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Somali wedding


Asha with her mother & sister (bride-to-be)

It was a night to be remembered.  Just 25 minutes from our home, we experienced a stunning setting of beautifully dressed Somali women celebrating the marriage of Asha’s daughter.  We learned many things that evening in Tukwila.

1.  Weddings happen in the evening–we were told to arrive for a 9pm wedding.  As I was speeding south on I-5, I was laughing with my boys that if police officer stopped me for speeding, he may not believe me if I said I was late to a wedding.

2.  Weddings do not start on time.  They do not start until the bride arrives.  We arrived at 9pm and found only a few women & a DJ at the location.  Over the next two hours the space filled to capacity with standing room only, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bride.

3.  Somali weddings are sometimes attended by men and women or there are separate celebratory ceremonies for each.  The wedding we were attending was for the women.  My boys, the DJ and the doorman were the only males in attendance.  Women and young girls are ornately dressed  with make up and henna adornments.

4.  Food and refreshments are served following the arrival of the bride and celebratory drumming & dancing.  The event was alcohol-free due to prohibition in the Muslim faith.  It was wonderful to see the festive celebrations without the influence of alcohol.  The drumming and dancing…watch this short clip to get a feel for the vibrant atmosphere.

5.  A celebration can proceed until sunrise and beyond.

Because of the late hour, we were only able to stay for a half an hour of celebration.  Asha had yet to arrive, so I do not have pictures with her, but here are a few from the spectacular evening.  My boys and I will cherish it forever.  We felt for a brief time that we had been transported to Africa…and were amazed as we drove home that we were in our own backyard!


Heading to our first Somali wedding


Arrived for 9pm wedding & found we were among the first to arrive.


Women were beautifully dressed


The bride arrives close to midnight.


Drumming and dancing


The bride & her attendants


The bride’s arrival


The festivities begin


A tired boy who will not soon forget this incredible night.

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