It is quite unbelievable for me to think that this time last year, Ahmad and I were starting to discuss wedding dates and wedding planning. Little did I know at the time that a few conversations would lead to the most hectic six months in my recent memory.
The moment you start planning your wedding in a country like Lebanon is very similar to taking a plunge in the sea, head-first. No one tells you what to expect exactly or prepares you for the characters you’re about to encounter along the way.
So you’re pretty much on your own navigating the rocky waters of the Lebanese wedding industry, which can get really, really rough.
Of course, every experience is different and not all couples want the same thing out of their wedding. But for us, wanting to keep things low-key and budget friendly came with its fair share of lessons on how this whole thing functions which I’m sharing with you below.
- You have to remember that this is all just a business, like everything else. All those wedding planners, venues, and service providers who use catchy and emotional slogans in their advertising don’t really care that much about you. At least not as much as they care about getting hired for the job.
- It is really difficult trying to break away from the mold, especially when it seems that people are competing on who could have the most extravagant event of the season.
- It is, after all, all about appearances. It gets to a point where it would be just better if those involved got a briefcase full of money and set it on fire.
- Planning a wedding can get overwhelming so it is natural to want help from the professionals. But as I found out, they don’t do much helping- more of nudging you in the direction of their opinion which may or not be what you’re thinking of. I can only describe the vendors we have encountered as unique characters, each with their own remarkable qualities which ended up affecting our overall experience.
- At some point, everything starts to look the same. I guess that’s because the more people try to change, the more things stay the same.
- You will feel like you’re not doing enough or that you’re cutting corners because of all the “advice” being thrown at you. Do not under any circumstances go on Instagram and look up #LebaneseWeddings unless you want to go in a corner and cry or erupt in a fit of laughter or both.
- Every Lebanese DJ has a pre-determined list of songs that they will only play at weddings. So if you’re invited to a few in a given period, prepare to hear the same playlist over and over and over again. It will be at your wedding too, even if you try to avoid it.
- Like everything else here, the industry is very disorganized. There’s no clear-cut directory to follow, some businesses have not updated their social media profiles since 2012, some are even unreachable. Finding the right vendors really still depends on word of mouth.
- Prices will vary based on the season you’re having your wedding in. Prices do double if your date happens to be in the summertime: peak wedding season! In fact, the first question vendors will ask you (especially dress rental stores) is when you will be having your nuptials so they can charge you accordingly.
- Beauty salons will hike up their prices anywhere between 10 to 50 times just because they are going to pin a veil in your hair.
- Hidden costs and surprises are unavoidable.
- So is going over your budget- and you’re going to do it with a huge smile on your face. Because why would you cut corners on what is supposed to your ultimate fairy tale, the best day of your life?