Khaleejia said: What wedding preparations look like in the UAE today
Lubna said that nowadays brides don't have to hide from people for 40 days before the wedding -but some families still practice this tradition. I like it:) The reason behind it is: the bride-to-be can concentrate on her appearance- some try to loose weight, go to beauty salons for skin care treatment, hair removal, massage... She goes out of the house (shopping etc) and her closest family can see her (well... few girls will cover their faces even in the house and while sleeping :), but other relatives don't see her. She does not go to the gatherings and parties - so later when they see the bride at the wedding night they'll be surprised with her beautiful look (because they a little bit forgot how she looked before :)
Wedding invitations can have a very creative and unusual form. Some more religious families can send a small pocket size Qur'an with every wedding invitation or a CD with Qur'an recitation. An invitation card can be put in a glass vessel and filled with sand/ dry scented flowers etc.. You can check some pics here
Many brides rent wedding dresses, and many female guests rent beautiful evening dresses instead of buying. Usually women from the family of the bride and the groom will be dressed in beautiful party dresses with hairdo and make up. Guests can wear evening dresses- but many women still will prefer to wear an abaya and shayla (out of modesty, or because they don't want to worry about a hair-do :) There is a special kind of party abaya- made from thin see through shiffon- it has a lot of crystals and embroidery, lace. This kind of abaya can be worn on top of the evening dress or even on top of a simple black abaya. Any beautiful abaya with crystals and colourful elements will be totally suitable for a wedding. Some women will wear traditional Emriati dress- mukhawar Some guests come in pretty ordinary clothes- simplest abayat and headscarves...
Personally I think that women should try to look a bit more festive than usual. As Muslim women we don't have that many occasions to show our beauty and dress up. Even if someone does not have money, they should still try to put some make up on, shoes with a heel, a bright colourful dress, the jewellery they have. At least some nice sheyla - it will make your whole appearance more lively and festive. It's a special event, it's a celebration!
But if you will get invited to an Emirati wedding and you don't have a party dress (don't have time or means to buy) don't be shy- you can wear any nice dress or abaya you have or even a simple abaya.The most important is that You will come to join them in joyful celebration, share their happiness. People are more important than their clothes after all :)
The best website for a bride-to-be is : yebab.com
There are gathered many useful websites and contact info like: photographer, wedding planner, flower shops, dental clinics and skin clinics, abaya and shailah shops, wedding and evening dresses renting shops, best chocolate and sweets shops, beauty salons etc