We know the feeling... there's so much planning to do for your wedding that you just don't know where to start. Fear not, just follow our guide to getting to the aisle in style. We even got in top expert advice – Saida El Massmoudi, Director, Weddings and Events at Atlantis The Palm, shares her tips and tricks with us. Read on...
When beginning to plan your dream wedding, you should:
Decide on the general vision for the wedding
Do you want it to be indoors or outdoors? Were you thinking of a large bash or an intimate party? Get a fix on the answers and have a thought about the time of year you want it to take place. This will help visualise a concept too. For instance, if the chosen date is in the summer, consider an indoor venue so you and your guests are comfortable.
Decide on the wedding budget
*The expenses for an average wedding depend on various factors, including nationality. Saida tells us that the average expenditure for an Emirati wedding starts from Dhs250,000 to Dhs450,000 for the hotel ballroom and food and beverages. In addition, as ladies are separated from men, two venues are required for the wedding.
*For Indian weddings, celebrations in affluent families could stretch for five days. This would raise the expenditure for the hotel ballroom and food and beverage to between Dhs300,000 to Dhs600,000.
*Average spend on an Arab expat wedding range from Dhs50,000 to Dhs100,000.
Decide on a date and time for the wedding
Peak times for weddings vary as per season. The first and fourth quarter of the year are the most popular for weddings in the UAE, and therefore the most expensive too. The third quarter has most Islamic celebrations including Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Muslims do not celebrate weddings during this period. In addition, Ramadan is a Holy Month and celebrations are prohibited during the time.
Start researching on potential vendors, suppliers and possible locations/venues
Once your needs are clear, it makes it easier to fix on the venue and the people who'll help. Gather bridal magazines and books, browse through wedding websites and talk to friends who're married so that you have as much information as possible.
Create a guest list with input from both sides of the family and finalise the total number of people you'll be inviting to the wedding.
Find a venue that suits your wedding size and location.
Close to home, Atlantis provides several options. Check some of them out right here:
If you are looking for a venue which offers space and flexibility as well as privacy and exclusivity, Asateer is a great choice. It can host up to 1,500 seated guests or 2,500 for a reception. With floor-to-ceiling windows running the length of the walls, your guests will enjoy stunning views of the beach, Palm Island and the Dubai skyline.
Atlantis Ballroom & Royal Terrace
An opulent space with a private entrance and its own pre-function area, it can house 2,500 guests for a reception or 1,500 for dining. The Atlantis Ballroom also allows you to personalise your wedding experience, so you can bring in your designer and use the space as a canvas for your perfect wedding.
Silk and Spice Ballroom
For a more intimate wedding, Atlantis has a variety of smaller indoor venues. The Spice and Silk Ballrooms, for instance, can seat up to 300 guests.
The Lost Chambers Aquarium
A truly unique setting, The Lost Chambers creates an extraordinary and awe-inspiring location for your nuptials, where the 65,000 marine animals of the Ambassador Lagoon are bound to thrill your guests.
For more wedding options from Atlantis, visit www.atlantisthepalm.com.
*Book appointments with vendors and caterers to start all preparation work.
*Create a wedding folder to help keep organised – this will contain all information you have collected, as well as all appointments and bookings.
*Choose your wedding gown.
*Select your honeymoon destination.
Six months before:
Choose the wedding venue.
Choose the food and beverages.
Choose linen and table settings.
Decide on a floor plan, DJ and stage set up.
Confirm the set up time with the venue management.
Arrange a table for the guest book and gifts.
Confirm the time of the guests arrival.
Confirm the time of the reception.
Confirm the time dinner should be served.
Confirm the time of the bride and groom's entrance.
Confirm the time the couple will leave the venue after the wedding and reception.
Finalise the venue payment.
Two months before:
Finalise the guest list and inform the wedding venue management and vendors if there are any changes in the numbers.
Choose the flowers to match your set up.
Choose the bridal bouquet.
Decide on the full set up of the venue (both exterior and interior). List the elements that are part of the full set-up to make planning easier.
Hair and Makeup
Do a makeup and hair trial at least one month before the day of the wedding.
*Decide what the photographer should focus on.
*Decide what parts of the wedding should be captured on video.
*Set up screens and LCD projectors to show a live feed of the wedding.
*Start and finish times for both photographer and videographer.
*Finalise any pending payments.
*Choose the music/songs you would like to hear. DTCM permit and license is not required for any kind of entertainment for weddings.
*In case of an Arabic wedding, choose the bride’s zeffah (entrance song).
*In case of an Arabic wedding, choose the groom’s zeffah (entrance song).