Wedding crasher: curfew impacts Egyptians’ bridal plans

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Many Egyptian couples are having to cancel, delay or change their wedding and engagement party plans because of a curfew imposed in August due to their country’s political upheaval.

Eman Fouad, 25, had to cancel her wedding after security forces dispersed a month-long sit-in on Aug. 14, the day her wedding was scheduled.

“I wasn’t expecting the crackdown to happen on my wedding day,” Fouad told Al Arabiya English.

“I never thought it would end like that... that I wouldn’t have my wedding at all,” she added.

“I was wearing my wedding dress and had my makeup on, ready for my groom to pass by to take to me to the photo studio.”

Fouad was then told that a curfew had been imposed, barring people from leaving their homes after 7pm.

Worried that guests would not be able to attend, and upon the recommendation of the ballroom organizers, she cancelled the wedding.

Summer is traditionally the peak time for wedding and engagement parties in Egypt.

The latest figures from Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics show that there were 933,400 marriages in 2012, compared with 898,000 in 2011.

However, a crackdown by authorities against the Muslim Brotherhood and protests held by its supporters has dragged the country into a state of emergency that is impacting the wedding season.

In many Egyptian cities, including Cairo, a curfew obliges people to remain at home from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Wedding ceremonies are usually held after 8 p.m. and extend throughout the night.

However, because this is not currently possible, some spouses-to-be are forced to schedule their parties during the day.

Eman Yousry, 25, told Al Arabiya English that because the curfew and protests have made shopping and booking venues difficult, she had “no choice” but to have her engagement party at home during daytime.

Yousry said the party had to start at 2 p.m. in order to enjoy enough time before the curfew.

However, even this posed problems, with caterers refusing to deliver food due to security fears, she added.

Wedding planner Shereen Mokhtar said many of the parties she was scheduled to organize were postponed or held during daytime.

Venues were informing clients that ceremonies could only be held during the day, she added.

“Not all couples accept to do their wedding during daytime,” Mokhtar said, adding that many would prefer to delay the ceremony instead.

In one wedding, where the couple insisted on extending their party beyond curfew hours, Mokhtar said the hotel locked the attendees inside the hall and allowed them to stay until the next morning.

Photographer Aya Mahmoud said her business has been badly affected by the current situation, so she has coped by lowering her prices.

She recalled a bride who held her wedding on Aug. 14. “The bride was crying terribly as people couldn’t come to her party,” Mahmoud said.

“Some brides thought that what’s happening now is a bad omen,” she added.

Since protests usually take place on Fridays, Mokhtar said couples now prefer to organize their parties on working days instead of weekends.

However, despite the political upheaval, people are willing to enjoy themselves, she added.

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