Firstly, I will state that my in laws are lovely people and I felt very comfortable staying with them, Alhamdulilah.
So the wedding party. My dress was big and white, but very nice in a confectionary type of way. I had my hair "did". Yulia Tymoshenko would have been proud.
The big shock was the make up. I don't wear much make up, never have. I wore some for my Nikah and it took all of five minutes to do. I know that in the Middle East they are not so into subtle make up (think cosmetic counter ladies). But.. to open your eyes and see yourself wearing drag queen levels of make up. Immediately, noticing the stunned horror on my face, I was reassured by cries of "helou, helou" (pretty in Arabic). I had to mumble that it was more make up then I was used to. I figured with the big hair and the big dress the make would probably make sense, which it did, Alhamdulilah.
As for the party, I was told about dancing, but I don't think I grasped the concept, that I would be dancing by myself in front of everyone (note: the party was female only until my husband arrived). The first dance happened just after I arrived. Thoughout I was thinking "I'm going to kill my husband". Especially as I was shortly put to shame by all the expert belly dancers.
Most people at the wedding were very nice, but sat up on my throne I still felt some hostility. I'm sad to say that but it's true. Eventually, I thought "I've done nothing to hurt these people, I love my husband, we married in a halal manner, being white/non-arab is not a crime, so screw the haters".
The second dance was to "Yeah" by Usher (I know!). I decided not to pretend to belly dance and booty shaked instead. I admit I had the attitude of "You think I'm a bad Western girl, well I'll dance like one". Maybe not the wisest of ideas but the big dress stopped it from looking too lewd and to the nice people there it was seen as me getting into the mood of the party. To the not-nice people, I hope it gave them something to talk about.
Then there was an announcement that my husband was on the way and a flurry of re-hijabing and covering.
The best part of the night was after he arrived. We danced and he presented me with some gold jewellery. He had explained that it was tradition to do this, and he didn't want me to get anything less than what a bride usually gets. Then we had to do the really cheesy stuff like drink from the same glass and feed each other pudding. Although it was cheesy, I was loving every minute.
I went to bed that night with solid hair (It took ten washes to get all the product out of it,not to mention the assistance of my sister in law to remove all the hair pins) eye make up I still couldn't completely remove, but really, really happy, because I married a man who's worth all of this and has a family who made it fun. Alhamdulilah.