Expert Advice From Dee Popat: 10 Things For You & Your Guests To Consider During A Destination Wedding In The UAE
If you’re planning your destination wedding in the UAE, or perhaps you’re attending a wedding here later in the year, you may be wondering what are the dos, don’ts and customs of this multi-cultured country.
Today, BCME expert panel member and Head of Family Law at James Berry & Associates Dee Popat, gives us a breakdown of the official UAE rules to help you prepare for your visit to one of the most diverse and enthralling countries in the Middle East.
Over to you Dee…
It is so exciting to have a destination wedding and like you, your guests will all be super excited to partake in a ceremony abroad.
It is however important for you and your guests (especially those who have not been to the UAE before) to be aware of the culture and ethics of the country. You should ensure that all abide by the guidelines so that Sharia principles are respected and none of you fall foul of the UAE law. With that said, the UAE is fairly relaxed, however, it is best to be aware of the ‘official’ rules when visiting.
♡ Dress modestly – For women, short or transparent clothing which exposes shoulders and knees may be considered disrespectful. Best practice is not to wear anything too revealing. Men should never walk around without a top/shirt on. Swimwear is allowed on private beaches and in swimming pools and should not be worn in public areas/buildings such as the mall. Nudity is strictly forbidden in the UAE and is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.
♡ Be careful when taking pictures (including selfies) – Never take a picture of anyone without their permission (especially if the photo includes a Muslim women). You should also be careful not to take pictures of government buildings, airports and accidents.
♡ Displays of affection in public places – These are offensive in the UAE. To be on the safe side, refrain from inappropriately touching or kissing your spouse/partner/friend in public. Holding hands for married couples is permitted.
♡ Consumption of Alcohol – Although alcohol is legal in most states of the UAE, you cannot drink in public. Section 2.2 of the Dubai Code of Conduct sets out the designated areas where alcohol should be confined to. There is also zero tolerance for drink driving. Section 2.3 of the Dubai Code of Conduct highlights that being caught driving with even the smallest dose of alcohol can lead to a fine, imprisonment or deportation. You cannot buy alcohol without a permit except from an outlet that has a license. You are permitted to purchase alcohol from bars and restaurants but it should be consumed on the premises.
♡ Keep a copy of your drug prescription(s) with you – There are specific rules when it comes to prescription medicines in the UAE and it is best not to carry any drugs which Dubai does not permit. It would be highly advisable for travellers to look up the guidelines for carrying medicines into the UAE – https://www.government.ae/en/information-and-services/health-and-fitness/drugs-and-controlled-medicines/controlled-medicines-
♡ Music and dancing – Do not put speakers on too loud, and do not dance in public unless it is at an event or in an enclosed area where dancing is permitted.
♡ Insults – Verbal abuse or swearing, and certain gestures made in public, are considered to be a crime in the UAE. Articles 373 and 374 of the 1987 Penal Code dictates that swearing could either lead to a sentence of up to 6 months or a year in jail, and a fine. So when in a public area, consider your choice of words when speaking and refrain from making gestures that could fall foul of UAE morals and culture.
♡ Consuming food and drinks on public transport – Eating or drinking whilst using the public transportation in the UAE is prohibited. If caught chewing gum or drinking, it could result in an immediate fine as cleanliness is taken very seriously in Dubai.
♡ Ramadan – This is the holy month for Muslims. If you are visiting during the period of Ramadan, you should be aware that eating, drinking and smoking in public is not allowed during fasting hours. This rule applies to people of all faiths.
♡ Hotel Rooms – Under Sharia Law, it is not permitted to live together with a member of the opposite sex unless you are married or share familial relations. People under the age of 18 are not allowed to stay in a hotel by themselves and they must be accompanied by an adult.
If you require further information or advice, please contact Dee Popat on [email protected].