Some couples leave their wedding reception in a stretch limo. Others may opt for a more traditional horse-drawn carriage. Nadia Hussain and Salem Al Muraikhi chose something rather different — and caused a social media sensation in the process.
The newly-weds, who are members of the Emirates Riders biking community, climbed aboard Harley-Davidson motorcycles festooned with flowers and netting. They roared off from Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi with more than 60 bikers joining them in their celebration.
Read more from our blog: Abu Dhabi couple celebrate biker wedding
Nadia, 29, astride a Sportster Forty-Eight, was in an all-white outfit including a hijab, wedges and trousers under a tulle skirt, bedazzled gloves and an elaborate beaded jacket with spiked epaulettes. Salem, 32, was slightly less dramatic in wearing a neck scarf and black T-shirt with a skull motif. Road-safety campaigners will be pleased that the bride and groom wore helmets.
“My husband and I love riding our bikes, and so after we had our traditional wedding on Thursday with family and friends, we had this second wedding with our biker friends,” says Nadia. “We wanted to do something different.”
The couple invited the Jordanian website AmmanAlyoum to film the wedding, and video posted on YouTube on Sunday had been viewed about 800,000 times by yesterday. Not all the comments are positive, but the couple are unapologetic.
“I am fully covered, from head to toe, and I have nothing to apologise for,” Nadia says. “There were other women bikers with us, but they only picked on me because I was wearing a hijab.”
Salem agrees. “How did you expect my wife to ride the bike? In a long dress or thoub? That is not possible,” he says.
Such has been the internet attention that the couple have yet to manage to go on their honeymoon.
“Social media is a sword with two sharp edges,” Salem says. “It can make you famous and infamous at the same time.”
In the video, the couple celebrate with dozens of bikers from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Jordan, Oman, Germany, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. They later lead them on a procession down Sheikh Zayed Road.
Nadia, who has been riding for four years to her husband’s two, says she has always dreamt about having a special — and very different — wedding.
“We had a lot of obstacles and difficulties to make it through this day, but thanks to God I did achieve my goal and had a successful biker wedding,” she says.
“I’m so happy that I’m the first who did a biker wedding, and I want to thank my husband who supported me all the way.”
The couple now want to be left alone.
“People will eventually lose interest and move on to the next viral video and forget about us,” Salem says. “So we just have to be patient and not let this ruin our special time.”
*With files from Fadwa Torbey