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Lace dress in the desert | © Grave Loves Lace / Wikimedia
Lace dress in the desert | © Grave Loves Lace / Wikimedia
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How to Plan Your Perfect Destination Wedding in Dubai

Picture of Jessica Milek
Updated: 10 March 2017

Dubai is a luxurious and exotic option for a destination wedding. Here is what you need to know before planning your dream wedding in the Emirates.


Destination weddings give you and your guests a chance to take a holiday and experience another culture, not to mention it can also double as a honeymoon destination. Dubai is a great place for Arabian-themed desert weddings, luxurious weddings, and beach weddings. The weather is usually always sunny, the city offers lots of activities for guests, and if you have friends and family across the globe, Dubai is centrally located.

Suppliers

A destination wedding must is to hire a wedding planner. They can help you with coordinating all of the details from abroad. Wedding planners know all of the ins and the outs and will also have suppliers that they trust. To give you an idea of what to expect in terms of suppliers, read on.

Dubai has a multitude of musicians for hire, and as a multicultural city where expats outnumber locals nine to one, you have the option of picking a band or DJ that plays music in a language of your choosing.

Wedding party | ©Magikkk64 / Wikimedia https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Confetti_canon_at_london_wedding_party.jpg

Wedding party | © Magikkk64 / Wikimedia

Dubai has many stores and boutiques where décor and clothing can be bought, but if you would like to customize your wedding, options are available for that too. The souks and tailors provide the means so you can pick your décor fabrics and also have your wedding dress custom designed.

When looking your best, Dubai has got you covered. This city is home to award-winning stylists from around the globe. Dubai also has a range of spas to help you achieve that bridal glow and treatment centers that can refresh your skin with the most up-to-date technologies.

Venue

Most wedding receptions happen at hotels as they are the only places that are legally allowed to serve alcohol in the Emirates. When looking for a hotel, keep in mind whether you would like your wedding to happen in a glamorous ballroom, outside on a golf course, or on a relaxed beach. Hotels are also a great option because many times you will be able to book a ceremony and reception at the same venue. Hotels also come with packages that can save you money and time.

Wedding at the Burj Al Arab | Courtesy of Jumeirah

Wedding at the Burj Al Arab | Courtesy of Jumeirah

Save the Date

Dubai has an on-season and off-season for hosting events, as the summer months get really hot. The prime time to host a wedding in Dubai is between the months of October and May.

Make sure to send out save the dates close to a year before the wedding to give people enough time to book a vacation and buy their flights. When sending out invitations for a wedding abroad, it is also advisable to give information about the destination.

You and your guests may need a visiting visa before flying into the UAE, so let your guests know to check beforehand, and if they do need one, don’t worry, visas only take a few days to process.

Beach wedding ceremony | ©Pexels / Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/aisle-beach-celebration-ceremony-1854077/

Beach wedding ceremony | © Pexels / Pixabay

Cost

Although Dubai is a fantastic option for a destination wedding, it does come with a hefty price tag. The average cost of a wedding in Dubai ranges from $81,000 (Dh300,000) to $136,000 (Dh500,000). Rhiannon Downie-Hurst, founder and editor-in-chief of the wedding website BrideClubME.com, tells The National that, “Western expatriate couples in the UAE typically spend about $55,000 (Dh200,000) on their wedding day.”

On the other side, lavish weddings can cost into the millions. “The Arabic and Indian communities can spend up to $270,000 (Dh1m) plus on their weddings,” continues Ms. Downie-Hurst. Despite the high costs, it is possible to throw a $27,000 (Dh100,000) wedding by capitalizing on hotel packages and amenities, slashing the guest list, choosing cheaper décor, and shopping during off-seasons.

Beach reception | © Ibrahim Asad / Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/yellow-and-pink-petaled-flowers-on-table-near-ocean-under-blue-sky-at-daytime-169193/

Beach reception | © Ibrahim Asad / Pexels

Administration

All weddings involve paperwork, especially destination weddings. For a couple to legally wed in Dubai, one of the parties needs to be a resident. If one person is a resident of Dubai, then the process of getting legally married depends on which religion and which nationality you are. Paperwork takes a minimum of a month in the UAE. Prior to this, you may need permission from your own countries, which can also take a few months to complete.

The other option, which is a popular choice for expats as well as visitors, is a symbolic or blessing ceremony. It is recommended that you legally marry before hosting the ceremony. This will make your wedding day a little less stressful. Furthermore, public displays of affection are illegal and so is sex out of wedlock; however, Dubai’s economy is built on tourism, and as such, many will turn a blind eye as long as you are respectful. It is better to be safe than sorry though and get married first.

Wedding signatures | ©Jason Hutchens / Wikimedia https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bride_and_groom_signing_the_book.jpg

Wedding signatures | © Jason Hutchens / Wikimedia

Now that you know the ins and outs of weddings in Dubai, we hope that your destination wedding goes off without a hitch!