Laila Suhail: ‘We must ensure Dubai stays ahead of the curve for global wedding trends and create memorable moments for all visitors.’

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Dubai has emerged as a city of choice for destination weddings due to its world-class infrastructure, award-winning cuisine, and unmatched service. With its blend of innovation and rich heritage, Dubai has captivated the world as a leading lifestyle hub with couples looking to the city to celebrate their special day.

Weddings form a key pillar of the city’s vibrant tourism industry and the sector’s growth aligns with the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as a leading city for business and leisure. In the realm of weddings, Dubai has also positioned itself as a destination where bespoke requests can be facilitated and where ceremonies incorporate the latest trends emerging from the global weddings sector.

At the recent Dubai Wedding Symposium, global trends such as the increasing use of new technologies and the influence of social media were top of the agenda as event planners and industry professionals discussed the demands of couples getting married in the emirate. By hosting this event, Dubai is leading the conversation in the global weddings industry and supporting its development by catering to varied requests.

Dubai delivers memorable experiences thanks to its world-class wedding ecosystem, complete 360-degree service and unique public-private partnership model. Wedding and event planners from a diverse range of nationalities call Dubai their home and the city’s network of quality suppliers, logistical experts, skilled caterers and extraordinary entertainment are able to cater to the needs of couples and their guests.

Laila Suhail, CEO of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships Sector, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: “With the goal of becoming the world’s best city to visit, live and work in, aligned with the D33 Agenda launched by our visionary leadership, we must ensure that Dubai stays ahead of the curve for global wedding trends and create opportunities and memorable moments for all visitors. As part of our strategy for tapping into the potentially huge destination wedding market, we work closely with industry partners and stakeholders to ensure they build on the city’s diverse destination proposition by developing tailored offerings for weddings. With a focus on driving growth in the tourism sector, we will continue to leverage Dubai’s position as a leading hub for destination weddings. By hosting and learning from events like the Dubai Wedding Symposium, we remain committed to providing innovative services and infrastructure to ensure that every couple’s special day is a truly extraordinary experience. We warmly invite couples from around the world to explore our city, enjoy the array of experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime. Dubai awaits to host their dream wedding.”

The Dubai Wedding Symposium (16-18 February 2024) showcased the city’s world-class facilities and amenities, along with its renowned Arabian hospitality. The fact that Dubai was ranked as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024 is testament to the city’s multifaceted offering for guests of all preferences and means, including couples planning to have a lavish wedding in Dubai.

With UAE-based and international wedding planners in attendance at the symposium, global wedding trends were a hot topic during panel discussions and presentations. Parvy Rakar, Founder and Creative Director of UK-based Snob Events, said the symposium gave a “great insight” into Dubai’s offering as a destination for weddings and gave attendees the “opportunity to connect with hotels” as well as “like-minded industry experts”.

Emma Pope, Head of Lifestyle and Events - Emaar Hospitality Group, who attended the symposium, has seen many new trends emerge for ceremonies hosted at Emaar venues across the city. “In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in demand for destination weddings in Dubai, and the city, as with every aspect of life, is committed to staying ahead of global trends,” she said.

“Emerging trends in Dubai’s wedding scene reflect a dynamic shift towards personalised experiences, stunning venues, and embracing technological innovations. From themed ceremonies to minimalist aesthetics, couples are seeking unique ways to infuse their cultural heritage into their celebrations while incorporating cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. This trend highlights Dubai’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the global wedding industry, offering couples an unparalleled canvas to craft their dream weddings. At Emaar venues in Dubai, we’ve witnessed a myriad of unique requests that speak to the city’s diverse and vibrant wedding culture. From enchanting outdoor ceremonies overlooking the iconic skyline to intimate gatherings infused with cultural elements, each wedding showcases Dubai’s ability to cater to the most bespoke requests.”

Dustin Glover, Creative Director of Ghana-based Dustin Events, said it was an “amazing experience” connecting with leading industry players and “seeing Dubai through a new lens as the best hub for destination weddings”. He added: “I am keen on leveraging my new network and contacts to create magical experiences for my clients in the city of dreams. This event has been a new window of endless possibilities for me.”

Another participant at the Dubai Wedding Symposium, Ana Toniolo of Ana Toniolo Weddings, Switzerland, expressed her appreciation for the memorable experience in Dubai. “The event was really special and helped us all get the best glimpse of everything that Dubai can offer. I hope to be back soon and with new projects to be executed in this stunning destination.”

