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The two families then arrange a supervised meeting between the potential bride and groom, and either one can say no to the marriage.

Wealthier families spend large sums of money, sometimes renting ballrooms at the luxury hotels in Cairo to gather all their family and friends for the festivities, which may be spread out over several days.

Divorce is not very common in Egypt, although it does still happen.

According to Egyptian secular law, both men and women have the right to ask for a divorce.

Traditionally, upon divorce, the father is granted custody of any children, and any dowry paid by the groom to the bride's family must be returned.

Even though the modern family unit tends to be smaller, families usually live close together and visit each other often.

Unlike in the West, children usually live with their parents until they get married, even through college.

Men and women usually live at home with their parents until they get married.

Traditionally, extended families lived together, however, with the new situation in Cairo - as houses were abandoned in favor of apartments - the traditional family has given way to the nuclear family.

Many young Egyptian men work for a few years in the rich countries of the Persian Gulf, where wages are much higher than they are in Egypt, and this allows them to have a better start when they return to Egypt and get married.

Marriages in Egypt are somewhat different than in the West.

In the lower classes, the chance for intermingling of the sexes is rarer, and sometimes families negotiate a marriage for an unmarried son or daughter.

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