We’re back with the colorful second half of Shireen and Khalil’s Virginia wedding at home (Did you see their outdoor wedding ceremony?)! You can gawk at all the bright details of their cocktail hour, but your favorite part (if you’re like me!) may be the Zaffeh, a tradition at Arab weddings that welcomes the couple into their reception in the most fun and exciting way possible. But I’m going to let Shireen explain the rest, along with the vibrant photos from Ever After Visuals!
From Shireen: We are both Palestinian-Lebanese-Americans and wanted our wedding to reflect our biculturality. For wedding favors, we gave each guest an olive oil soap from Aleppo and a blue glass eye which wards away evil (traditionally hung in Arab homes or incorporated into jewelry) in a lovely, small lavender burlap bag. We had a raucous Zaffeh and the DJ spun Arabic and American music all night.
One of our favorite parts of Arab weddings is the Zaffeh– an amazing processional of musicians who lead the bride and groom and their families in to the reception after the ceremony. My favorite memory is dancing into the dinner tent, led by the Zaffeh with our families at our side clapping, dancing and ululating. People could hear the music before we reached the tent– the Arab guests knew what was coming and jumped up to welcome us in, and other guests just looked awe struck as we came in. Everyone had huge smiles on their faces and it really lit up the night. We were led to the dance floor and danced for a good 15 minutes before the musicians finished!
After much begging, Khalil finally agreed to let us put a disco ball up above the dance floor and I’m pretty sure it made all the difference!
Shireen’s advice to other DC-area couples:
The hardest thing we encountered was trying to estimate the amount of alcohol we needed, but we ended up pretty well. Most caterers will let you buy your own alcohol– they will supply the ice and the refrigerate it all before the wedding. There are a lot of discount liquor stores in the DC area– take the time to flip through the newspaper and inserts and see who is having a sale on alcohol and buy it as you find deals. Most places will let you return unopened alcohol (wine and liquor, not beer). We roughly estimated based on what we knew about our family and friends and what they like to drink, then overbought. After the wedding we returned the alcohol that was left over, for our money back. Just keep the receipts!
The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to Shireen and Khalil’s wedding:
Venue: Private Residence
Caterer: R&R Catering
Photographer: Ever After Visuals
Floral Designer: Growing Wild
Rentals: L&A Tent Rentals
Reception Music: Scratch Weddings
Cake: Patisserie Poupon
Stationery: The Paper Store
Transportation: Sunny’s Limo
Hair: Mercedes Ortiz-Olivieri
Makeup: Ashley May
Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander from Blush Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew
Don’t forget to visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals or our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!
Photo Credits: Ever After Visuals
Submitted via Two Bright Lights