Report by Institute for War & Peace (IWPR); photos by various sources
Tens of thousands of young couples start their married lives by taking part in group weddings in cities across Iran every year.
Mass weddings appeared in Iran in the mid-1990s, prompted by official concerns that people in urban areas were increasingly putting off getting married until they were older.
One reason for this trend was the sheer expense of holding a wedding, so joint events subsidised by the authorities were conceived as a way of softening the financial blow.
Mass weddings are generally held to coincide with important dates on the Islamic calendar, and commonly involve hundreds of people.
The costs are covered by various government institutions. One of the main funders is the office of the Supreme Leader's representative for universities, which has a presence at all places of higher education, and which keeps a register of all students planning to marry.
Davud Ranjbaran, deputy to the Supreme Leader's representative, says more than 47,000 students registered for group weddings in the last Iranian year.
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