BEIRUT: It’s never too early for wedding inspiration. And for the slew of nuptials planned for this summer, Wedding Folies expo 2014 offers top picks from the country’s zaffe dancers, table-scape artists, caterers and dressmakers.
Wedding Folies is an annual trade show held at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure center and organized by Promofair. Now in its 11th year, Wedding Folies 2014 will be held under the patronage of first lady Wafaa Sleiman. The exhibition begins Wednesday and will close Sunday night.
Last year, Wedding Folies attracted more than 150 exhibitors displaying a variety of goods and services that have become essential components of modern Lebanese weddings. Luxury car rental services show off vintage convertibles. Bridal image consultants offer sessions in styling and etiquette. Florists and lighting service providers show off their most outlandish decorating innovations. Several dozen venues, such as hotels, resorts and private gardens, are expected to participate in this year’s expo.
An annual fashion show for bridal dresses is a staple of Wedding Folies and one of the most-attended events in past years. The designers will also be on hand throughout the expo to explain collections and show off their locally made gowns. Jewelry boutiques will also have pop-up shops, where grooms, and wishful brides, can peruse bands and wedding sets.
Travel agencies such as Ghorayeb Travel and local stationary makers such as Royal Wedding Cards have announced that they will attend this year’s expo.
Women wandering around the massive exhibition space also get to see what’s on trend. For example, last year exhibitors promoted things like Latin dance as a replacement for the traditional zaffe troupes and sushi dinners or international buffets instead of platters of traditional Lebanese mezze.
Each year, hair and makeup stylists recruit a team of models to show off extensions worthy of wedding hair, which many spray into elaborate bundles of stiff curls.
Couples can also explore hot places for honeymoons. Thailand, Seychelles and the Maldives have all become top getaways for newlyweds.
Tourism overall in Lebanon has taken a nosedive in recent years. But weddings attract a dependable number of expatriates and members of the Lebanese diaspora back to the country for the slew of ceremonies each summer.
At previous events, wedding planners told The Daily Star that the majority of their business came from Lebanese living outside the country who wanted to get married here.
Dubbed a burgeoning industry only five years ago, weddings in Lebanon provide much-needed business to fashion designers, travel agencies, food and beverage services, beauty salons and entertainment companies.
The ostentatiousness of local wedding trends has also given rise to a growth of Lebanese wedding planners, who also look to the Gulf for some of their biggest projects. At last year’s show, they estimated most modest Lebanese weddings to start at around $30,000.
Exhibitors at Wedding Folies are meant to reflect the range of budgets – inviting both luxury and medium-range industry leaders to participate.
Wedding Folies 2014 will start Wednesday at 4 p.m. and run daily until Sunday at 10 p.m at the BIEL. For more information, call 01-561-600.