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Dubai booms as ‘wedding tourism’ destination

While the city is known all over the world for its sandy beaches, impressive skyline, luxury hotels and mega malls, Dubai is also catering to visitors who want to take home more than just souvenirs – they want to leave with a new husband or wife.

The growing number of “wedding tourists” flying into Dubai has not only boosted sales at jewellery stores and bridal suite bookings at hotels, many businesses are springing up to help people’s big day in the desert go off without a hitch.

Caroline Garvey set up her Proposal Boutique to offer a helping hand to couples planning to tie the knot, or even men looking for the perfect place to pop the question.

She got the idea after her fiance organised a five-day trip to New York that culminated in a candle-lit dinner in a closed-off section of Central Park, where he proposed.

Dubai, weddings, proposals, wedding tourism, Dubai tourism, Dubai weddings
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“We thought we’d set it up for British people coming to Dubai on holiday, but when we launched it last year the first person to get in touch was someone living here,” Ms Garvey said.

Her clients so far have come predominantly from India and the United States, as well as the UK.

Although some men think the more lavish the proposal the better, Ms Garvey said some of the nicest have been those with a smaller budget.

“It’s not about how much you spend, but how much thought has gone into it,” Ms Garvey said, although she is currently planning a hot air balloon proposal as well as a salsa-themed event.

British expatriate James Oliver, 32, who lives in Dubai, was one of Ms Garvey’s first clients.

“I wanted to propose for several months but didn’t know how to do it. I am away a lot and work long hours, so I really wasn’t sure how I would make the proposal work. If Jayne [my fiancee] saw me in the mall running around she would have been suspicious.”

The day included sending his fiancee a Parisian-themed picnic basket for breakfast, a spa treatment, shopping trip, and being driven around in a Porsche limousine, all finished off with him popping the question on board a luxury yacht in Dubai Marina.

Named one of the most romantic restaurants in the UAE by the travel website Trip Advisor, Pierchic at Al Qasr hotel has had a fair share of its customers getting down on one knee with a diamond ring in hand.

“We see guests proposing every second week,” said Margarita Khadyuk, the venue’s manager. “The setting is so spectacular that it’s really a special place to propose.”

Swedes Malin and David Aspehult can vouch for that. In December 2011, Mr Aspehult, 35, proposed to Malin at the restaurant, and two years later to the day the couple were married in the same place by a Swedish priest.

“Dubai is a fantastic wedding destination and I would strongly recommend it,” said Mrs Aspehult, 37.

Capturing a couple’s special day keeps wedding photographer Helen Shippey busy. She has seen the number of destination weddings rise in the past three years, especially from Scandinavian couples.

“The most sought-after locations are the Dubai beaches where you can see the Burj Al Arab Hotel in the background or Burj Khalifa.

“Souk Madinat Jumeriah is also a place many choose to take photos at since they then get a lovely Arabic feel in their wedding photographs to symbolise where they actually got married.”

Jerome Barbeau, food and beverage director of Mina A’Salam hotel says that the beach restaurant and lounge Shimmers, is the hotel’s prime spot for proposals.

He says staff are asked to assist in proposals by for example, organising flowers, rings and assisting with other surprises. He spoke of one creative couple whose special day took 48 hours of preparations. “An Indian gentleman proposed to his fiance in November and was very creative. He put love letters and notes on the sand all along the red carpet leading to the romantic majlis, where the lady had to pick them up along the way and read the messages,” he said.

“We arranged lots of candles and vases in the shape of a heart on the sand. There was a huge cake with the words ’Will you marry me’. Genuinely the gentleman was trying his hardest to make sure that everything was perfect for his fiancée, which was a joy to assist in.”

He says other proposals have included a private beachside tent with a private dinner and a private band playing exclusively for the couple with the ring hidden inside the flowers decorating the space. This took two weeks to execute.

“There is no specific time of the year for proposals [but] around the holidays is always very popular for marriage proposals at Madinat Jumeirah. Christmas and New Year are busy times,” he said.

