The inaugural Sharjah Bridal Fair (SBF) showcased a variety of the best wedding products and services under one roof from May 19-22. Recognising the burgeoning wedding industry in the region, the fair was warmly received at the Jawaher reception and convention centre (JRCC) in Sharjah, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. A thematically organised set-up took the visitors step by step through every element of wedding planning; exhibitors showcased gowns, perfumes, hair and make-up, sweets and desserts, jewellery, dresses and abayas, photography and videography, honeymoon destinations, flower arrangements, wedding koshas and daily live entertainment There were many surprises in store for visitors, includingblushingmodels gliding through the hall in a range of elegant, grand and subtle wedding gowns. The fashion shows also displayed crossover outfits, which Middle Eastern weddings are often known for, featuring varying levels ofsleek and dean lines, soft draping and eye-catching embroidered numbers. Brides also had the chance to review the fair's designs and the latest local and international collections in JRCC's Bride Guide?an exclusive publication dedicated to the wedding planning journey. WORKSHOPS The panels and workshops were also a hit. A full house of mesmerized women looked on as experts took the stage to reveal trade secrets in hairstyling, bridal make-up and nutrition. Couples-to-betook notes atworkshops by professionals and psychologists on building a successful marriage, finance management and wedding planning, and explored and interacted with renowned wedding professionals to make their wedding day and the honeymoon to follow smoothly. The first day included a talk on `Surviving the 1st Year of Marriage' delivered by Khalid Al Amen and his wife Salama Mohammed, as well as a talk on "Planning a Successful Marriage and DevelopingMarriage Skills"delivered by Psychologist Dr Suad Al Marzouqi in collaboration with Sharjah Family Development Centres. On the second day, directly confronting the topic of the wedding budget and expenses was the 'How much is too much to spend on aweddingf session, moderated by Dubai TV presenter, RahafAl Taweel; the spirited workshop, which covered matters such as managing expenses and how to ensure not to blow the wedding budget, also saw the participation of personal development coach and project consultant Hamed Al Ali from the Family Development Centres ofSharjah. Adding a human face to the wedding spending dilemma was Maitha Al Aryani, who spoke frankly and entertainingly about her experience managing her own wedding budget while Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of JRCC, shared a hospitality perspective about the wedding budget and services. The panel was followed by a presentation of the 'Four-Week Bridal Body Prep Plan' by renowned life coach and nutritionist, Nathalie Basma. The event concluded with a series of bridal hairstyling and makeup tutorial sessions featuring Nisreen, Founder and General Manager of Royal Beauty House, and renowned British makeup artist, Sarah Baldry, whose 25-years experience in beauty and fashion makeup includes her work with major Hollywood stars such as Julianne Moore, Matt Damon and George Clooney. Health educator, Eman Ali Turki, in cooperation with the Health Education Department of Sharjah, then delivered an informative session about "Marital Health Issues", and the fair's official events photographer and videographer sponsor, Pink Pepper Photography, gave insightful wedding photography and videography advice to attendees. Throughout the duration of the fair, visitors were treated to an exciting programme filled with folk and international music, as well as live entertainment. FASHION SHOWS Striking a magnificent balance between classic cuts, and traditional and trendy designs, local and international labels staged daily fashion shows with a contemporary mix of materials. One such label was Azzalia a highend Emirati brand that was officially launched on the opening day of SBF by Sheikha Amal Bint Mana Al Maktoum. Azzalia seamlessly combines the latest international fashion designs with an Emirati feel, and is set to pave the way for talented Emirati designers to enter the world offashion entrepreneurship at both regional and international levels. The Esposa show highlighted international designs, representing highend labels such as Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, Oscar De La Renta, Isabel Sanchis, Tony Ward and Gemmy Couture and Esposa Couture, while Dar Al Sara, Kainaat Jewels, Arushi, Geelato and Zuha Abaya featured varied styles to suit every taste, with lacy dresses, heart necklines, dramatic skirts and long trails gracing the catwalk.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016