Last week, Jeddah’s Hilton Hotel hall was packed with brides and grooms-to-be, young married couples, mothers looking for party ideas, wedding planners, fashion and interior designers. Wedding Arabia 2012 offered matrimonial inspiration to all.
“What makes my wedding invitations different from others,” said Reham Ramadhani, graphic designer, “is that mine are 100 percent Saudi. Everything’s done here. They’re printed here, designed here and nothing comes from abroad.”
She chose her profession to satisfy the brides’ needs. “They are the most important person in a wedding, I believe. We lack wedding card makers in the Kingdom. We don’t have nice shops that sell these cards and we don’t have nice cards either. I noticed this when I was getting married so I thought it would be nice to start a service that meets every bride’s wedding card demands.”
The main part of a wedding is the gown — the bridal gown. Without it, it’s simply not a wedding. Brides can be very picky when it comes to choosing a gown and they need a wide variety to choose from.
Madam Burcu — Mustafa Seker is a Turkish company specializing in manufacturing, importing and exporting of wedding dresses and evening gowns.
Import-Export Manager Mehmet Küçükakin said the latest trend in bridal gowns in Turkey was to have many details. “Whether it is lace, sequins, beads or embroidery, the girls wants it in a big number. Being a glamorous bride is the new trend,” laughs Küçükakin.
The mannequins in this stall were indeed full of charm and glamor.
San Fiore, another Turkish company that manufactures wedding and evening gowns, also came to the fair to promote their products to Saudi customers.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity, but the publicity seems to be very meager. The organizers didn’t advertise the event in magazines or newspapers. We didn’t even come across billboards relating to the event. We came here all the way from Turkey believing this event to be a very much publicized one but we are disappointed,” said one of the owners.
The Fashion Studio stall displayed massive frames with wedding pictures by Photography Director Mohammed Khaled and his friend Samir.
“A wedding is a life-event that you wish to remember for the rest of your life. We capture those memories in photographs on your big day,” said Samir.
Khaled said Fashion Studio used cinema lightning for their photographs. “We’re trying to put the video lighting into the photography as well,” says Khaled.
Selecting venues for the big day is a time-consuming task. Every bride wants a ballroom of her choice and makes sure her guests are provided with the finest service.
Many hotels offer wedding packages, including the use of a hall and a wide selection of menus to choose from, a complimentary wedding cake, a round of fresh fruit juices, and of course the use of a bridal suite.
Malak Al-Hussain, the banquet manager at Sunset Hotel said that the latest trend in decorating a ballroom was to use a lot of fresh flowers.
Samer Mousa, director of sales and marketing at Palazzo Ballroom, had his sales pitch ready to woo any of the interested couples.
“Without any doubt, we will exceed your expectations for your wedding in an intimate setting with a magical ambience, luxury hospitality and enticing charm.”
Another trend that adds sparkle to a wedding day is to offer guests an unexpected treat.
“We’re not just about ice cream. We have cake, cupcakes and cookies too,” said Hussain Ali Atif, store manager at Marble Slab Creamery, as he pulled a small bag from the counter. The transparent drawstring bag contained pretty little cupcakes and cookies.
“People nowadays give little treats and favors to their guests at weddings. I think Wedding Arabia is a good opportunity for us to exhibit our treats because not many people know about the wedding favors we provide.”
Cherry Chocolate displayed cute little chocolates in the shape of babies, brides and grooms and everything to do with weddings. “We are a new brand in the industry. This is our third year in the market. We provide chocolates for weddings and newborn babies,” said manager Abdul Rahman.
The COCO-MAT stall exhibited beds and mattresses, entirely made of natural raw material. They use lavender for pillows, latex, cocoa fiber, linen, cotton, wood and silk. Their motto makes sense: Sleep on Nature. Their four-layered mattress comes highly recommended as a gift for newlyweds.
There was a small crowd at the stall promoting honeymoon packages to Malaysia.
“Our cruises are the highlight of our packages,” said Syed Mujeeb, manager contracts and product developments at Majed Travel and Tourism. “Many young people who are planning to get married and newlyweds are visiting this fair, so we just want to introduce our packages to them and give them our options. Because if they find our options attractive, then yes, I believe they will become our customers.”