I have published a post recently about a multi cultural wedding that I've attended with my family in Dubai. So, I thought of giving you an idea about weddings in the UAE.
• Arranged marriages have been slowly declining in the UAE. Individuals now have a greater chance to choose whom they want to marry.
• An Emirati man receives $ 19.000 from the MARRIAGE FUND if he marries a national.
• Many Emiratis are trending towards single family homes instead of with an extended family, which is still encouraged by many traditional families. But, when a young man gets married, he usually spends the first years of his marriage life at his parent’s house.
In 1992, under the directives of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a Marriage Fund has been set up in order to limit over-spending on weddings and celebrations.
The fund aims to encourage UAE men to marry UAE women, assisting in covering the expenses of both the wedding and the setting-up of a family, increasing the birth rate, and discouraging men from marrying foreigners.
The Fund provides around Dhs 70,000 (around $ 19,000 or 14,000 EUR) depending on certain criteria to young UAE nationals. In tandem with this, the government has launched a campaign aimed at persuading UAE fathers to accept lower dowries (the money paid by a groom to his bride). It has also built special wedding halls where receptions can take place without incurring the expenses associated with expensive hotel receptions.
In order to curb soaring wedding expenses which burden the youth, the UAE’s Cabinet, on the 29th of September, 1997 approved a letter from the Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister outlining a draft law defining dowries, under Islamic Law, at Dhs 20,000 (around $ 5000 or EUR 4000) and divorce compensation at Dhs 30,000 (around $ 8000 or EUR 6000) and wedding parties should not exceed one day.
As a tradition in the UAE, the setting of the wedding date marks the beginning of the bride’s preparation for her wedding.
Although the groom is also put through a series of preparations, the bride’s preparations are naturally more elaborate and time consuming.
Before the Wedding:
In preparation for her wedding, the bride is anointed with all sorts of traditional oils and perfumes from head to toe. Her body is rubbed with cleansing and conditioning oils and creams, the hands and feet are decorated with henna and the hair is washed with extracts of amber and jasmine. Of course nowadays saloons do everything for women to be so beautiful and glamorous.
Traditionally, the bride is not seen for forty days except for family members as she rests at home in preparation for her wedding day.
Fine pieces of jewelry, perfumes, silk materials, and other necessary items are presented to her by the groom and his family, from which she creates her elaborate trousseau called “Zehba”.
The festivities usually take about one week or at least three days before the wedding night.
During that week, traditional music, continuous singing, and dancing take place reflecting the joy shared by families of both bride and groom.
A few days before the wedding night is the henna night. On this night, the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna, which is a dark brown paste made from the henna plant. When left on the skin for some time, the henna leaves a dark red stain.
The henna night is a time for all the bride’s sisters, female family members, and girlfriends to get together, sing and dance. All female family members and guests also decorate their hands with henna. The henna is not used for decorative purposes only but it serves also as a hair and skin conditioner as well as a medicament for some wounds, when mixed with special ingredients.
The back-to-back feasts and celebrations involve both men and women who usually celebrate separately.
Despite of differences in the living standards with progress of time, the social culture is preserved and treated as a heritage that should not be ignored.
This is the night when the bride and the groom are OFFICIALY announced husband and wife and they go back home together after the party is over. The girl must preserve her virginity until this night or else she will dishonor her family and might even get divorced.
After the Wedding:
The next morning, family of the bride visit her (Usually the mother and the aunts). Later, the newly wed couple spend their honeymoon together in a place that they choose together.
Honeymoons can be spent inside the country or anywhere across the big world.
** A Bride from the past ** :
** A Bride Nowadays ** :
** The Groom ** :