Earlier this year BN Weddings went to Dubai to explore the wedding scene for 3 whirlwind days.
Dubai is currently the #1 most sought after destination wedding location for Nigerians. You know we’re always on the pulse of Nigerian weddings worldwide so we just had to find out why!
Before we took out time to explore the wedding scene, we asked some couples why they decided to get hitched in Dubai. It seems as though if you have a big family, a grand traditional wedding in Nigeria is not really a choice, it’s more of an obligation. After that, many couples want to ‘get away’ with your nearest and dearest to say ‘I do’. You can also save a lot of money on what would be considered luxuries for a wedding here – real fresh flowers, a breathtaking venue, and of course, things money can’t buy like peace of mind and the experience of getting married somewhere spectacular.
Top Reasons Nigerians Wed in Dubai
1. Dubai! – Dubai is beautiful! From city to beach, garden to desert, you can get creative with your pre-wedding and wedding shots here.
2. Visa – Visas are easier to obtain than other countries Nigerians traditionally visit in Europe and North America.
3. Crowd Control – Banky W said it best – “Ain’t no Party like a Lagos Party!” Which often means weddings where a thousand guests attend are the norm. Having your wedding out of from Nigeria keeps away people not on your guest list.
4. Cost – Depending on your budget, a wedding in Dubai is cheaper than renting some venues in Lagos *cough* *ahem* (we won’t mention names).
However, don’t forget Dubai is not the only emirate! Nigerians also wed in the other spots in the UAE – Abu Dhabi – the capital, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain. However, keep in mind Dubai is the least conservative and most cosmopolitan, in case your guests want to enjoy some nightlife or tourist spots.
Where did we start?! With hundreds of bridal shops and more in different ‘cities’ (Dubai has cities allocated to their purpose. e.g. Sports City, Media City, Studio City) we worked with top PR agency/wedding consultants Grace and Garbo to connect us with some of their partners in addition to other vendors.
Photographers & Videographers – Light House Studio
Most Nigerians getting married in Dubai ‘import’ their important vendors – photographers being one of them.
You can save the cost of flights, hotels and more if you work with photographers and videographers based in Dubai. They are more accustomed to the environment, so they can propose locations you didn’t think of for your once in a lifetime couple portraits and pre-wedding shoot.
Light House Studio is headed by a team of South Africans – Kashif & Faadhila. Coming from the multi-ethnic country, they are used to working with a variety of skin tones.
They recently worked with Nigerian bride – a beautiful model called Chinyere Udegbunam (Chi Chi) & Canadian Benoit Paradis wed at One And Only The Palm, Dubai and the couple has graciously shared their wedding photos with us.
So if you’re having doubts about choosing a local photog, try not to be too wary – just do your research beforehand and you should be fine.
Wedding Planners –
Just like photographers, Nigerian couples tend to ‘import’ their wedding planners and this approach sure has its benefits! They can be at your ‘beck and call’ – they’re in the same time zone and can answer immediate questions. They know your culture, and the implicit expectations of Nigerian couples and their families. The downside of course is, they are reliant on vendors mostly based in Dubai which makes communicating your needs slower.
We just had to speak with one of the top wedding planners in Dubai for our feature.
Before we get into that, here are FIVE of the best/most well known Luxury Wedding Planners in Dubai:
1. Design Lab Events: www.designlabevents.com
2. Sensation Weddings: www.sensationweddings.com
3. Olivier Dolz Wedding: www.olivierdolz.com
4. Couture Events: www.coutureevents.ae
We had the honor of speaking to Couture Events about tips for wedding in Dubai and what makes Nigerian brides special.
BellaNaija Weddings: What are the 3 things a couple must be prepared for when wedding in Dubai?
- The Heat! Most guests underestimate how hot it can be in Dubai. Therefore when choosing the date of the wedding, one must be very mindful of the weather. On a related note, it is important to also determine what time of day the wedding will be held.
- Diversity! Not only in terms of the cultures residing here but also in the vast choice of venues and landscapes available to them. From desert resorts to beachside opulence and from the Burj Khalifa to the city palaces there is no end to the possibility of turning their dreams into reality.
- Guest List Management – Destination weddings are usually smaller than the weddings held in Nigeria. However brides should expected uninvited guests who have traveled for the wedding without receiving any invitation. This has been our experience for every Nigerian wedding that we have organized. It is important to flag this from the beginning and make provisions for it or hire in additional security. Either way this must be anticipated prior to the day.
BNW: What makes Nigerian clients special? What are they most particular about?
CE: I think security is a large priority. We have done a lot of high profile Nigerian weddings keeping the paparazzi out has always been a concern.
BNW: What were your most memorable experiences?
CE: There are so many wonderful memories that it would be hard to choose one. I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic families from Nigeria. However one client wrote a song for his new bride and performed it on the day of the wedding. While he sang it we played a music video which he recorded prior to the wedding. It was a very romantic gesture and I am not sure there was one dry eye in the ballroom.
BNW: What’s the average cost of Nigerian weddings in Dubai?
CE: There is no average cost of a wedding. This very much depends on the client’s individual taste and the number of guests attending.
BNW: What are the emerging wedding trends you see for weddings here?
CE: There is a trend for weddings in Dubai to be more than just one day. This applies for both residents and for destination weddings. The majority of wedding guests travel into the country for weddings and the couple want them to experience as much of the UAE hospitality as possible. Multiply events can include hosting an event in the desert, another at the beach and one around or with a view of the Burj Khalifa.
BNW: Lastly, please share your tips for brides in general!
CE: 1. This is one of the most important days in your life but not to lose sight of this amongst the details of the wedding. That it is good to remember from time to time what is truly important.
2. Take a moment during the day and say to yourself “This is my moment”. The day goes by so quickly that it is important to have at least one defining moment from that day.
BNW: Thank you for your time! Our readers will really appreciate it.
5. Ali Bakhtiar Designs: www.alibakhtiardesigns.com
Watch out for part 2 and 3! Coming tomorrow and the day after – on Wednesday.
Expect Wedding Dresses, Suits, Venue, Brides Behaving Badly – DOs & DON’Ts of a destination wedding and more!
PR/ Wedding Consultants: Grace & Garbo – graceandgarbo.com
Photographers: Light House Studio – lighthouse.ae
We love weddings as much as you do – get in touch for inquiries, inspiration & more!
E-mail: weddings (at) bellanaija.com | E-mail for #AsoEbiBella: asoebibella (at) gmail.com