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Fears of the potentially fatal disease and observance of related health precautions, including a ban on gatherings and closure of wedding halls, have prompted small-scale parties. The drastic change in wedding arrangements has sharply reduced the bill. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: A wedding ceremony in Oman would cost up to 10,000 Omani rials. That was in the pre-coronavirus times. Not anymore.

Fears of the potentially fatal disease and observance of related health precautions, including a ban on gatherings and closure of wedding halls, have prompted small-scale parties. The drastic change in wedding arrangements has sharply reduced the bill, according to some Omanis.

“Wedding rituals were conducted quietly and comfortably,” said Khalfan Al Zaidi, who attended a recent wedding. “All precautions were taken and physical distancing among the attendees from the families of the groom and the bride was observed,” he told Omani newspaper Al Shabiba. He explained that a small wedding ceremony was held in the groom’s house.

“Everything ran smoothly. All traditional wedding rituals took place without a change except the number of the attendees,” added Al Zaidi, a native of the state of Nizwa, about 140 kilometres from Muscat.

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the marriage contract in Oman would be conducted at the village’s council or inside the local council in the presence of a large crowd of relatives and friends. “But under the current circumstances, the number of those attending is limited to the family. A positive effect of this change is that it reduces the high costs that the groom would bear. Now, the cost will not exceed OMR100,” Al Zaidi said.

A recently married Omani agrees. “I have recently married an Omani girl. Attendance was limited to the family of the bride and my family. The number did not exceed eight altogether,' said the man who preferred to talk on anonymity.

"The wedding party ran smoothly and quietly and did not cost more than 100 rials, covering expenses of food, local sweets and fruits served to guests as part of our traditions."

The man has a precious piece of advice for young Omanis. “I advise those who can’t afford costs of marriage to marry now at a low cost without having to hold a big wedding ceremony with a large crowd."