A Scottish-Arabic Dubai Destination Wedding at The One and Only The Palm
Here at BCME, we are always honoured when a recent bride gets in touch to tell us how helpful the site was when she was planning her wedding. Recently, we were thrilled to discover that Karina planned her Dubai destination wedding from the UK, and found the majority of her vendors and inspiration through the site! It is therefore only natural that we bring to you Karina’s magical wedding day with Momen, which took place at The One & Only The Palm in May this year.
Karina and her now husband met way back, in December 2005 at an ice rink in Glasgow, Scotland. As they are both from different cultures and backgrounds, their wedding day was an impressive fusion of Karina’s Scottish heritage and Momen’s Arabic culture. Electing to have their wedding in Dubai proved to be a wise decision, as it meant that all of their loved ones from all over the world could be in the same place to celebrate with them.
Read on to find out about how Karina planned their wedding from afar, and to discover how each element of the day came together!
How did he propose?
Momen proposed in December 2013 at the place where we met; the Ice Rink at George Square in Glasgow. I thought I was going for dinner and ice skating with a friend, but as the ice skating session finished, the tannoy came on to ask everyone to leave the ice rink. At this point, I tried to skate off but my friend tried her hardest to keep me on the ice rink – she even pretended to fall and hurt her ankle. By this point we were the only ones left on the rink. That is when I heard an Arabic song (Amr Diab – Tamally Maak) begin to play through the ice rink music system. I was confused but didn’t think much of it. Then I saw one of Momen’s friends skate on with a sign saying “Will”, and then another friend with a sign saying “You”. It was only when I saw Momen enter the ice rink with signs that said “Marry Me” that I realised what was happening. I immediately burst into happy tears as the song changed to “All of Me” by John Legend. I had to help Momen down on to one knee as he isn’t very good at skating!
Unknown to me, Momen had invited all of my friends and family to the ice rink, and they all cheered and cried as he proposed. It was a very romantic and thoughtful proposal. Momen had planned a party straight after in a private venue whilst all my friends and family were together. He even booked a hotel room in the Radisson Blu where he had a hairdresser, a dress and shoes waiting for me before the party. It was perfect!
We chose Dubai as the location for our wedding because it had a good mix of cultures. Momen and his family are Arabic, and me and my family are Scottish. Dubai offered the Arabic culture with the ability to incorporate western wedding traditions. Dubai was also a very central location for family and friends travelling from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Jordan, Tunisia and the UK. We visited Dubai in 2015 to choose our dream venue, and after visiting over seven different venues, we just fell in love with the One & Only on The Palm. It was perfect for our small wedding, allowed for the use of an outdoor and indoor private venue, had beautiful grounds, amazing views, delicious food and outstanding service.
Hair and Make up…
I used Monica Hernandez for my hair and make-up. Monica was amazing! I was only in Dubai for a few days before the wedding yet she still managed to do a trial for me a few days before. I didn’t even have to change anything from the trial as Monica knew exactly what I was looking for. My hair was just as I had imagined but even better and my make up was natural but still WOW! I couldn’t have asked for anything better. My talented mum made my hairpiece using a sparkly band, a broach, pearls and extra lace from my dress. I spent weeks trying to find the perfect headpiece and as soon as I tried on the one my mum had made for me it was perfect. It was personalised and suited me and the dress perfectly.
Let’s talk wedding gowns. Where did you buy your dream gown?
I wanted to add an Arabic touch to the dress. To do this, I ordered extra lace which was carefully placed on the sleeves (over the wrists), across the chest and down the sides of the dress. The extra lace made the dress more personal and added a little Arabic touch. The dress itself was from designer Suzanne Neville and was purchased at a bridal boutique called Eleganza in Glasgow.
Did you decide upon a wedding theme? If so, talk us through your choice…
I chose the colour of the bridesmaid dresses and from there I left it up to my talented Mum to choose the flowers and wedding décor. The bridesmaids were a pale blush pink and the rest of the wedding was very elegant with pale pinks and pastel colours. The bridal bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets were definitely my favourite. They were stunningly beautiful and added so much more elegance to the wedding day.
My Mum ordered blush pink lace table covers and blush pink wedding décor. For the ceremony we had ivory rose petals in the fountain, and at night my Mum converted the courtyard into a fairy tale. We had center pieces (carried all the way from the UK in numerous suitcases!) that lit up which had candles and rose heads inside hanging candle holders. The water fountain was switched off at night which left a relaxing water feature that was covered in rose petals and floating candles. We had personalised menus instead of place cards and we named our seven tables after the seven wonders of the world – we thought this was quite fitting as we had guests from all over the world attending the wedding.