With Dubai offering ‘endless possibilities’ for destination weddings, here are some of the latest trends to emerge within the city’s wedding sector:

​​​​​​​Personalised experiences

Aligned with a growing trend observed globally, many couples in Dubai are seeking more intimate and personalised destination weddings. Dubai offers services that can deliver bespoke requests and tailored experiences for couples, including menus, venue décor, itineraries and personal aspects to their celebrations, catering to their cultures and traditions.

Stunning venues

Luxury hospitality offerings, an exceptional track record for safety, and diverse tourism attractions have made Dubai an ideal destination for weddings. The city also boasts more than 800 hotels and resorts, unparalleled facilities and value-for-money options that cater to various budgets, without compromising on quality. Couples have a spectrum of wedding venues to choose from, including the stylish Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa, beach venues with the most stunning sunset as your backdrop at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai and Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, and the most ultra-luxury experiential resort at Atlantis The Royal.

Star guests and themed ceremonies

The ‘Get Wedded in Dubai’ guide, by industry experts Wedded Wonderland, shares stories of couples who recently got married in Dubai. One couple held their wedding at Four Seasons Resort which featured a live performance from a star guest, pop superstar Jason Derulo, while another couple based their ceremony around a fantastical Marvel Universe theme. Last year, ‘love is in the air’ was the specific theme chosen by a Dubai-based Indian couple who invited 300 guests to their wedding ceremony held onboard a private Boeing 747 aircraft on a three-hour flight from Dubai to Oman.

A diverse culinary menu

With diverse cuisines drawn from the cultures of nearly 200 different nationalities represented in the city, couples can delight their guests with a culinary journey that suits their tastes and preferences, making their wedding experience truly unforgettable.

Tech: AI and VR

As highlighted at the Dubai Wedding Symposium, Dubai’s wedding sector has seen the increasing use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) for writing vows and creating digital portraits, and virtual reality (VR) to create post-wedding VR experiences to enable couples and guests to relive the moment. Virtual weddings also continue to be a trend with couples streaming their ceremony live for guests who are unable to attend in person.

Influence of social media

A session at the symposium focused on the increasing influence of social media on destination weddings. Wedding planners and industry leaders discussed how optimising different platforms will help them stay ahead of the latest social media trends and learn how different generations engage with their followers. Influencers are setting the trends in the weddings sector, with couples using social media as an essential part of their planning process and uploading digital content directly to their channels for followers to engage with.

Weddings with a purpose

Many couples in Dubai want to consume more mindfully and are choosing to have an eco-friendly wedding with sustainable venues, using local suppliers, and reducing waste. Event planners and organisers can ensure that luxury and sustainability go hand-in-hand without compromising elegance. Philanthropy and ‘weddings with a purpose’ are other trends to emerge, with weddings extending beyond celebrations to contribute positively to social causes and communities. Couples and guests are increasingly looking for ways beyond celebrations to drive societal changes and reflect their personal values.

Connectivity: a global hub 

With its strategic location between the East and West and status as a global aviation hub, Dubai ranks as one of the world’s most connected cities. This has become a key factor for couples choosing Dubai as international and cross-cultural marriages become more common. Less than eight hours away from anywhere in Europe, Asia, and Africa, Dubai is highly open and accessible with simplified visa procedures and entry requirements.

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About Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

With the ultimate vision of making Dubai the world’s leading commercial centre, investment hub and tourism destination, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is mandated to support the Government in positioning the emirate as a major hub for global economy and tourism, and in boosting the city’s economic and tourism competitiveness indicators, in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy and consolidate its position among the top three global cities over the next decade.

Under this remit, DET is driving efforts to further enhance Dubai’s diversified, innovative service-based economy to attract top global talent, deliver a world-class business environment and accelerate productivity growth. Additionally, DET is supporting Dubai’s vision to become the world’s best city to visit, live and work in by promoting its diverse destination proposition, unique lifestyle and outstanding quality of life, overall.

DET is the principal authority for planning, supervising, developing and marketing Dubai’s business and tourism sectors. It is also responsible for licensing and classifying all types of businesses, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. DET’s portfolio includes Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC), Dubai Business Licence Corporation (DBLC), Dubai Corporation for Consumer Protection and Fair Trade (DCCPFT), Dubai SME, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) and Dubai College of Tourism (DCT). 

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