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 rock forms this elephant -like “sculpture” in Petra .
A goat wanders past the Bedouin wedding tent inside the Bedouin Village in Little 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 (http://www.britanniahotels.com/) 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
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.
Nawaf – Bedouin desert tour guide
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
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.
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.
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 groom holds his bride Mona’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
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,
while another Bedouin wedding guest offers congratulations the groom’s father.
4×4 wedding car decorated with ribbons sets off from tents in desert in Petra to pick up Bedouin bride Ayesha
Bedouin Bride in a Black Tent in the desert
detail of Bedouin bride Ayesha’s wedding outfit showing her rings on her gloved hand