There is a discernible fairy-tale quality, a happily ever after attribute to a wedding. Where the single most important and anticipated event in a young girl's life is planned to the last detail. And every oneiric possibility is transformed into reality.

Young girls, regardless of ethnicity, dream about that perfect wedding day.

"Sometimes the bride-to-be comes into the shop with a bridal dress photograph saved from her teen years!" says Tania de Auer, proprietor of The Wedding Shop, a bridal boutique in Jumeirah Centre, Dubai.

The world over, this is the one day budgets are happily extended to ensure the bride and her bridesmaids look picture perfect.

"A bridal outfit (at The Wedding Shop) costs approximately Dh4,000 to Dh18,000 and a bridesmaid's outfit Dh800 to Dh3,000," says Auer.

In Dubai, weddings are planned differently, and the main difference lies in the preparatory time. "In the UK, weddings are planned almost two years in advance. For most people, Dubai is a transitory place and an extended time frame is not always possible," she says.

Another difference in this city is the increasing popularity of wedding planners, who take care of the wedding-day arrangements. "This is because family and close friends are not always in the same place. When a girl gets married in her home town, she can turn to her extended family and even neighbours for help."

Whether you rope in the services of a wedding planner or dish out to-do lists to family members and friends, a bride wants to ensure the wedding day is the most memorable. After all, a snapshot of this day has to take pride of place on that revered mantelpiece for the next 50 years or so.