Pakistani weddings
Dressed in bridal finery. Picture used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: iStock

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has launched a new programme called the Medeem Model for Women’s Weddings to encourage couples to have more affordable weddings that are based on Emirati traditions.

The model, promoted by the Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi (DCD), is part of Medeem, an initiative launched in April as part of the Abu Dhabi Family Wellbeing Strategy.

The model places emphasis on the importance of family and encourages financial responsibility. It seeks to guide the wedding sector towards ceremonies that avoid extravagance and are in-line with the customs and traditions of the UAE, “while simultaneously embodying modern elegance and beauty”.

Considering the needs of the younger generation and inspired by authentic Emirati values of “moderation and humility”, the model aims to create stable marriages and cohesive families.

Who can benefit from the model?

Prospective couples hoping to benefit from the Medeem Model must both be UAE nationals, with the husband being a citizen or resident of Abu Dhabi. Both spouses must also complete the premarital counselling offered by the soon-to-launch Medeem Centre for Family Flourishing.

“The Medeem Model... avoids exaggeration that can lead to great financial burdens and potentially impact a couple’s happiness and future stability,” said Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, chairman of DCD.

“The new model... directs the community towards the idea of holding elegant and authentic wedding parties that blend generosity, moderation, and humility, and strike the perfect balance between authenticity and modernity.”

Wedding packages

Dr Laila Al Hyas, executive director of the Community Development Sector, DCD, said the model lets couples choose from flexible Medeem packages with varying costs and guest sizes. They can hold the wedding at home, in Medeem wedding halls, or government venues, and pick a date online, she said.

The afternoon ceremony follows Emirati traditions: lasting three hours, featuring Fuala refreshments complete with Emirati snacks and Arabic coffee and Majlis seating for guests. It even allows single or joint weddings with other families on consecutive days. All packages include furniture, decor, and AV equipment, Dr Al Hyas said.

Need change in approach

“Today’s youth are very aware that documenting and treasuring life’s pivotal moments is far more important than dazzling guests and exaggerated spending. Therefore, we call on parents to change their approach to weddings and move away from the idea that the size and cost of a wedding is a reflection of social status.

“The UAE’s wise leadership are ideal role models in this regard. For instance, the mass wedding of the honourable Al Nahyan family witnessed the holding of a group women’s wedding during the afternoon. Created in-line with authentic Emirati customs and traditions, and featuring traditional Emirati Fuala for refreshments, the family called on those who are about to get married to follow this model and contribute to its adoption, to support the formation of safe and stable families.”

Emphasising Medeem’s overarching mission to embody the values and principles of UAE heritage, the model encourages brides-to-be and couples to incorporate elements of authentic Emirati costumes into their wedding and revive Emirati customs and traditions that have been inherited from their parents and grandparents.