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04:39 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Contracts for destination weddings depend on who's paying

Q: I am planning a destination wedding for a nice young couple and their families, bridesmaids, groomsmen and other friends. I have obtained a good group rate at a Caribbean resort for 20 rooms, and I will handle airline reservations and ground transfers, rolling them into per-person price. Do I contract with just the bride and groom, or do I need a contract with each traveler? What should the contracts provide for?

A: Destination weddings have become very popular in the last decade. Unfortunately, they have also become the source of many lawsuits because the agencies' contracts do not make each party's rights and obligations clear.

Mark Pestronk
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Which party or parties you should contract with depends on whom you can expect to pay for the packages you are putting together. For example, you can have a contract that places the entire financial burden on the father of the bride, as in a traditional, local wedding reception. Or the contract can be with the wedding couple, making them responsible for full payment for all the participants.

Most likely, however, the guests will be expected to pay for themselves. In that case, you need a contract with each guest, just as you would with any tour participant. These contracts can be called "participant's agreements" or just "terms and conditions," and they would spell out deposit, final payment and cancellation requirements.

You should have another contract with the bride and groom that, in effect, guarantees against nonpayment by a guest and also clearly spells out the details and costs of the wedding ceremony and reception.

The guests should pay you, not the bride and groom, in order to protect against embezzlement, which will leave your agency on the hook to suppliers and guests demanding refunds. When each guest pays you, you could credit the bride and groom's account, leaving them responsible only for unpaid rooms.

Aside from the details, one of the biggest problems of destination weddings is a price increase due to lower participation than the minimum required or due to cost increases imposed by suppliers. You need to make clear that price increases are possible.

If air transportation is a mandatory part of your package, you need to obey the U.S. Department of Transportation rule that requires you obtain the client's written (or recorded oral) consent (at sign-up) to any price increase after a deposit is taken. After final payment, you cannot increase the price unless it is for taxes.

Another big, potential source of litigation is cancellation: If the wedding is cancelled, what happens to the guests' payments? Unfortunately, many guests will expect a refund, so you need to specify that there will be no refunds for cancellations for any reason within a fixed number of days before the trip.

If you deal with a wholesaler, the wholesaler might require each guest to agree to the wholesaler's own terms and conditions. Remember that such terms do not protect you, and they might make it more likely that you will be sued because the wholesaler is protected by its terms and conditions.

Your participant's agreement should be signed by each participant 18 and older, if they are paying for their own travel. Otherwise, you can send the terms in an emailed itinerary.

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04:51 Publié dans wedding | Tags : weddings | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Same-Sex Couple Together For 72 Years Finally Get Married

A lesbian couple who have been together for 72 years recently tied the knot at First Christian Church in Davenport on Saturday.

Vivian Boyack married her partner of 72 years, Alice "Nonie" Dubes, in intimatewedding ceremony attended by the couple's closest friends and family members. Duringthe event, Rev. Linda Hunsaker described the wedding as a "celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago".

Lesbian Wedding
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Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, were introduced to each other in Yale, Iowa, the place where the couple grew up.

The two then moved from their hometown to Davenport in 1947, where Boyack served as a longtime teacher at Lincoln and Grant elementary schools. In describing her chosen profession during the Saturday ceremony, Boyack shared that she has always wanted to be a teacher. "My plan at an early age was to teach in the school where I was then going, and my teacher would move on to another school," the 91-year-old shared.

On the other hand, Dubes took charge of the payroll department at the Times and Democrat for 13 years. In sharing her experience at the news business, Dubbes said that she was assigned to sign the paychecks for everybody, even that of Bill Wundram. The 90-year-old then left the news business to work for Alter Corporation, where she stayed for 25 years.

In giving the guests a glimpse of their relationship Boyack and Dubes said that they have visited all 50 states and all provinces of Canada. They also traveled to England twice. "We've had a good time," Dubes described their adventures. In addition, Boyack shared that their 72-year relationship is a product of lots of love and hard work.

One of the couple's guests, Jerry Yeast, has been friends with the newlyweds since he worked as an 18-year-old landscaper in their yard. "I've known these two women all my life, and I can tell you, they are special," the 73-year-old said. "This is a very special day for all of us," the couple's good friend added.

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04:31 Publié dans wedding | Tags : married | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)