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Differences Between Church and Court Wedding in Dubai

Which one do you think is better: a church or court marriage in Dubai? While the answer to this may come easy for some, there are those that are confused and don’t really know where to start to reach the correct decision.

Don’t fret as this indecisiveness is fairly common! It’s understandable as there are huge differences between these two wedding options. You may want the most grandiose wedding in a church for an unforgettable celebration while you also want to save money and lay low with a simple court marriage in Dubai. To help you make the right decision based on your needs and preferences, we’ll compare the two based on the same categories! But first, let’s dive into the basics… 

What’s a court marriage?

A court marriage or civil wedding in Dubai is a non-religious wedding. The lack of any religious tradition or ceremony is the biggest factor that is setting it apart from church weddings. A court marriage in Dubai can be in the in any non-religious setting e.g. the Dubai Courts. 

What’s a church wedding?

A traditional wedding ceremony, it’s one that you have already seen in movies a lot of times. It happens inside a church’s premises with the ceremony being run by a priest. Readings from the Holy Bible are involved, as well as singing of hymns.

Take note: unlike court marriage in Dubai, a church wedding is not legally binding. The marriage certificate has to be processed with the local courts to make the wedding official. The processing of the wedding certificate can be done following the wedding celebrations. 

Find more info- Christian Weddings in Dubai Church

Court Vs. Church Marriage in Dubai

Now that we’ve cleared the basics, let’s differentiate the two based on… 

The Venue 

  • Church Wedding – based on its name, a church wedding takes place in a church or place of worship. The upside of having a church wedding is the venue, which is already beautiful. Most churches are already decorated with ornate seating and stained-glass windows. The wedding venue is already complete. If you want to improve the setting, you only need a few floral arrangements and you’re set for a timeless and elegant ceremony. 
  • Court Marriage – for court marriage in Dubai, it does not have to be in a court. Although many couples choose to have their wedding ceremony at the Dubai Courts, other common wedding venues in Dubai include beach resorts, restaurants, ballrooms, gardens at hotels, and even at the villas or homes of couples or their parents. 

Freedom of Choice 

When considering between church and court marriage in Dubai, a lot of couples overlook their freedom or number of choices each option provides. However, freedom of choice is important to tackle, most especially if you want to have a more personalized wedding. 

  • Church Wedding – although many churches in Dubai are a bit relaxed now compared to those in other jurisdictions or in the past, there are religious ceremonies that you can’t forego. You will have to stick with the standard format. Basically, expect hymns, several Bible readings, a pastoral speech, and a religious set of vows. You may, if you get lucky, be able to edit your vows. That is if you are lucky. 
  • Court Marriage – as for court marriage in Dubai, you can be more creative just as long as you comply with the requirements and minimal policies set by the Dubai Courts Marriage department. You can personalize the ceremony in any way that you want, most especially if you will have the wedding outside of the courthouse. If you want more freedom in deciding majority of the elements of the wedding, then this option is definitely up your alley. 

Read more info about: Christian Marriage and Registration Procedure in UAE

Cost of Church Wedding & Court Marriage

  • Church Wedding – there is no set cost to have a church wedding ceremony in Dubai. In theory, however, the cost can start from AED 5,000 to AED 50,000, depending on the wedding suppliers and miscellaneous items you want for the big day. You would also have to factor in the cost of catering to at least fifty guests. The suits and dresses of an entourage will also be shouldered by the couple. The set fees of churches will depend on the parish or temple you choose and the amenities that you want for the wedding. 
  • Court Marriage – you only have to pay the minimal fees of the Dubai Sharia Court for a court marriage and for the processing of the marriage requirements. This means you will most definitely have a bigger budget left for an incredible and unforgettable wedding reception after the wedding ceremony. If you are looking at saving money, time, and effort, the best option for you is clearly a court marriage in Dubai. 

Do you want to know more about the legal process involved in getting married in Dubai? If so, talk to the marriage attorneys of Dubai Court Marriage today!

Hazim Darwish Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.