A week immersed in Jordan was epic but the real reason for visiting the country was to celebrate the matrimony of Dalila and Andrea, two of Tommaso’s childhood friends.
While Dalila and Andrea both grew up in Rome and went to the same school as Tommaso, Dalila is half Jordanian and half Palestinian and wanted everyone to experience her culture therefore the destination wedding. We arrived late on a Wednesday night in Amman, the capital of Jordan where we stayed at the W Hotel. Since we were leaving for the desert the following morning, we didn’t explore the city at all on our first day but we were returning back to the capital at the end of the trip.
That night there was a welcome party at the rooftop bar where we got to mingle with other guests of the wedding. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures from this night.
The following day we took a four hour bus to Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, a desert landscape and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fun fact: parts of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker were filmed here!
We stayed at Zeina Desert Lodge where accommodations could be comparable to “glamping”.
Before the nighttime festivities, they had planned a Jeep tour through the desert which was pretty cool to see the red sandy terrain and various rock formations.
That night was “The Future Is On Mars” pre-wedding party where they encouraged guests to dress up in futuristic silver clothing. Of course everyone else followed the dress code recommendations but Tommaso had to be different and ordered an inflatable alien costume. Needless to say, he was the only one wearing such a ridiculous costume but people did get a kick out of it. I also bedazzled my eyes with some fun face jewels!
One of the highlights of Jordan was easily their cuisine. Every meal we had, typically a buffet, was filled with enticing breads, salads, spreads and dips, rice, vegetables, and meat and seafood dishes. Their cuisine is vibrant with lots of vegetables and various meats and you best believe I tried every dish.
After a delicious dinner, people were up late into the wee hours of the morning partying but I headed back to my room a little after midnight (hard to believe some people were up until sunrise).
The next day was a jam packed day with another long bus ride but this time to one of the new 7 wonders of the world, Petra. Petra is a historical and archaeological city dating back over 2,000 years where it was half built and half carved into the rocks and is surrounded by mountains with passages and gorges.
There are several sites to see within the city but most notable is the Treasury known as Al Khazna. The structure is carved out of sandstone with intricate details and the purpose of the structure is unclear as some archaeologists believe it was a temple while others thought it could be a place to store documents. During the most recent excavation, an unearthed graveyard was found beneath.
We spent the rest of the afternoon seeing the other sites such as the Theater and Colonnaded Street. It’s hard to imagine an entire bustling city was here thousands of years ago!
After a long day in the sun exploring Petra, we had yet again another long bus ride to the Dead Sea where we would be staying at Mövenpick Resort for a few nights. We arrived at the hotel quite late and went straight to bed as the following day was the big day!
Since the wedding ceremony wasn’t until late afternoon, we spent the morning getting a traditional hammam treatment at the spa where they scrub your entire body and all the dead skin comes off. So satisfying. Afterwards we walked the grounds of the hotel as the property was pretty large with multiple pools. Also the view of the Dead Sea from the hotel was stunning.
I pretty much spent the entire afternoon getting ready and took my time doing my hair and makeup. Tommaso left a few hours before the ceremony to go to the groom’s suite as he was one of the groomsmen and they all got ready together.
I arrived at the ceremony venue 30 minutes before the start time and while it was late in the afternoon, it was still incredibly hot (over 90°). I didn’t take many photos and no videos during the ceremony as I wanted to be fully present during the actual speaking portion of the ceremony. Both Dalila and Andrea’s vows were truly heartfelt and special and it’s crazy to think that they’ve known each other for over 20 years and are high school sweethearts, something that’s very rare these days.
Once the ceremony was over, we had some time to kill before heading over to the reception area. The perfect time to take some pictures!
The reception area was so beautiful with large communal tables with bouquets of flowers and chandeliers with a view of the Dead Sea.
For dinner, it was another buffet but it was hands down the best wedding buffet I’ve ever had as Jordanian food is so flavorful and colorful and the dishes are meant to serve a lot of people easily. I didn’t get a picture of the buffet but there was so much food. From an entire salad station with cold appetizers with various dips, to a plethora of breads, flatbreads, and baked goods, and of course numerous meat and seafood dishes with rice. I wish I had more of an appetite as I only got one plate of food but everything was scrumptious.
The rest of the night was filled with lots of dancing and the typical wedding shenanigans with speeches, the bouquet toss, and cake cutting.
Sadly I didn’t see many people enjoying the dessert table (except me) as they were either too full from dinner or focused on partying and drinking.
Tommaso and I were both pretty exhausted and left the wedding a little past midnight but others stayed for a few more hours (didn’t seem like there was a curfew).
The next day we were heading back to Amman in the afternoon but had the entire morning to relax. I finally walked down to the Dead Sea and it was quite a wild experience floating in the water due to its high salt content. Also if you had any cuts on your body, the salt would instantly make it sting.
The final wedding event was a dinner back in Amman at Dalila’s parent’s house for a low-key dinner. I also didn’t take many photos from this night as I was just tired from multiple busy days.
I was excited to try a traditional Jordanian dish called mansaf where slow cooked lamb is served with rice and fermented yogurt. It was really tasty and so were all the other dishes as well as dessert.
The last day was spent finally exploring the city of Amman! First stop was the open air markets with tons of shops.
After walking through the markets, we went to the Roman Theatre, a 6,000 seat 2nd century theatre from the Roman period. The walk up to the top of the theatre was a good little workout and got my heart rate up for sure.
After the theatre we headed to the Citadel where there are ruins from various periods of time from a Roman temple, a Byzantine church, and an Umayyad palace.
Our final night in Jordan was spent at Alee, a fantastic modern Levantine restaurant and a great meal to finish our trip.
Neither of us would have ever visited Jordan on our own so the fact that we got to explore a new country and their culture was a wonderful experience especially for a special occasion.