After spending a few weeks in Cyprus at the end of my summer travels, bae and I went to Abu Dhabi for a week. I had to see about transferring my car title so it could be sold, plus I wanted to hang with my friends there. And I had to meet his family. And we also decided to get married there. We’d originally wanted to do it in Cyprus, but it had proved too difficult. (Since the north side is not recognized by anyone, we’d have to go to the south side. But bae cannot go to the south side without a Schengen visa, which is not the easiest thing for him to get, being Palestinian and unemployed, etc.) So we brought along our birth certificates and got a blood test and went to the Abu Dhabi court, fully expecting to emerge a married couple.
But only then and there did we find out that we needed roughly a hundred other pieces of paperwork to even attempt to get married. We had looked up the requirements and talked to a friend who got married in Abu Dhabi, so we thought we had everything. But she married in a church, which is apparently way easier, and we were lacking documents she hadn’t needed. So…. we never got married, legally. But don’t tell anyone. There are two people IRL privy to that detail; everyone else thinks we managed to do it somehow.
People mostly think we’re married because while we were arguing with the court about the impossibility of getting some of the documents they wanted, his family was busy planning a wedding party for us. Neither of us was particular keen to have a wedding party, but they insisted, so it was thrown together in roughly three days. We had a wedding dress made quickly, but everyone (including me) hated it. So I rented a totally different one the day of the wedding. Then bae insisted I needed to wear a tiara. That was also bought the day of the wedding. And then I sat in the salon while she attached hair extensions and did my makeup heavier than it’s ever been before. And voila, a “bride.”
The wedding party turned out to be a lot of fun. And everyone who sees pictures, assumes we’re husband and wife. And while we are husband and wife, more or less… we do still need to find a country to fill in that legal gap.