The traditions vary slightly from village to city but are basically the same whether Christian or Muslim. The young people of Lebanon go out socially to nightclubs and movies. So dating is actually done there. Fashion is very big so even the Muslim ladies are extremely high styled in their clothing and all females’ make-up is flawless. They all have a tendency to look like move stars.
Of course all weddings have to have a beginning. And this begins with an engagement. An enormous engagement party is always planned for the couple. This is thrown by the bride’s family. The party is very similar to an actual wedding, The only real difference is the fact the bride can wear any dress she chooses. The food is plentiful as are drinks and dancing. It is traditional to serve a rose-water drink called sharbat. A band is hired with singers and musicians. Possibly even a belly dancer will perform. Both parties exchange a ring which they wear on their right hand instead of the left. These are changed to the left hand at the wedding ceremony.The groom brings lots of presents. This is a big party. Sometimes a henna party is held which is the Lebanese version of a bachelorette party. All the ladies arrive at the bride’s home and a henna artist comes to paint designs on the bride and her guests. There is plenty of food, drinks and dancing. This is typical of all Lebanese occasions. They are masters at playing the host.
The Lebanese wedding can take up to three consecutive days. Today people are more westernized, especially in Beirut the capital. The most impressive part of any wedding is the zeffet. This means procession. The wedding starts with two separate parties. One party celebrated at the groom’s house. One celebrated party at the bride’s house. Their respective families and friends help them get ready for the big event. The last party is held at the bride’s house where the groom comes to collect his bride. There is a lot of food. Everyone dances. This is where the zeffet starts to take place. In the zeffet group there may be up to 6 drummers and other musicians. As the bride and groom make their way from the house they are zaghareeted. This is a trilling sound made on jubilant occasions. Flower petals and rice are thrown over them as a sign of happiness.
A wedding thrown in a hotel or ballroom would be even grander and would follow after the house party. At these events a professional zeffet group is hired which includes singers, dancers and musicians. Every wedding large or small has to have a zeffet. This zeffet procession enters the hall and brings in the bride and groom. No matter where in Lebanon you go to a wedding and no matter the sect. The core things are there. It is phenomenal. A fabulous event to wish the bride and groom the blessings of the future.