Our day was just incredible from start to finish. We had a beautiful outdoor ceremony with all of our friends and family who had travelled far and wide to be beside us on our special day. Adam Long was our Saxophone player who played me down the aisle and also played freestyle at our cocktail reception for our guests while Momen and I were getting our photographs taken. Adam was fantastic, and took the time to learn the song I wanted played as I walked down the aisle. All our guests are still talking about how good he was during the cocktail reception. Zu Gatward was our celebrant, and she was fantastic. She is incredibly friendly, experienced and helpful. Zu took the time to get to know us as a couple and provided us with a very beautiful, modern yet still traditional ceremony that had everyone in tears (happy tears).
After an indoor cocktail reception in the private reception hall, we had a fairy-tale outdoor dinner in the courtyard where we all enjoyed the beautiful venue, delicious food and the hilarious/tearful speeches from the father of the bride, the groom and the best man.
We then moved back inside, where we could make use of the dancefloor and the outdoor terrace. We had the Zaffa to play the bride and groom into the reception hall. The guests loved the Zaffa, their energy, their dance moves and of course the amazing music from the Arabic drums and the Scottish bagpipes.
Unknown to any of the guests (nor the groom!), my mum, bridesmaids and I had been taking belly dancing lessons for over a year. I had hired a belly dancer teacher (Suraya Ahmed) from the UK who choreographed a routine to Momen’s favourite song. When I appeared I had a veil across my face so only my eyes could be seen. The look on Momen’s face when he realised it was me was worth all the hours spent learning how to belly dance. And when my mum appeared on stage all the guests went crazy! No-one expected it at all. It was hilarious and great fun!
Tell us about the wedding cake….
We used Spontiphoria who designed our amazing Wedding Cake. Through emails back and forth with Sidiqa, she managed to create the cake of my dreams without me even having to show her a picture. We had a pastel coloured cake, very simple, with three tiers and a fantastic personalised topper which was just as I had pictured it to be. Sidiqa was so helpful and patient in helping me choose my dream cake all the way from the UK to be made in Dubai!
Most testing part of the wedding planning process…
The most difficult part of planning the wedding was having to book everything in Dubai from the UK, especially as we didn’t use the hotel or a wedding planner for this. It meant a lot of emails back and forth with suppliers, trying to describe to them exactly what I was looking for. It can be very draining trying to describe every detail of the wedding via email, without face to face meetings and discussions. It was also difficult to trust suppliers with deposits when you had never met them and they are in a different country. Thankfully, Bride Club ME, with its list of reliable suppliers for weddings in Dubai, was invaluable. It was also a great website for wedding inspiration and ideas.
It was also quite difficult for Momen and I to agree on certain aspects of the wedding as we both come from very different backgrounds and cultures. However, we managed to incorporate both sides into our wedding and it turned out even better than we could have hoped.
Top three tips for a bride-to-be…
I was very stressed when planning the wedding as I always need everything to be perfect. I couldn’t wait for all the stress to be over. But now that it’s over, I want to do it all again. So my advice would be:
♡ As stressful as planning a wedding is, you only get to do it once. So take it all in and enjoy every aspect of the planning – especially trying on ALL the dresses!
♡ Try to enjoy as much of the planning as possible.
♡ Start early and don’t leave anything to last minute – especially all the smaller tasks like favours, accessories, presents, song choices etc, as they take more time than you would expect.
Did you use Bride Club ME in the planning process? If so, how?
Many of the vendors we used were found on Bride Club ME, and I cannot thank Rhiannon enough for putting me in touch with them; it made planning the wedding so much easier. I would never have been able to find them had it not been for Bride Club ME! Each supplier was talented, professional and friendly. We booked our celebrant, make up artist/hairdresser, cake, DJ, photographer/videographer, Saxophonist, Arabic zaffa drummers and dancers and our belly dancer (Juliana Camargo) all through the Bride Club ME website.
The Bride’s Little Pink Book
Cake: Spontiphoria – Venue: The One & Only The Palm – Flowers: Bride’s Mum – Photographer: Goldfish Photography & Video – Hair and make-up artist: MHG Beauty – DJ: DJ Stylez – Entertainment: Adam Long, Juliana Camargo – Celebrant: Zu Gatward