Arts & Culture The Marriage Issue

The many grooms of Bahrain

By Sekka Team

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Photo by Ishaq Madan.

Under 800 square kilometres, the Kingdom of Bahrain is the smallest country in the Arabian Gulf Region, and one of the smallest in the world. You could see it all in a day joke some Bahrainis. One would think that given its small size and population, every wedding they’d attend would be a duplicate of the other, except they’re not. One of Bahrain’s many charms is that its people come from different ethnicities and religious backgrounds, such as Islam, Christianity, Baha’ism and Judaism.

It’s not only the brides that dress differently in each wedding, but also the grooms, with heritage playing an important factor in a groom’s choice of attire. We decided to focus on the grooms for a change instead of the bride, and looked into their wardrobes on their big day.

In Bahrain, you could go to a wedding where a Bahraini groom would be dressed in a suit , and another where a groom would be dressed in traditional Arabian headgear and dress. We partnered with Bahraini photographer Ishaq Madan for this exclusive shoot for Sekka to share with you different Bahraini grooms’ looks.

The Suit Wearer

Generally, but not always the case, men of Persian or non-Khaleeji roots would opt to wear suits or tuxedos for their weddings. However, this is not exclusive to certain segments of the population as many young grooms are opting for this look regardless of their origins and roots. Some would even wear the traditional Arabian attire at the beginning of the wedding ceremony, and then change into suits to dance, or to take photos with their wives.

When opting for this look, some grooms would go to a hairdresser to style their hair for their big day.

The Bisht Hugger

For this look, men would opt to wear the traditional thoub or dress (usually white in color) paired with a bisht, the ceremonial gold-embroidered cloak, and matched with a ghutra and ogal as headgear. There’s no rule for what color the bisht should be. The most common colors are black, white and brown.

In these photographers, the young man is wearing the traditional buttoned-up thoub, a design that men also wear as a day to day look. For the special day, however, the thoub (and the remainder of the outfit) would usually be new and worn for the first time. The grooms would adorn their clothes with oud, perfumes and incense.

Depending on the material and fabric of choice, the price tag for a thoub of this kind could range from 20 USD to 200 USD and higher. The bisht, however, is usually more expensive. Though there are ones with lower price tags, many would be in the range of thousands of dollars, causing some grooms to choose to borrow bishts for their big day instead of spending on brand new ones that they will only be wearing for a few hours in the end.

Images by Ishaq Madan.

The Thoub Shad and Bisht Combo

The thoub shad is a design that is mainly worn by men in Bahrain on special occasions and ceremonies such as Eid and weddings. The upper front part of the garment is embroidered in the same color of the thoub, but sometimes in a different color in order for the embroidery to stand out. The thoub has a high collar and fabric covered buttons.

For this look, a groom would pair the thoub shad with a bisht of his choice of color, and traditional head gear.

Images by Ishaq Madan.

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