African wedding in the Dubai desert

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African wedding in the Dubai desert

When I was asked to photograph an African wedding in the Dubai desert, I was (not surprisingly) happy to oblige! I enjoy photographing weddings whatever the location – but I love travelling, and shooting a different style of wedding is always fun!

That definitely applied with this wedding – my clients flew me out to Dubai to photograph their event which was in two parts – first a Nigerian-Ghanaian ceremony which took place out in the desert, followed by a Christian wedding service and reception at the Park Hyatt Hotel at Dubai Creek Marina.

My clients have asked me to keep their names confidential and only to show a limited number of photos on my blog as they had some high-profile guests, so here is just a taste of the desert ceremony….

The guests were ferried out to the location in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in four-wheel drive vehicles – on the way we came across a small group of Arabian Oryx, an endangered antelope that’s characteristic of the region.

arabian oryx in dubai desert nature reserve

four wheel drive vehicles deliver wedding guests

arab hospitality for wedding guests at Dubai desert wedding

When everyone had assembled, there were traditional ceremonies between the two families, exchanging gifts and making sure that the bride was the girl that the groom had agreed to marry, and not a bridesmaid in disguise! While it reflected the ancient traditions of both partners’ countries, it was also a light-hearted and fun affair.

bridesmaid peeps out a tent at African wedding in Dubai

The ceremony took place under a canopy placed in the centre of a depression in the desert, surrounded by high sand dunes:

guests assemble for an African wedding in the Dubai desert

Because I knew the event would go on after dark, I brought several flashguns with me and placed them on stands around the tent to light up the action:

night-time african wedding gets under way in Dubai

Here the bride is escorted by her bridesmaids and family from the tent where she had been getting ready, into the main arena for the wedding itself:

bridesmaids escort the bride to her African wedding in the Dubai desert

While the buffet was being served, the guests were entertained by a traditional Arab-style belly-dancer:

a belly-dancer entertains guests at a wedding in Dubai

arab belly dancer swirls her hair

Later, the couple cut their cake, which symbolised their connections with many countries and cultures around the world:

Nigerian Ghanaian couple cut their cake

After a delicious buffet, I was kept busy taking lots of family group photos, and of course there was plenty of dancing!

Nigerian bride greets guests after wedding

Bride, friends and family pose for photos

I really enjoyed photographing this wedding – not only was it colourful and fun but everyone was very friendly and relaxed. Come back for my next blog post which will have photos of the Christian ceremony and reception at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Dubai.