Weddings in the UAE: Traditions And Peculiarities

The United Arab Emirates is a fairy tale in reality, an oasis among endless sands and a dream of many tourists. But it’s curious how weddings go there. Below, we will discuss this and other interesting facts about marriage in the Emirates.

Weddings in the UAE are exciting and unusual for us—even the most modern and luxurious ceremonies retain old, unique traditions.


In the Emirates, women live separately from men, so, unsurprisingly, parents choose a soul mate for their children. The decision about marriage is made by the father, who is the head of the family.

The bride is forbidden to see the groom before the wedding, primarily to communicate with him. She can only know something about him and only from his closest relatives.

Since up to 9 years old boys and girls can still play together, they often draw knowledge from childhood memories.

Wedding preparations

After a successful engagement, the servants, dressed in holiday clothes, go to the homes of relatives and friends, treating them to sweets and dishes while wedding invitations are handed out.

Almost every 13th family in the UAE is a millionaire, so local weddings cost an average of $80 to $100,000.

Guest invitation

The scale and number of guests at the Arab wedding are awe-inspiring. Even for the most modest celebration in the circle of relatives and friends, up to eight hundred people are invited, not to mention the weddings of Arab sheikhs.

The number of guests often reaches several thousand. Family and friendships are highly honoured in the UAE. They believe that the scale and grandeur of the event are directly related to the future happiness of the newlyweds.


Pre-wedding period

The last week before the wedding, the girl spends in her secluded room, wearing modest clothes. The Arabs believe that by the holiday, it will become even more beautiful. As a rule, a wedding dress is sewn to individual order by eminent fashion designers who turn this outfit into a real work of art.

In addition, today, in the UAE, there are many different beauty salons for women, SPA centres like, massage rooms, etc., that can help her look like an actual princess.

The groom, in turn, spends the last three days with a close circle of family and friends.

During this period, a dowry (which remains her personal property) is collected for the bride, and the groom, like all his relatives, showers his future wife with gifts, such as jewelry with precious stones, various fabrics, hats, silk scarves, and many others.

Another tradition is that a wedding ring is worn on a girl’s finger by a close relative of the groom.

The marriage is considered valid only after the wedding ceremony has taken place. It happens that a marriage contract is also signed before this.

Ransom of the bride

Many countries in the Western world have wholly abandoned this tradition or made it part of the holiday entertainment program. But the UAE still honours this ancient tradition – the groom’s side pays the bride’s family a ransom to compensate for the loss of labour, as has been done historically. 

The amount can reach tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A moment of celebration

The peculiarity of the wedding feast in the Emirates is as follows – in fact, these are two separate celebrations, separately for the bride and groom. According to Muslim customs, during a wedding feast, the couple and all the guests are separated, and there can be two celebrations in separate halls. 

Alcohol is not served at Muslim weddings, but the celebration does not become dull. On the contrary, this takes place in a bright and festive atmosphere.

Since women celebrate the celebration separately, they may not cover their heads with a headscarf, and with dancing and fun, the girls have a positive rest. In the middle of the hall is a bride who looks like a royal throne.

At the end of the evening, the groom, along with his father and a witness, goes to the women’s hall. The ladies are notified of this, so they have time to cover their heads. Further, after the festivities, the groom takes the bride to him.

The wedding night

Sex before marriage in the UAE is strictly prohibited and severely punished. Purity and innocence are respected in this country. That is why the first wedding night for the Arabs is a very sacred and significant event. 

However, since the bride and groom may not know each other before the wedding, they can dispose of this time at their discretion. For example, chat to get to know each other better.


A wedding in the Emirates is a superb event that once again confirms the generosity and complacency of the Arab people. We can firmly say that the Arabs do not spare money for this bright family holiday because for the family arranging this celebration, a gorgeous wedding is a sign of wealth and prosperity. Even if you happen to find yourself at such an event, you will be greeted as the closest person and cordially offered to share the festive feast.