Lebanon’s big weddings

The World

This woman is the assistant manager of a Beirut-based event manager whose company produced a runway show of wedding fashion. The show went on despite regional violence and even a huge snowstorm. She says the wedding business is booming. The thing is, most weddings in Lebanon are big. This man and his bride get ready to cut the cake at their reception and they need a sword to slice through the eight layer, ten-foot high masterpiece as fireworks explode in the background, and that was just the cutting of the cake. In Lebanon, it isn’t a wedding without a spectacle. When you have 850 guests, you’ve got to keep them entertained. In Lebanon, politics can crimp the style of a wedding. This woman is the owner of a top-flight Beirut caterer. In July of 2006, her event for 500 was canceled when war broke out. But her company has a war clause and Hezbollah ended up refunding her that suffer for two-dozen clients. She says this makes the act of making a budget very difficult. She says $55,000 dollars for a wedding is about standard in Lebanon and some can run ten times that. This manager of a hotel says every weekend this summer is booked at his hotel, and the desire to have a good wedding and a good time trumps the fear of what might happen. Lebanese weddings may seem extravagant but the industry is driven by Lebanese who work in the Persian Gulf and come back to get married so they’re insulated from a floundering economy here.

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