Mennat’s Top Seven Hidden Abu Dhabi Wedding Gems|Expert Advice
Mennat’s Top Seven Hidden Abu Dhabi Wedding Gems
Everybody knows that weddings can be one of the most expensive events of your life, particularly if you are going all out to wow many guests. But for everything that might cost a fortune (the dress, the venue etc), there are other areas that you can cut back on by being a little savvy and creative.
This month, our BCME expert panel member, Mennat Al Hammami, Managing Director of Cloud 9 Weddings and Events, is here to offer you her exclusive insight into her top seven hidden ‘wedding gems’ in Abu Dhabi. These are the places where you can really make a substantial saving, meaning that you’re less likely to feel guilty about those expensive elements on your big day. If you’re based elsewhere in the UAE, fear not, as you’ll also find most of these places throughout the country. Or, you could always plan a day trip to the capital to discover for yourself the gems that Mennat recommends…
In this feature, I am going to highlight the secret places brides can pick up unique items for their weddings in the capital. We all know how difficult it can be to stick to that budget! The key things to remember when trying to do so, are to plan in advance and to shop wisely. If you have read our previous expert entry, you will know that I advise brides to create lists and plan six to eight months before the wedding. This will buy time to shop around and look for everything you need; in other words, save on aspects of the wedding by comparing prices and looking for what it is you really want vs. a mere quick market find.
When it comes to wedding shopping, the following are my go to places in Abu Dhabi, which I am very happy to share with all brides-to-be on a budget.
Daiso is truly a Godsend to wedding stylists! I usually pick up small vases, boxes, vintage props, giveaway bags and fairy lights from this store. These are just some of the things you can find. Depending on the season’s festivities, Daiso will stock up on loads of fun props at a very reasonable price too. Most of their items are 7 Dirhams per piece.
It’s no secret that IKEA has been a go to place for planners for years. From flower pots, to curtains, glass jars and bottles and frames, it is so easy to mould these items into however you need them to look on the day of the wedding, and more importantly, re-use at home after the wedding! Not to mention, IKEA is one of the more affordable places in the UAE and you are guaranteed a good quality product.
Although this place has been around for years, not many brides would think to visit it. I would recommend it to all brides who are Indie or Arabesque inspired for their wedding. Look to pick up intricate tassels, lanterns or candleholders (think gold and deep hues). They usually have good quantities available, so don’t be afraid to ask a salesperson. It usually takes them a week or so to collect the items from their different branches yet they always get the job done!
Malik & Shahid Stores
Known for its textiles, sewing accessories and tools, this local establishment is tucked away behind Abu Dhabi’s Madinat Zayed Souk. It is on the main back road and is tough to miss as it is quite large. This place is for the crafty and hands on bride! If you are looking for adorned fabric trinkets or even table linens, you can find everything you need here. I personally love visiting this store especially for their vintage lace trims and ribbons. You will find all sorts of interesting types of trims that suit any occasion.
Everyone I know owns at least one home item from Zara. The store is always on trend, and their linens and plate collections never cease to amaze me. This is the store I would visit to pick up a one off item or decorative table pieces for very intimate weddings of 20 guests or so. You can also purchase some intricate flower vessels to add to a collection of clear glass ones. Another great thing I purchase are napkin rings (when they go on sale!). My best advice is to visit, know what you’re looking for ahead of time, and simply wait until it’s sale time and “pounce” when the time is right!
Al Meena Souk
Situated near the main port of Abu Dhabi, this place is in no way extravagant, which is probably what makes it so unexpectedly good! If you’re after plants and/or garden flowers for décor or mini-sized wedding favours, you can find them at the plant market here. The prices are very reasonable and there is even room for bargaining. You can also find succulents and small cacti in cute pots! Other good items to look out for are decorative urns, statues and other gardening accessories that might be suitable for your wedding theme.
If you’re in need of any last minute stationery, this place has a very fun collection of wedding invitations, thank you cards, albums and scrapbooks (that can be used by your guests to leave you marriage advice), and table decorations. Most of their items are tailored towards a quirkier bride yet their invitations can include some very minimal elegant designs too.
Remember, the earlier you get started – and the more things you think about early on – the less ‘last-minute stress’ you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts and research other good ideas.