Stop the search, here are the most spectacular venues in the region (with one to suit each kind of occasion).
You know the who and the when, but you haven’t got the where quite sorted yet.
Finding the perfect wedding venue can be a huge task for any couple – after all, the whole feel and style of your day can hinge on finding the right setting. And that’s before you even factor in constraints like budget and guest-list numbers.
From traditional ballrooms to private gardens and unique beachfront spaces, the huge variety of stunning venues on offer in the region is enough to make your head spin. Luckily, help is at hand.
We’ve compiled and curated a list of great places in the UAE to get married whatever vibe you’re going for. Catering for parties and budgets of all sizes, you’re sure to find somewhere that suits your unique love story and that encapsulates your ideas for your big day. Read on to find your perfect venue…
The fairytale wedding
Where? Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Highlights: With romantic waterways, ornate ballrooms, a lagoon-locked fort and an arena fit for a princess, this magical wedding venue is the stuff of your childhood fairytales.
The numbers: The sheer size and scope of this venue means that any size of wedding can be catered for in a variety of spaces, running the gamut from a beachfront hideaway to the grand setting of the Madinat Arena hosting 4,500 guests.
The spaces: The talking point banquet space is undoubtedly the Madinat Arena, purely for its jaw-dropping decadence. Built in the style of an old fortress, it boasts an exclusive entrance, a balcony with separate seating area for the bridal party and a dedicated Majlis area for a super-grand ceremony for up to 4,500 of your closest friends.
If you’re not inviting a small country, or can’t stretch to the Dhs270,000 minimum spend (food and drink only, not including the Dhs60,000 rental fee for drapes), then there are plenty of other spaces to suit even the most discerning bride.
Take the Joharah Ballroom in the Madinat Conference Hall. With a max capacity of 750 for a banquet dinner and a minimum spend of Dhs180,000, the Arabic-themed room can be divided into up to seven smaller rooms or configured according to your specific requirements.
In a more modest terrace further long the meandering waterway, Magnolia offers stunning indoor and outdoor seating for up to 150 guests (Dhs70,000 minimum spend) amid the landscaped gardens and a quaint waterside setting, while the waterfront venue at Layali offers an intimate beachfront setting for 200-250 guests (minimum spend Dhs70,000).
Also known as Al Qasr Beach Platform, Layali is one of Dubai’s best kept secrets offering sweeping views, the calming sounds of the waves and a balmy breeze to accompany your vows.
Extra touches: Fort Island, in the centre of the resort’s lagoon is approached via an elevated walkway, and offers a private outdoor venue with beautiful views over the waterways. The space can accommodate up to 700 guests with a minimum Dhs170,000 spend. jumeirah.com
The city wedding
Where? Conrad Dubai
Highlights: Located in the buzzy heart of Dubai’s financial district, the Conrad is the perfect choice for city-dwellers who want panoramic skyline views and modern, urban cuisine to play a role in their big day.
The numbers: There is a choice of two ballrooms – holding up to 600 and 350 guests respectively – so despite the urban location, space is not an issue. In fact, you can even opt for an alfresco ceremony amid the leafy green urban oasis.
The spaces: There are ballrooms and then there are the grandiose ballrooms at Conrad Dubai. The Grand Ballroom occupies the entire 2nd floor and the ornate wooden doors offer a glimpse of the opulence inside (think crystal chandeliers and oodles of mashrabiya throughout).
The room – accessed by dedicated elevator – can accommodate 600 guests with a minimum guarantee of 400 guests required. The second ballroom, on the 4th floor, meanwhile, can accommodate up to 350 guests with a minimum guarantee of 200 guests required.
Wedding packages start from Dhs250 and include chilled juices, soft drinks and water for the duration of the event, a wedding planner to help plan your dream day, menu tasting, wedding cake, choice of table linens, one-night stay in the king deluxe suite as well as a bridal room for wedding prep.
