Arabian Academy Of Wedding Planning Networking Event With Chelsea LaVere

Arabian Academy Of Wedding Planning Event With Chelsea LaVere of Tidewater And Tulle

Just over a week ago, the Bride Club ME team had the privilege of attending the Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning’s networking event and lunch. Held at the Baker Finch room of the Arabian Ranches Golf Club, this informative and social session saw industry experts and academy students come together in the presence of renowned wedding industry expert Chelsea LaVere.

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Readers of Bride Club ME may well be familiar with Chelsea’s blog, Tidewater and Tulle. This super pretty site, based in Virginia, USA, is the number one wedding blog in the region. Chelsea is also a founding co-owner of Aisle Society, and, as a former wedding photographer, it’s pretty clear why she is so respected within the industry. We were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to hear her speak at the event, which was also attended by BCME vendors, including Rikki and Victoria of Remarkable.

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The session, moderated by Bonita from the Arabian Academy, was incredibly informative and proved to be useful for everyone in the room. With discussions ranging from the importance of having a website and how to coordinate styled shoots to the importance of fully crediting all vendors when collaborating, everybody in the room was able to take away something from the session. Afterward, a delicious lunch was served and some informal networking took place.

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Bride Club ME managed to catch up with Chelsea despite her busy schedule (she was only in Dubai for a few days!). We were thrilled to be able to ask her all about Tidewater and Tulle and to get her opinion on the wedding scene here in the Middle East. Find out more in her interview below, which gives valuable insight on global trends and how they may translate to weddings in the UAE.

An Interview With Chelsea LaVere Of Tidewater And Tulle

Above: Chelsea Lavere from Tidewater And Tulle.

Above: Chelsea LaVere, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tidewater And Tulle.

Tell us a little bit about your wedding blog, Tidewater and Tulle?

Launched in December 2013, Tidewater and Tulle is the online wedding and honeymoon publication for couples getting married in or around the southeastern coastal region of Virginia in the United States. Whether it is on the sands of Virginia Beach, on the cobblestone streets of historic Williamsburg, or in a rustic barn outside of Richmond, Tidewater and Tulle is the community for anyone with a Hampton Roads region connection or a love for all things coastal. We are Virginia’s number one wedding blog by way of Google and are proud to be considered an industry leader for regional online wedding publications.

What made you decide to come to Dubai to take part in the Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning event?

I had been in south India for the previous week on a press trip, and when I saw there were layover opportunities, I knew that was my chance to visit the Middle East for the first time. When I finalised plans, one thing led to another with Bonita of The Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning who made this special event happen. It was an honour being the speaker and sharing a bit of business and home life with Dubai!

You were only in Dubai a short time, but what was your impression of the city?

My brief visit was not long enough! Dubai was a perfect gateway city to the Middle East. For those who might be hesitant to travel, the UAE gives a look into the beauty that the Middle East has to offer for couples and travelers alike. There was so much warm hospitality at the Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach; there was never a moment where I wasn’t romanced by this resort! I also went on a camel desert safari with Platinum Heritage, and it was such an experience I’ll never forget, learning about wildlife and plant life in the UAE, Bedouin traditions, and the peacefulness that is the expansive desert. And of course, getting to meet wedding and industry professionals through Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning was a huge highlight — people make up any destination, and the warm hospitality was so memorable!

What do you think the similarities and differences are between the UAE wedding industry and the global industry?

The passion for weddings was the biggest similarity, and I believe this truly catapults any industry forward. The desire to utilise local resources is such a beautiful thing. The unique aspect of the UAE wedding industry is the diversity. With a large expat community that might lean more towards overt sharing online along with more private Arabic/Muslim/Indian wedding traditions, there is that line of celebration privacy versus global inspiration sharing when it comes to weddings, and that can always provide a challenge with business marketing and educating potential couples.

What current wedding trends in the USA do you think will filter through to the UAE as we prepare to welcome the new season?

When we talked about trends during the Arabian Academy presentation, it made me laugh when I saw the collective reaction of “blush and gold” and “burlap.” It seems some couples’ well-loved wedding favorites will always be universal. So for some current hot wedding trends, we will start seeing a lot of mixed media elements (e.g., metal paired with fabric, pattern sewn with solid colors, et cetera), velvet (which lends itself well to the shimmery desert sands of Dubai), and greenery (which will be fascinating to see how it plays out in the Middle East since it’s not as dominant of a colour in the landscape).

The Girl Tyler - Mixed Media

Photo credit: The Girl Tyler 

The UAE wedding industry has seen a lot of growth in the past few years. How do you see this developing?

From getting to know the region through friends, editors, and content I’ve seen online, there is so much growth just waiting to happen for the Middle Eastern market! The landscapes, local resources, and wedding professionals available to couples are plentiful and stunningly perfect for destination weddings.

Unfortunately, with current world affairs, the Middle Eastern wedding world gets stifled and doesn’t get to shine like it should. With more professionals submitting to online wedding publications and more gorgeous imagery showcasing local resources being circulated, the industry is going to rise to the global spotlight. Popular destinations like Dubai only help to elevate the region as a great option for travel and adventurous destination celebrations.

What would be your top tips for our American expat readers who are currently planning their weddings back home in the USA?

Find that wedding planner! Because we have a large military community where I live, there are a lot of couples who have to plan their weddings from abroad as well. By hiring a wedding planner, you literally can rest easy knowing you have a local on the ground to take care of the heavy lifting when you cannot be physically present yourself. Trust the professionals you’ve hired and be sure to communicate ideas clearly – sharing images, ideas, and even small details that might not seem like they matter can mean all the difference for a stress-free planning process.

As a seasoned wedding photographer and blogger, how do you feel local websites like help the local wedding industry?

Exponentially influential! While I’m slightly biased since I run a local website myself, the research has proven that Google loves local and fresh, relevant concentrated content for any media specialty. I have a huge heart for local websites like Bride Club ME because it offers quality wedding inspiration and vendor resources for engaged couples for a very specific region – something my own region didn’t have when I was planning my wedding over 8 years ago. Planning a wedding nowadays is so much easier when you know you can find most everything in one place by a website you can trust.

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Photo credit: Dani White Photography 

Thank you, Chelsea! For more information on the Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning and the courses that they offer, click here.

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