In Washington, three weddings (whew!) and a shutdown

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Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, greets couples unable to obtain marriage licenses because of the partial federal government shutdown after signing the "Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019," or "LOVE Act," which gives the mayor the authority to issue marriage licenses, following a signing ceremony in Washington, DC, January 11, 2019. (AFP)
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Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, signs the "Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019," or "LOVE Act," which gives the mayor the authority to issue marriage licenses during the partial federal government shutdown during a signing ceremony in Washington, DC, January 11, 2019. (AFP)
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Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, greets couples unable to obtain marriage licenses because of the partial federal government shutdown after signing the "Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019," or "LOVE Act," which gives the mayor the authority to issue marriage licenses, following a signing ceremony in Washington, DC, January 11, 2019. (AFP)
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Wedding planner Rachel Rice, owner and operator of The One Moment Events, is pictured January 11, 2019 at her shop in Fairfax, Virginia. (AFP)
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Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, greets couples unable to obtain marriage licenses because of the partial federal government shutdown after signing the "Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019," or "LOVE Act," which gives the mayor the authority to issue marriage licenses, following a signing ceremony in Washington, DC, January 11, 2019. (AFP)
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District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, seated, holds the LOVE Act she just signed joined by soon to be newlyweds, Claire O'Rourke, left and her fiancé Sam Bockenhauer; Caitlin Walters, back left, and her fiance Kirk Kasa; and Danielle Geanacopoulos, second from right, and her fiance Dan Pollock, right, after signing the LOVE Act that will allow couples to get married in the District despite the government shutdown during a ceremony at the Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, (AP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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In Washington, three weddings (whew!) and a shutdown

WASHINGTON: There doesn’t seem to be much love in the air in Washington these days, as a long and bitter government shutdown drags on with no end in sight.
But couples whose marriage plans were thwarted by the partial shutdown have gotten a break, thanks to the action of Mayor Muriel Bowser and city council.
The city’s Marriage Bureau, part of the US capital’s federally funded court system, had been deemed “nonessential” and shuttered as part of the thorny standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats.
But on Friday, Bowser signed an emergency measure authorizing city officials to validate marriages in the absence of the Marriage Bureau, which closed when the budget standoff began on December 22.
“They can shut down the US government, but they cannot shut down love in the District of Columbia,” City Council member Brandon Todd said when he introduced the measure.
Titled the Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Amendment Act, or LOVE act, the law is valid for 90 days and will spare future brides like Claire O’Rourke from finding themselves in Kafkaesque situations.
“Practically, we couldn’t sign all the legal certificates during the shutdown without having a marriage license,” O’Rourke, a Washingtonian who was preparing to wed fiance Sam Bockenhauer, told AFP.
“So we were going to have a wonderful party, of course, but couldn’t be legally married in DC until we got our marriage license.”
Some couples, like Dan Pollock and Danielle Geanacopoulos, had no time to spare. They managed to get their wedding license on December 27, just two days before their scheduled wedding.

“By the time we figured out we couldn’t get a license, we were running out of time before friends and family were coming to Washington to celebrate with us,” Geanacopoulos said. “So we focused on the really important thing — celebrating — and decided to figure out the rest later.”
Her mother, Daphne, said she was “delighted.”
“We had a really great big wedding two weeks ago... (but) it feels wonderful to have it official.”
For Caitlin Walters, who plans to wed Kirk Kasa on February 2 on the campus of Catholic University, the shutdown was simply “a small speed bump in the road.”
“Obviously we knew about the shutdown, but we didn’t know that it would directly affect our ability to get married in DC legally,” said Walters, a New York resident who was determined to get married in the nation’s capital.
But while some have taken the shutdown in stride, it has brought “chaos” to those in the wedding business.
“It’s a lot of chaos, it’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Rachel Rice, a wedding planner who recently had to shift a wedding ceremony from Washington to nearby Virginia.
Even if the shutdown were to end next month, Rice said, “some people might say, ‘I can’t wait to book my venue; I have to book my catering, my photographer.’“
On top of that, the approximately 800,000 federal employees sent home or forced to work without pay — some of them with wedding plans, no doubt — have just missed their first paycheck and will be forced to scale back their plans.
Claire O’Rourke has her own shutdown-related regret.
She had hoped to have her official wedding photo taken in the National Portrait Gallery.
But like most of the capital’s vast Smithsonian system, the popular museum remains closed.


