As summer kicks in, youths in Oman are now again getting ready to spend more on celebrations for the big day of their life as opposed to the previous two years when weddings were low-cost affairs with limited invitees and fanfare.
A decent wedding ceremony in Oman would cost up to RO10,000 in the pre-coronavirus times and it is common practice for young men to save up for this day, pool in family resources, take bank loans, etc to make it memorable. The expenses for the religious/cultural ceremonies associated with Omani weddings, which includes grooming, wedding attire, receptions with dinners, photography/videography and other digital compositions, can touch the skies, if one has the means. Allied expenses for young men also involves setting up an individual house and furnishing it well for the new bride to walk in, to mark the day.
In observance of health precautions, including a ban on gatherings and closure of wedding halls previously, many young men were happy to go for small-scale parties but now they have no excuse to keep it subdued as there is no ban on community celebrations.
Masoud Nizar from Al Khuwayr, who got married two months ago when the weddings celebration were banned, said, “COVID-19, to some extent, brought good news for some because wedding expenses had to be curtailed in keeping with the civic guidelines when I got married. Both, my family and my wife’s family, agreed to have a very simple ceremony without inviting people which saved me a lot of money,” he said.
Nizar added, that he had planned to have a big wedding celebration next year but preponed it for two reasons – not being sure when the pandemic restrictions would end and to take advantage of getting married with less expenses.
“By doing so, I saved at least RO3,000 as party expenses. I had saved around RO5,000 for my big day because both, my parents and my wife’s parents, wanted to have a reception for guests. Now, I have the sum in my bank account and I can use it for more important things.”
Anwar Jamal from Amerat, who was hopping to also have a very simple ceremony at home, however, was late to make good use of the situation. “I had not planned for a big wedding but my wife had requested to have a ceremony in one of the halls, saying this was her big day. Given that we are now allowed to host more people, I had to shell out at least RO3000 more for wedding related expenses,” he said.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, weddings in Oman would be conducted in the presence of a large crowd of relatives and friends. However, under the current circumstances, the number of those attending is still limited.
According to those who got married before the COVID-19 pandemic, such weddings cost them big amounts as receptions were held in top hotels in Oman, accommodating large numbers of invitees.
“Before COVID-19, weddings used to cost at least RO10,000. Men used to hold marriages in the halls of the mosques, attended by a large number of family members, friends and neighbours. There would be no limit to the numbers attending. But now, the attendance is limited to only family members and close friends. For women, holding wedding receptions in hotels were a norm and it is quite a costly affair. I remember, my wedding three years ago cost me around RO10,000,” said Mohammed al Balushi from Sohar.
(Text: Shaddad al Musalmy)