The UAE is no stranger when it comes to lavish wedding ceremonies.
And, although the wedding industry around the world has been hard hit in recent years, 2022 seems to be signalling a comeback.
In January, Vanshika Goenka wed Aneesh Misra in a multi-day ceremony that had the family booking out Dubai's Raffles The Palm Dubai.
The hotel confirmed that the wedding took place over the course of a weekend. “I believe this would be the biggest wedding Dubai would have hosted this year,” Ayman Gharib, managing director at Raffles The Palm Dubai, said in the days after the ceremony.
“We had 700 guests flying from all over the world. The most prominent business figures in the world were attending amongst other celebrity guests and performers.”
As part of the grand celebrations, a fireworks display was organised and there was a laser show on the facade of the hotel running during the main events that “danced to the music performed at the event”.
“It was an extremely unique sensorial experience,” says Gharib.
For a look at Raffles The Palm Dubai's facilities, scroll through the gallery below:
Some other details that lent the occasion a luxe touch?
“VIP guests [were] gifted gold-leafed hangers and mirrors. The most sought-after waffle makers from Belgium were flown in for special waffle-making. And the flowers, that were changed daily, were flown into Dubai, filling an entire aircraft.”
The celebrations even took place at a glittering ceremony at Ain Dubai one evening.
It took approximately eight months to organise a wedding of this grandeur.
What was on the menu?
When it comes to weddings, food can be a make or break deal, and this one had all its bases covered.
Foodlink was chosen as the caterers for the event, and brought together other local and global partners such as Roberto’s, Al Safadi, Angelina, Wafi Gourmet and more. This also included the likes of star chefs Manuel Berganza and specialist chefs from India offering everything from street food to modernist and experimental cuisine.
Some creative dishes at the wedding included confit Spanish lamb in brioche and cilantro picada, poached scallop, patatas bravas, roasted pumpkin gratinated with almond butter and eggplant “caviar”, lightly pickled cucumber stuffed with lobster salad, and baby vegetables with Romesco and black olive earth.
Interactive stations were a big part of the Palm Jumeirah wedding, with a fresh truffle station with Alba white and black truffles, as well asnd lobster, caviar and oyster stations.
Meanwhile, for those with a sweet tooth, there were signature dishes by brands including a selection by Pierre Marcolini, Angelina (which is known for its hot chocolate), Sprungli, Magnolia Bakery, Laderach and Massimo Gelato.
Wedding feast trends in 2022
If you’re wondering what it takes to craft a feast of such grandeur, it all begins with “curating the right menu, keeping in mind the preferences, background, traditions and demographics of the guest list,”says Sanjay Vazirani, managing director of Foodlink.
“On the basis of this information, we propose menus keeping every celebration distinct and special.”
There are some new trends in the industry too, fuelled, in part owing to the pandemic.
For example, single-serve packages or mono portions are here to stay. “A robust and updated food safety and management system and appointment of trained hygiene officers are also a must-have,” says Vazirani.
Customers are also more health and eco-conscious, selecting food that is locally produced and sustainable, while plant-based eating is also on the rise.
Finally, interactive cooking stations are also popular. “Guests are no longer impressed by their food being made live in front of them. They expect it. This way they get to pick and choose the ingredients, interact with the chefs. And the experience of eating it fresh is not comparable,” says Vazirani.
This year may have started off in grand fashion when it comes to weddings, but Vazirani predicts 2022 is only going to get better from here, when it comes to celebrations in the UAE.
“Dubai is not just rising in ranks, it’s widely considered one of the best global destinations," he says. "Looking at the growing number of elite brands from different nations that are expanding their business in the UAE, it’s clear that the country has established itself — both with working, living and planning special occasions.”