In a historic move, the first mass wedding including non-Emiratis will be taking place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The wedding will see ten couples tying the knot with the expenses being sponsored by the General Women’s Union (GWU). Mass weddings are historically an Emirati-only affair that encouraged Emiratis to get married without having to worry about the huge cost involved.
The wedding is taking place under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak is fondly dubbed the “Mother of the UAE” and is heavily involved in benefiting women’s causes and family life in the UAE in her roles as Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and the President of the General Women’s Union.
In an official statement, Noura Suwaidi, the director general of the GWU, said that the mass wedding was in line with Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s vision of ensuring the happiness of Emiratis and residents. “Collective weddings aim at meeting the nation’s priorities, which are represented in a cohesive society by maintaining tolerance and unity among community members.”
Wednesday’s event will take place in the coastal town of Al Mirfa and will also the first time that a mass wedding will comprise two ceremonies, with brides and grooms each due to have their own event on the same day. Emirati weddings were traditionally segregated and only involved a ceremony for the grooms. Over 800 people are expected to attend the women’s event alone, with the GWU footing the bill for refreshments and entertainment.