Planning a Christian Wedding in the UAE? Here’s All You Need to Know!

Hooray, you’re engaged! And now you’re looking for the perfect venue to help make your wedding day as beautiful and special as possible. With so many fabulous potential wedding venues right here in the UAE, from stunning beaches and luxurious hotels to beautiful private islands, it’s no wonder so many of us decide to get married here. Talk about spoilt for choice! And at least you know with a UAE wedding you are guaranteed sunshine (lots of it) on your big day.

Just as it is with getting married in any country, having a Christian wedding in the UAE is pretty easy – you’ll be pleased to hear! However, there are a few requirements to be met to ensure you’re eligible for marriage and a little bit of a process to go through too, before you can stand at the altar with your husband-to-be and say those wonderful words ‘I do’.


What’s the procedure for a Christian Ceremony?

To get married in the UAE you and your fiancé will need to provide the following:

  • Birth certificates
  • A certificate of marital status – stating whether you’re divorced, single or widowed
  •  Your passports
  • Passport-sized photos

The certificate of marital status must then be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country, or by the consulate representing your country in the UAE – but the church will generally carry out this check for you.

Some countries, the UK being one of them, require their citizens to apply for marriage to their embassy or consulate in the UAE at least two months before the scheduled date of wedding. If this is the case, visit your embassy’s website and follow the instructions for booking an appointment. It’s a very simple process. Most will also require you to have the date of your wedding ceremony set before you make your appointment, so ensure you have that booked before contacting your Embassy.

If you’re an expat hoping for a UAE wedding, either the bride or groom must hold a valid UAE residence visa.

When it comes to the ceremony…

Reverends are only legally allowed to marry couples within the church, so while you can of course still go ahead with the on-location blessing you’ve been dreaming of with a Celebrant, you will need to have an official ceremony ahead of that day. Your blessing can still of course feel like a proper wedding for both you and your guests, but you must go through the official process first.

Expats need to have two witnesses present at the ceremony (they don’t have to be relatives, friends count).

Following your special day, you must register your marriage with your embassy or consulate in the UAE.

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Order of Service

The whole service lasts around 45 minutes and is managed perfectly by the Reverend carrying out the ceremony. He will tell you exactly what to do and when, so you don’t need to panic that you’ll walk or say something at the wrong time.

Ahead of the service you are asked to select three pieces of music of your choice and to put them on an mp3 player – one for walking down the aisle, one to play while you both sign the register and a final track for walking back up the aisle as Mr and Mrs. The church takes care of hitting play on cue, you just need to hand over the Mp3 player before the ceremony commences and leave the rest to the team at the church.

You can also choose whether or not you want to to have hymns and you can select a specific bible reading if you want to. Otherwise, the Reverend will choose an appropriate reading for you.

Just a note: The churches are very busy on Fridays, so if you do choose to have your ceremony on a Friday, allow lots of time for traffic – both before and after your service!

The Church of England Ceremony in Dubai

There are two Church of England churches in Dubai – Christ Church in Jebel Ali and Holy Trinity in Bur Dubai. Booking your wedding at either of these churches is easy and all of the information, along with the application forms can be found on their websites.

Before you can go ahead and become Mr and Mrs, you’ll need to attend a seminar (it’s a mandatory group seminar with lots of other couples and takes 3-4 hours. It’s actually quite fun and informative and you also get lunch – prepared by the Reverend’s wonderful wife, no less!) and then you can go ahead and set the date for your big day. Following the official church ceremony, if you wish you can book one of the Chaplains, or a celebrant, to carry out a blessing at a venue of your choice in the UAE.

Wedding Fee

There is a fee for all couples of AED 1850 for the wedding ceremony plus an additional AED950 Attestation Fee (the church will take care of getting your wedding certificate attested and give you a call once it’s done. It usually takes around 4-5 days). If you are wishing to marry on a Friday, there is an extra fee of AED500.

If you choose to use one of the Chaplains from the church to carry out your Blessing on location at a later date, this will cost AED1850.

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