Broke Romance: Brides Who Can’t Afford the Pomp Try Out Mass Marriages in Yemen

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Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi / Reuters

Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi / Reuters

According to CNNMoney, the average cost of the American wedding is approaching $30,000 with more and more couples bending towards ‘bling’ rings and huge ceremonies. But what if, like many people today, you’re feeling the pinch of the economic downturn?

NewsFeed is happy to report a new style of wedding ceremony which still incorporates the wow factor and scale that you’d like, though maybe for the wrong reasons. At a fraction of the price of the average American wedding, mass wedding ceremonies are an increasingly popular way to cut the costs of marriage. But here’s the deal: they’re taking place in Yemen.

(See pictures of conflict in Yemen.)

Yemen’s specific wedding culture allows for these wedding ceremonies to work as follows: the bridal part of the wedding is performed separately from the grooms. This allows for multiple grooms to attend the legal and reception part of the ceremony together.

Mass weddings with multiple grooms attending have always existed, usually with brothers, family members or close friends of three or four marrying together. But recently, due to poor economic conditions, the term ‘mass wedding’ seems to have become a whole new ball game. Anywhere between ten and 1,500 (yes, 1,500) grooms can now fill reception centers for any single ceremony and recently the record for the largest mass wedding ceremony of all time was broken with 1,600 grooms filling a sports hall in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city.

(Find tips for what not to play in Top 10 Overplayed Wedding Songs.)

According to Al Jazeera English, this particular ceremony was organized by the brother of the sovereign of Yemen in coordination with the Orphans Charitable Organization (all of the 1,600 grooms were orphans). In Yemeni society, wedding ceremonies are organized by the parents of the groom and they also provide the dowry. The charity bypasses both of these concerns to provide the young men with the basis for a stable future.

NewsFeed naturally wonders if Prince William and Kate Middleton might be credit savvy and opt for this style of wedding? After all, if they got engaged in Kenya, why not tie the knot abroad too?

(See pictures of Kate Middleton: Britain’s Queen-in-Waiting.)