El Gouna Weddings
Like any community, El Gouna has various circles that certain people inhabit. In the wedding circle, El Gouna is becoming known as the Venice of Egypt. El Gouna weddings is fast becoming a catchphrase in the wedding world. What with the views of the sea, luxurious yachts and the aura of exotism, El Gouna has to be a highly sought after wedding destination. But, when the happy couple decides that El Gouna is the best place to exchange vows, they then have to pick only one venue. This may seem easy, but don’t be fooled. We all have a fear of missing out, and picking one venue means you miss out on the other ones. In El Gouna, the range of preferences is huge and excited fiances have to find out where they fit: Will it be a small, intimate beach wedding with only your closest family and friends? Or will it be a large and extravagant undertaking in one of Gouna’s larger than life venues? Wedding decisions are never easy and the venue, amongst a host of other factors, can make or break the day. Particularly the food. If the food is good, the guests are happy and this, in turn, makes a fantastic memory. Thankfully, in El Gouna, we are spoiled for choice with quality food as well as venues.
Arguably the most sought-after wedding planner in El Gouna is Marley Feckry, founder of Decarma MF. Egyptian by birth, she learned most of her trade while living in Mexico. Based near Cancun and seeing the success of destination weddings there, she had the idea to build destination weddings into El Gouna’s already thriving life. Being a natural organiser, Marley welcomes the challenge as well as the stress of destination wedding planning. But what makes it easier is the town of El Gouna itself. Gouna and weddings have a very symbiotic relationship and they continue to feed each other, each bringing more people to visit and to live. For example, an English couple were invited to a wedding in El Gouna and, engaging in conversation with Marley found out that she lives and works here – in this paradise. They are now Marley’s neighbours. The reverse also happens. A Swiss family, already residents in El Gouna, arranged for their son who lives in Switzerland to get married here.
Weddings, along with being natural promoters of El Gouna as a holiday destination and putting in on the map, so to speak, they kindly help keep the micro-economy healthy. The beauty salons produce heavenly results for the brides, bridesmaids and family members while the restaurants are serving invitees before and after the main event. The more favoured restaurants often cater for the weddings and Seventh Star are always the favourite for wedding cakes of all sorts. But don’t allow yourself to think of weddings as few and far between. These restaurants are working all year round to cater for Gouna’s weddings. In fact, according to Marley, the weekends are filling up far in advance and weddings are needed to be held during the week. What’s even more impressive is that Decarma MF can handle up to 3 weddings in one single day. This is, in fact, thanks to El Gouna itself. Being relatively small and without traffic issues, El Gouna repays its wedding planner with the ease of access to anything in El Gouna within 15 minutes by car.
Not so long ago, people in El Gouna did not know what a destination wedding was. And by definition, a destination wedding is a wedding that takes place at least 100 miles from the where the couple lives. Now word is spreading fast that El Gouna is a very, very high contender. Also, destination weddings are not only about the couple. The couple’s exchange of vows is most certainly the headline act, the main event, but guests are also treated to a fantastic holiday and get to enjoy all that El Gouna has to offer. According to Marley, guests very often extend their stays engaging in desert safari’s, diving, nightlife and plenty more.
It goes without saying that El Gouna’s potential for photography alone is world class – white beaches, clear skies and some of the most beautiful turquoise water the world has to offer. And let us not forget the desert sunsets that turn the skies all shades of orange, yellow, purple and blue. This happens every day. But what is possibly a little less obvious is how El Gouna competes with its not too distant sister cities like Alexandria and Sharm el-Sheikh. Alexandria, being on the Mediterranean, is also a popular destination for weddings. However, it is highly seasonal and the wedding party runs the risk of rain – one of the most feared of natures provisions when it comes to weddings. And so, in winter, Alexandria’s tourist and wedding industry comes to a halt. And therein comes El Gouna’s most powerful asset – it never closes.
The fact that couples can get married at any time of the year in El Gouna is certainly not the only strong point. Gouna is within a 20-minute drive, on a good road, from an international airport and there is never traffic between here and there. Possibly, the only deterrent for some is the lack of direct flights from certain countries. If you and all your guests have to travel for 30 hours with 2 changeovers, it can dampen the experience of all before they even arrive. Fortunately for some of the colder countries, they can hop over to El Gouna in as little as 3 or 4 hours, but some countries are not so fortunate. Yet.
Weddings in Gouna are becoming more and more popular as a wedding destination and host weddings small and large alike. The number of wedding guests can vary greatly from as few as 60 to as many as 500. Organising 500 guests is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Especially when they have to travel further afield from mainland El Gouna. Decarma MF planned their first island wedding at Orange Bay in late 2017. Although this wedding was relatively small, they all had to be ready to leave for the island at the right time; the bride had to make her separate entrance; the wedding had to correctly catered for etc. All of this a 40-minute boat ride away. But the point is really that El Gouna weddings can extend further out to sea, making them even more exotic and more unique.
For more, on Marley, DecarmaMF and indeed, El Gouna weddings, go to http://decarma.com/
Written by Craig Botes on behalf of The El Gouna Magazine