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COVID-19 cuts wedding expenses

1 Sep 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

With restrictions on wedding functions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in effect, youths in Oman are tying the knot in small and low-profile ceremonies shelling out a fraction of what these cost in ordinary circumstances. 

Wedding ceremonies in Oman cost up to RO10,000 in pre-COVID-19 times.

In line with the existing precautionary measures, including restrictions on social gatherings and the closure of wedding halls, many young men are now happy to have small events. 

“COVID-19 has changed our way of life and to some extent, it is good because wedding expenses are now less or non-existent. This happens when the bride and her family accept to get married without wedding ceremonies,” said Saif al Obaidani from Seeb who is soon getting married.

He had planned to get married in March but postponed due to the pandemic. 

“I have told my parents that I can’t put off the ceremony any further just so we can host a wedding party. Now I have decided to get married without a wedding party and my wife is happy with that. I am glad she is an understanding woman. So, I’m getting married this month,” Obaidani said.

By doing so, Obaidani will save at least RO5,000 just from the wedding party. 

“I had saved the amount for my big day because both my parents and her parents wanted to have a party. I could not argue but the restrictions were a blessing in disguise. This means I will save that money for my married life,” he said.

Another recently engaged Omani youth Omar Abdullah from Muscat agrees that wedding costs are generally high and a burden to the groom. 

“I recently got engaged and we are preparing for a new life. I have told my fiancée not to wait for wedding halls to reopen and just get married without a big ceremony. But she insists on waiting. I am sure she will soon be convinced. In fact, I had already booked a wedding hall and had paid RO800 months ago but thank God I got my money back,” he said.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, weddings in Oman were conducted with a large number of relatives and friends in attendance. 

However, under the current circumstances, the number of those attending is limited to the immediate family.

During the engagement, attendance is limited to the family of the bride. “The number did not exceed seven altogether. It was a simple ceremony at her home and that’s it. I am hoping for the same during the wedding because the cost of hosting people, serving food, hall decorations and other costs would add up to upwards of RO5,000,” Abdullah said.

According to those who got married during the COVID-19 pandemic, they made considerable savings. Before COVID-19, weddings and marriage contracts cost up to RO10,000 but now the average cost of an Omani wedding has dropped to just RO200 or less.

“Before the virus crisis, Omani men held marriages attended by a large number of family members, friends and neighbours. But attendance now is limited to only family members and done at home. For women, wedding halls in hotels were the norm which cost a lot of money. I am lucky I was spared of all those expenses,” Salim al Naamani, who got married recently, said.

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