Just Married, in Yemen

People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.(Abo Haitham).
People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.(Abo Haitham).

Planning a wedding is a massive undertaking on its own, let alone if your country is in flames.

Three months into the conflict in Yemen, the country is critically low on fuel which is crippling transportation, and cutting off clean water to more than 80% of Yemenis. Many markets are out of food and medicine, and vital supplies are running out.

Amidst all this, Amal el Ashtal tells us how her family is preparing for her cousin’s wedding in Sanaa:

A basement venue, first aid kits and no power

“We've had to change the venue from a tented hall to the basement of a building in our neighborhood,” she says. Airstrikes are less likely to affect people underground, though the risk is still there when guests arrive or leave the location.

For the past nine weeks, the most intense fighting has taken place during the night, and the lack of fuel in Sanaa means that power will likely be out at the event. 

“ [...] So as a precautionary measure, the event has been rescheduled so that the ceremony will finish before it gets dark,” Amal adds. “We have also had to change the food menu and cancel any items that required refrigeration. We bought first aid kits and placed them strategically around the basement so they're accessible to guests, should the need arise.” 

“I will be limited to 1920s or 30s hairstyles that do not involve hair dryers or electric styling devices,” Amal says. “Guests will also be encouraged to bring spare clothes and running shoes should we need to evacuate at short notice.”

And celebratory fireworks? Probably not. There are enough explosions going on in Sanaa at the moment, so no need to add to the bedlam. 

Amal concludes: “Final adaptive measure: Keep spirits high and insist on celebrating amidst constant fear and anxiety. Life has to go on.”