Wearing a traditional wedding dress and a formal suit, the couple pose for the photographer and look into the lens. Passersby watch the scene, some with an approving smile, others with faces of disgust.
This is not a typical wedding photo shoot, or rather, not an ideal one. The bride is dwarfed by the wedding dress designed to be worn by an adult. She is 12. The groom is grey haired and clearly old enough to be her grandfather.
The shoot took place by the seaside in Lebanon. Some that come across the scene offer their best wishes for the marriage. One man asks the groom, “Is she yours?” When told she is, he replies, “Congratulations.”
One woman attempts to attract the bride’s attention, asking her where her parents are. She is told it is none of her business. “Of course it’s my business,” she says, “She is 12.”
The bride and groom are in fact actors, being used by charity KAFA to highlight the issue of underage wedding in the Middle Eastern country.
One positive to be taken from the video is that the majority of those who saw the set up tried to intervene in the situation. While several attempted to appeal to the photographer, one man threatened to throw the groom in the sea and one woman continuously berated the groom, refusing to leave the scene. Others ask the girl if she really wants to marry the man.
The video shows that, while law allows for such child marriages to occur, in Lebanon the practice is far from accepted and many consider the marriages to be ‘criminal’.