An Arabian Nights wedding is full of the fantastical charm and romance of a fairytale, while maintaining a more exotic flair, a feeling of adventure. Particularly for bridal couples in the western world, this theme transports the couple and their guests to another world in which they can get lost, concentrating only on the fun and intrigue of the event. For this reason, it is best to ask your guests to participate in the theme, donning Arabian costumes, as this will involve them in a very personal way.

Colours and Design Elements

When thinking about the Arab areas of the world, one no doubt pictures deep reds, plush purples, vibrant gold and midnight blues. These intense colours are perfect representations of the Arab royalty. In addition, textiles are almost always textured, embroidered and embellished with thread, beads, sequins and mirrors. Velvets and intricately patterned textiles are a must. Using such fabrics will give your venue the mystical Arabian Nights touch with very little effort.


If you are able to find mini Persian rugs (or magic carpets) or genie lamps, these would make the perfect media for your invitations, intriguing guests and getting them excited about your wedding theme. Alternatively, simply use the rich colours of your Arabian theme printed onto traditional styles of wedding invite and inform your guests that they should dress accordingly.


Arabian attire is quite distinctive and is usually fairly easy to access. While you, as the bridal couple, may not want to dress up in full Arab garb, consider putting your bridesmaids and groomsmen in belly dancing outfits, turbans, Burkas, silky baggy trousers, silk belts, sleeveless princess tops and bejewelled headbands that have ornate detail hanging on the forehead, for example. Of course, you can also don very beautiful Arabian outfits if you want to be completely immersed in the theme.


Ensure that your guests are whipped into a fantasy world as soon as they enter your wedding venue. The venue itself can be a feature as Moroccan marquees have become very popular and widely available. Scatter large cushions or ottomans throughout and laden the floor with plenty of Persian rugs. These need not match, but should be abundant.

Replace traditional table centrepieces with treasure chests, snake charmers’ baskets (sans the live snake, of course) or gorgeous brass genie lamps.

Food and Beverages

Your Arabian Nights wedding should have the following type of items on the menu:

  • Cous cous
  • Lentils
  • Olives
  • Mint
  • Pita breads
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh fruit or vegetable kebabs
  • Hummus
  • Falafels

Guest Favours

While there is no shortage of Arabian-themed gifts to give to your friends and family, here are just a few suggestions:

  • A genie lamp (to make their wishes come true)
  • Recipes for fabulous Arab dishes
  • Ornate bottles of perfume (widely available from pharmacies in South Africa)
  • Little jewellery boxes or miniature treasure chests
  • Incense

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