All About the Zaffa

Carrara performing belly dance for a zaffe in Orlando
Carrara Nour (belly dancer in Orlando) performs a zaffa alongside DJ Khalil and his team at an Iraqi/Palestinian wedding at the Wyndham Grande Orlando. Photo by Corner House Photography.

Wedding Zaffa Dancers in Orlando

When it comes to wedding entertainment, I’ve noticed two hot emerging trends:

1. Bigger is better! Dance ensembles are a hot ticket item right now.
2. Couples are embracing their cultural roots with authentic entertainment.

It comes as no surprise that the zaffa, a traditional Arab wedding entrance, is making a big comeback!

So What is a Zaffa, Anyway?

While every Middle Eastern country puts its own unique spin on the zaffa (more on that later), it is a traditional wedding procession leading the newlyweds and the entire wedding party to the reception hall, usually starting outside the venue or in a hotel lobby. (Warning: You will turn some heads if you do a zaffa in a crowded hotel on I-Drive!) The newlyweds are typically escorted in by a belly dancer, a troupe of male dabke performers, drummers, or any combination of the above. The dancer/s parade the newlyweds through the room while all the guests cheer them on. More often than not, the zaffa typically culminates in everybody joining the newlyweds on the dance floor for several minutes until the procession wraps up and the newlyweds are seated at their sweetheart table. Often, once the newlyweds are seated, I will segue immediately into a full belly dance show (or two) and keep the party moving!

A good zaffa is like a mini-parade, and can even get a little rowdy – especially if you add some drums. I can think of no better way to make sure all eyes are on you for your grand wedding entrance!

Different Styles of Zaffa 

Most Middle Eastern countries have their own special style of wedding entrance. The Zaffa is usually performed dabke-style at Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian weddings, often with male folk dancers and drummers accompanying the belly dancer. Egyptians also love their drums, and occasionally request an old-school zaffa with the belly dancer balancing a lit candelabra on her head to “light the way” for the newlyweds. (This style is a little less common these days, yet I find it elegant, classy, and just dripping with vintage belly dance appeal).

There are countless other variations upon the zaffa, and if you prefer to take creative liberties, the sky’s the limit. (One of my recent grooms was a huge Orlando Magic fan and ran through a banner before the bride made her “Arabized” entrance!) You also don’t have to be Middle Eastern for an Orlando belly dancer like myself to dance you into the room on your wedding day!

Get this Look At Your Wedding!

Are you interested in booking a zaffa for your wedding? I’ve got you covered! We can go as big or as small as you’d like, since I have some great partnerships with Arabic DJ’s, dabke dancers, drummers, and belly dancers in Orlando. Head over to my Booking page for show information, and check out my Weddings page for more inspiration.

In the mean time, here are two clips from two very different zaffe I’ve performed.

Here is a simple (yet totally authentic) Lebanese-style zaffa with my boy DJ Khalil on drums:

Talk about interesting fusions….here is an old-school Egyptian-style entrance I performed with Orlando belly dancers Vanja and Aisha at a Moroccan-themed Indian wedding:

Carrara Nour Professional Belly Dancer and Friends from Elegant Entertainment Orlando DJ on Vimeo.

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