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Nicholas + Natasha's Dubai garden wedding {Photography by Liesl Cheney}

Earlier this year on 2nd April Nicholas and Natasha got married in Dubai at one of our most loved green venues; Desert Palm. Nicholas is South African/ Irish and Natasha is English/ Pakistani, so with a cocktail of cultures to combine, this wedding would be a whole lot of fun… and despite having major wedding dress issues, this wedding was almost perfect. A happy bride and groom is what matters most right.
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Number of Guests: 70 people
Budget: We started off with a basic idea of what we had wanted to spend and tried to stay within the budget. a lot of hidden expenses did crop up but we tried to go with the flow and keep things under control.

Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Dress: The dress was a major drama! My initial dress was an embroided lace in a traditional Pakistani style. However, when the dress was delivered the dress was ruined! I ended up buying a dress, the night before the wedding, at Debenhams at 11pm! The dress I bought was lovely and quite the bargain and everybody said that it looked like it was made for me. I was very pleased with the way it looked and made me feel on my day.

Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Groom threads: Nick wore a traditional Pakistani wedding outfit. He wore a white Sherwani with bronze and silver trim with blue accents on the sleeves and the collar. He was very excited to be wearing something unusual and kept commenting on how smart he felt (and looked!) in it.
All the groomsmen wore traditional clothing, wearing a dark bluey grey Kurta and a white Shalwar with a scarf matching the bridesmaid’s colours. The groom and groomsmen each also wore traditional shoes called khussas.
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Bridesmaids: There were initially 3 bridesmaids but one fell quite ill just before the wedding and couldn’t travel down but I still had my other two bridesmaids so it was all ok. My cousin, Ruqaiaya, who is like my older sister was the maid of honour and my oldest and dearest friend, Zahra was my other bridesmaid. They both wore lovely Teal. Ruqaiaya wore a lace dress and Zahra wore a Teal and Gold Sari. Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Detail decor: The decor was all in tones of pink, dusty gold, Ivory and teal. On the dining tables, each seat had a set of bangles with a name tag attached. There were also little gift boxes, with sugared almonds and a traditional sweet called Misri (sugar cubes) that had silver leaf on them. All the gift boxes, almonds and the bangles were in the same colour family but in varying tones as I had wanted there to be a uniformity in the colour palette/theme we had. There was lace that was used as a runner on each table to help tie in everything. We used all the hotels tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery to help keep us in budget. We had little baskets for our confetti cones (dried rose petals) and each seat at the ceremony had a small handheld bamboo fan to help with the warm Dubai day.
We made use of every area we could. The gazebo was beautifully decorated and was used an area for people to take photos. It had strings of jasmine draped around it as well as candles hanging from it. It looked so beautiful in the evening.
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Flowers: The flowers were gorgeous. I had wanted Jasmine everywhere as they remind me of my maternal grandmother. The arch had jasmine draped on it with cabbage roses on the top. The Aisle and chairs had Jasmine draped on the outer side as well as a light pink satin Ribbon. The flowers on the table were a lovely sprawled centrepiece in tones of pink green and white.
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Memorable moments: Most definitely the hectic day before the wedding and having to buy a whole new dress the night before! The patience of all those around me and the support really helped keep me sane! Buying all the stuff from Pakistan for the table and the little gifts. was tons of fun and I loved being able to include my family members.
My mum walked me down the aisle and it was the most wonderful and nerve wracking experience! I was so calm throughout but the minute I stood at the entrance waiting to walk down the aisle my knees felt weak. I’m so glad I got to share that special moment with my mother. It meant the world to both of us, and she will always be my pillar of strength. We had a lovely ceremony planned. suggested by the officiant, Helen, wherein both nick and I and our mothers poured 4 different coloured sands into a bottle. We all got really involved in it and proved to be a source of enjoyment for both us and those watching us. everyone was laughing at how much fun we seemed to be having with the ceremony! Nick has never been one to plan things to a T and his speech further proved this fact. His partially rehearsed yet brilliantly funny speech was the most hysterical thing I, and all of the guests had ever heard. He managed to leave people with tears of laughter streaming down their faces, including the poor DJ who could hardly breathe from laughing! It was one of the few times I was glad for his lack of preparation in rehearsing a spoken thanks to everyone. Thankfully he remembered to thank everybody in the speech, including the cat!
The dancing after dinner was brilliant, especially with everyone dancing to the loud Indian dance music. It made for a great party and kept everyone moving and laughing.
We had a henna (mehndi) evening the day before. Traditionally we always have an evening where both the grooms and the bride’s family invite their friends and family to their houses and have a small party and all the womenfolk get henna applied. We had ours in our home and my bridesmaid Zahra and friend Mansoor decorated it for us. They even brought traditional Pakistani food for dinner after the henna. There were two ladies who applied henna for all the women who came. Nicks family loved the novelty of it and I’m so glad I insisted upon keeping the tradition!
 
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Entertainment: We had hired a singer/guitar player for the ceremony and the cake. She was lovely and really set the mood. I got really lucky as I got two people to play for us as due to a bit of confusion. It was lovely as both the singers were fantastic and they both knew how to set the mood perfectly. hiring a live musician was really the best decision we made! We had dancing after dinner and we had a DJ play a collection of different music. There was a kids table too which had plasticine, bubble wands, colouring pages, pencils and crayons. This helped keep all the kids amused and they had a brilliant time while their parents were mingling during cocktails and cake. The kid’s tables were 2 white picnic tables and suited them perfectly.
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Advice: Definitely have an idea of the colours and elements you want for your day. Don’t let people sway you too much but also, remember it’s OK to change things. Nothing ever goes to plan! Things always change. Don’t let this upset you too much. Always communicate with everyone clearly and always, always, always ask questions. No question is too silly if it gives you peace of mind. Try to do some stuff by yourself. Not everything has to be pre-ordered, handmade or be shipped in. I picked out our own seating chart, name tags, and also made our own confetti holders. You’d be amazed where you can find a super bargain. The kid’s activities, baskets and lace doily’s (for the confetti holders) were bought from Daiso.
Spend the money on a planner and somebody to set up, even if it’s a coordinator only for the day, it’s well worth the expense for some peace of mind!
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm Dubai wedding at Desert Palm
Dubai wedding at Desert Palm

Lovely Vendors  
Nancy Bragg from Lavender Blue helped styling and setting up the wedding. Her work at the wedding really helped make it the most memorable and beautiful day of my life and I thank her profusely for it. Her attention to detail and ability to understand and bring to light what it was exactly that I had wanted and envisioned was incredible and I am ever grateful.
All the photography was done by my very talented sister in law. She really helped make us all have a great time while working and made it all so quick and painless. The work and the pains she took to make sure we were having fun and looking good while doing so was amazing. She was incredibly easy to work with helped put our minds at ease about everything. Even nick, how hates getting his picture taken was loving all the attention! Www.lieslcheney.com
Helen Schrader was the officiant and she helped sculpt the whole ceremony into a seamless event with no hitches! She was very professional and helped me incorporate all the important elements for our big day perfectly. *Helen passed away over the summer and she will always be in our thoughts.
Francoise Crosbie was the musician and did such a lovely job. She was so very pleasant and I am So glad to have had her there making our day even more special.
Venue: Desert Palm Per Aquum  (the Museum area and the Courtyard). This was a fantastic venue and it didn’t break the bank at all. Well worth every penny and it was so beautiful.

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