I’m currently based in Bangladesh as part of a team of community workers. Follow me over on Instagram (@madisonbeachphotos) and here on this blog to keep updated with the adventures and challenges faced when living Asia..
We were very lucky to be invited to our very first Bangladeshi wedding. A friend of one of our Bangladesh-based team members was getting married and we were invited to the reception.
We were a bit like deers caught in headlights given just 24 hours notice. Us girls scrambled to wash our nicest shalwar kameez and the boys were trying to get the creases out their smartest shirts with no iron available.
On the way we rushed to the market to buy a gift, unsure of what you buy for a Bangladesh wedding we went with buying the stereotypical wedding gift of crockery.
One slight problem- the market path was muddy. By the time we had bought the gift my feet and flip-flops were caked in mud, not quite the first impression I was going for.
We were quite worried that it would look weird; 6 (very pale) foreigners turning up to a wedding of people we have never met. We thought we would stick out like sore thumbs. But it turns out an extra 6 people didn’t make a difference considering there were 1200 people invited! And even more people had turned up. The invites are done by invitation and word of mouth. The wedding was based in the fields surrounding the couples house.
There were several marquees, the first one you sit under waiting for your turn to enter the house and meet the bride. She was very beautiful and surrounded by her female family members, managing a small smile at all the guests, although she was sitting down for so long she must have had a very numb bum. As it was so busy we didn’t stay too long and headed for the best marquee.. the food. It was incredible, although we aren’t meant to eat food cooked for us by people other than our chefs we got into the wedding spirit and devoured rice, chicken and beef.
We stayed for a while exchanging what little Bangla we know but decided to head home and let the people who actually know the couple enjoy the night. Overall I am glad and very grateful at how welcoming everybody was and that we got to experience the wedding reception. It’s a lot to get your head around as it was an arranged marriage and the couple have only been speaking on the phone for 2 months before getting married yesterday. I can’t even comprehend marrying someone I’ve only known 2 months. But that it why experiencing different cultures first hand is great-going to the wedding dispelled a lot of myths in my head and has made me curious to learn more.