Coronavirus means low-key, cost-saving wedding for one Egyptian couple


CAIRO (Reuters) – Mustafa Amin had looked forward to a regular Egyptian wedding party in a large Cairo reception hall packed with family and friends.

The new coronavirus outbreak upended that plan, with the government declaring a nightly curfew 10 days before the appointed wedding date of April 4.

After a few days of hesitation Amin and his bride Noha Hamid, both agricultural engineers, decided to press ahead, settling on a low-key celebration with close relatives on April 16 at Hamid’s family home in Qalyub, north of Cairo.

“There was an important reason why we decided to go through with our wedding which is that we had equipped and furnished our apartment completely, and perhaps it could have been inauspicious to postpone the celebration since we don’t know when the crisis will end,” said Amin.

The couple were also spared the stress and the costs of putting on a big event, cancelling the booking for the reception hall and saving on hairdressing fees.

Weddings are often a huge financial outlay for Egyptian couples. Many families struggling with the impact of years of austerity reforms now face deep economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus.

The government, which has confirmed 3,659 cases of the virus including 276 deaths, has sought to dampen social activity but is keen to keep the economy going.

“The wedding was quick and easy, we set it up during the day and restricted it to our families only,” said Amin. Guests wore masks and sprayed their hands to disinfect them.

One friend helped with the bride’s make up in the morning, and after the couple drove to their new home in northern Cairo another did a photo shoot in the nearby, upscale neighbourhood of Heliopolis.

“I was happy, thank God, because although the wedding was simple, it was beautiful and calm,” said Amin.

Reporting by Rania Gomaa; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Janet Lawrence