Fehlt Ihnen im Englischen häufiger das treffende Wort? Kommen Sie trotz guter Vorsätze nicht dazu, ein Magazin oder Buch im Original zu lesen? Dann finden Sie hier interessante und vielfältige Lektüre aus der Financial Times - mit einem Glossar, das Ihnen auf die Sprünge hilft.
At this time of year, Tehran residents are used to seeing snappily-dressed grooms picking up their brides from beauty salons and driving them through the city's streets in flower-bedecked cars. Weddings in Iran are particularly common in the weeks before the start of the traditional Islamic months of mourning, which this year fall between mid-November and January. But the number of wedding cars cruising the capital's streets has dwindled, as the social effects of a drastically weaker currency and a struggling economy take hold.
"Before the months of Moharram and Safar, we don't normally have time to scratch our heads," says one female hairdresser. "This year, we're sometimes sitting doing nothing for hours. It's as if there are no weddings, no engagement parties in this town."
The plunge in the value of the national currency by more than 50 per cent this year - caused mainly by US and EU banking and oil sanctions - has fuelled a sharp rise in consumer prices. Iran's central bank estimates inflation has reached about 25 per cent, although ordinary people and economists argue that significantly underestimates the true rate.
Majid, a 27-year-old photographer, says his parents had originally planned to meet the family of his girlfriend and agree a wedding date before the month of Moharram. But in the summer, his mother said the wedding should be put on hold and cancelled the meeting. "She said, we cannot go to my fiancée's family and admit that we cannot afford a wedding."
Between late March and late May - the most recent period for which official data are available - the number of marriages in Iran was 7.5 per cent lower than during the same period a year ago.
Iran's rulers had already expressed concerns over a decline in marriage, a rise in divorce and an increasing tendency among newly-wed couples not to have children. Those demographic trends have been driven by many factors, including rapid urbanisation, the increasing education of women and economic difficulties.
The recent sharp drop in people's purchasing power, and in particular the rising price of gold and home appliances, is expected to further threaten the institution of marriage, which has become increasingly affected in recent decades by changing lifestyles and rising expectations of the necessary accessories for newlywed life.
A university-educated groom from a middle-class family with a monthly salary of about 10m rials (which was almost equal to USD1,000 last year but is worth about USD330 this year) would normally be expected to spend between USD10,000 and USD15,000 on wedding costs. That would include buying a gold jewellery set and wedding dress for his bride, and catering for a few hundred guests at the wedding.
The bride's family, in return, would be expected to provide the new household with furniture, a hand-woven carpet, home appliances and pay for the engagement party, altogether spending around the same amount as the groom.
Tehran's grand bazaar, a traditional hub for premarital shopping sprees by the groom and bride's family, is feeling the effects of a contraction in demand. Shopkeepers complain that many people only go to the bazaar to check prices, and then leave with minimal purchases. One retailer said a set of food storage containers that cost about 300,000 rials at the beginning of this year is now sold at 1.1m rials. A Bosch vacuum cleaner that was priced at about 4m rials is today available at 10m rials.
That level of inflation is one of the reasons Sepideh, a 20-year-old architecture student, has had to postpone her wedding. "My father says he cannot afford a good dowry and I feel so ashamed in front of my fiancé and his family," she says.
Even rich families who might spend as much as USD100,000 on the wedding ceremony alone are more careful now, reflecting the spread of economic insecurity into all walks of life. Bahareh, who runs a luxurious wedding planning business, has received few orders in recent months. "People do not want to spend their money under these uncertain conditions", she says.