All of my Saudi friends insisted that Jeddawi (people form Jeddah) weddings were more fun than other weddings because they are so lively (at least on the men's side, I have no idea what the women were doing the whole time.) In this picture, the father (left), son (right), and two grandfathers (I think...) are dancing with swords. The old man in white looks was having a great time!
In Jeddah, as in all of Saudi Arabia and much of the Middle East, the culture of keeping men and women separated extends even to weddings. The men danced and celebrated with the groom from 9:00 pm to midnight while the women, unseen by us, were celebrating in kind in another large room. Rumor has it that when the men are away they take off their Abayas and wear the most beautiful and colorful dresses, but I cannot confirm this from my personal experience.
I don't know what the meaning of this tradition is, but it seemed important so I took a snapshot. Again, more smiling and more dancing.
The food was excellent of course! Lamb and rice is typical Saudi style and the tender, juicy meat was cooked to perfection. Notice that there are only three spoons at a table sitting eight people. Use your hands, silly American!
After the meal, the water stopped running in the bathrooms for a while (local pressure drop), leaving dozens of guests standing around awkwardly with rice dripping from their fingers. We were in Jeddah!
The band, pictured here, also doubled as a pep squad to keep everyone excited and involved in the festivities. I got pulled into the dancing more than once - they wanted to be sure that I, an obvious foreigner, felt completely included in the celebration.