Danielle and Sam got married on the 13th November 2015. Joined by 72 guests at the Waldorf Astoria, Palm Jumeirah, they had the time of their lives. The wedding was planned by Liesel at Aghareed and captured on camera by the talented souls at Blue Eye Picture.
The Planning process… As soon as we got engaged the planning began and our initial venue choice was the South of France. We spent hours looking at venues and speaking to several planners regarding our options but I slowly realised that a wedding outside of Dubai wouldn’t suit a control freak like myself! I think when you’ve lived in Dubai for a long time you start to become complacent about your surroundings but when you look at Dubai from the eyes of friends and family who don’t live here you realise what a spectacular place it really is. A wedding based here was also the perfect place for our friends to see our home if they hadn’t already been over to visit. After looking at numerous venues, we decided on the Waldorf Astoria. We loved the helipad ceremony venue and the ballroom was stunning with the mirrored walls. I worked closely with Liesel and Julie from Aghareed for 9 months and they were excellent. I had so many ideas from day one but I knew the style I was looking for and Julie with her creative brilliance made my ideas come to life!
The wedding dress… Finding my wedding dress was easier than I’d originally anticipated. My dress and veil were both Pronovias and exactly what I was looking for. My shoes were from Manolo Blahnik, and my gold tennis bracelet and earrings were both gifts from my parents. My necklace was a gift from my sister who was also my Maid of Honour.
Beautiful bridesmaids… My Maid of Honour was my sister Jessica! She was amazing throughout the planning and on the day. She took on a lot of my stress which is a lot to handle ha! My bridesmaids were Natalie, Alex, Sarah and Eleanor – my closest and dearest friends who made the day and the getting ready process so much fun! I couldn’t have wished for a better group of girls! They all looked so stunning in their pale pink dresses and Dee and Dal made them look so chic with their gorgeous hair and make-up! Dee and Dal are amazing when it comes to hair and make-up and their presence is so calming! They knew exactly what all of the girls wanted and what would suit them and the style I was looking for. Again, if hair and make-up are important to you then allocate a good portion of your budget to this. I am very particular about my hair and they did this perfectly without me feeling stressed. All of our hair and make-up looked perfect throughout the day and night. I was shocked that I didn’t need to touch it up at any stage. This again is imperative as the day/night goes so quickly that you want to enjoy every second without having to worry about the photographer and how you look.
The Readings + Music… The music was really important to both Sam and I and this is something we spent the most time on. From start to finish I wanted the music to tell a story and reflect our feelings towards one another and our family and friends who joined us on the day. Myself and my bridesmaids entered the ceremony to Piano Guys, A Thousand Years which is such an emotive piece of music. My friend Jess read A Blessing For Marriage by James Dillet Freeman which accompanied Reverend Tim’s sermon wonderfully. Everything about the ceremony was perfect and how I imagined it. As the sun was setting over the stunning Dubai skyline we said our vows in front of our loved ones and all of the stress prior to the event melted away. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed and to enjoy the ambience of both the venue and Dubai. After the ceremony, our guests enjoyed canapes and drinks near the helipad whilst the saxophonist played Frank Sinatra. Once all of the guests had been seated in the ballroom, the bridesmaids entered to Flo-Rida “Wild Ones” and Sam and I entered to The Police “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”. We wanted all of the guests to really feel a part of the wedding reception so we created a video photo montage which included photos of us with all of the guests at different stages of our lives! I had always envisaged our entrance and it was just perfect! Our close friend Dickie was our MC and his introductions of the bridal party added the fun element we wanted. During dinner we played an eclectic mix of mine and Sam’s favourite songs.
The Flowers… The flowers were out of this world! I wanted something different and Daniel & Julie most definitely achieved this! The colours and the design were just perfect as I have found at some wedding the flowers engulf the table and it’s difficult to then converse with the guest sat opposite you. Therefore, the canopy style with the thin pole was excellent. Just exquisite!
The Cake… My good friend Lamisse introduced my sister to an excellent cake baker, Emmy Brown. She did my hen cake and after tasting that divine cake we were sold. I gave her a description of what we were looking for and she copied the style perfectly. It was so beautiful and the cake wasn’t over powering or too rich! You can literally eat 10 slices in one go….which can be dangerous! She made the cake with total precision and care and overall the service was fantastic. I highly recommend her if you’re looking for a more personal cake and design. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Details + Décor… We wanted soft lighting thus creating a romantic ambiance which Julie achieved perfectly with the stunning chandeliers hanging over the dance floor and subtle candles hanging from the beautiful table flower displays. Julie covered the ballroom carpet with cream carpet which transformed the room totally and also matched the gold/cream/pink theme. It was all just so stunning and totally took our breath away when we first entered the room. The table cloths to the place settings were just immaculate. We were shown several table designs with flowers prior to making our final choice which I found to be exceptionally helpful. You can then see the vision coming together and I actually chose something a little different to what I had in mind. We also visited the Aghareed showroom where they keep all of their props/furniture! Again, this was excellent as we went through our flower choices and I found a gorgeous bird cage for our wedding cards. We also found our his and hers chairs for the day which were a real statement, again something I hadn’t even thought about.
Memorable moments… This has to be our reception entrance and our first dance. Liesel worked hard to make my idea come to life which at first I thought might be too difficult to achieve. I had an idea that I wanted our first dance to be both a combination of a slow and fun dance so as not to bore the guests and ensure they were involved too. We began our first dance with Van Morrison, Someone Like You which then scratched and changed to Justin Timberlake/Michael Jackson, Love Never Felt So Good! It was much fun learning the dance together and adding some personal touches. Towards the latter part of the song the bridesmaids joined us with our guests and gold confetti fell from the ceiling! I just loved that it all came together at the right moment as I’d hoped!! It was the perfect start to the evening part of our wedding!
Advice for other couples… USE a wedding planner! Liesel organised everything perfectly! Everything was on schedule and Sam and I could enjoy the whole day stress free knowing she was in control of every detail! I didn’t have to worry about any of our suppliers and the hotel were fabulous in terms of co-ordinating with Liesel and the team! Again, the wedding planner will always be the venues first point of contact thus eradicating any need from your side to get involved. There is so much going on on the actual day that the logistics of the venue should definitely not be a bride’s concern. I think if I’d had to worry about that too then it would’ve marred the day! Also, whatever you budget for the wedding double it! Friends always told me that this would be the case and I didn’t believe them at the time. However, it’s so easy to get carried away but ultimately this day only happens once and it’s so worth it!
Wedding Planner: Liesel Papke at Aghareed – http://www.aghareed.com
Invites & Stationery: Julie Sol Invites and Design http://www.studiosol.me
Photography & Video: Blue Eye Photography www.blueeyepicture.com
Emmy Brown – Cake – email@example.com
Dee and Dal – Make up – http://www.makeupbydeendal.com
Reverend Tim – Anglican Church Dubai
Flowers –Julie & Romeo Wedding Organiser http://julieweddingplanner.com
Décor & Design: Julie & Romeo Wedding Organiser http://julieweddingplanner.com