An Evening at the Wedding Follies Exhibition, BIEL

We’re just starting to gather ideas for the wedding, now that things with the house are taking shape. We’ve even done the extremely terrifying thing and set a date.

There are so many elements that go into a wedding and naturally this can be confusing for any couple. We needed a nudge in the direction of wedding planning and organizing and it came in the form of the annual Wedding Follies exhibition in BIEL.

We headed down there yesterday, not having too many expectations. First, because we’d gone last year and were surprised, not in a good way. And second, because we’re more inspired by Pinterest than classic Lebanese wedding prototypes.

Our main goal was to find a venue. And as I quickly learned, knowing exactly what you want is not a good thing. It’s not a good thing at all.

If it doesn’t glitter, intimidate your guests, comes in white, and is wildly expensive, you shouldn’t have it at your wedding.

This is a perfect example of what you should have at your wedding.

I have to admit though, last year was much worse.

Maybe it’s because this year we came with a purpose and were serious about it, but last year just felt crazy!

People were throwing flyers at me left, right and center and the whole feel of the exhibit just felt too much for me.

One of the flyers from last year, an ad for a beauty salon. It makes me scared to get married.

Looking back at those flyers though, it seemed to me that there was a greater variety of exhibitors in 2014 than this year. For example, there were over 10 photographers while this year I could only spot three. A photographer is one of the key things I’m not willing to compromise about given that we were totally screwed with our engagement pictures.

This year, it seemed the latest trend is destination weddings: Italy, Cyprus, and Greece. Take your pick, there were so many agencies offering to coordinate every step of the wedding, or even the honeymoon.
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I think it’s awesome that people have this option, but for us, it’s already a logistical nightmare getting everyone to Beirut. So we’ll get married here, thanks.

As for the honeymoon, none of these agencies could sell us on the beauty of Italy, Greece, or Cyprus, even though we know how pretty they are- we’re just going somewhere else that wouldn’t normally scream honeymoon.

That’s not to say we didn’t get some benefit out of our trip.

My bag that’s full of flyers seems to suggest otherwise, and we did get to meet a couple of people that were extremely nice and helpful. With some locations, had it not been for their presence at the fair, we wouldn’t even know of their existence.

I have to comment here on the importance of the sales pitch. I’ll give you two scenarios.

SCENARIO A:  We’re browsing the stands, trying to be as methodological as possible, when this guy stops us. He represents some suit shop and he’s giving out bags for all those papers people have accumulated. He quickly turns his attention to Ahmad and is extremely brash in his attitude, directly telling Ahmad who is very tall, not to worry because they have his size. He emphasizes size in a way that makes us feel this is a flaw rather than him being him. We quickly walk away, uninterested and unlikely we will ever be in whatever they’re selling.

SCENARIO B: Again with the browsing, we come across one stand for a major hotel chain in the country. We ask them about their outdoor locations of which they have two in different parts of Lebanon. A representative of the location that’s more further away comes over, huge smile on his face, begins talking to us like actual people, asking us about our preferences and such. Even though we weren’t that interested at the beginning, he managed to pull us in and have us talk to him for half an hour!

Lesson learned: work on your sales pitch, people!

Don’t forget to have a chandelier at your chosen venue.

Another fun incident I can share with you is this lady who was talking and boasting about the venue she represents, and she talked and talked and talked, managing to get us to ask questions, before she sprung the biggest surprise on us: to rent the price, it costs TWENTY TWO THOUSAND US DOLLARS!

That’s a real number, and it actually doesn’t include a lot of things that make a wedding what it is. It’s incredible how these packages come in so many different configurations: there’s not one true package where you can just get the majority of items and rest your head for a bit.

I’m the biggest fan of tulips but to have my whole decoration based on it is a stretch

Yes, weddings are an industry in their own right, but I will always fail to understand why it should cost more than it’s cost us to set up our house. It is one night, and even if you spare no expense, people will talk about you and probably call you cheap for missing one element or the other.

And then, with these fairs, you get the unexpected fish-out-of-water: a stand selling pots and pans. This caught Ahmad’s attention last year, and he’s been talking about it to anyone and everyone. This year, he actually gave him a piece of his mind.

Bright side: what if you could use these pots and pans to decorate your venue?

An hour and a half later, I came to the conclusion that we’re going to need to be super organized and efficient with our time in order to not feel overwhelmed by the whole process- it’s going to be hard but the result should make it all worth it.

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