x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Marriage Fund gives couples a clean financial start

To ease some of the costs associated with weddings, the UAE Marriage Fund routinely organises group weddings for Emirati nationals, with eight or so held every year. While those parties have traditionally been arranged for bridegrooms only, the organisation is also planning to hold celebrations for women in the near future, said Dr Salem al Tunaiji, the fund's grant department director. Individual weddings can cost in the range of Dh200,000 (US$54,450), he said.

"The main idea is, it is very costly to cover all things for a [single] wedding, so we make one event for many people," he said. "We want also to change that culture and bring it [the cost] down a bit." Dr Maitha al Shamsi, the Minister of State and the chairwoman of the Marriage Fund, last week raised the cost issue, urging couples to curb what she called unacceptable spending on weddings. "The fund organises group weddings every year in co-operation with the private sector in a bid to alleviate the wedding costs for young couples ... so they could start a happy and debt-free life," she said.

The Union Co-operative Society covered all the costs for the most recent group wedding, including the reception, musicians and a gift for the grooms. "The Government gives a lot, so should private companies," said Ibrahim al Bahar, the Union Co-op deputy general manager. "We feel even more happy than these grooms. We are very proud to organise this event." @Email:zconstantine@thenational.ae