Wedding Traditions in the Arab World

Culture & Art

As wedding season is upon us, here is a guide to some special customs and traditions for women in the Arab World that often vary from country to country.



Moroccan weddings are considered some of the most traditional in the Arab region. Depending on the couple, the ceremony can last from three days to a week and the bride wears her best kaftans in the form of a coat or overdress. Usually, the kaftans reach to the ankles and have long sleeves.

The bride may change her kaftans up to seven times with a white one usually being the final choice. Moroccan brides also wear a lot of jewelry and make-up.



Egyptian honeymoons differ depending on the part of the country. For instance, newlyweds in the countryside rarely travel for their honeymoon.

Instead, they rest at home for the first seven days of their marriage, and then receive friends and family who bring gifts and food.

In the more urban parts of Egypt, married couples usually spend the first night of their wedding at the hotel where they celebrated their new union, and then travel to a resort area at the Red Sea or somewhere abroad.



Whereas the West has the bachelorette party, the Arab World has the henna party. Henna usually takes place one to two weeks prior to the wedding night.

Although Palestinian women traditionally dress with hand-embroidered gowns known as a thawb, modern brides usually have different themes for their henna nights.

Her female friends and other relatives of the bride join her in the celebration, which includes drinks, food, dancing, and a woman drawing henna – the temporary skin decoration – on the bride and her guests.



The Zaffe is a cultural dance that happens at a wedding in the Arab World, but specifically in Lebanon.

Recently, the zaffe has grown to be a modern wedding tradition in places like Beirut, with several dancers performing in anticipation of the couple’s entry.

In many weddings, the zaffe team carries the bride on their shoulders to bring her into the party.

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