The first thing you should know about Egyptian weddings is that they are loud. LOUD! The loudest part is the 'zaffa', this is the procession the bride and groom take-usually into the hall where the wedding is taking place. They are preceded by a band of traditional musicians with 'tablas' , the traditional Arab drum, trumpets and occasionally dancers with candelabras on their heads. There are traditional wedding songs, usually singing the praises of the bride and the joys of marriage. The zaffa can be as long or as short as the couple want but I've never attended a wedding where the zaffa has been shorter than 10 minutes. Sometimes the couple spend some of this time dancing with each other and friends and family, other times they simply watch on as others dance, it just depends on the couple's preference. As with anything else, the quality of the zaffa, in terms of musicians depends on the amount of money spent on the band, the songs are the same across the board but the difference is seen in the costumes worn by the band members.
Once the happy couple reach the doors of the hall they do not simply walk through. Oh no. As if the last 10-20 minutes hasn't been enough of a hint that they're ready to party, they are whisked away into a ante-chamber before a big announcement to mark their entrance. Once in the hall, they usually head to the 'kosha' a seating area reserved for the couple, usually on a slight stage. Depending on the couple they may either spend most of the wedding there, talking to guests and having pictures taken or they barely sit down, spending the whole time dancing. Different strokes, different strokes.
Some weddings will include the 'katb ketab' the actual marriage vows part, if they don't then the couple have already tied the knot officially and have decided to split the celebrations.
As usual the highlight of any wedding is the buffet. Don't expect a piece of wedding cake, as my friend colleague and fellow blogger IrishAlexandrain recently discovered, there's a high probability that the cake is actually a foam model and the bride and groom cut a piece of cake hidden to one side.
The most important thing to remember about Egyptian weddings is that they never start on time. If your invitation says 8:30, don't go before 9:30 and don't expect anything to happen till 10 at the earliest. Most are held in hotels at night although it's starting to become popular to have alternate venues. Some people rent villas out for the occasion, allowing for an outdoor party.