Indian wedding expo in Dubai offers couples a glimpse of their fairy-tale big day
DUBAI // Couples looking to tie the knot in the wedding of their dreams are descending on a local hotel to take in luxury Indian crafts, jewellery and products.
The two-day Big Fat Indian Wedding Expo at the JW Marriott in Deira that started yesterday showcases to UAE brides and grooms-to-be what they could have on their big day if money is no object, of course.
With a wedding industry in the UAE valued at US$700 million (Dh2.57 billion), it is no wonder wedding planners, costume designers, jewellery designers, event managers, make-up artist, planners, decorators and honeymoon destination travel agents were all on-hand to show their wares.
“Indian and Pakistani families in the UAE want fairy-tale weddings for their children and, hence, money is not a factor,” said wedding planner Rimjhim Bhagchandani.
The Indian said that in one of the weddings she planned Dh18 million was spent just on decor.
“When it comes to high-profile wedding budgets, the sky is the limit,” she said.
And Ms Bhagchandani has witnessed a growing trend for couples wanting to get married in Dubai, but also in Abu Dhabi locations such as Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.
“You are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations,” she said. “Some of the world’s most opulent hotels call Dubai their home.
“The varied landscape allows you to do one function at a desert resort in the middle of magnanimous sand dunes, while the next event can be held on a cruise ship motoring through the beautiful creek and ending with a picturesque function on the soft sands of a beach.”
One trend she is seeing less of though, is appearances by Bollywood and Hollywood personalities at nuptials. Instead, people want to spend money on improving food and hospitality, rather than spending millions on stars appearing for just a few minutes.
“People are realising that weddings are a personal function, that should not be hijacked by stars,” she said. “For that special day, bride and the groom are the stars.”
Ms Bhagchandani recalls one wedding in Dubai some years ago when Shah Rukh Khan, along with other Bollywood stars, made a guest appearance at the wedding of a Pakistani businessman’s daughter.
“The whole attention was captured by the Bollywood stars and everyone literally forgot about the bride and groom. It was such a disaster,” she said.
Anupama Verma, a dress designer from Mumbai, said that her clientele in Dubai were not only Indians but Emirati as well.
“Ladies from the Al Maktoum family are our regular clients along with other Emirati customers,” said the designer whose dresses start at Dh20,000 rising to millions of dirhams, depending on the work and cut requirements.
According to Ms Verma, Emirati women make for very most stylish brides and many prefer Indian designers because of the bright colours they offer and the traditional style of their work. “Emirati brides are the most fashionable bride, who are ready to pay the desired price of their favourite dresses.”
One bride-to-be in attendance was Rohina, a 25-year-old auditor in Dubai who is getting married in a few months. She said such exhibitions give brides the chance to see a variety of options under one roof.
“Why should I go to India for wedding arrangements if I can get the same options, maybe even better ones, for the same price here?” she asked.
Ms Bhagchandani said the cosmopolitan nature of the UAE and the availability of all types of cuisines also made the country attractive for those tying the knot.
And the thrill of seeing a couple’s big day go off without a hitch has kept her busy planning weddings for five years now after previously working in events management.
“I came into wedding planning accidentally when one of my corporate clients asked me to arrange a family wedding. And I loved it,” said the woman who has organised the weddings of many high-profile Indians and Pakistanis in the UAE.
Updated: September 19, 2014 04:00 AM