Three Dubai-based fashionistas explain style differences between Pakistan and the UAE

Updated 30 sec ago
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Three Dubai-based fashionistas explain style differences between Pakistan and the UAE

  • The two countries share a Muslim majority, hot climate and a love of Pakistani fashion designers
  • But when it comes to style, both countries have radically different approaches

ISLAMABAD: Dubai and Pakistan share many things: a Muslim majority, hot climate and a love of Pakistani fashion designers. However, when it comes to style, both countries have radically different approaches. Arab News spoke to prominent Pakistanis in the world of fashion to ask them what set Dubai style apart from Pakistan.
Jahanara Amin Mir, Lawyer, living in Dubai
"If we break it down, when I wake up in Pakistan my biggest struggle is how much skin can I show? Here in Dubai that hurdle does not exist. The first thing I think when I wake up is ‘ok, how do I want to express myself today?’
I love that I can go in a café and see someone in an abaya and underneath she has on high waisted pants and a crop top. I love that you can see someone in a bikini and then right next to that person is someone in a burkini swimming harmoniously in the same open water. As long as there is a modicum of respect of cultures, Dubai is very tolerant with respect to what people wear.
If you want to see true style you go out on the town in Dubai on Thursday Night and see how local women dress up and how much thought they put in their bags and shoes, because that is the only way they can express themselves if they are going to wear an abaya. The way they do their hair and nails they pay attention to details that you don’t really pay attention to in other countries.
Dubai gets a bad rep in terms of style, people assume you have to dress head to toe in designer labels and that is not the case at all. It’s not superficial what struck me, was when I moved here is I work with people from Africa, Australia, and Europe and their aesthetics are drawn from their home countries and that is what is beautiful and diverse and amazing about their style here. It is not uniform, it is not one flavour.
In Pakistan we don’t necessarily have that diversity on the streets. What I love about style in Pakistan is people do not take themselves that seriously, they are just naturally beautiful, so they rock  shalwar kameez, throw on some kajol and light jewellery and that’s their form of expression. When I go to Pakistan I focus on the simplicity. The playfulness of Dubai is what I love about it. I can be simple if I want. I can be understated the top and wear a gown if I want to and no one will really bat and eye because it’s Dubai and that is freeing and colourful about style here.”
Zahra Raza, Founder Luxury Boulevard and Popsicle Pop Up Concept, living in Dubai
“Living in Dubai, is having best of both worlds. It’s as eastern or as western you want it to be be it food, culture or entertainment. It’s very different from Pakistan in terms of safety, quality of life and the most importantly, the law is the same for all expats.
Fashion in Dubai is incredible because you see all kinds of people, wearing Abaya or no Abaya, everyone is accepted. People are aware of new trends and are very fashion conscious, one  has access to international luxury brands and high street brands. For me who was working their full time, was easy to purchase suits for work meeting, or casual clothes just for a coffee with friends. You work hard but you have access to the top restaurants, fashion stores, lifestyle products, high quality cinemas, malls and most of all safety.”
Sabah Malik, College Graduate living in the UAE
"Being in Dubai I have found  that you have to keep up with trends or else you will stick out for the wrong reasons. Dubai style is very ‘this outfit needs to be instagram worthy.’ I feel like that is a lot of peoples’ first priority when it comes to style, sure everyone has their own personal fashion preferences and their own unique taste but I feel like it is all still the ‘same’ if that makes sense. From what I’ve seen in Pakistan and on social media from stylish Pakistani accounts it is more mixed and less of just one “style.” Pakistan has a more of a ‘I want to wear this so I will’ mentality which I personally prefer, it doesn’t seem like everyone’s trying to compete or follow the latest trends and evidently dress the same as each other.”
Meeral Khan, Marketing Manager, living in Dubai
“Fashion in Dubai has a massive range of eastern and western wear. Even if you look at the abaya, you have traditional abayas and then people who will add an element of style into their abayas, whether this is through different sleeves or patterns and designs on the abaya itself. In Pakistan, generally speaking, a vast majority of people tend to wear regionally inspired outfits, there is less western wear culture than in Dubai.
I believe women in both countries take their aesthetic and expression seriously and place huge importance on style, through designer fashion, hair & makeup both.
Style even down to home decor differs. There are two styles in Dubair, opulent classic, with a love of gold and being a new city, the ultra modern look. People also tend to update very rapidly. Whereas in Pakistan, it’s generally more subtle, and you have more of a mix of modern and classic. Dubai being a place of experimentation, pushes boundaries in terms of architecture and design more.”