There are over 500,000 Filipinos living in the United Arab Emirates, and as the demand for marriages in the region has increased, the Philippine Consulate in Dubai has come up with a solution: every Thursday it offers mass civil weddings to Filipinos working in the UAE.
Just before Valentine’s Day, ten couples took advantage of the offer – and the annual romantic event – to exchange vows. It has the added advantage of cutting the complicated arrangements that would usually make the process slower if they opted for a church wedding, and getting the marriage certificate is relatively straightforward.
It also avoids some of the rigmarole involved in securing a church wedding once back in the Philippines. Because divorce is not allowed in the Catholic country, couples are required to undertake five seminars for marriage counselling. Having a marriage certificate from the consulate in Dubai helps streamline this process. Similarly, church wedding sin Dubai can involve quite a lengthy preparation process.
Having a mass wedding, rather than conducting them separately, also helped speed things up. Consul General Frank Cimafranca told Gulf News: “We hold mass weddings at the consulate every Thursday because it would be time-consuming and difficult to wed them individually.”
It also serves to make the event even more of a celebration, as the couples can share it with each other. Maria Rona Balleser, who is in charge of the applications received by the consulate, added that civil marriages are a common choice when the couples are from different Christian sects or when they want to go back and have a church wedding in the Philippines.