don't have friends or family. Or maybe they just don't care.  I was fighting-mad and ready to take on the other 444 ladies in the parking lot if necessary.  When I say, "I got yo back" I mean it literally; and so does she.  We are that kind of friends.

This meant that a lot of our friends who we really wanted to be there with us, TR couldn't invite.  She was very sad about it and for those of you girls reading this - you know who you are and you know that you are loved and would have been welcomed if they had given her more invites.

I am extreeeeeeeeeemely proud of my friend, TR.  She came to Kuwait when she was only a teenager.  She married young, had a baby when she was still out in the yard playing with the kids herself, and had to deal with a family that really didn't want her here at all.  She opted for a life of independence out of the eyes of scrutiny of others, so after more than a decade of marriage, got a divorce and gained custody of her son.  She made the difficult decision to have her x-husband raise her son, "to grow to be a good Kuwaiti man and know his culture."  He has.  He is an outstanding young man with a brilliant future ahead of him (Mashallah).  I consider him my nephew and love him dearly.

Sidenote:  TR and her son do not look like mother and son.  She is blonde and he looks a lot like his father with Kuwaiti features.  His friends have seen them out together and have asked him if she was is girlfriend.  One of his friends, when seeing TR out somewhere said, "Look at that hot blonde."  No one would expect her to be his mother and it is funny to see their reactions.

For almost 20 years, the Kuwaiti family hadn't seen her (and when they knew her, she was wearing niqab, not at all the same person that she is now).   You know I believe that as you age, time changes people's perspectives.  You see things differently and regret when you have treated other's badly.   When TR was married, Kuwait was a different place with fewer foreign wives.  Now it is common.  Then, not so much; especially not among Bedouin society.  The family was pushing for a Kuwaiti wife and eventually, they got just that.  (Be careful what you wish for because different isn't always better.)

When we walked into the wedding hall last night, it was all smiles and welcomes.  She was given a seat of honor on the receiving line.  We were treated very very well by her former in-laws.  We danced, we laughed, we had a great time. 

The male band was in another room and broadcast on televisions in the hall.  I'm still suffering from the flu/bronchitus, but I got down when the band stopped and they put on Rihanna's, "We Found Love." - much to the amusement of the ladies who were still there.  I just about gave myself an asthma attack.  Some of the younger girls came up to dance with V and I.  V loves to dance and took right to it.  I think she had a great time.

The bride and groom met each other in school and fell in love.  The bride was stunning.  Her dress came from Spain and was a combination of delicate Spanish lace, toole, and crystals.    I'm sure the bride is going to be just as kind as her new husband and I look forward to getting to know her.  I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to call TR, "Grannie" someday (maybe 2013?)!  G-maaaaa!

The reception was to be held in The Regency Hotel, but because the number of guests was so high they decided to hold it at the Royal Wedding Hall at Mishref Exhibits area.  It is really a lovely wedding hall (located behind Hall 8) decorated in tones of gold and off-white.  There was an adjacent room - almost as large - for the buffet that looked like a tent and held table rounds and seating around the sides.  It was down a corridor and far enough away from the main hall that you could not smell the food (in other venues in Kuwait, while seated in the main reception/dancing hall, you can almost always smell food). 

Food Observations
Great assortment of food being passed around on trays including food that looked like nachos, but were something else - very tasty; kabobs, chocolate covered strawberries, various chocolates.  The buffet was enormous (stuff I can remember from 12:30am when we ate):  biriyani, Asian noodles, macaroni with beef, steak, rice dishes, ice cream, um ali, cheesecake, fresh fruit, some kind of compote thing.  The army of servers in clean, new uniforms were outstanding by the way.  Service was excellent.

Just incase you are wondering, my favorite wedding venues are:  
Zumurada; The one on Tawoon Street (Extension of Blaajat) with the palm trees growing out of it.   I know I wondered about this place and how the interior decor would look before I ever went there. It is GORGEOUS.  Everything is teak, including the seating.  So pretty (but small compared).  
The Sheraton (elegance and cha-CHING.  Best wedding bathroom in Kuwait for the bridal group.  They even have a chair that massages your legs. Awesome.).  
The Royal Wedding Hall at Mishref. 
The Regency (outstanding lighting and good bathrooms).

My least favorite wedding venues are the local halls.  I've had bad experiences.

Out of 450 women, The Romanian and I were the only blondes.  (Good!!!)
When the men's group arrived, out of 450 women, only 4 of us (3 from TR's group) did not put on hejab. 
Out of 450 women who were asked not to bring their children, only one was rude and brought her young daughter (she was with us which kind of surprised me). 
Out of 450 women, I only saw one eating out of a chaffing dish. (That, my friends, is a GOOD stat!)

Big butts are still in. 
Only a few plastic surgeons are popular in Kuwait. 
Spikey things and metal inserts in clothing are in:  Star Wars, the next generation!
The fabric souq makes tons of money on Kuwaiti weddings.
More women here should take clothing design workshops before considering designing their own gown.
Feathers are still in.
Boobs are still in.
Not everyone looks good in Kabuki make-up.
Not all chocolates being passed around on trays taste good.
Mutton should not dress as lamb.
Fake diamonds have become so good that you can't tell what is real and what isn't.
There were a lot of very short women in attendance. 
Big hair doesn't make you taller.
The fake hair market in Kuwait is booming. (Or should I say, "blooming?")
Somebody in China is making a ton of money selling hair buns.
Not everyone who looks at me like they want to bite my head off actually will.
They had a perfumes table in the foyer.  One of the perfumes was called, "Hot".  It was not.
Too much bkhoor is not a good thing.
I'm tired of being asked, "Have you ever been to a Kuwaiti wedding before?"
I should do more to work the room and make friends at weddings.  I turn into a wallflower.  Not good.
There aren't enough places in Kuwait that sell handbags suitable for weddings. (Honey, if you can fit your iPad in it; it's too big.  And plastic disguising itself as leather is never good at a wedding.  Oh what's that?   It matches your outfit?  You need to change.)
"Move your feat, lose your seat."  And those decrepit-looking old ladies go from zero-to-sixty when there is a good seat available.


Expat and the City said...

Love the post. Sounds like fun times. Congrats to your friend and her son.

Christine said...

I love all your details of that magnificent big day and big conrats to TR, her son and family!