Also included is a complimentary dancefloor and AV equipment, plus a late 2pm check-out the next day so you can rest your feet after all that dancing!
Extra touches: For a taste of tropical paradise in the heart of the city, the pool deck on the 6th floor is the largest on Sheikh Zayed Road and boasts a lush lawn and a private hidden oasis that could make the ideal reception venue. conradhotels3.hilton.com
The vintage wedding
Where? JW Marriott Hotel Dubai
Highlights: With a tradition of delivering everlasting memories for generations of brides and grooms, the JW Marriott evokes the vintage charm of old Dubai.
The numbers: With a choice of two ballrooms, this venue can accommodate parties of all sizes, with the Amal Grand ballroom catering for receptions of up to 1,000 guests.
The spaces: The team at JW Marriott have been hosting weddings for 24 years – a lifetime in Dubai hotel years – so they know a thing or two about making your occasion unique. The hotel boasts 31,215 square feet of flexible venue space including a state-of-the-art hydraulic stage and two ballrooms, either of which can be adapted to suit an intimate gathering right up to a huge party of 1,000 people.
Extra touches: The Everlasting Memories Package costs Dhs175 per head for a minimum of 100 guests and includes an overnight stay and breakfast in a suite for the bride and groom, dinner at The Market Place restaurant, and bespoke wedding décor elements including linen, a dance floor and complimentary wedding cake, plus you can even earn air miles towards your honeymoon! jwmarriottdubai.com
The jet-set wedding
Where? Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel
Highlights: The centrepiece of Yas Island, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi straddles land and water and spans the Yas Marina Circuit, so it’s the perfect venue for glam jet-setting brides who live life in the fast lane.
The numbers: With a choice of three stunning venues to host your unique celebrations, this hotel can cater for parties of up to 700 people in their dramatic indoor and outdoor spaces.
The spaces: For all-out glamour, the traditional 504-square metre Al Manaar ballroom is the epitome of show-stopping grandeur. Accommodating 600 people for cocktails or 280 for a gala dinner, the room boasts a separate entrance and private reception area with views of the Palm Garden. Alternatively, if you’re dreaming of an al fresco affair, the Palm Garden itself can host 700 guests in 2,469 square-metres of space, with the dramatic curves of the Yas Marina Circuit and hotel and the twinkling Marina as a backdrop. For smaller parties, the Rooftop Pool Deck seats 100 for dinner, with panoramic views of Yas Island and a designated DJ/entertainment space to boot.
Extra touches: The crystal LED lights in place of chandeliers in the ballroom trace the speed line design on the floor and can illuminate the room according to your preferred lighting hue.
The beach wedding
Where? Rixos The Palm, Dubai
Highlights: With a dreamy sandy shoreline for you to take your first bare-footed steps as bride and groom, Rixos The Palm checks all the boxes when it comes to a secluded sun-soaked paradise for beach-loving brides.
The numbers: With an expanse of shoreline and private landscaped gardens for you to utilise, the venue can host up to 800 guests.
The spaces: Rixos Beach is the obvious choice, with the option to host an intimate sunset ceremony on the sand or a moonlit gala celebration for 800 (standing) or 600 (seated) on the manicured lawn. This dynamic space can be adopted to suit your theme and party but the stunning backdrop of Dubai’s iconic skyline and the Palm Jumeirah is a constant.
Inside the hotel, however, the venue choices are just as stunning: L’Olivio boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and marble-clad interiors for a luxe reception for 200 guests or 150 for a seated dinner.
Alternatively, make like royalty and hire the Grand King Suite, renowned for its breathtaking panoramic views of the azure Arabian Gulf. Designed to seat up to 20 guests, larger parties can utilise the adjacent terrace overlooking the Palm which seats 50 for dinner or 70 for a reception.
Extra touches: The Garden adjacent to the secret swimming pool is a super romantic hideaway where you can create an outdoor aisle amidst the canopy of trees. thepalmdubai.rixos.com
Words: Aoife Stuart-Madge