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UAE: On Valentine's Day, couples tie the knot under Abu Dhabi's new marriage law

To date, 102 marriage applications have been received since the implementation of the new law in February



Sarmila and Julian registered their union with ease under Abu Dhabi's civil marriage ceremonies at the Non-Muslim Family Court. —Photos: Rahul Gujjar
Sarmila and Julian registered their union with ease under Abu Dhabi's civil marriage ceremonies at the Non-Muslim Family Court. —Photos: Rahul Gujjar
by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 6:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Feb 2022, 12:11 PM

Three-and-a-half years ago, a Dubai couple met using a dating service recommended by friends; today, on Valentine's Day, they were among several couples who tied the knot in Abu Dhabi.

Sarmila, a New Zealand national and Julian, a British expat, registered their union with ease under Abu Dhabi's civil marriage ceremonies at the Expat Family Court.

Around 60 marriage applications were submitted at Abu Dhabi courts over the Valentine's Day weekend. Several of them tied the knot on February 14 under the new civil marriage law.

To date, 102 marriage applications have been received since the UAE Capital implemented the new law this month, allowing civil marriages in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

The new law, which governs family matters for expats or foreigners, also offers tourists a chance to finalise civil marriage contracts in Abu Dhabi.

Sarmila, 51, a doctor, says she moved to the UAE six years ago and later met with Julian, 55, a computer science teacher in a British school in Dubai.

Sarmila and Julian said they were surprised by how quickly they got the approval and how easy the process was.
Sarmila and Julian said they were surprised by how quickly they got the approval and how easy the process was.

She said when she met with Julian more than three years ago, both knew from their first date in the Marina that they had a special connection and have been really apart since.

"We naturally just progressed happily to the next level," said Sarmila adding that Dubai has had a role in your romance and for bringing them together.

The couple says they had decided to get hitched on the most romantic day of all, February 14, because of their marriage application's ease and prompt approval and the court's consideration in suggesting Valentine's Day for their ceremony.

Joshua Bingham, legal consultant at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
Joshua Bingham, legal consultant at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

"We had applied to the Abu Dhabi secular family court for a civil marriage. But we weren't sure how long it would take to get approval or even if we would get the approval in the first place," said Sarmila.

"We were really surprised how quickly we got the approval and how easy the process has been so far. They have been really helpful and accommodating, even suggesting Valentine's Day for our ceremony and taking into account the school break for Julian!"

Filipino couple held simple ceremony on Valentine's Day

Filipino expats Honie Custuna and Fritz Erik Pangco celebrated their big day with a simple dinner after the ceremony.
Filipino expats Honie Custuna and Fritz Erik Pangco celebrated their big day with a simple dinner after the ceremony.

Filipino expats, Honie Custuna, 27 and nurse in Abu Dhabi and Fritz Erik Pangco, 37, a Sales Mechanic in Dubai, also tied the knot in Abu Dhabi on Valentine's Day.

According to Custuna, their friendship started in a skate shop in Dubai in 2019 while looking for a skateboard where they exchanged phone contacts. This later turned into a serious relationship, and they have now decided to take it to the next level.

"We've known each other since 2019 and officially became a couple in 2020," she said, adding that since then, they knew that they were ready for marriage.

The Filipino nurse says they had initially planned their civil wedding at the Philippine Embassy in Dubai, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they found it very difficult to process the marriage papers.

"So, we found out about Easy Wedding Dubai. They assisted us throughout the process," said Custana.

The Filipinos said they arranged a simple dinner to keep each other's company to celebrate their wedding.

How wedding planning firm helps couples in UAE through the process of tying the knot

Easy Wedding, Love Without Border, a Dubai based firm, says since the UAE is home to many expats, dating here typically involves meeting individuals from all over the world.

After researching the steps and marriage processes in the UAE, they started to help expat couples here, a service they earlier provided in Georgia, Seychelles, Malta and even online.

So far, they have helped more than 1,000 people to start their happy beginnings within the GCC.

Based on the couple's nationalities, history, family situation, expectations and financial situation, marriage comes with many consequences related to immigration, finance and family.

The firm's team supports couples willing to marry in Abu Dhabi with the right legal support to prepare their journey together, including preparing the ceremony based on the couple's wishes and supporting couples with the after-wedding certificate.

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The team takes care of all the needed legal documentation, registrations and embassy attestations for the couples.

The firm says it has helped a dozen couples get married in Abu Dhabi so far.

Most current couples have been living in the UAE for a long time and preferred Abu Dhabi to other known destinations such as Seychelles or Georgia.

Their prices depend on the needed packages (photographers, attestations, ceremonies, parties and more) and range from Dh2,000 and more. Since the UAE announced the new family laws and regulations for civil marriages, the demand for UAE based weddings has been booming, according to Easy Wedding, Love Without Border.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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