Bedouin weddings in Petra, Jordan

picture of Bedouin bride Ayesha with Reel Lfe Photos wedding photographer Elaine

Bedouin Bride Ayesha with her  wedding photographer, Elaine of Reel Life Photos in Petra, Jordan.

The above site is a good place to start if wanting to experience an insight into Bedouin life and to meet real Bedouins.

Saturday morning 6 June 2009, as I was on my way out to cover Karen & Tony’s wedding at Gomersal Park Hotel in West Yorkshire, an email bounced in telling me that there were to be two Bedouin weddings in Petra on Thursday – just a few days away. Nawaf – a tour guide in Petra – had been given my details by his cousin who sells Bedouin jewellery by the Treasury – one of the 7 official wonders of the world – in Petra. So would I like to come and take their photos? You bet!

natural elephant rock sculpture in Petra Jordan

Natural rock forms this elephant -like “sculpture”  in Petra .

A goat wanders past the Bedouin wedding tent inside the Bedouin Village in Little Petra.

Bedouin wedding tent in Petra

Two flights and several thousand miles later I was in a hired car and driving along the Jordan side of the Dead Sea, having decided that getting out of downtown Amman was hard enough with only sketchy directions, so seeing a sign to the Dead Sea reckoned I couldn’t get lost following that route – and it certainly would be prettier than the Motorway direct. This was on 4pm the day before the main wedding celebrations. Someone had agreed with me that it would only take 3 hours to get to Petra from Amman, but with a few stops to takes pictures en-route and going the long way round, meant it took 6 hours and was dark by the time I hit the mountain pass! Just as well then I had used the free Wi-Fi at my accommodation at Britannia Hotel ( to check the way beforehand. It looked like being pretty scary travelling along these winding mountain roads in the dark, and there were not likely to be any hotels en route!  I didn’t actually take any photos  on my way out of course, with it being night time. Here’s a pic I took on the way back just to give you an idea of the terrain!

mountain pass from petra in jordan to the dead sea

Mountain pass from Petra in Jordan to the Dead Sea

desert landscape in Petra

Humpback roads near the wedding in Petra..

All the way down the frequent check point officers had always waved me on after initially indicating that I should stop. At the turn off towards Petra from the Dead Sea onto the start of the mountain road to Petra however, two cheery officers requested to see my passport. Two became four and they seemed keen to keep me talking whilst still holding on to my passport.

“Come on. Give it back to me please”, I said, whilst they continued to quiz me in Arabic. Now I only know a few words which I picked up from a trip in February to Taba Heights and to Cairo for wedding last year, so we seemed to reach a Stalemate that no amount of pleading would shift. An all the time it was getting darker and darker and I was missing out on the evenings pre-wedding celebrations.

Just when I thought I might be detained all night, they gave me back my passport and off I shot up the winding road into the darkness.  Several twisty roads and villages/towns later I arrived in Petra to be greeted by Nawaf, and escorted to the Bedouin camp where dancing and  clapping to music by the men marked the late evening’s wedding celebrations.

Bedouin desert tour guide Nawaf in Petra

Nawaf – Bedouin desert tour guide

night time Bedouin wedding celebrations - the men all sit together

The lighting casts dramatic shadows and sparkles of light off the traditionally Arab-dressed Bedouins

Bedouin men celebrate the wedding by dancing late into the night

Bedouin men celebrate the wedding by dancing late into the night

Arabic dancer at wedding in Bedouin tents at Petra during evening wedding celebrations

site of second Bedouin wedding in Petra

Daytime view of Ayesha’s Bedouin wedding tents.

The next day things slowly got going with dancing on the women’s side and cups of teas on the men’s side.

Bedouin bride Ayesha with dancing Bedouin women

Bedouin Tent for wedding in Petra

Two cousins marry on th same day in Bedouin tents  in Petra, Jordan. These are of Mona’s wedding tents – one for the men, and one for the women.

detail of Bedouin tent for a wedding in Petra, Jordan

Bedouin men drink tea at Mona’s wedding in the Bedouin Village Little Petra

While the men sit and sup tea Bedouin Bride Mon a prepares to leave her family home with her new husband , watched by a crowd of children and their Mums.

Bedouin bride Mona with her husband just before leaving her family home in Petra

Bedouin groom holds his bride Mona’s hand.

Bedouin groom holds his bride’s hand

Meanwhile Bedouin chefs prepare freshly slaughtered goat in a savoury sauce with rice for the wedding feast in a tent in the desert in Petra

Bedouin chefs prepare goat in savoury sauce with rice for the wedding feast in a tent in the desert in Petra

cooking pots on the boil in a separate tent at Bedouin wedding in Petra

and  the Bedouin male guests  share a bowl of water as they wait in the big black tents for the bride and women to arrive with the second bride Ayesha,

Bedouin man drinks from a shared metal bowl at wedding in a tent in Petra

while another Bedouin wedding guest offers congratulations the groom’s  father.Bedouin wedding guest offers congratulations to the bride Ayesha’s father

4×4 wedding car decorated with ribbons sets off from tents in desert in Petra to pick up Bedouin bride Ayesha

4×4 wedding car decorated with ribbons sets off from tents in desert in Petra to pick up Bedouin bride Ayesha

Bedouin bride in black tent in in Petra

Bedouin Bride in a Black Tent in the desert

detail of Bedouin bride Ayesha’s wedding outfit showing her rings on her gloved hand
detail of Bedouin bride Ayesha’s wedding outfit showing her rings on her gloved hand

5 Responses to “Bedouin weddings in Petra, Jordan”

  1. Weddingphotos-video Says:


    […] We go anywhere in the world for lovely people’s weddings, either in the UK or abroad see and look under all day wedding pictures or international weddings[…]…

  2. kwpang Says:

    really nice wedding, full of fun and happiness.

  3. ReelLifePhotos Says:

    Thanks Kwpang. Its always good to get a visitor to our picture blog who is also a professional wedding photographer , and from another country too! xx Elaine

  4. ??????? Says:


    […]ReelLifePhotosWeddingphotography » Blog Archive » Bedouin weddings in Petra, Jordan[…]…

  5. ReelLifePhotos Says:

    If anyone is getting married in Israel, get in touch, as we are experienced international wedding photographers. Have been to Israel twice – once for a wedding and once to visit the bride again. Our next weddings abroad are in Nigeria and in Gambia, so we are always travelling to exciting destinations for our lovely brides and groom’s cultural weddings, as well as photographing UK weddings in between of course. xx Elaine

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