An English Wedding in Dubai – Desert Palm Resort
An English Wedding in Dubai
We are excited to feature the Dubai wedding of Claire and Kristian Valdini, encompassing quintessentially British touches, such as a traditional roast dinner for guests, English country garden blooms, and the lush green surroundings of the Desert Palm Resort Dubai. The wedding oozed classic chic, with personal touches as outlined below.
Here, we asked British expat bride, Claire Valdini to talk us through her dream wedding. The memories of the happy day were beautifully captured by Ugly Duckling.
Kristian went to great lengths to surprise me on my birthday eighteen months ago. He bought lots of birthday presents to throw me off the scent in the morning; and then booked dinner at my favourite Dubai restaurant Nobu. The waiters had already been informed beforehand what was happening, so we had a lovely quiet table in the corner of the restaurant; and a bottle of champagne to start. Midway through dinner he told me he’d forgotten to give me one of my gifts, and handed me a small pink Smythson birthday book and told me open it up to my birthday date. Inside he had written a note saying: The day that Kristian asked me to marry him. Needless to say I spent the rest of the dinner crying rather than tucking into the black cod.
The wedding theme…
We didn’t really have a particular theme we stuck to; we just wanted to make sure that we included as many of our favourite things as possible. If I had to sum up the feel of the day, I would say it was quite English. We opted for a traditional roast dinner as we knew that was something everyone would enjoy (but made sure to keep the starters and deserts very light to ensure everyone was up on the dance floor afterwards), the inspiration for the flowers were based on an English country garden and having the ceremony and reception at Desert Palm Hotel with its vast polo field also added to the ‘English’ feel.
Our navy and white colour scheme came together fairly easily as navy was one of the few colours that suited all of the bridesmaids skin-tones. From there we kept it simple with navy and white stationary (designed by our very talented friend Neil Baker) and pompoms plus a pop of colour from the pink roses and peonies and lilac delphinium used in my bouquet and also for the table settings.
We also wanted to include as many personal touches as possible so in the lead-up to the wedding; I spent several weeks recruiting family members to help me make pompoms, write name settings on pebbles (which I bought from the local garden centre) and tying pashminas with the same lace ribbon I had wrapped around both my bouquet and my bridesmaids. Kristian also came up with the novel idea of keeping our guests entertained during our photographs by arranging a golf competition for the boys, which went down really well with.
Lucky for me, Kristian works in events; and also DJs, so he was more than happy to take on the responsibility for the wedding set-up and entertainment while I handled the smaller details such as flowers and decor. Music is really important to Kristian; and he wanted that to reflect in our choice of music. He hired a local saxophonist, Adam Long, to play over the top of one of our favourite Dubai DJs during the early part of the reception and then another one of our DJ friends played more up-tempo classics from our first song onwards.
I had known for some time that I wanted a short wedding dress as I wanted to be able to dance the night away, and not worry about a train getting dirty or more importantly in the way. The Ian Stuart ‘Jet Set’ dress I bought was the first dress I tried on in the bridal shop although in true bridal style I ended up trying on lots of others before coming back to the first. I also knew in advance that I wanted a birdcage-style veil, as I loved the idea of a vintage-inspired look. I tried on several options, including a short traditional veil and a beautiful but totally over the top flower corsage headband, which I eventually ruled out on the basis that I didn’t want to scare Kristian coming down the aisle! My shoes were definitely the most difficult aspect of my outfit to choose – after months of trawling the internet I ended up finding the ideal pair from Jimmy Choo in Paris on my hen-do. I plan to get them dyed so I can wear them more often.
Most enjoyable part of the planning process…
I spent months trawling through Pinterest boards and wedding blogs getting inspiration for the day. Having everyone arrive in Dubai and realise that they are there for us was also really exciting in the lead up to the big day.
Most testing part of the wedding planning process as an expat bride…
In addition to having bridesmaids’ dresses for girls in four different countries made in Dubai, I would say the single biggest test was sticking to our budget. We were quite diligent in the beginning but we hadn’t accounted for the last minute things such as entertaining our guests prior to the wedding.
Top three tips for expat brides-to-be…
- Don’t stretch yourself in too many directions on week of the wedding; you might want to greet everyone at the airport, but you’ll be grateful when you get your wedding photographs back, that you did not look exhausted after spending the entire three-days prior to your wedding camping out at Dubai airport.
- Tell your guests about Dubai. We made sure all of our out-of-town guests that hadn’t travelled to Dubai before had restaurant/hotel/hairdresser recommendations before they arrived.
- Enjoy yourself! Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life so don’t spend it worry about the smallest of details on the day.
The Brides Little Pink Book
Venue: Desert Palm Resort Dubai/Dress: Ian Stuart /Kristian’s suit: Parma JLT /Flowers: Bliss Flowers/Rings: Cara Jewellers Hair: Nicola at Chill Salon /Makeup: Michelle Waldron/Photographers: Ugly Duckling /Bridesmaid’s dresses: Deepa’s Textiles and Tailoring
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