The Arabic bride must make many of her wedding decisions based on the traditions of her religious background as well as on the specific views of her family, the groom's family, and the community in which she will marry. While an Arabic wedding in most of the dozens of countries where a Muslim culture prevails may be elaborate or simple, hairstyle and head covering play an important role.
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For a strictly traditional Muslim wedding, the gender of invited guests is important because no man may see a woman with her head uncovered. For such a traditional wedding, male and female guests must be separated, as are the bride and groom. The bride in this case may wear her hair in any fashion she chooses, and she need not cover her head or face. The hair may be worn simply, down her back, or upswept with elaborate embellishments.
For more modern brides who will appear before a heterogeneous group of guests, a hijab must be worn in order to respect the Muslim tradition of modesty. A hijab is customarily in the form of some sort of head wrap that may be accompanied by a veil, a scarf or a hat that may cover the lower half of the face. No hair is visible under the head covering, but the bride may choose to have a special hairstyle for after the wedding when her groom will enjoy seeing her head and face.
Other Arabic brides choose more unconventional garb and hairstyles. A contemporary white wedding gown accompanied with a Western-style veil may be worn by a modern Muslim bride along with a modern upswept or long, sleek or curled hairstyle. She may also elect to wear a white gown with a hijab made of transparent materials that reveal her modern hairstyle.
Even for a simple wedding ceremony, Arab families often choose to embellish the bride with jewels and gold. A bride's hijab could be clasped with a diamond brooch or topped with a priceless tiara. Jewels that drape over the bride's forehead are commonly seen in Arab countries and elaborate earrings are worn by most brides. All these accessories combine to form a hairstyle of sorts, whether the hair is visible or not.
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