Which is where the Marriage Fund comes in. Its main function is to give one-off gifts of £12,000 to help bridegrooms pay for their weddings. But there's a catch. The bride must be an Emirati girl, not a foreigner. Each groom must have a fertility check and an AIDS test. So far -- since 1992, the Fund has helped to marry off 44,000 couples.From Secret Dubai Diary's blog:
UAE mass marriages are always a heartwarming story, given the ludicrous and vast amounts of debt so many other young Emiratis get themselves into over their weddings:
Abu Dhabi: Five hundred young Emiratis, from all seven emirates, will tie the knot in a mass wedding dubbed the "Emirates wedding", on Friday, at the Dubai World Trade Centre's Za'abeel ballroom.
The wedding, which is being funded personally by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, is being celebrated on the occasion of the second anniversary of Shaikh Mohammad's accession as Ruler of Dubai.
If only there could be a general mindshift to view overblown nuptials as tacky and profligate rather than socially desirable, then there might be more young couples embarking on matrimony unblighted by huge debts:
"The Institute for International Research, a UAE think-tank, puts the average cost of a wedding ceremony in the UAE at Dh300,000 – 50 times the salary of an entry-level government employee in Dubai."
So good luck to these five hundred sensible young people, and may their marriages be long and happy.