Blame it on Gili Islands – An intimate beach wedding (Ritz Carlton Dubai)
According to newly wedded Lebanese/Canadian bride, Nathalie and groom Omar from Palestine, their wedding had three very important elements, great music, great food and the company of close family and friends. It was an intimate, romantic, and laughter-filled day and night with thoughtful personal touches, including the genius concept of having a camera installed into the brides bouquet. Here, expat bride Nathalie, talks us through her planning process and leaves us with some words of wisdom.
“It was July 2012, during a vacation in Crete. We were there for 10 days and Omar never got the ‘right moment’ to propose as we were always surrounded by friends.”
“One casual day, we were hanging out on a beach at sunset, and he finally found the right moment, but he left the ring in the hotel! He couldn’t resist the moment and still proposed! And as soon as we got back to the Hotel he proposed again! Lucky me, I got asked twice!”
The wedding theme…
We had a wonderful beach wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai. In keeping with the fresh beach vibe, we asked guests to dress in white.
What’s the significance of ‘Blame it on Gili Islands?…
This is another personalised touch! On a group surfing trip to Bali, Omar and I (friends at the time) ventured off discovering the island. We ended landing on Gili islands which are a boat ride away from Bali! It was paradise! This is where Omar and I officially fell in love! So we totally blame Gili islands for where we are today.
As I mentioned before, keeping things personal and getting involved in the creative elements of our wedding was really important to Omat and I. Here are some of the personal touches we added:
- My friend designed and printed a ‘bride in progress’ sign that was placed on the door of my hotel room.
- Omar is a huge hackie sack player, so as parting gifts, we gave out hackie sacks with handwritten notes thanking our guests for coming!
- With 200 people, it’s inevitable that some guests won’t know either the bride or groom, so on each table, there was a ‘Five things you should know about“ Omar and Nathalie.’ This was a good way to make it an intimate wedding.
- My friend who flew in from NYC for the wedding played the djembe drums for our zaffe. It was the sweetest thing. He really got the crowd going!
- The wood signs on the beach were hand made by the groom and I.
- We also made wood letters of our initials, so that our friends could leave messages on them. They are now hanging in our new home.
- My maid of honour insisted on a DIY project, so she made us a large empty frame, and had all the guests take corky Polaroid pics, and hang them with personalised notes! It was adorable! It is also now hanging at home!
- I kept being told by previous brides that our big day would “pass in a flash”. I really wanted to have a memory of everything; through my perspective of the wedding, and so I installed a mini camera in my wedding bouquet. Basically the camera was my eyes! Thanks to Omar and his love for all-things geeky, the Gopro cam was totally his idea. So I have to give him credit! He definitely defied the stereotype of the groom never getting involved in the planning process!
The wedding cake…
When it came to our wedding cake, we wanted something unique and not typically traditional, so we opted for cake pops surrounding a cake topper meant for us, the bride and groom!
The wedding attire…
My gorgeous dress was from the designer Jenny Packham, I had rich blue coloured shoes from Manolo Blahnik, and my favourite piece of wedding attire was my veil which I custom made with hand-embroidered pearls.
The groom’s attire…
The dress code of the wedding was smart/casual and white! So the groom had a linen suit custom made, and his shoes were from Aldo, the laces coincidentally matched my shoes!
Most enjoyable part of the planning process…
The best part of the whole planning process was knowing that my nearest and dearest from all over the world would be flying in to be with us on our special day!
Most testing part of the wedding planning process as an expat bride…
Not having my mother and BFF to complain to or vent with. My parents live in Canada and my BFF is in Guam. They are so far away and it’s not easy being an expat bride planning a wedding in Dubai alone. Trying on wedding dresses alone is not much fun at all.
Top three tips for a bride-to-be…
- Make it personal to you and your husband to-be
- Don’t stress the smaller details
- Hire a wedding planner to help you. It will get crazy so ensure you have someone that you can rely on.
Wedding suppliers used…
Venue: The Ritz Carlton, Dubai/ Cake: Chocoa/ Flowers: Wud Flowers/ Photographer: Katarina borszik photography/ Hair & Makeup: Angelique Turner/ Videographers: Deneemotion Boutique Wedding Cinema/ Planner: Clare Ebbs – The Perfect Moment Dubai.