This year’s wedding season kicked off with cake and cocktails as Sofitel hosted its second luxury wedding exhibition last weekend.
Ahead of the annual wedding season, which comes into full force in November, when wedding tents pop up all over the country, the free fair featured international and local designers, florists, catering companies and more.
On display were bridal wear and menswear as well as jewellery, table decorations, flowers, cupcakes and massage treatments, while Cambodian models walked the runway in fluffy white dresses and romantic music resounded through the room.
But the other star of this year’s event, according to both organisers and attendees, was the person who is usually in the shadows: the wedding planner.
Wedding planning is a new concept in Cambodia, where the matrimonial ceremony can be a complex affair.
Ceremonies, which traditionally run over three days, involve multiple outfits – sometimes as many as a dozen for the bride and groom – as well as costly pre-wedding photography services and elaborate make-up.
Having one person to organise it all, then, can be a boon.
Speaking at the wedding fair, Kong Sophany, who helped arrange the exhibition, said: “Couples will find it easy to plan their wedding as they have a collection of wedding planners here and don’t need to do research in different places to prepare, as before.”
Dadana wedding planning company is one of several based in Phnom Penh to offer the service and was invited to the fair.
The owner, Thai Sochanna, said her company can plan any type of event, from business parties to birthdays, but weddings are the most popular. Everything is included: from flower arrangement to food.
The price is usually upwards of $1,000.
“It is very difficult and takes a long time to plan because couples want everything to be perfect for their wedding,” Sochanna said.
Both Cambodians and foreigners attended the event, which was held in the hotel’s ballroom.
One Cambodian couple, perusing the wedding decoration table, said they were happy to see all the dresses, gifts and flowers.
They will marry in January next year and came to the wedding event find decorations.
“Now I’ve got more contacts and am sure to have them planning my wedding,” said the guest, who wanted to keep her identity private.
This year’s fair was the second organised by Sofitel. The first, in 2011, featured only international wedding planners, according to Sophany.
Designers resident in Cambodia were pleased to be included this year.
One of them was Jean-Benoît Lasselin, owner of colorblind, which exports wedding suits around the world to cities from Beijing to Bangkok and Paris.
He said: “I am very happy to meet the public during the exhibition. It allows me to show what I can do, the suits of my brand, and to show I would like to be a part of Cambodian society.”