Saudi groom Basil Albani poses for a selfie with his friends during his wedding at his home in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah on September 6, 2018.
/ AFP / Amer HILABI
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It was a Saudi wedding like any other -- clutching a decorative sword, the groom bobbed and swayed in a traditional dance.Millennials like Basil al-Bani are increasingly hosting weddings at home, defying family traditions and social pressure and making huge savings instead.Annual spending on marriages in the kingdom exceeds two billion riyals ($533 million), the highest in the Arab world, organizers of the Saudi international wedding fair said last year.Statistics on frugal home marriages are hard to come by, but two wedding planners with a large Saudi clientele told AFP that average spending on marriages had dropped by 25 percent over the past year, with many trimming back the pomp and pageantry.Many still succumb to the pressure -- or choose to get hitched overseas to circumvent the cultural minefield that hosting a small wedding can become.In a 2017 newspaper column titled "Expensive weddings, a waste of money," writer Abdel-Ghani al-Gash chided the kingdom's religious scholars for failing to educate the masses that weddings were not an occasion to show off.
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