In this section

Can we have a Wedding Ceremony outside?

Can we have a Wedding Ceremony outside?

What should I look for when choosing a wedding Celebrant?

What should I look for when choosing a wedding Celebrant?

Can we meet wedding Celebrants before deciding?

Can we meet wedding Celebrants before deciding?

How do I become a wedding Celebrant?

How do I become a wedding Celebrant?

Can we involve our guests in the ceremony?

Can we involve our guests in the ceremony?

What is the difference between a Humanist and a Celebrant?

What is the difference between a Humanist and a Celebrant?

Why would I choose a wedding Celebrant over a Registrar?

Why would I choose a wedding Celebrant over a Registrar?

We married abroad but would like a ceremony in my home town, can this be done?

We married abroad but would like a ceremony in my home town, can this be done?

What happens during a Celebrant led wedding?

What happens during a Celebrant led wedding?

What is a Wedding Celebrant?

What is a Wedding Celebrant?

The Ultimate Guide to Handfasting

The Ultimate Guide to Handfasting

Getting Married in Spain: The ultimate guide to a Spanish destination wedding

Getting Married in Spain: The ultimate guide to a Spanish destination wedding

Getting married in Scotland – The ultimate guide to a Scottish destination wedding

Getting married in Scotland – The ultimate guide to a Scottish destination wedding

Getting married in Greece: The ultimate guide to a Greek destination wedding

Getting married in Greece: The ultimate guide to a Greek destination wedding

Getting married in The Middle East: The ultimate guide to a UAE destination wedding

Getting married in The Middle East: The ultimate guide to a UAE destination wedding

Getting Married in New Zealand – The ultimate guide to a Kiwi destination wedding

Getting Married in New Zealand – The ultimate guide to a Kiwi destination wedding

Getting Married in Edinburgh: Tips for getting married in Scotland’s capital city

Getting Married in Edinburgh: Tips for getting married in Scotland’s capital city

Everything you need to know about a Montenegro destination wedding

Everything you need to know about a Montenegro destination wedding

Getting married in The Middle East: The ultimate guide to a UAE destination wedding

So, you want to celebrate your marriage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Amazing! This area of the Middle East has so much to offer.

Your wedding Celebrant might be looking to travel from your home country the same as you, or maybe you are looking for a Celebrant who already resides in the country you are looking to get married in.

As with planning any wedding abroad, there are some things that you might need to do differently. In this blog The Celebrant Directory member Kerrie Low shares with us her top tips to getting married in the UAE and her top tips in this Ultimate Destination Guide!

Getting married in the UAE – what do I need?

Many couples are confused when they start planning their wedding as they haven’t really realised the difference between the word marriage and the word wedding. 

The marriage is the legal contract between two people and the wedding is the celebration of that marriage. This gives you the freedom to choose where you have your wedding day after the legalities have taken place (this is recommended before travelling to the UAE).

If you are a resident of the UAE and you want to get married, there is a lot of research needed before you start planning.

As the UAE is made up of 7 different Emirates, each emirate has its own rules regarding marriage. The UAE is a fabulous blend of many nationalities and cultures, so again, as residents of the UAE, it is best to check with your local embassy or courts to qualify the requirements for marriage that are applicable to you. Every nationality and culture can be catered for, it’s just a matter of how.

As tourists, a couple cannot legally marry in the UAE unless at least one of the couple have a residency visa.

Planning a destination wedding in the UAE

You really do have access to it all here (apart from those gorgeous woodlands, forests and green mountains that I often dream of, of course).  Most couples choose to bring their guests to Dubai or Abu Dhabi but recently Ras Al Khaimah has become quite a popular choice too.

There are many stunning hotels with their own beaches or lush grounds to have your ceremony. Some of the larger weddings take up whole ballrooms whereas the smaller, more intimate weddings are often on a beach with views of the iconic Burj Al Arab, on a stunning lawn within the grounds of a beautiful hotel, a terrace beneath the jaw dropping Burj Khalifa or even the edge of a polo field!   

For the more rustic couples, we have the most stunning desert where you can celebrate under a sunset on top of a sand dune or the rocky hills of the local mountains or wadi’s. 

For desert weddings, you really do have lots of choice. If you are the kind of couple that love to glamp under the stars then this can be created for you or as you would expect of the UAE, there are stunning, Arabian resorts tucked away between the dunes for pure luxury.

The impact of Covid on Weddings in the UAE

Obviously Covid has had a huge impact on destination weddings here in the UAE. We host weddings of all nationalities who bring their friends and families over to celebrate with them. 

Typically, a Western style wedding would be approx. 80-100 guests whereas an Indian wedding would be in the hundreds.

Our restrictions were tight right from the start and rightly so. Although travel is still not permitted from many Countries,  Weddings can take place for 10 immediate family members. The effect this has had on so many couples is that they have rescheduled, some 3 or even 4 times now and most have moved to October or indeed 2022. 

We have definitely seen an increase in the elopement style celebrations and I personally love these too. It’s very intimate and romantic when it is just the couple with perhaps just two or three of their family with them or even just the two of them. 

Iconic UAE wedding venues

Where to start-there are so many fabulous places to choose from. I honestly cannot say I have a favourite as each couple and each planner bring something new to each ceremony. 

There is something for every budget and the right planner can help you create the right style and vibe for your big day. 

Some of the places that I have had the privilege of delivering a wedding would be:

  1. Atlantis The Palm
  2. The Burj Al Arab
  3. The One & Only on the Palm and the Royal Mirage
  4. The Ritz Carlton
  5. JA Golf Resort
  6. The Kempinski on the Palm
  7. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club
  8. Melia Desert Palm

Off the beaten track in the UAE

I mentioned some stunning venues that are nestled amongst the desert dunes and these would be places like the Ritz Carlton Wadi Desert, Al Maha Resort or Bab Al Shams for a luxurious wedding experience. 

Of course, there are wedding planners out there that can also set up a dreamy, glamping option for you under the brightest of stars and I have had the pleasure of working on a number of these set ups which are hard work but worth every second.

There are also some amazing islands that you can celebrate your wedding on if you are excited about the idea of taking your guests on a boat to reach you. One of my favourites is Zaya Nurai Island just off Abu Dhabi.  It’s a relaxing, luxurious haven with a very chilled and private vibe-just perfect for a wedding without prying eyes.

Where to get married in the UAE?

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital if the UAE and a popular choice. Lots of westerners visit Abu Dhabi for lavish and elegant weddings as brides and grooms themselves, as well as guests. Couples often choose to honeymoon here straight after their wedding day with their guests enjoying an all inclusive holiday afterwards!

Ajman

Ajman is a beautiful choice for a beach wedding with the backdrop of the Arabian Gulf. Lots of couples choose a beautiful arch and ceremony seating layout on the beach followed by a reception at one of the waterfront hotels. It’s a beautiful location for golden hour photographs.

Dubai

Dubai is the main choice for destination weddings, it really does have everything! If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, you have access to luxury hotels and venues, the desert, the beaches and the nightlife. The cost of a wedding in Dubai is considerably more due to its location and status within the UAE, but a once in a lifetime experience.

The Celebrant Directory is home to Celebrants all across the world. Find your ideal UAE Celebrant here, or UK Celebrant who is able to travel, to deliver a Celebrant-Led ceremony of dreams!

Photography credits: Bernie and Bindi, The Loft Studio,