Engaging a ‘bridezilla’
Marketers are saying ‘I do’ to the wedding industry, which is worth $700 million a year in the Middle East.
February 19, 2010 11:20 by Radhina Coutinho
At $700 million a year, weddings are big business in the Middle East and, true to form, brides are the centre of attention for everyone with a stake in the industry. There are companies that provide the logistics that go into a successful wedding, and product and service providers that market primarily to women – such as jewellers, lingerie stores, gyms and skin consultancies.
“The bride plays the biggest part, as she owns the wedding,” says Ahmad Ghazi, PR executive at the Four Seasons Riyadh, a popular wedding venue in Saudi Arabia’s capital city. Whether it is the reception venue, flower arrangements, décor, the menu or preferred vendors, Ghazi says, the hotel asks the bride because it is she who makes the decisions.
Fortunately, the battle is already half won – most women have been planning their weddings from the moment they first encountered a flouncy white dress, so a high level of interest already exists among brides-to-be. According to Shaila Doshi, head of marketing in the Middle East for Kaya Skin Clinic, brides are voracious consumers of anything that will guarantee the day is perfect in every way. Kaya targets brides through 30- and 40-day bridal beauty packages comprising personal skin consultancies, facials, and skin lightening and acne treatments, and Doshi says the positive response indicates women in the Middle East are increasingly budgeting for pre-wedding skincare and even laser hair removal treatments.
“This is when a woman will go all out to ensure that she has the best on her most special day. She is looking for quality products and services, and does not mind spending. There is a lot of involvement with anything related to her wedding and therefore she is more receptive to any information that will benefit her,” says Doshi.
That special feeling
Many products and services promote themselves by appealing to this desire to ensure one looks and feels extra special on the day. According to Mark Pilkington, brand director of Nayomi, the lingerie brand’s bridal collection Fairouz was created and marketed with this in mind.
“Bridal lingerie is always more intricate and lacy, and is often made with luxurious fabrics. Women want to feel special inside and out, and so a lot of care and thought goes into the bride looking her best. A women’s wedding is the day when she wants to be the belle of the ball, and hence brides will spend a little more money when buying bridal lingerie than they would on everyday lingerie.” Pilkington says the collection has become an essential trousseau element in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar since its launch in 2003.