Oh aren’t you a lucky bunch! I have a gorgeous wedding today photographed by the fabulous; Melissa Beatie. Melissa is no longer living in Dubai but will hopefully be back in the sandpit for the occasional wedding next season. If I’m honest, It saddens me that we lost such a talented photographer to our ever growing wedding industry. #frown
So on with today’s blog post…
Today I’m very happy to feature Rachel and Johnny’s beautiful Dubai wedding. They got married at Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah and had a gorgeous beach ceremony followed by a pink and pretty reception at Magnolia.
Johnny and I are both American but have grown up internationally. We first met in high school in Dubai. We dated our senior year and Dubai holds many specials memories for us. Johnny had lived in Dubai for 13 years and I had spent my last two years of high school in the amazing city. After high school, Johnny’s parents moved away but mine stayed. Every year since then I return for Christmas and spend two weeks soaking in the sun and shawarmas.
Christmas of 2013 was no different. I had left Johnny, who had to stay back home in Denver for work, to visit my family back in Dubai. I was spending two weeks in the sun and sand, but this year my family had decided to do the touristy thing and go to the top of the Burj Khalifa, something we had never done before. I was excited to go to the top and texted Johnny that morning to let him know that I would call him when I got back. He responded right away and said to have fun. My whole family headed towards the tallest building in the world. My older brother filmed the entire ordeal. When we got the top I led my family out to the observation deck where I was SHOCKED to see Johnny there. I screamed as he approached me, dropping to his knee and proposing. I could not believe it; he was supposed to be in the States. Little did I know, my whole family was in on the surprise. Johnny had flown 16 hours to surprise me on top of the world in the city where we fell in love.
I got my wedding dress in Houston, Texas at a small bridal boutique. It is a Mori Lee dress and I absolutely love it! I wanted a dress that was timeless and elegant. I loved my dress more on the wedding day than I did when I first tried it on. I thought it suited the wedding theme, venue, and me!
The brides story in her own words…
I wasn’t one of those girls that spent their childhood dreaming about their wedding. After I got engaged I knew I wanted to be engaged for at least a year, but when Johnny told me he wanted to get married in Dubai I had to start the planning right away! Since we decided to get hitched in Dubai the vision was to make everyone’s journey to our wedding worthwhile. I wanted our guests to experience the magic of the U.A.E while sharing the memories of our wedding week. We decided to get married in January since it is the most beautiful time in Dubai and since I am a teacher I would not need to take extra time off of work. Once the planning began, the first mission was to find the perfect venue. My parents visited every venue in Dubai while I waited for emails of pictures and a follow up phone call from the states. I was wanting them to find the perfect location that had the beach and the Arabic architecture … and they did with Al Qasr! The wedding planning was mostly my and my parent’s project. I am so thankful I had them there to do all the dirty work, it made planning a wedding very stress-free! I had imaged the wedding being amazing, but the day, venue, décor, food, entertainment, everything was far beyond my wildest dreams!
The planning process…(the most enjoyable bit)
The wedding process was quite smooth, but probably because my mom took care of it all. I shared my visions and she did all the work! Since my parents live in Dubai they met with all the vendors and did all the hard work. I trusted their judgment and they delivered my vision.
Most testing part of the wedding planning process as an expat bride…
Honestly, you imagine all the components but I had not seen even the venue prior to the wedding week. So planning all the small pieces without the guidance of the big ones was the most challenging. Luckily I had grown up in Dubai and been to the hotel, so I was confident on the venue choice.
The wedding theme…
Our wedding theme was Arabic elegance with a color scheme of blush and gold. I wanted our guests to feel that the wedding was in the Middle East since many had traveled a distance to be with us on our big day. I am also half Syrian and wanted my heritage to play a role in the wedding, plus given that Johnny and I both love Dubai, we wanted the flavor and culture to be present on our wedding day.
My top tips for a bride-to-be…
My advice for brides-to-be: Pick what YOU want! Weddings have traditions and protocols but it is your day. Do it exactly how you want!
Stop and stare! I could not believe how fast the day went. I wish I could go back and relive it. My greatest advice is slow down and enjoy every moment. Talk to people, laugh, enjoy, eat as much as you can! – the night goes by faster than you could imagine!
Venue: Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah
Photographer: Melissa Beattie Photography
Planning and Styling: Aghareed by Lafayette Weddings
Wedding Dress: Princess Bridal, Houston, Texas
Bridemaids Dresses: Aria Dress
Entertainment: Ethnik Beats
Floral Design: Wafi Natural Flowers
Make-up: Sofia Roos
Hair: Be Bar