A matchmaking service in Ras Al Khaimah has won the hearts of the public after helping nine couples tie the knot only three months after opening its doors.
The Farha agency has proved so successful in bringing together both Emiratis and expatriates that it has caught the attention of people across the Middle East.
The course of true love didn't run smooth, however, when Widad Bu Sittah first launched the venture.
The Moroccan citizen, 27, found trust in matchmaking services had been eroded by the rise of online fraudsters cheating unsuspecting singletons out of cash.
She had set up her business after being fuelled by a desire to offer a safe haven for those determined to find a life partner.
“My husband and I started talking about matrimonial matchmaking and how some are taking advantage of people and ripping them off,” she said.
“We immediately looked up what we needed to get a licence from the department of economic development and started with the procedures.
“Social media influencers we approached refused to do any publicity for our place because of what others have done, in scamming people.”
Weddings in the Covid-19 age:
Ms Sittah launched an Instagram page which allowed her to deliver her message and she soon began to dispel the doubters.
“When people started to come forward seeking our services and they saw the minimal fees of Dh350 we charge and the good services we offer, they spread the word about our honesty.”
She has matched up people not only from Ras Al Khaimah, but also Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, and Khor Fakkan.
Three women from Saudi Arabia, two women from Oman and a man from Oman have also approached the agency after they read positive reviews about its work.
In June, 2019, A Federal National Council member called on the UAE government to step up efforts to encourage more Emirati couples to marry.
Hamad Al Rahoumi suggested prospective partners could even be matched online to bolster the number of Emirati weddings, as societal changes make it harder for people to strike up relationships.
The Covid-19 pandemic - which has led to people spending more time at home - has also posed a challenge for those longing to hear wedding bells.
Ms Sittah firmly believes there is a perfect match for every person - but they sometimes need a little help to find each other.
“Everyone has a match somewhere but with the busy lifestyle, they cant find one another, and its our job to help them meet."
Those looking for their other half, approach the agency via phone, Instagram or by visiting their offices in Ras Al Khaimah.
They have to write down details like appearance, type of work, place of residence, marital and health status to help the matchmaking process.
They also need to list down a number of qualities they are looking for in the partner of their dreams.
“We compare each application to other applications and when we find a match, we talk to the woman first, because women ask many details and are more demanding,” she said.
Once the woman agrees to meet with the match found for her by Farha, the two get together in the offices of the agency accompanied by a family member of each.
“One couple we brought together three days ago, were in harmony from the first moment, and one hour after they met at our offices, they were discussing marriage procedures,” she said.
Farha’s first success was a couple who tied the knot last November.
“Now we receive thank you letters, and we see more people approaching us because they heard about our integrity from our clients,” she said.