This article was published on October 2, 2010

MENA Bridal Websites: What Not to Do

MENA Bridal Websites: What Not to Do
Ahmad F Al-Shagra
Story by

Ahmad F Al-Shagra

Co-founder of, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer. Co-founder of, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer.

Group WeddingThe launching of new ideas in the Middle East always excite me, naturally I was eager to know more about the bridal and wedding planning market and it surprised me to find out it’s very much untapped.

I recently read of which is an attempt to provide the market in the UAE with some “big day” services, which launched last August, and the site already has over 2,800 subscribers and over 1,000 FB fans, as mentioned by Mona Shibel in a press release.

So I thought to myself let’s see how the pros do it, or after taking a good look, do not.

From the real wedding stories section, I found an interesting couple telling the story of how they met and got married in the UAE and they started off by saying they shared an apartment prior to their marriage and that’s a BIG NO NO in the Middle East, never the less their wedding story included a lot of useful information, links and contacts of caterers, hair dressers, wedding gown shop etc in a very clear and brief manner.

The honeymoon information was also a little bit disappointing, they managed to tell you everything you need to know about your dream destination (copied from a travels site) and failed to add links to travel agencies and airlines.

To be fair the gift registry section worked perfectly and was very simple to use, where it included a list of good brands and reasonably priced gifts to make the guest’s life much easier.

The best part about the website in my opinion was the magazine, it was a mini version of the whole website, fully functional and all sections were filled with the necessary content along with links and contacts. The strange thing which I couldn’t really understand was why they created the magazine and forgot about the main website?

Needless to say I found this website a little bit disappointing since similar websites have been functional for years in other regions such as , and hundreds of others I haven’t even visited.

The idea is great in a market that lacks such services and its perfect for a country like UAE where people are too busy to plan their own weddings and most important can afford paying lots of money for their perfect day.

One other thing I’d like to point out is the fact absolutely no one has provided tools for Mass Wedding organization which is becoming an increasingly popular solution to the lack of eligible bachelors who can afford tying the knot these days. Arab Entrepreneurs, start your engines.

So if you’re going to launch a website to cater for cater seekers, beware of the following:

  1. Live the Cliche: Content is King and relevance is it’s crown jewel.
  2. If you’re going to use the Bait n’ Hook, remember to include the hook. It’s just teasing otherwise.
  3. Throw in an Arabic version, expats are where the money’s at but Arabic makes it more accessible in an Arab state.
  4. Research is a must, if not from global success stories, read TNW ME you might be surprised to see something like this.

To end it with a positive tone, there is money to be made here and we hope to see people who care and know what they’re doing provide for this rising demand.

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