by Tang Lu
COLOMBO, July 17 (Xinhua) — Sri Lankan bride-to-be Aniya Perera was keenly enquiring about the glitzy exhibits at the “Wedding Show-2019” held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo last weekend.
“My wedding is in February 2020, but I have been visiting a number of wedding exhibitions to get the best of what is available. I started going to wedding exhibitions in Colombo last year. I am very clear about my needs and choices,” she told Xinhua.
Weddings in Sri Lanka, particularly among the majority Sinhalese community, are colourful, glamorous, artistically innovative and, of course, expensive.
Much thought, planning and money go into a Sinhalese wedding because weddings give opportunities to the families of brides and bridegrooms to showcase their social status and also their taste for the finer aspects of life.
No wonder that “wedding shows” are so popular in cities like Colombo, both among the rich and the ambitious middle class.
In a typical wedding show held at posh hotels and convention centers, there are numerous stalls displaying bridal wears, jewelries, foods, sweetmeats, flowers and other decorative materials. Professional wedding organizers explain to visitors how they can make a wedding a painless and hassle-free affair.
Over 250 wedding industry professionals displayed their wares and services to thousands of visitors.
“Holding a decent wedding is a top priority for any family,” a stall manager told Xinhua.
On display at the BMICH fair were retro or modern style wedding cars. There were high tables with different flower arrangements. Photographers and videographers displayed their productions as the wedding portrait and photographs of the bride and the bridegroom in various poses and in various locales are a must.
The range of jewelries, each one more gorgeous than the other, was amazing. They become part of the family heirloom to be inherited by successive generations of brides in the family.
Sunil Fernando is from a family of confectioners who had a stall at the BMICH exhibition. “My family attends at least three or four wedding exhibitions a year,” he said.
No wedding is complete without music and wild dancing in Sri Lanka. Therefore DJs and dance bands also participated in the wedding show.
“Some of the customers have already done a lot of research. They directly go to particular service providers to sign up. But most people just come to window shop, to observe and gather information. Sri Lankan people do not make decisions in a hurry,” a wedding supplier told Xinhua.
Leading five-star hotels in Colombo also participated in the wedding exhibition. Posh hotels are a preferred venue for weddings among the Sri Lankan elite. In fact, hosting weddings is a major part of the hotel trade in Sri Lanka.
The Cinnamon Grand and Galle Face hotels in Colombo said that they hold more than 300 weddings a year, which means almost one wedding a day.
“The hotels also hold their own wedding shows every year. But we participate in other wedding exhibitions to broaden our customer base,” a hotel official said.
(Text, video and photos by Tang Lu)