15 February, 2008

Wedding in style

Dubai: Hamad Mohammad and Elyazia Al Mansoori are getting married on March 21.

While Hamad and his family are busy running around booking the ballroom, arranging the decorations, food and entertainment, Elyazia must not do anything other than shop and groom herself.

"I saw my future bride at an engagement party and before then, I wasn't really thinking of getting married. It wasn't planned; I just saw her and decided that I wanted to marry her," said Mohammad.

According to protocol, the future groom's mother has to speak to his beloved's mother to test the waters.

"I told my mother I wanted to marry Elyazia. Luckily she agreed. She spoke to Elyazia's mother and they arranged for the men of both families to meet." (...)

The wedding:

(...) My dress costs Dh40,000. I'm also buying creams, nightgowns, jalabiyas, abayas, bags and shoes."

A bride cannot take anything from her family's house and so has to have a new set of clothes and accessories.

Dh70,000 grant is not sufficient, Emiratis say.

Some people may think it is insane that the UAE gives nationals Dh70,000 to get married, but after they read how expensive it is to get married, they will change their mind.

The decision to establish the Fund came in 1992 by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to encourage and help nationals get married.

Although many nationals are grateful that such a fund exists, after the increase in prices and living expenses in the UAE, some nationals agree that Dh70,000 is not enough. (...)

Full article referenced to above here


Dubai Entrepreneur said...

One can't help but think of the Emirati culture itself and this obsession with excess. A wedding party should NOT cost AED 400k unless you can afford it. This is ridiculous.

So, if you are in a culture that expects the government to pay for your ultra-luxury party that is completely unnecessary and frowned upon in Islamic culture.. why do you think anyone from the outside would care?

The Egyptians have a saying, extend your feet to the limit of your blanket (poor translation, but you get it).

When I got married, it cost me under AED 1,000. I was broke and in debt. We didn't have a party. We didn't buy things we don't need. We just got married. So, excuse me if I don't feel sympathy for this.

Anonymous said...

Since consumerism & materialism have taken firm root in the society, I don't think it will still be enough even if they increased the grant to 700 K.

This obsession with being number one in every field is even reflected in the divorce rate in the UAE. At 46% percent, it is highest in the Gulf after Kuwait's 38%, something not worth being proud of. If this is not a social catastrophe, I don't know what else is?

Kyle said...

Well, I don’t blame the excesses on the people here. It’s the Government and their handouts, one of them being this Marriage Fund, which prompts extravagance. Sooner or later, they’re going to run out of patience when they see more and more of these sponsored bonds hitting the rocks.

In this part of the world, I’ve seen getting married can really turn into a showpiece to prove the size of your wallet especially when it comes down to extravagant extremes. I doubt if these people even realize that getting married is a bond between a man and a woman for good times or worse.

Now, even if I had 70K at my disposal for getting married, I’d spend it on my wife by getting her a Bvlgari necklace – instead of a one-time-wear-show-off dress and feed 200 freeloaders.

B.D. said...

if I had 70K at my disposal for getting married, I’d spend it on my wife by getting her a Bvlgari necklace – instead of a one-time-wear-show-off dress and feed 200 freeloaders

Are you kidding! This is an even grosser act of petty indulgence. If you have to prove your love by expensive gifts, give your wife the gift of a Master's degree education.

Kyle said...


My wife already has a Masters, with a job to match. The Bvlgari reference was a wishful statement of extravagance.

As for that 70K that incited this backlash, and in line with your theory, I'd stash it away to grow, to make best use of it for our kids education.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

A bride cannot take anything from her family's house
So what she does to her stuff, passes them to her sisters or just dump them away?

B.D. I think each one of us has got his own taste of indulgence.

ali900 said...

i think its WAY to excessive. I'm thinking to get married... well (ISH) but 70k FOR a wedding is WAY to excessive. I mean is the wedding for show or for the relation?

Do you want it to be pompous and full of pride? if you want to make a pompous and a huge wedding - make SURE you can afford it!

Id love to link this to a previous article of Emirati women turning into spinters so quickly... If your "truly" in love and your family agrees, just keep a SIMPLE wedding and keep it withing the budget.

Dont need to go buy wedding dresses made out of gold and rhinestone and neck lesses made out of an unimaginable and unaffordable stone.

The worlds becoming more expensive as many articles say, so become COST EFFECTIVE!

Anonymous said...
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i*maginate said...

Nothing new for me to add.

Thing is, the "Marriage Fund" (it's called Zawaj in Arabic) is actually low on funds. The 70k is meant for couples who actually need it. When the late Shaikh Zayed started this fund, he met with tribal heads all over Abu Dhabi to negotiate a limit on dowries, to encourage marriage amongst UAE nationals and provide this fund as an incentive for this.

I can't recall whether the 70k is a loan or a grant...

The culture of extravagance when one can't afford one's expenditure and takes loans as a result is a reflection of the shallowness of a culture. Fast cars, wedding dresses costing Dhs. 40 k when one can't afford it? Hmm...

