Weddings in Dubai

Wedding rings, wedding cakes, wedding venues and more Dubai love Comments

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According to census information from 2009, 830,000 of the five million people residing in the UAE are between the ages of 25 and 29, and 800,000 are between 30 and 34, meaning more than 30 per cent of the population is at the age when people most commonly get hitched. No wonder weddings are such big business – The Bride Show brought in 20,980 visitors this March, and the Modern Bride Exhibition will attract brides-to-be to Dubai Ladies Club on October 30. Many of you are now planning beach, garden and high-class hotel weddings here before the summer hits again. Stressed? Don’t be. Read our guide.


The engagement

Before every wedding comes the engagement. This part is really up to the individual, of course, but if you’re planning to stay in Dubai for the big event and need a restaurant that guarantees romance, try Pierchic, a seafood venue perched on a pier at Al Qasr (04 366 6730). Another quirkier option would be to pop the question mid-skydive. It’ll cost you Dhs1,700 for a tandem jump (Skydive Dubai, Al Sufouh Road, 050 153 3222), but yes, some dude will have to be strapped onto your fiancé during the special moment.

The rings

On a budget? You don’t need branded jewellers. A one-carat round brilliant cut diamond ring in Tiffany & Co will cost you between Dhs65,000 and Dhs120,000 (The Dubai Mall, 04 339 8350), whereas a similar ring at Cara in the Gold and Diamond Park costs between Dhs10,000 and Dhs60,000 (Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 347 8089). Sure, some expat forums feature tales of negative experiences when buying from the park, but for every one that’s negative there are 10 positive reports.

The invitations

Order quirky designs such as the unusual invites by Voh Handmade at www.etsy.com – they have some beautiful options that ship to the UAE, and you’re looking at about Dhs7 per invite (not including the envelopes). The nicest shop in Dubai for invites is The Paper Room at The Dubai Mall – the service there is great, it’s a one-stop shop, and they even sell a Vera Wang range (04 330 0780).

The hen and stag dos

Options are endless, but an unforgettable start to either a hen or stag party is a boat charter. A low-key do will be more expensive: a yacht that fits 12 passengers costs Dhs2,150 per hour (Dhs180 per person). But if you can wrangle more mates, the 64ft catamaran with a capacity of 40 people will cost you only Dhs3,400 – a measly Dhs85 each per hour (www.bristol-charter.com).

Another daytime revelry option is karting at Dubai Autodrome (04 367 8700 ext 322): you’ll pay Dhs310 per person for 90 minutes of karting. You’ll need to book in advance and have a minimum of 10 people.
Or, for a more subdued (and admittedly girly) option, try at-home manicures: Dhs140 per person for a mani/pedi plus a Dhs20-Dhs70 transportation fee (04 282 8385). Then, as night falls, hire a private section of the Rooftop at the One&Only Royal Mirage, which will cost up to Dhs200 per person for up to 40 people (04 399 9999); or try crooning karaoke tunes in the surprisingly rowdy private room at China Sea in Deira: you’ll pay Dhs700 with dinner for eight people (04 295 9816).

The dress

We did a spot of mystery shopping – here’s what we discovered. Note: make sure to book an appointment before you visit these stores. Frost This super-smart, expensive boutique stocks designer labels including Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera. However, on our visit the disinterested staff told us there were only two dresses in our size (12) – both huge pouffy numbers. However, our own five-second hunt revealed three more dresses in our size and style. When dresses are expensive, we expect service that makes the purchase worth it.
Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 345 5690).

Pronovias: This Spanish range is all lace and drama, although there are also more subtle options. The service in the Dubai Mall branch is erratic, and we had an odd experience: the staff stared at us blankly when we arrived for our booked appointment, before leaving us on our own to figure out the whole fitting.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 8770).

The Wedding Shop: This tucked-away store in Jumeirah stocks half a dozen labels, including Spanish brands White One and Atelier Diagonal, and Canadian brand Paloma Blanca. There was only one assistant on hand in the store during our visit, but she was incredibly helpful, trawling the store to find something in our preferred style. While most of the dresses were a little meringue-like for our taste, we found one or two gorgeous pieces, although they were around the Dhs10,000 mark and crafted from man-made fibres – that just doesn’t seem right.
Jumeirah Centre (04 344 1618).

The Bridal Room: Despite being the smallest store we visited, this turned out to be the best. The attendant was really helpful and a dab hand with the corsets, and we also met the tailor, a lovely lady called Anne Rashid. She was very professional and seemed to understand our taste – she offered to make us a bespoke dress using the loveliest materials for half the price of the off-the-rack polyester numbers. Unbeatable.
Jumeirah Plaza (04 344 6076).

Another great option for dresses is Bridal Boudoir, run by Chee Smith. Aware that not everyone can afford designer brands, Chee has collected beautiful dresses by Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham and more, and is offering them for rent. She currently has 12 dresses in sizes six to 14, but she acquires more every month. Dresses cost Dhs5,000 to hire for two to three days, and you’ll need to put down a Dhs5,000 deposit in case there’s any irreparable damage.
www.bridalboudoirdubai.com.

The hair

For bridal hair, shop around some of the city’s better salons and have trials with the stylists – you don’t want this to go wrong on the day. We recommend Pastels in Jumeirah (04 394 7393), which offers a bridal hair package for Dhs1,000. Expensive, yes, but during the trial run they’ll try as many styles as you want until you’re entirely happy. Then, on the day, just pop into the salon to have it recreated.

The flowers

A reliable and friendly choice is Sunflower Florists, based on Sheikh Zayed Road (04 331 7477), which offers a tailor-made service and charges from Dhs300 for a bridal bouquet. Another option with great service is Shakespeare & Co (04 329 1040), which has various outlets across the city. Some of the bouquets are alarmingly ornate, but the florists are happy to work with your ideas and are great for quirky colour themes. Bridal bouquets also start from about Dhs300.

By Nyree Barrett
Time Out Dubai,