Abu Dhabi launches new marriage initiative for Emiratis

Medeem will help couples in Abu Dhabi to plan simpler and more affordable weddings

Artists sing folk songs as 100 Emirati grooms prepare for their weddings. Abu Dhabi's latest weddings initiative seeks to rekindle tradition, modesty and community. Pawan Singh / The National
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An initiative called Medeem has been launched to encourage young Emiratis in Abu Dhabi to get married.

Medeem, set up by the Department of Community Development (DCD), is intended to help them plan simpler and more affordable weddings and was launched after studies showed that high cost is one of the main reasons why Emiratis either choose not to marry or to do so later in life.

Medeem, which translates into English as “continuity”, is an Emirati phrase used to wish a newly-wed couple a long and prosperous marriage.

The initiative consists of four main pillars: the centre for family flourishing; the model for women’s weddings; the benefits programme and the digital platform.

Help and guidance

The centre for family flourishing provides services and programmes for those who are about to marry.

The centre, scheduled for launch in the second quarter of this year, offers guidance, family mediation, and family and psychological counselling to the soon-to-be-married as well a newly wed couples.

Members will qualify for the Medeem Faza card, which offers discounts on hotels, wedding services, property, furniture, jewellery, travel, tourism and more.

The model for women’s weddings is where several couples can share in wedding costs by sharing the same wedding hall, albeit with changes to suit the requests of each.

“The model allows multiple wedding parties to use the same hall and equipment, while also inviting each couple to personalise the venue with simple decor selections that suit their individual tastes, creating a unique experience,” the DCD said in a statement.

“This allows the total expenses to be shared equally between all couples, reducing the financial strain placed on citizens, and encouraging the formation of lasting and blessed marriages.

“The model reinforces the Emirati values of community, sustainability and mutual support, the very ideals that are central to our cultural heritage and ethos.”

There is also the digital platform, a website where those interested can read about Medeem and register their interest in joining.

Social cohesion

Dr Layla Al Hyas, executive director of the Community Development Sector at the DCD, said the Medeem initiative supports Abu Dhabi’s sustainable social development goals.

“It aims to create stable families and strong communities, and it encourages society to move away from the current trend for exaggerated and extravagant weddings,” she said.

She said the cost of marriage has become burdensome for families and young people in recent years, and that this is affecting the stability and cohesion of Emirati society.

“Medeem celebrates the true essence of marriage. It demonstrates how to show great hospitality without extravagance, and without wasting our precious resources,” she said.

In recent surveys carried out by the DCD, up to 81 per cent of Emiratis considered the wedding ceremony to be the most important part of the wedding journey, while 49 per cent of those about to get married declared that creating shared memories with their partner was their top priority.

Among the top priorities, 55 per cent opted for a party singer, 49 per cent wanted a large number of guests and 44 per cent wanted an expensive wedding dress.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 8:23 AM