Bahrain wedding traditions


Engagement parties or “melchas” in Bahrain can also be “henna” or “jelwa” events. They either substitute or are followed by wedding parties few months (or a couple of years) later.


Wedding and related events in Bahrain come in all different types and usually depend on a number of factors including:

  1. How conservative or liberal the families are: this dictates whether the wedding will be mixed or segregated, in a hotel venue or a “local” venue, the type of music played (if any).
  2. Family cultural background: Are the couple from a sunni, shia, arab, persian, urdu, indian, mixed background, etc? Typically, engagements in the shia tradition involve a sheikh taking vows from both the bride and the groom in a standard ceremony; in the sunni tradition the girl’s father or guardian’s approval is taken. In the Persian tradition, there is a “sufra” which is an elaborate “wedding spread” decorated with candlesticks, flowers, traditional accessories and different types pastries and confectionery.
  3. Income level: The wedding industry in the GCC is huge. Weddings could cost anything from few thousand dinars to tens of thousands++. Typical costs include: the mahar (dowry), shabka (jewellery set gift), the wedding gown, venue and food, wedding hall decorations, chocolates and flowers, dj/music, wedding invitation cards, give-aways, etc.