Weddings have always attracted public attention like none other. With fancy decor, a starry guest list and some over the top spending, these events prove aspirational for many.

Last month’s pre-wedding celebration of Anant Ambani — son of Asia’s richest industrialist Mukesh Ambani — and Radhika Merchant was one such celebration that had global media talking. From politicians and entrepreneurs to world-renowned performers and actors, the guest list was a starry affair.

Post the Covid pandemic, UAE has emerged as one of the most popular spots for destination weddings. With easy travel access, a wide range of options to choose from and picturesque locations, there are several factors that make the country a popular location for couples from around the world.

At KT, we look at some of the most expensive and most talked about weddings that have taken place in the UAE:

Japinder Kaur and Harpreet Singh Chadha

The big fat Indian wedding of Bollywood director Japinder Kaur and her beau and businessman Harpreet Singh Chadha was a thing of the lore. Held in 2017, it was a 5-day celebration held across three locations — Palazzo Versace, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa. In a first, it had 350kg of rose petals dropped from a helicopter onto a yacht over guests.

Sheikha Mahra wedding

In 2023, Sheikha Mahra bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, got married in an ethereal ceremony.

Donning a white, embroidered gown, a net veil and a diamond necklace, she wed her beau Sheikh Mana. A 7-tier cake was served at the ceremony that is believed to have cost millions of dirhams.

Adel Sajan wedding

Imagine transforming an entire cruise ship into a wedding venue. That is what Adel Sajan, the heir of Dubai-based real estate company Danube, did when he got married to his high school sweetheart Sana Khan.

With 1,000 guests on board, the event had a 13-tier wedding cake and décor that included over 20,000 red roses. The starry guest list included Bollywood stars like Gauhar Khan, Malaika Arora, Shilpa and Shamita Shetty, Dia Mirza, the Meet Brothers and composing duo Vishal and Shekhar. Rumoured to have cost over Dh100 million, the 2017 ceremony lasted several days.

The Popley wedding

In November last year, Vidhi Popley, daughter of prominent UAE-based businessman Dilip Popley, got married aboard a modified 747 aircraft. More than 350 esteemed guests flew in from around the globe for the wedding ceremony that took place during a three-hour journey from Dubai to Oman. With games and a wedding ceremony, it was an unforgettable event.

Lulu wedding, 2018

According to Florian Ughetto, founder of Easy Wedding, one unforgettable UAE wedding took place in 2018. It was that of the youngest daughter of renowned Dubai businessman M.A. Yusuff Ali. “This wedding was a multi-day affair with an estimated price tag of Dh4 million,” he said. “The wedding featured a private concert by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, elaborate dance routines, and a guest list packed with celebrities.”

Last year, the businessman’s niece got married in a similar lavish ceremony that last several days

Kris Fade and Brianna, 2022

UAE-based radio presenter Kris Fade tied the knot with his partner Brianna in a “bling”-worthy ceremony in 2022. The event, which was livestreamed on Instagram and later telecast on Dubai Bling, took place on the lawn of the Ritz-Carlton hotel at JBR. With a personalized message on the Ain Dubai, a 7-tier cake with their initials embossed on it and a starry guest list, the wedding was the talk of the town for many days.

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