By Isabel Ovalle
The curtain came down on the sixth International Wedding Exhibition and Fashion Show (IWED 2013) at the Doha Exhibition Center yesterday after four days of style, make-up, jewellery and all that has to do with the big day.
The exhibition was expected to attract approximately 15,000 people, many of them brides-to-be, looking for ideas to plan every detail of their marriage celebration. This is the season when most nuptials take place here, according to experts from the wedding industry.
In Qatar, the bride and groom celebrate their union separately, which bloats the budget. All in all, IWED revolved mainly around the bride’s interests: from the gown to the shoes, cosmetics, and banquet, among other things.
Christian Jenadri, from Jewelry and Diamonds, explained that Qatari brides liked to wear a white set on their wedding day. “They don’t like European models,” he added. The amount they spend on diamonds varies from QR20,000 to QR1m, said the expert, highlighting that “Qatar is one of the top countries in jewellery purchase. They like to buy it for all occasions, not only for weddings, but also to give as gifts.”
Rubies and emeralds are out of the picture on the wedding day, when local ladies opt for diamonds. “According to tradition, the groom gives an amount of money and the bride chooses whatever she wants with this budget,” he explained.
The jeweller said most brides visiting the exhibition had already planned their wedding arrangements and stopped by only to browse. “The exhibition should be held earlier, because most weddings in Qatar are in May and by now they have already finalised all the planning,” he said, adding that “there hasn’t been enough advertisement, but we have reached out to our regular customers here.”
Diamonds are favoured so much on the wedding day by brides that in this region, approximately 50 percent of the wedding budget can be dedicated to this precious stone, said Mohamed Adel Attia, from Matis Unique Sense jewellers, a brand that sponsored IWED. “We also want to educate the bride on how to spend her money and we’ll have some sessions about diamond wearing,” he added.
On his part, a representative from The Diplomatic Club, where numerous weddings are held, said they had several venues and hosted “a huge number of weddings, so many that I can’t keep count. We have a lot of male and female wedding celebrations, either with our catering or with outside catering,” he added.
“Ladies can do whatever they want and don’t have to worry about anything. There’s a beauty salon, restaurant and many other services. The price varies depending on the bride’s requests,” said the official from The Diplomatic Club.
Other hospitality companies at the exhibition, like Renaissance Hotels, promise “to accommodate every wish and family tradition to make the fairytale wedding absolutely perfect. We’ll make sure every last detail is taken care of.” Prices for a banquet at this five-star establishment vary from QR255 per guest to QR290, always for a minimum of 150 guests, featuring a buffet, female staff, a honeymoon suite and discounts on guest rooms, among other things.
As for the wedding dress, Joe Atallah, Business Development Director at Esposa, a Lebanese firm that caters to many Qatari clients, said, “brides here like European and American styles, with some modifications to give the gown their own touch.”
The minimum spend on the dress is QR15,000, with the average expense being around QR40,000. “Every country has its own particularities regarding the wedding season, here it’s mainly in May and June,” added Atallah.
A representative from the beauty salon Dazzling Diva explained that brides here mainly liked French manicure, but some of them preferred colour, or diamonds and glitter. There are special packages for brides, with treatments that begin up to one or two month before the nuptials, depending on the state of the bride’s skin. “We do facials and take care of the make-up. Some European brides like natural make-up, while others, like Qatari women, go for a more dramatic look, namely Lebanese make-up,” explained the cosmetic expert.
Belal Al Kadry, Executive Assistant Manager at the Ritz-Carlton Doha, which organises numerous weddings, said -- when the event was first announced -- that the number of weddings had increased approximately 35 percent since last year. “The fast growth in this segment is parallel to the growth in the country,” said the official from Ritz-Carlton, the official exclusive hotel for IWED 2013.