Dubai continues to be a preferred location for Destination Weddings amongst Nigerians. Unsurprisingly due to it’s beautiful architectural structures, scenery, weather and convenient location between Europe, Africa and Asia, making it easily accessible from around the world.
We recently caught up with Olga Geraschenko, Founder and Creative Director of Save the Date, a boutique event management company based in Dubai which creates beautiful and bespoke weddings & events for clients throughout the UAE and abroad.
LÒFINDA: Tell us a bit about Save The Date.
OLGA: Save the Date started out four years ago as a planning and designing company with focus on event management as well as designs. Productions are done in-house; designs, execution and set up inclusive. Most of our works are internationally published in different wedding magazines.
LÒFINDA: How many Nigerian or African weddings do you plan a year?
OLGA: There’s no definite number; but we don’t take more than 4 weddings a month, In order to give couples the time and attention they require.
LÒFINDA: As you major in wedding plannings, what is the percentage of the Nigerian weddings that you plan in comparison to other weddings?
OLGA: We don’t only do Nigerian Nigerian weddings. We’ve got clients from the United States of America, Dubai, Europe but Nigerians have the greater percentage.
LÒFINDA: Is there a particular reason why Dubai is a preferred Wedding Destination for Nigerians?
OLGA: There are several reasons. One being that Dubai is easily accessible.
The quality and level of services offered in Dubai is very high. Being one of the world’s leading wedding destinations, it won the opportunity to host the global wedding summit.
Also, due to availability of resources, vendors and services, weddings can be planned within a really short period of time.
LÒFINDA: How difficult is it to efficiently plan a destination wedding from afar and how to you achieve customer satisfaction?
OLGA: We take care of weddings from A – Z therefore, it is very crucial to be in regular contact with clients who live very far away and may never have been here. We understand how important it is that clients needs are met therefore, we have a particular person delegated to each couple.
LÒFINDA: Is there any particular trend with Nigerian weddings? Are they always Grand? We know that a large percentage of Couples choose destination weddings because they’re trying to avoid the crowd. What’s the average number of guests at the Nigerian weddings that you’ve planned?
OLGA: Yes, I’ve heard stories of wedding crashers from my clients from Nigeria. I’d say 100 – 120 on average, but we’ve also had weddings with lesser number of guests. Some clients even insist on having security to prevent the media/unwanted guests at the weddings. So we provide security as well.
LÒFINDA: As a wedding planner, how much time is advisable for Couples to allocate to planning their Destination wedding?
OLGA: It takes 6 – 12 months to comfortably plan a wedding, because the really good venues for instance are always booked a year upfront. Although we sometimes plan a wedding within the space of 2 – 3 months, it tends to put unnecessary pressure on the couple and vendors.
LÒFINDA: Dubai has very beautiful architectural structures, weather and scenery. Is there a preference amongst Couples between outdoor and indoor weddings?
OLGA: I’d say it’s 50 – 50. Sometimes, if it’s a Christian wedding with a Priest/Officiant present, the Ceremony is usually hosted at a Beach or in a Garden and then the main reception is indoors. 40% of the weddings we plan are majorly outdoors. With the trend now, Nigerian brides are leaning towards Western weddings and this is easier to achieve with an outdoor wedding.
However, due to the nature of most African weddings (a lot of music and dancing), indoor reception celebration or the use of adjacent venues [one for the dinner (outdoor) and the other for the reception party] is adviced because most outdoor venues in Dubai do not permit music after 11pm.
LÒFINDA: In Nigeria, weddings tend to be expensive especially if one is going for a glamorous/high profile wedding. Are Dubai weddings just as expensive or cheaper?
OLGA: We have very different types of weddings; there’s the high end and the other very budgeted weddings. In Dubai; things are relatively cheaper, using venues as a case study as compared to high end venues in Nigeria.
Some other things come complimentary with the venues e.g. the wedding cake, one night stay at the hotel etc. Hotel deals are also relatively cheaper as a result of relationships built over the years.
However, no matter how small the budget is, there’s something for everyone.
LÒFINDA: Destination weddings are believed by some to be an avenue to reunite and bond with distant family members. Is that actually the case? Do the guests leave almost immediately or do they stay a little while longer after the wedding?
OLGA: What I love most about destination weddings is the ambiance, it’s a way of bringing everyone together in the same place. It really depends on the couple and the guests. Most times, people stay a little while longer.
LÒFINDA: What is the average cost of a destination wedding in Dubai?
OLGA: It’s very different and dependent on several factors. Venues take up 30% – 40% of the budget. That could cost about 70$ – 150$ per person.
For a wedding of about 100 – 200 guests, it will be somewhere around $30,000 – $35,000.
LÒFINDA: Any advice for engaged couples who have opted for a destination wedding?
OLGA: Get visas ready, and on time too. Accommodation should be sorted out on time because it gets expensive progressively. Define priorities /scale of preference and give more attention to whatever tops the the chart and see where compromises can be made.
Savethedate is a registered and approved LÒFINDA Vendor and their business listing can be accessed by clicking here.