The Gulf state of Qatar is among the wealthiest countries in the world. But despite the affluence, increasingly extravagant weddings in Qatar are making it difficult for men, who pay for the celebrations, to foot the bill.
Jamal Qassim said he spent 450,000 Qatari riyals ($123,600) on his wedding. He worked and saved for nine years to pay for it. “I didn’t even travel once outside of Qatar. I was saving and saving. I didn’t buy myself a fancy car.” He said he now regrets paying that much. At the end of 2012, he was in the process of getting a divorce.
Marriage rates in Qatar have declined markedly over the last three years, which Qatar government statistics attribute to the high cost of marriage, as well as the advancing educational status of women and their rising participation in the work force.
Figures also show Qatari women are having their first child at a later age and having fewer children overall. Divorce rates have risen since 2001. And local press reports say a quarter of marriageable Qatari women remain single. These are worrying trends for a country where nationals are already heavily outnumbered by migrants.