Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Government Wedding Halls

A Qatari wedding has to be one of the biggest expenses of a young man's life. Traditionally the groom's family pays for the wedding, although I've heard nowadays some agree to have the bride’s family cover some of it but I don’t think it’s very common. Renting the halls (remember there are two separate wedding parties, one for the groom and one for the bride, so you have to rent two halls), catering, music, jewelry for the bride-to-be and so forth. It adds up. I'm told to rent a hall at a hotel will run QAR 75,000 or more (US$20,000+), and if you want the top hotels be prepared to pay a lot more. Even wedding tents cost a fortune to rent. I discussed the problems of wedding costs a couple of years ago and how the Government was trying to help by building wedding halls for Qataris to rent cheaply. Well I recently attended a wedding celebration at a Government hall, the first time I had been in one.

The building was out in a town called Daayan, south of Al Khor. The building was huge! Looked nice, and there was a decent amount of parking around the building. I discovered when I got closer than it contains four halls. At the time two wedding celebrations were taking place so it was a matter of finding a sign with the groom's name to determine which hall I needed to go to.

And here's what it looks like inside the wedding hall.

It was a lot nicer than I expected. I figured it would be something moderately sized and plain given that it was cheap to rent but dang, it was something else.

As I walked across the hall to find the groom I passed a rack of spare swords that people could use for sword dancing.

After I gave the customary congratulations to the groom and his father I waited around for a while chatting with friends until was time for dinner. Dinner was in yet another hall next to the wedding hall.

I can't believe you can rent this cheaply, the Government really made the place look nice.

A few days later I spoke with some of my friends about the wedding halls and they think they're a great idea. I was told that not everybody uses them, especially for the ladies celebration, and some families still prefer the prestige of having them in a nice hotel. To each their own I guess but I wouldn't be willing to pay a ton of extra cash to use a hotel hall if you can rent a Government wedding hall like this for much less.

This idea from the Government gets a thumbs-up.

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