UAE | Society

High wedding bills sour celebrations during Eid

Venues and catering firms demand exorbitant fees during festive season

  • By Carolina D’Souza, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:20 August 23, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News archives
  • The Bride Show Dubai last April. The Bride Show, which has been held for 15 years in Dubai and ten years in Abu Dhabi, targets Emirati bridal couples.

Dubai: The festive Eid season is the costliest for Emiratis planning a wedding, who claim they face exorbitant bills for venues and catering.

Prices to get married during Eid rocket to around Dh52,000 higher than at other times of the year.

Prices of general items like flowers, labour and decor have gone up. These costs add to the already high costs of venues during Eid.”

Sumeet Bhandari | 
Event manager

And some Emiratis have even found that venues quote higher figures to host their weddings than for other nationalities.

Siham Al Dini, an Emirati business owner, was quoted thousands of dirhams more to book a venue during Eid at a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi compared with the much lower quotation given to her Somali friend.

She told Gulf News: “I have been looking for venues since June. I asked a Somali friend to pose as a potential bride for venue pricing, the hotel quoted Dh30,000.

“When my fiancé and I went the next day, we were looking at Dh70,000 for the same hall.”

And due to the high costs to get married during Eid, Siham has now set her wedding date for September 1, 2012.

She said: “I am paying Dh52,000 less than I would have paid if I had to book during Eid.”

The Eid season is a cash cow for the hotel, catering and events industry, according to the industry experts Gulf News contacted. Daphne Cota, exhibition director of The Bride Show, an acclaimed bridal products and services consumer event in the UAE, said there is an increase in visitors from GCC countries during Eid, making it a peak time for the hotel industry.

The Bride Show, which has been held for the past 15 years in Dubai and 10 years in Abu Dhabi, targets Emirati bridal couples.

“Over the years, decor trends have moved from opulence to contemporary, but the taste is still expensive. A recent survey by the Show suggests that an Emirati wedding on average would cost Dh500,000 and upwards,” Cota said.

Dubai-based freelance wedding planner Wafa Yahya said that the Eid season is a popular time for weddings, pushing up demand for venues and wedding services.

“Booking venues, photographers, videographers,DJs and bands tends to involve higher costs during Eid,” she said.

She explained that Eid represents a time when families take advantage of public holidays to participate in the celebrations, and provides the married couple with a holiday break as well.

“Further, couples hold off weddings during Ramadan, and set a date after the Holy Month,” she said.

Sumeet Bhandari, event manager at Dubai-based Future Vision who have been organising Arabic, Indian and western weddings for the past six years said: “Prices of general items like flowers, labour and decor have gone up. These costs add to the already high costs of venues during Eid — a peak time for the hotel industry.”

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