Thirty Djiboutian couples, chosen from hundreds of people who replied to an advert offering a free wedding, have been married in the capital, Djibouti.The BBC’s Abdirahman Koronto says Djibouti’s first mass wedding has been the talk of the town.
An Arab businessman offered the all-costs paid nuptials as the former French colony celebrated its 30th anniversary of independence this week.
His spokesman said it took two months to whittle down the applicants.
I am very excited, and I hope to have sons and daughters from my marriage
Bride Amina Omar Aden
He told the BBC that his boss, Dubai businessman Sheikh Ibrahim Said Ahmed Loita, had advertised on television, radio and newspapers to find the perfect candidates.
Osman Abukar Omar said they had to answer certain criteria:
- The couple had to be Djiboutian
- It had to be a love match
- One of them had to have a job
- They had to demonstrate they had enough money to bring up a young family.
Late night dancing
More than 600 guests attended the lavish party at a five-star hotel on the Red Sea coast.
Among the guests were the president and first lady.
Many poor Djiboutians find it difficult to afford weddings
Our correspondent says the dancing went on till the early hours of Friday morning.
“I am very excited, and I hope to have sons and daughters from my marriage,” Amina Omar Aden, one of the 30 brides all dressed in white gowns, said.
“I am very happy, because it is the 30th anniversary of our country and we are marrying. Ibrahim Loita has helped us so much,” Ibrahim Dhaban Hufane a bridegroom from the Arte region told the BBC.
Mr Loita paid for all the festivities, including the clothes, hotel party and accommodation and the dowry of $400 given to each bride and an undisclosed amount to her family.
The first lady has bought all the newly-weds new furniture.
Many young couples find it difficult to marry in Djibouti because of the expense, our reporter says.
The cost of living in Djibouti is reported to be one of highest in Africa and most Djiboutians live on less than $2 a day. (I beg to differ…but okay.)
Because of all the traffic I’ve been getting on this post; I’ve decided to post a video I found that shows where the wedding took place! Enjoy!