FYI a wedding for 100 people with the full works at a Dubai 5* hotel, (5 course meal, DJ, music, entertainment, wedding cake, cocktail reception, venue hire) costs approx. Dhs. 100,000. 70k should therefore be sufficient for a couple who otherwise couldn't afford a 100k wedding with the full works.

Kyle, like ur style - Bulgari vs. 200 freeloaders ;-)

samuraisam said...

The number of guests at some Arabic weddings is amazing; (we're talking 1000+ guests).
The number of guests at local weddings (I've been to 3-4) in comparison to western weddings (I've been to 6+) is astounding.
AFAIK it's quite important in local society for families to show up at the wedding and pay respects to the groom (perhaps to show that they approve of the wedding?)

I'm sure a lot of the cost lies in the number of guests.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

b.d., you can get a Masters degree fr 70k only? Is that handed out in Choitram's? :)

A degree does not have a good ROI. I think diamonds (and now gold) hold their value far better.

So unless you're doing it for the social status (priceless), a Masters degree hardly guarantees that the amount you're spending will come back any time soon.

Having said that, an MBA is next for me on my agenda :)

Proud Emirati said...

What a waste of money and that is only for the mothers to be satisfied

ColOman said...

It is crazy but this is our society..... You people will never understand us.... there is a lot of pressure do it...

Westerners live an individualistic life; while we live a collective one.... this is one of the prices we have to pay for that....

It’s not right but you can’t escape such things

moviemania said...

Coloman is right, it's ingrained into our culture. I know my parents would expect nothing less of my own wedding, even if my future-husband and I both want a more simple wedding. It wouldn't be accepted and the new couple would probably be outcasted or looked down upon.

Oh and don't get me started on how shamed the bride's family would be. *exasperated sigh*

It should change though, I hope Emiratis don't expect this type of extravagance to go on forever. It's just embarrassing to blow so much money on things like this. The brides don't even enjoy it that much because it's a lot of stress and work!

i*maginate said...

proud emirati, your pride evidently gets the better of you at times. What a sexist and ignorant comment. It takes two to tango - if the culture is to spend excessively on weddings, the groom & his family have a say on the expenditure too!

Unlike mr-i'm-just-a-junior-clerk-but-i-drive-a-mercedes-on-a-400k-loan, when a bride more likely than not doesn't have a say in the husband's expenditures in married life!

Proud Emirati said...

i*maginate, I guess u don't know what ur talking about then. Fact is that it is usually the mothers who insist on those silly stuff to show off to others. They are the ones who are involved in the wedding from A to Z.

I guess we should blame the Husbands for not stopping their wives?

Since you are a moral guy/girl? I think u should target Dubai Entrepreneur for generalizing about us Emiratis.

moviemania said...

proud emirati is right though, it is mostly the mothers (and mothers in law) who insist the wedding be extravagant.

they also bore it into the girl's head from day 1 that she has to have the most elaborate wedding.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Renting a good party hall (for 300+ people) in Ryiadh (where I used to live) can be for 1000 dh/day max.
Getting a good caterer for the night: 10,000 dh.

Yet most of the Saudi weddings (especially first-time weddings!) are quite extravagant. (100k+)

I don't think the problem lies in the number of guest; it is as stated above: the insistence of mothers on having everything perfect. You know, things like social conformity and keeping up with the Joneses….etc...

ColOman said...

Try 800 to 1200 guests

BuJ said...

lol i*.. interesting that you mention this :)

i*maginate said...

dubai jazz, I guess as per your argument blaming everything on the women, the groom is obviously a mummy's boy ;-)

buj, yeah...it's about time, innit! lol

I will make sure my wedding will cost no more than Dhs. 2. If my hubby doesn't like that, he can LEAVE! lol

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Ya3ni wallah 7ayarto sama al groom. If he agrees with his mom then he's a 'mummy boy' pussy. If he doesn't; then he's a sexist bastard…
Why do you have to make his life so miserable? ;-)

i*maginate said...

Groom deserves equal credit, at least, ya dubai jazz...

If they can't deal with their lives, they can't deal with their wives, & vice versa. End of story. :)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Totally agree.
Have a nice weekend : )

Emirati said...

I am definetly not one for these extravagant types of weddings. But here is an interesting fact. You know that in the UK and the US they spend to the tune of 250,000 dirhams on each wedding ?

This is not a cultural thing. This is a 'woman thing' where girls who feel inadequate want to be some kind of princess for one day and have a special day to just show off.

You get a small girl, you infuse all of this barbie princess crap into her head, all of this crap about how she should have a storybook wedding, and this is what you get. My cousins, my friends, they all had to get their parents to bail them out of the enormous wedding loans they took.

And for who ? for some fat socialite who is going to talk shit about you if you dont do exactly what society dictates ? You shouldnt even care what other people think. It doesnt matter anymore !! We live in a country of 5 million people, we dont live in encampments or villages.

I equate the concept of a these large grandoise weddings more to prostitution.

"Get one cup of love, a pitcher of money, a barrel of pride and all youll be getting is a ton of poison."


Grow a pair, you shouldnt give a crap what our society thinks. You think things will stay this way for another 10 years ? Go long term. Put the money in the bank.

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