With the realm of weddings and honeymoons ever transforming, Mario Hajiloizis explores the ways in which tradition and culture are again embedding themselves into this industry.
A couple’s wedding and honeymoon can only ever be unforgettable, leaving an indelible memory created from these special moments.
As such, it is only natural that the couple will leave nothing to chance, seeking out the latest trends to make the day one that both they and their guests will remember. However, this time round it appears that couples are feeling a touch nostalgic, harking back to tradition whilst also combining this with more modern trends. Referring to the MENA region, co-founder, The Bridal Room, Bruce Russell has been noticing this very trend amongst his clients, stating: “Some couples choose to host a traditional ceremony on one day and a more modern celebration the following day, satisfying both the older and younger generations. I’ve seen this work really well.
“I find that weddings such as these allow for a real creative flair and an opportunity for couples to create a truly special day. Brides and grooms are no longer saying ‘I do’ to the status quo and preferring instead to opt for personalised details that really put their stamp on proceedings.”
Regardless of the nationality of the couple, Russell told TTG that he has noticed a return to tradition, heritage and craftsmanship. Be it bridal couture, classic men’s tailoring, bespoke ‘tablescaping’ or floral decorations, those looking to tie the knot in the UK, and London in particular, place great emphasis on these aspects.
“With regards to Arabian weddings, the Zeffe dance, separate parties for men and women and an Arabic-themed menu or Middle Eastern caterers are various ways in which tradition forms an important aspect of the day,” outlined Russell, who also explained that most of his clients come from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
One of the MENA region’s well-known wedding planners, Paul Nasr, revealed to TTG that he has also witnessed a comeback of the more traditional and cultural aspects.
“What we are able to do is apply the traditional classic feel in a new spirit and create a personalised design for each client,” explained Nasr who further shared with TTG: “Classic traditional weddings usually include more warmth and charm and we are able to create a wedding result combining this charm with the cultural backgrounds and religion to which the couple belongs to.”
Usually playing host to these special occasions are hotels and resorts with their portfolio of quality facilities and services.
Within the MENA region, properties such as Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre host at least 150 weddings throughout the year, demonstrating the sector’s importance to their operations. Boasting a number of spacious venues, notably the 4,113m2 Kingdom Ballroom which can host up to 3,000 guests, the property spares no expense when it comes to satisfying its wedding clientele.
“Weddings are the most important social gatherings in Saudi Arabia and although Saudis are always looking to keep up with new, creative weddings trends that emerge every season, we have noticed that that there is always a resurgence to traditional customs amidst these unconventional touches,” informed director of marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, Tarek Bekhiet.
Having recently hosted a royal wedding from Saudi Arabia, Dusit Thani Maldives catered to 200 discerning guests, fusing both traditional and cultural traditions into the ceremony. “It is true that several traditional elements of weddings are now seen across contemporary weddings,” stated marketing and communications manager, Dusit Thani Maldives, Vivek Suri.
“Especially in Middle Eastern communities where credence is given to social bonding during festivities, it isn’t possible to keep culture and tradition at bay.”
Following on from a ceremony of merriment and celebration, couples then embark on an equally unforgettable honeymoon, with a host of extraordinary destinations and experiences to choose from.
It is known the world over that the Maldives has long been considered one of these places, with marketing and communications director, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Kimberley Roberts, referring to it as ‘often the first place thought of when speaking of honeymoons and romance’.
“The beauty of the location, combined with its peace and tranquillity, offers one of the most romantic places in the world for couples who come to relax, unwind and spend quality, uninterrupted time with their loved one.”
Another Maldives-based resort that welcomes countless honeymooners each year is the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi.
“Honeymooners can relax on a romantic sunset cruise or submerge themselves into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and revel in the beauty of the Maldivian underwater world,” added director of sales and marketing, The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi, Haydee Cruz. “Observe nature and swim with rare and exotic sea life with a snorkelling safari or take a trip to a fishing village on a local inhabited island to experience the authentic laid back way of Maldivian community life.”
An island in the Indian Ocean which is making waves in the minds of newlyweds when choosing their holiday of a lifetime, is Vamizi Island. Located off the Mozambique coast, the island getaway offers luxury villa holidays with miles of beaches, world-class diving and deep sea fishing experiences.
“Vamizi is an absolutely perfect honeymoon destination, offering endless beaches and miles of unpadded white sand and azure crystal blue waters to explore,” outlined island manager, Vamizi Island, Ellie Norris.
“The island offers castaway picnics, big game fishing and one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, bespoke wellness treatments as well as romantic beachfront dinners and intimate star gazing towers.”
Couples are increasingly on the lookout for exotic and adventurous destinations for their honeymoons, carefully selecting a destination that will guarantee them a holiday they will never forget.
“Vamizi ticks many boxes,” continued Norris. “It is perfectly paired with a safari in one of the unspoilt game parks in South Africa, Tanzania or Mozambique, or with a visit to the other famous Mozambique islands such as historic Ibo Island or Benguerra.”
As tradition makes a revival, couples look for innovative ways to fuse it with more modern trends.