Wedding of the 21st Century: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

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Girls start dreaming about their wedding day at almost the age of six. Naturally, we imagine the beautiful dress, the deliciously looking cake, and the enjoyable ceremony. However, if we examine weddings these days, you can’t help but notice a deep and unsubtle occurrence that seems to be taking over. It is becoming more of an account statement, how much money does one have?  People talk more about how much wedding this and that spent o their wedding, rather than discuss the joy and beauty of the celebration itself. This occurrence is turning rapidly into an observable fact, which can be labeled as parent’s interference, image upholding, or even a ridiculous competition. Whatever you way you want to categorize it, it is about time someone has said, and done something to stop it.



eddings are cherished until the end of our lifetime. It is the woman’s unforgettable and most sacred day. They are even more personal when you witness the fruits of months, and months of preparation, rehearsals and decision making, as they please your guests. I mean, what’s better when you wedding becomes the talk of the town, and not because it costs a ridiculous amount of money, but because people actually enjoyed their time.


I have been lucky enough to say that I actually enjoyed myself in a wedding once, yes ONE wedding. Of all the weddings I have attended in my life so far, (and I have attended quite a few) I have only been able to call one wedding a truly pleasurable ceremony. Contrary to popular belief, I did not have a great time due to the endless extravagant events of the ceremony. As a matter of fact, the wedding could not have been simpler that it was (even if the couple had tried).


The ceremony took place in Andraus villa by the Nile. It is a fairly spacious garden, rented out by the day for different kind of events. It was mid May, and the wedding started at 5 pm, so it’s fair to say the weather was just perfect. The setting of the garden was pretty much simple and traditional. White tables all around, white flowers everywhere and a wooden dance floor centered in the garden. There were no singers, or live bands, only a DJ who started playing some classic oldies (to cater to the seasoned guests), and smoothly transitioned into a modern and up to date music. Everyone had a great time, not just me. Later on, whenever I bump into one of the guests of that wedding at another wedding, we keep reminiscing and admitting that nothing beat that ceremony so far.


There is a reason I talked about the above mentioned wedding. I am going to break down the main essentials required for every wedding, and show you how you can have it in simple and affordable way like it was in my favorite wedding.


I. The Dress:

Ladies, I know this is a sensitive topic. It is also one that I do not need to address as I have noticed women being very resourceful in this department. The most common way is to take a picture of a dress you fancy and take it to the most talked about tailor. With the abundance of fabrics in downtown Cairo, you can not go wrong. Still, if you have the means to get fabrics from abroad, you can guarantee better quality. My advice, however, is to make sure that you have as many rehearsals and fittings as you need, to ensure it still fits on the big day. I have seen my fair share of ridiculous showing off gowns; some were not only a display of wealth, but flat out ugly. Hey, if you have the money and are willing to spend it, you have the right to get whatever boat-rocking, glam-slapping gown you desire. Yet, to have a wedding dress with hundred dollar bills (not Egyptian pounds) pinned on it is like defining a new meaning for conspicuous consumption! I have been a witness to that atrocity. An Egyptian wedding, of educated people, with a money covered bride. She took the money off after she entered the ballroom (thank god she didn’t start throwing at the guests).


II. The Cake

To some it is the highlight of the wedding. I am sure you know the bigger the cake, the more money it costs. It is of utmost importance that your cake suffices the guests attending. But, what about cakes that are big enough to feed the hungry of Darfur, Djibouti and Uganda? I remember looking at the cover of a magazine once that had a celebrity’s daughter on it. However, rather than having a picture of the bride and groom, it had a picture of their cake! Truth to be said, it was, and still is the biggest cake I have seen in my life, and I have been to weddings where the guests count was more than 1200!! So if you are looking to have a delicious and a good looking cake here is what I think you should do; go to your favorite patisserie, taste different samples, and let the size be depended on the number of guests, rather than the number of pounds.


III. Entertainment

Now this is, in my opinion, the highlight of the wedding. As I have mentioned before, my favorite wedding did not have any live performers, just a DJ. Yet, people of all ages enjoyed their time due to good music that catered to different tastes. I have been noticing these days the migration to international performers. I have been to a number of weddings that included international name. One in particular included a name of a has-been performer, who did not release an album since I was 12 years old. Moreover, the groom did not know who she was (I am assuming someone in the family thought it was a good idea). I am sure you want your guests to be entertained throughout the event. So make sure to get performers to cater to the masses’ need, don’t just hire a famous name, that cannot sing, dance or perform, but is only known for their expensive costs. Also do not jump on the international performers’ bandwagon, unless you know the artists’ work is good (and not heard of them from a friend).


IV. The Flowers

To be honest I haven’t seen any flower extravaganza, yet. Flowers have a more subtle way about them. But, I do have some great advice about fairly priced flower arrangements. Remember my favorite wedding (the one you probably grew tired of by now), the bride managed the best looking flowers for a meaningless cost. Instead of going to a big flower name store, went to one of those old washed out flower people that hardly have any flower collections. She showed a picture of the arrangement she desires, and asked the salesman if he can get it for her; I mean how hard is it for a flower salesman to get white flowers? He got the flowers, she showed him how to arrange them and they looked as beautiful as if they were handled by a flower designer.

V. The Extras

There are the occasional, yet becoming consistent, center pieces, giveaways and souvenirs. All of these can be done in a simple and tasteful manner. More and more wedding planning and accessories shops are opening in Egypt. Some of which are not quite affordable. So if you have a tight budget, don’t worry, there are some alternatives. Best way is to first have a theme or an idea about how you want your center piece, for example, to look like. Then you should do some digging around and research where you can get the material of the center piece in the cheapest way possible. The key here is to improvise, so instead of going to the same place your friend or cousin went to, hit the old traditional place of the downtown area, where you can find literally everything from electronics to extinct lizards.

Weddings do not have to stray from their traditional meaning of a joyous, still entertaining union. They could, and should still be about two people celebrating their love with their loved ones; and not about inviting total strangers and flaunting your money right and left. Don’t you rather spend more money on the honeymoon instead? The bottom line is to have a truly great wedding day. So whatever your budget is, make sure your planning for your guests joy and comfort, and not for their ‘oohs’ and ‘awes’. The key to almost any planning is researching and improvising. You can get great results within budget. You just need to find the right means (or people) to do it.

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