What Would Newlyweds In The UAE Have Done Differently On Their Wedding Day? |Expert Advice From Mennat Al Hammami

What would newlyweds in the UAE have done differently on their wedding day? 

When you’re planning your wedding, people will always be on hand to offer their own experiences and advice about what worked well and what they might have done differently, not only on the day itself, but throughout the entire planning process. Perhaps you even have your own opinions about what to do and what not to do after attending various weddings as a guest or member of the wedding party.

This month, our very own BCME expert panel member and founder of Cloud Nine Weddings & Events, Mennat Al Hammami, has collected some fantastic advice from recent brides and grooms, in order to help you through the difficult decisions that inevitably arise during your planning. Including an example from her own wedding day, Mennat explains how, with a little forward thinking, you can ensure that your day runs as smoothly as possible. Enjoy!


Whether you recall your wedding clearly or not, there are definitely some parts of the day that will stand out in your mind. Be they good moments or the opposite of that, this month’s article recounts couples’ recollections of what they would have done differently on their big day. I decided to use the experiences of real brides and grooms as a way to give new brides advice on certain aspects of a wedding that always seem a little tricky to decide on.

♡ Couple & Family Photos


My one regret was postponing my couple’s photos and family portraits until after my entrance, instead of having them earlier on in the day. The idea was to be totally relaxed when getting ready and spend quality time with my bridal party.

Right after the big processional entrance, more commonly known as the zaffah, I was ready to greet my guests and have a great time. However, we still had the plan to take as many photos as possible after the entrance and first dance. My fiancé and I took our shots and wrote a smart photo-list order that required less wrangling of family. In the end, the photos took a big portion of the timeline. I ended up missing the first dance segment and could see all of my friends partying it up on the dance floor, whilst I was still busy. My advice to future brides is to allot plenty of time for photo sessions before the reception, even if you think it is too much; you never know what might happen to delay the photo session from starting!

♡ Speeches

Many of my recent couples feel that no reception is complete without at least a few words from loved ones like parents or best friends. This recollection is from a groom:

I asked my mentor and boss to give a speech at my wedding. After many discussions, my wife and I thought it was appropriate for this to happen before dinner. I guess he thought it was okay to jump on the stage where our band was performing, right after the first dance was over. Little did he know that he had hurt the bride and the family’s feelings, who were getting up to join us after a very special and heartfelt moment! The mood completely shifted when that happened. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to finalise the wedding day program with your planner before the wedding and avoid last minute additions (we had added the speech at the last minute). Do list whoever is in charge of the microphone and those who will speak.

 ♡ Cutting the Cake


Timing the cutting of the cake at my wedding was such a big ordeal. My husband’s family and my own both said that the moment is a big sign to attendees that it’s acceptable to leave the reception without being thought rude. We insisted that we wanted to have it just before the buffet was open, as a sign that it was eating time. Surely enough, the guests knew it was time for dinner, and almost 30% of our guests left after they were done with the main course and did not stay behind for the second part of the wedding, which was the most fun because it was the dancing segment.

As a planner, I always advise couples to think about the demographic of the guests and whether or not they mind if some leave during the party segment of the evening, and to plan accordingly for this.

♡ Receiving Lines vs. Table Visits

This tip comes from my own positive experience as a bride. Traditionally in large Arabic weddings, a receiving line can be held once the couple enters the venue and make their way to the bridal seat, also known as the kosha. While it may feel slow or old-fashioned, it serves a very important purpose: It gives the couple the opportunity to greet and thank 300+ guests. Saying, “hello and thank you for coming” was a must at my wedding and the process took almost an hour! Luckily, we arranged it to happen at the very beginning of the reception, and left plenty of time for the band to play afterwards and for people to mingle.

Couples with 150 guests or less can skip receiving lines in favour of greeting attendees via table visits. The most important thing is to know how much time you expect this to take, and schedule it in the running order of the day or evening.

Thanks Mennat! Have you been to a wedding where you would have personally done things a little differently? Perhaps it was your own wedding? Please comment below if you have any advice for future brides to be.

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