Saudi Marriages – Where Does the Parents Responsibility Stop

I have attended so many different kinds of weddings from all around the world. In India I’ve been to wedding celebrations that go on for a full five days of parties, dinners and functions. But in all of my experiences I believe that Saudi weddings rank number one as the most costly of weddings. And in regards to the expenses, generally they fall upon and are expected to be carried by the parents. So naturally you want to know who pays for what.


  • Dowry: Every bride is given a dowry. This dowry traditionally will consist of jewels, gold and money. The groom (read groom’s family) is responsible for providing an adequate dowry to the bride.
  • Wedding: There may be more than one wedding function but focusing on the primary function where the bride and groom are introduced as man and wife and their marriage is celebrated is the main function. And in Saudi Arabia this will require either a very large facility or two separate locations since segregation is practiced. On average, this function which includes meal of course is usually in the ball park of 70,000 SAR (or more) (70,000 SAR is equal to 18,665 USD). It is the responsibility of the bride’s family to cover the costs associated with the wedding party.
  • Honeymoon: Most newly married Saudi couples will take a 30 day honeymoon. These expenses are the responsibility of the groom or his family.
  • Bride and Groom’s housing: Each new bride is expected to be taken to what will be her home. In some cases she may live in a shared (large) villa with her in-laws but usually most couples these days do have a place of their own. It is the groom’s responsibility to provide a suitable residence for his new bride. It is not unusual for the groom’s parents to also assist in the provision of this new residence for the newly married couple.
  • Furnishing the Home: Most traditional Saudi residences whether a villa or an apartment come unfurnished. And by unfurnished I mean no kitchen counters, cupboards, appliances, carpets, air conditioning plus all the usual furnishing and household effects one needs to set up house. Some Saudis have told me it is the brides family responsibility to set up the house since she is usually given a large dowry and other Saudis have told me setting up the house can be divided between the bride and groom’s family.


It is also not unusual to hear that even after a couple has been married that many Saudi parents remain generous and will continue to give monies to their children or help them (buy) with acquiring new cars or other large expenditures.


The newly married Saudi couples can vary in age from young as in still in their teens to the groom being in his 30’s. The average age these days seems to be for the bride to be in her early twenties and the groom late twenties. The typical couple will have lived with their parents until marriage. In some cases the groom may have left his parents home when he entered University. Many couples also may marry while still students and yet to have held down their first job.


The marriage responsibilities differ significantly from the West where in so many cases the bride and groom are the ones not only making the wedding arrangements but also sharing in the costs. That’s not to say parents of Western newlyweds do not contribute but not at the same level expected in Saudi Arabia.


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