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French Version

Beirut wedding exhibition greets 25,000 visitors (Daily Star)

150 exhibitors display wares ranging from rings to air fresheners

Surrounded by white clouds and fake snow, she comes out on the catwalk with a slow seductive walk, the white veil trailing behind her.

She stops and fixes her gaze confidently on the crowd of brides-to-be, mesmerizing them with her white wedding dress. The sparkling ensemble of models is part of the wedding fashion show, hosted by the sixth edition of the "Beirut Wedding Fair." More than 25,000 visitors from Lebanon and the Gulf countries visit the Intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, where two floors are swamped with roaming over-excited brides-to-be, even when the wedding date hasn't yet been set. "I know I might be planning too much ahead, but I can't help it," says Rola Madran, 21, who recently got engaged. "We haven't set a date but it doesn't hurt to be ready," she says as she tries hard to balance a stack of bridal magazines, brochures and business cards she picked up from the exhibitors at the fair. Around 150 exhibitors are present catering to every component of a wedding from the mundane to the sublime, from the wedding rings to the shapes of the "thank-you cards" to even the type of air freshener to be used in the wedding hall.

Madran came with her sister and a friend, but there was no sign of her fiance.

"He is not allowed to see my wedding dress and so he stayed home," laughs Madran

Besides the fashion shows, there is the zaffe and dance de salon performed along with a contest, called the "Millennium Bride & Groom Event" in which five engaged young Lebanese couples can have their wedding taken care off by the exhibitors. To this date, the fair has sponsored the marriage of as many as 21 couples. "What is different this year is that there is an older crowd," says Tina al-Khoury, spokesperson for the fair. "What is the same is how there are all kinds of wedding dresses, ranging from the traditional to the more stylish and liberal, to make sure we cater to everybody's tastes," she says. There was a conspicuous lack of men at the fair and that, says Khoury, is nothing new. "The only men here are the ones dragged by their fiancees, or the brides-to-be brothers," laughs Khoury. Najib Matta is one such brother who came along with his sister Diana to advise her on the dresses.

"I personally prefer strapless wedding dresses and I think that particular style will look good on my sister," says Matta, who was also looking over some of the men's suits for future reference. "I am not getting married yet, but I like to look around to see what is out there so when the time comes, I don't stress out and buy the first thing that comes my way or something too expensive," adds Matta, who left the fair like most of its visitors with a stack of magazines and a bag filled with brochures

Beirut 24-01-2005
Rym Ghazal
The Daily Star

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