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Introducing Photographer Melissa Beattie

Let me introduce you Melissa Beattie. A fellow Brit like myself, she’s been in Dubai for over 3 years, and after quitting her day job to follow her heart, she’s a now a full time photographer and yummy mummy too. {not necessarily in that order}
I met Melissa over coffee at Shakespear & Co. Yes, a change from my usual Starbucks, but I didn’t feel too guilty, as I had an orange juice instead of my regular skinny latte. #brandloyalty  Melissa and I hit it off, and when like minded people come together, all sorts of creative ideas start to flow. Lets just say we have a few fun styled shoots coming your way over the hot summer months. 🙂 But before I babble on… here is today’s gorgeous wedding photographed by Melissa Beattie.

Laura and Neil’s wedding – Al Qasr, 14th November, 2013

Where are you both from?
We’re both from the UK. Neil is from Yorkshire and I’m from Derbyshire.
Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie
How did you meet?

At the Rugby 7’s when Neil was out here in Dubai on holiday! We kept in touch on facebook and when I went home for a holiday in the summer 18 months later we met up. We had two brilliant dates during the week I was back in the UK, we then kept in touch with a lot of skype and by the January he had got a job in Dubai. He moved out to Dubai after a skype-fuelled 6 month long distance relationship.
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How long were you and Neil together before you decided to tie the knot
We were together for 2 ½ years.
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Where did he propose?
During a walk on Christmas eve in the little village where I’m from in the UK. He hid the ring in an old stone wall.
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Where did you get your dress from?

This was one of the most difficult parts! I visited all the wedding dress shops in Dubai but nothing really fit the bill or my style. I then found Susanna Rachel who designs and makes beautiful dresses. I showed her pictures of different dresses which I liked, plus pictures of me in differing levels of successful dresses which I had tried on. She then designed my ideal dress and made it to perfection.
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 How much did you spend on the dress?
AED 10,000.. and it was worth every penny.
Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie
Where were the bridesmaids dresses from? How many did you have?
I had three bridesmaids – my sister and best friend from the UK and my best friend here in Dubai.  Sorting bridesmaid dresses for three very different girls living in different countries was quite taxing, but I found Barbaranne who runs Moirai Style who was brilliant. She designed individual dresses for each girl which worked perfectly together but helped make the overll look a little more modern and relaxed as they were not matchy-matchy. She even made sure my two UK girls could have their fittings when they flew in for the wedding. Their final fittings were even the day before the wedding which was a bit nerve racking!
Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie
  Where did you get married?
We got married at Jebel Ali Church and had a beautiful blessing at Magnolia, Al Qasr. It’s a stunning, perfect location – there are the waterways, a cute courtyard, pretty water terrace, great indoor space for late night dancing and a view of the Burj al Arab.
 Can you tell us a bit about the theme you went for?
The theme was contemporary English country garden with a colour scheme of mint, coral, gold, blush and champagne. I loved it as it was light, fresh and elegant. It also suited the venue and a sunny day.
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 Were the details (place names, table centres, place settings) of the theme very important to you?
Very important. I spent hours pouring through wedding magazines, on pinterest and reading wedding blogs. I think that it’s often the details which help to personalise the day and they helped it make it more special for us. I also really enjoyed creating the stationery as my very talented friend designed all the invites, save the dates, menus, order of service and place settings.
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 Did you throw around a lot of ideas before you came up with a winning theme?
I knew from the outset that I wanted a relaxed and natural yet elegant vibe. I just spent timing thinking of and looking at ideas that matched this and it basically evolved naturally.
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Where there any elements that were an absolutely ‘must’ for you? 
To have an outdoor wedding but one which was private in a beautiful setting.
We also really wanted a live band. I really wanted amazing flowers. Everyone told me not to waste too much money on flowers as no one remembers them but I loved them and people actually now still say how beautiful the flowers were.
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How soon into the wedding planning did you decide on a budget?
We started thinking about budget straight away and researched ‘typical’ costs straight away, as well as asking friends just how much they had spent on their weddings to get an idea of where the money goes. We then set a ballpark figure, but in the end we did go over it slightly!
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 Were you quite clear from the start about what you wanted to spend or did the amount fluctuate?
Yes, we had a ballpark figure and we more-or-less stuck to it but towards the end it did start to creep over in places and we just decided to go with it!
However, truthfully before getting engaged and thinking too much about the big day I thought that most people wasted money on the wedding and that it would be better spent on an amazing honeymoon. It’s important to have that amazing, dream honeymoon but I now also realise just how much preparation, hard work and desire goes into a wedding and I don’t regret spending what we did.
Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie
 What was the biggest splurge of the entire wedding?
The venue. The venue had a minimum spend but within this we covered all the food and drinks, venue hire, sound and lighting, the cake and some of the flowers.
Were there any things you really wanted but couldn’t/decided not to stretch to?
I wanted a photobooth but they seemed very expensive so we improvised with a polaroid camera and fancy dress props. These photos are hilarious and worked just as well as a photobooth. They also doubled up as a guest book – guests stuck their pictures in the book and wrote a little message next to their picture.
Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie Dubai wedding - Melissa Beattie
 Were there any things you were worried about going wrong before the big day?
I mostly worried about making sure that our guests enjoyed themselves. It was really important that our friends and family had a great day. Especially as so many had made the effort to fly out from the UK. I also worried a lot about my dress, hair, the bridesmaid dresses, finding shoes for the bridemaids, finding a good band (which was actually difficult)….
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 You had an outside wedding. Were you worried about the weather? Was there a plan B?
I wasn’t overly worried as in mid-November you’ll usually get a good day. However, just as I was about to leave the hotel foyer for the venue, Mai, our Al Qasr Wedding Coordinator told me not to worry but to wait a few minutes as it had started raining! That threw me into a slight panic as I didn’t know what Plan B was. Mai assured me it would be fine and thankfully it stopped raining after a couple of minutes and out came the sunshine.
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 What were the downsides to getting married here?
Not all of our friends and family from the UK were able to make it. We’re at that age when a lot of our friends are having babies so it was tricky for them. Also, some of our older relatives were unable to make the journey – however it meant that we organised a great party back in the UK at Christmas to celebrate.
 What were the upsides?
The weather; overall it was better value than in the UK; and especially for our UK guests it was definitely a wedding to remember and a good excuse for a holiday. We certainly had quite a few family fly out that had never visited Dubai before.
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VenueMaganolia, Al Qasr
DressSusanna Rachel
Bridesmaid dressesMoirai style
Groom and Best Man Suits – Royal Fashion, Beach Road
FloristVintage Bloom
PhotographerMelissa Beattie
Celebrant – Toni Bloodworth-Barker
Band – The Freefallers
Pianist – Benjamin Kuehn
FavoursLime Tree Cafe

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