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Wedding business rises above economic gloom
Apr '09
While businesses struggle to keep their head above water in the global recession, the Middle East wedding industry at least is experiencing happier times. The Bride Show Dubai swept into town recently defying economic crises, credit crunches and financial meltdowns, as brides-to-be rubbed shoulders with fashionistas and frugalistas, beauty aficionados and health enthusiasts for the region's largest consumer fashion and beauty event.

With more than 30,000 visitors – UAE nationals and expatriates from the Arab world, Indian subcontinent and the West alike – and around 300 exhibitors from 17 countries, the cash registers were ringing to the sound of wedding bells; it appears despite the economic slowdown, brides in the Middle East are not being curbed by budgets.

Designer Ahmed Al Reyaysa for Dar Sara announced that his one million dirham wedding dress, replete with half a million Swarovski crystals, which was unveiled on the final day of The Bride Show Dubai, has already received four orders and expects demand to be high. His sparkling gowns were modelled down the catwalk to hundreds of people on the edge of their seats.

The Lazio Group of companies, comprising six haute couture Italian designers to superstars and VIP clientele, reported strong sales throughout the four day exhibition. As the designers added more bling and sparkle to their dresses specifically to suit the Middle Eastern market, wedding gowns by Franco Ciambella were particularly popular.

Nineteen fashion shows took place over the four days, making The Bride Show Dubai the largest consumer fashion event in the region. Members of the public had the chance to grab a front row seat and see haute couture up close. Ines di Santo, in her UAE-debut, opened the fashion extravaganza with her collection of exquisite bridal gowns.

Fashion highlights on the catwalk included designs from Arabesque, Arushi, CRYSTALLIZED - Swarovski Elements, Demetrios, First Mode, Julea Domani and Kanzi Boutique.

Even more opulence and extravagance came in the form of Swarovski-encrusted bottled water by Bling H20. The bottled water for the 'person who has everything' was publicly launched at The Bride Show Dubai and orders flooded in for VIP, high profile events and weddings. The water has already been enjoyed by guests at two of the royal weddings in the UAE this year.

Not every exhibitor was laughing in the face of economic hardships. Sangeeta Kumar, managing director of Absolute Weddings, launched her Absolute Wedding Planner for brides organising their big days. Thousands of planners were given away for free to visitors; one of the highlights was a Budget Tracker which gave advice on how to keep costs down.

“The Bride Show Dubai has always showcased the most sublime products and services available for VIP weddings and events,” said Daphne Cota, Exhibition Manager for The Bride Show. “We knew 2009 was going to be an interesting year, and while we were optimistic that the luxury sector was going to be relatively unaffected, we are incredibly pleased that our exhibitors enjoyed such a lucrative show.”

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