Do you love watching stranger’s weddings? Passing a country church in the summer, or seeing people coming down the steps of an inner city register office, I always stop and watch for a while. In Italy we stood and admired elegant ladies walking to a little church at the top of a cobbled street in very high heels and fondant dresses. In India we watched a wedding with more guests than you can imagine; saris in every colour, embroidered and draped in gold. So, on holiday last week, I was delighted to see, from our 5th floor room, an Egyptian wedding taking place in our hotel. While the other guests took pictures from their rooms I went down and asked if I might take a picture close up. The beautiful couple was more than happy to oblige.
The traditional wedding attire of Egypt was quite different to what this couple were wearing. Ahmed, our guide, explained that in the past the whole village might have been involved in embroidering the dresses, the best of which were made of silk.
Muslim women are required to cover the whole body, showing only their face and hands. I sent one of these Aswan photographs off to our own Mrs Mole – she who alters similar dresses for her American brides – who often choose to wear low-cut, fairly revealing frocks. The young modern Egyptian brides have adopted a creative approach, basing their look on the same Western ideal. These days the dresses are usually hired, and include all sorts of trendy details, such as a pearly crown, bouquet, false eyelashes and veil. This bride wore a dress with back feature lacing and a modern low-cut, embellished neckline, just as you might see in California or Cardiff. But underneath she is wearing a white, stretchy, long-sleeved polo necked jumper, a fashion popular across Egypt as it allows women to wear modern fashions but adapted for modesty.
The groom then picked up his new wife, pressed his nose gently to hers, and revealed his sweet, white, socks.
What a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing your photos. Very interesting way of dealing with the skin exposure of western style bridal gowns. I also loved the pic of traditional Egyptian wedding garb. The embroidery is exquisite.
No matter what the country or culture, modern brides get to wear what they want no matter what! Now I see that the whole outfit is two separate pieces and in that heat of 114 degrees that day at least the polo shirt would have absorbed some of the sweat and kept the dress drier. It is a real treat to be on vacation on a Saturday and be able to witness a wedding party walking to a church or venue to celebrate such an important event. Like Mary, I love and admire all the work that goes into the traditional outfits and would love to see some up close. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos, Kate!
Very clever! Thanks for the photos.
Weddings totally alienate me but those socks are sweet!
These wedding photos are beautiful! I never guessed the bride wore a turtleneck under her dress, and she looks absolutely lovely. I’ve never stopped to watch a stranger’s wedding, but in 2011 when my husband and I were married in Central Park we had a small audience of passersby who watched, took photos, and applauded at the end. It was actually quite sweet.
What a nice story Jennifer – and how wonderful to get married in Central Park!
What a lovely peek into a beautiful moment; thank you for sharing! 🙂 While I do very much admire the traditional embroidered garb, I can imagine that our Western white gowns must feel just as exotic to them as a beautiful hand embroidered silk does to us 🙂
You can tell these two are very much in love, and that makes me happy ^__^ (love his socks, too – I’d like to imagine he was trying to match his bride ;))