'UAE is home': Why more expats are choosing to get married in the emirates

Dubai has also been repeatedly making it to the top of ‘best places to get married in’ lists


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 25 Jul 2022, 2:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jul 2022, 7:33 PM

The UAE is becoming an increasingly popular choice as a wedding destination.

Ease of travel, hassle-free ability to arrange requirements, and availability of a wide variety of options are just some of the reasons why many expats are choosing to get married in the UAE itself.

Traditionally, they would choose to go back to their home countries to get married in the presence of their friends and extended family members, but that is changing fast.

The wedding market in the country has been growing leaps and bounds, since the country dealt with Covid-19 pandemic.

Dubai has also been repeatedly making it to the top of ‘best places to get married in’ lists all over the world. Recently, British wedding inspiration website, Strictly Weddings, ranked the city as the best place to get married in in terms of weather.

Why do people get married here?

For South African Sadaf Mayet, it was the country's central location that prompted her to have her wedding here. “My husband Haaris is from UK,” she said. “We have family scattered all over the world. Dubai was the one place where everyone could come together with minimal paperwork and issues. Also, I moved to Dubai 5 years ago. This is the place we call home, so the city is special to us as well.”

However, the couple who got married in April 2021, struggled to arrange everything as they tied the knot during a time when Covid restrictions were still in place all across the world. “At the time the rules kept changing,” she said.

“Till the very last week we were praying that the event wouldn’t get cancelled. It was extremely stressful for us. Our wedding party was limited to 70 people. We couldn’t do any tastings. However, on the day everything went seamlessly.”

Sadaf is now preparing to help her sister get married in December this year. “Her fiancé is from the US,” she said. “The rates in December are a bit steep but considering that Dubai is the most convenient place for everyone to come together, the wedding will be held here. For me, it has been easier to arrange everything as I have already been through the process once and done all my research. Thankfully, there are minimal Covid restrictions in place now. I am looking forward to making my sister’s big day special.”


Indian citizen Noushad Ahmed, who has been living in Dubai for the last 33 years, conducted his daughter’s wedding reception here in May 2022. He did not consider having the ceremony anywhere else but in Dubai.

“Both the groom’s family and my family have been long-term residents here,” he said. “My children grew up in Dubai and this is home for them. Moreover, the bride and groom both work here. A local wedding meant they didn’t have to take extended time off work. Some of our relatives flew in from Kuwait and India. From the boy’s side, a lot of family members flew in from Bahrain. It was a very convenient location for everyone.”

The ease of organizing everything is what impressed Noushad the most. “Everything in Dubai can be arranged over Whatsapp and that was very convenient,” he said. “I looked at several places, based on the menu requirements, number of people I wanted to invite and other factors. I finally found a good hotel which was ready to serve South Indian food like I wanted. The chef and manager were very accommodating. There was ample parking. We were also easily able to find a female photographer. Everyone is very responsive, responsible and professional here. If I look at every single detail, it might be that a wedding in India might have cost us less. However, I have the experience of organizing my sister’s wedding in India, and I can say for a fact that organizing my daughter’s was much easier and more stress-free. Simply for that peace of mind, I would pick Dubai any day.”

Filipino national Christian Ortega married his Italian bride Alice Casà in the UAE in June 2021. “Due to the Covid restrictions, we decided to get married in Dubai,” he said. “In Philippines, it would have been difficult to get our papers sorted because of our different nationalities and Italy was under strict Covid restrictions at the time of our wedding. Also, we both lived and worked here, and this is where we met and fell in love with each other. So naturally, we decided on getting married here.”

For Christian, it wasn’t the wedding he had dreamt of, but it was beautiful, nevertheless. “I wanted a big wedding with all my friends and family but of course Covid played spoilsport,” he said. “However, everyone who was dear to me was present at the ceremony we had at the Italian embassy. My wife’s father flew down to Dubai. Her mother didn’t come because she has a fear of flying. It was a small and sweet wedding, and we were very happy. That is what counts.”

Christian agrees that getting the paperwork sorted was a little complicated but nothing too difficult. “In a country that hosts more than 200 nationalities, obviously the legal paperwork is not going to be without its complexities,” he said. “However, with a little bit of research, it was easy to get through and we had everything sorted out within a few days.”

Wedding Checklist

  • Your budget and create a spreadsheet to keep track of finances
  • Set a date
  • Select a venue
  • Decide on a guest list
  • Send out a Save The Date email or invite ( at least 6-12 months for a destination wedding)
  • Research and select vendors/hire a planner if you can, use resources like www.brideclubme.com to search for licensed and reputable vendors.
  • Buy your wedding gown
  • Book your honeymoon
  • Book your hair and makeup trial
  • Send out official invites
  • Write vows
  • Create a seating plan and agenda for the day
  • Final dress fitting
  • Wedding rehearsal (if needed)
  • Get married!

By Rhiannon Downie-Hurst, Founder of www.brideclubme.com, the UAE's leading wedding inspiration website and concierge.

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