For those of you who can’t get enough of weddings, the latest wedding I attended was that of Mokhtar and Samira. This time, I actually knew the couple getting married, as opposed to gatecrashing or being brought along as wedding arm candy.

The format for an Egyptian hotel wedding (as opposed to raucous street weddings) goes as such: couple sit on a raised platform while the guests are each photographed with them, then each guest drinks thick, sweet sherbaat, sort of like raspberry cordial without the water. Sugar-fuelled, the dancing begins. Firstly, as with western weddings, the newlyweds take to the dance floor. Samira wore a beautiful gown, the bodice heavily encrusted with sequins and the skirt trailing across the dance floor through a cloud of billowing smoke.

Then couples join them on the floor, and finally, everyone else get up to dance them into their new life, sometimes surrounding the couple , clapping, or taking turns to dance with either the bride or groom. The boys were feeling energetic, so they tossed Mokhtar in the air, for good measure while his sisters danced around Samira, kneeling like handmaidens to a princess.

There are many differences – most Egyptian weddings are dry occasions, dominated by a DJ who, despite being perhaps 25, is conveniently deaf to any requests to turn down the volume and the reverb, and there are no speeches. The paperwork has been done earlier, so there’s no officialdom, thought there was a point when the bride and groom changed each others’ rings from the right hand to the left.

The similarities include the big white dress and there’s also the big white cake. There’s also the faintly rugbyesque scrum for the bride’s bouquet (taken out neatly by a girl I thought was married) and a bevy of pretty little girls in baby versions of a wedding gown. They chose not to have a bellydancer (I was ok with that, see earlier posts of plumpy Russian strawberry blondes in pink body stockings).

Just before it was cut, I drifted over to take a look at the cake, to find the three-tiered affair rising UP THROUGH THE TABLE in a puff of smoke, like a genie emerging from the bottle.

Nobody else seemed to notice… Samira and Mokhtar glided over to cut the cake, feeding each other mouthfuls of the creamy affair that would later feature on the dessert buffet, and at midnight, disappeared to their penthouse room overlooking Cairo before travelling to the seaside resort town of Hurghada for a week-long honeymoon.

Mabrook (congratulations), Mokhtar and Samira.