Weddings of the World: Somalia

Weddings of the World: Somalia



Just like most other cultures, one’s wedding is a significant moment in Somali culture. From the religious rituals, to make-up and hair, every detail is crucial leading up to that experience. But before we even get to that point let’s rewind to what should happen before the wedding, getting engaged.

Traditionally, the man should ask the father of his future bride or the head of the household, for their future bride’s hand in marriage. When the “soo doonis” occurs, it is cultural and not tied to religious obligations. It is an official proposal with witnesses and an agreement with both sides of the family. Men from the groom’s side come to the bride’s home. The most senior elder from the groom’s side asks for the bride on behalf of the groom and his family. Then if they agree, the man must pay a dowry or bride price. In the past, this was accepted in the form of camel, land, and gold. However, today cash is accepted as well. The senior elder on the bride’s side agrees to the arrangement and they agree to meet again on the wedding day.

Then once the engagement “mehr” is confirmed, a traditional Muslim ceremony called a “nikah” will occur. This ceremony is typically held in the home a few days before the wedding reception or the afternoon of the wedding reception. During the Nikah, the groom’s side asks again for the bride. The bride’s side agrees and gives her away symbolically. The real giving away is done between the Imam and the Maxram. It’s attended only by family members and close friends. This ritual is vital because this is when the couple’s union is officiated by an Imam, a mosque official. The Imam will then conclude the marriage and it will become official in Islam. Once the union is official, it’s followed by the women singing traditional songs, dancing, and food.

After the nikah, a wedding reception called an “aroos” in Somali soon follows. This reception is always held in the evening. Somali wedding attire varies on the family and personal preferences. Traditionally, Somali wedding attire includes a “guntino” or “dirac” for women and a suit for men. Nowadays, the bride will typically wear at least two dresses: a dirac or guntino, and a white dress. While the men wear a suit. Additional must haves for the bride are gold jewelry and henna designs.

During the wedding, when most of the guests have arrived, the bride will make her extravagant entrance into the reception. She walks in slowly accompanied by her bridal party. Then the groom follows a few hours later with either his own groom’s men in tow or in between the bride’s outfit change and will then walk in with her. From there the night is filled with dancing and singing just like any other wedding.

Seven days after the wedding reception, an all-women’s party is held for the bride. The bride wears a dirac or guntino. Guests circle the bride singing and each lay a scarf on her head. This is a sign of respect due her new union and represents her becoming a married woman. The scarf is made of silky material and usually has many patterns and colors. Over the course of the party, guests provide treats in decorated containers and gifts for the married couple

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

Photo credits: Instagram @BIILLBOARD

Winter Wedding Cake Ideas

Winter Wedding Cake Ideas


Winter Wedding Cake Ideas

Winter wedding season is here, which means it’s time for glistening color palettes, gleaming fireplaces, and twinkling lights. Your winter wedding celebration can be full of holiday cheer, snowy landscapes, or moody winter hues. 

This is also the year’s slowest wedding season, which means you’ll have less competition for your wedding and event planner, wedding venue, food vendors, and more. 

The winter season is also full of warm and decadent flavors. Take advantage of the season’s warm spices on your wedding cake and at your dessert table. Consider adding in an interactive food station such as an apple cider station or hot cocoa bar. 

Here are some of our favorite winter wedding cake flavors: 

  • Vanilla bean blood orange cake: Blood oranges are winter’s favorite citrus treat. Decorate a traditional vanilla bean cake with aromatic candied blood oranges for a taste guests can’t get any other season. 


  • Blackberry yogurt cake: If you are going for a moody winter color palette, consider adding in dazzling purple hues to your wedding cake with fresh blackberries. Consider a yogurt cake base as a healthier alternative to traditional cake. 


  • Red velvet cake with coconut frosting: If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas wedding, play up the festive theme with a red velvet cake that is covered in snow. Achieve this holiday look with a delicious coconut cream frosting and winter plant garnishes such as fir or pinecones. 


  • Apple cake with apple cider frosting: You can never have too much apple spice during winter and fall. Serve an apple cake that is drizzled in apple cider frosting and caramel sauce. 


  • White chocolate raspberry cake: If you and your partner love white chocolate, this is the perfect decadent dessert for your winter wedding. The cake is decorated with swirls of white chocolate and ruby red frosting, making a stunning display with a delicious center. 


Check out Zola for more delectable winter cake recipes


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