So, I am deep in the weeds of wedding planning right now.
Lately, I’ve been weighing how many Palestinian traditions I want to incorporate in our wedding. For example, there’s the tradition known as the “zaffa,” which refers to a bride/groom entrance. It involves a group of musicians playing drums, bagpipes and horns; they surround the bride and groom as the guests clap and dance alongside them. It’s a very theatrical, festive entrance that hypes everyone up. The problem, though, is that there are only so many zaffa groups in the U.S. (especially around North Carolina), so it’s not cheap.
All of this got me thinking about my own parents’ wedding. It sounded epic. I called my mom the other day and we ended up talking about it for a while. They got married in Gaza, by the beach. They, of course, had a zaffa (it was my mom’s favorite part of the wedding), and it lasted about half an hour as they slowly walked from her family’s house to the venue. My mom had three wedding dresses — three! A white dress, a pink dress and a black dress. They invited about 350 guests, and the whole thing cost them about $20,000. They spent the whole night dancing, and that was just their wedding night. The night before, my mom and dad each had a party with their friends and family (the equivalent of a bachelor or bachelorette party, but a lot bigger). Then, the day after the wedding, known as sabahiya, their extended family and friends visited them, and, instead of gifts, they handed them money. My mom shared pictures with me that actually made my jaw drop. I’d never seen them before.