Jessica & Andy’s Fairy-Tale Beach Front Dubai Wedding
From a romantic surprise proposal, to a Bollywood inspired pre-wedding party, to a fairy-tale beach front wedding at Fish Beach Taverna, we take a look inside Dubai expats Jessica & Andy’s beautiful wedding journey.
Jessica & Andy tied the knot in December 2018 at Fish Beach Taverna, an Aegean restaurant set against the stunning backdrop of the Mina Seyahi Hotel, a spot that the couple fell in love with on a date night. Read on as Bride Jessica talks us through her candle lit proposal, crossing oceans to find her dream dress and how her big day all came together with help from friends and family…
Jessica, let’s start with the proposal, how did your other half pop the question?
Andy proposed in January 2018. I’m cabin crew, and January was my reserve month, so I didn’t really know when I was going to be in Dubai. My roster changed to two days off, so we spontaneously decided to book a staycation at the Anantara on the Palm. We sometimes book the odd staycation now and again, so I didn’t suspect anything at the time. We checked into the hotel and had the most beautiful swim up lagoon room. We spent the afternoon by the beach, and suddenly Andy ‘wasn’t feeling too well’ and had to go back to room, he said you go paddle boarding, I’ll join you in a bit. Little did I know he was off planning my dream proposal. I annoyingly kept calling him to hurry back to the beach as I wanted him to join me in the kayaks instead. Eventually, he made it back, with plans for dinner. So off we went back to our room to get ready. 7:30 came and our tuk-tuk arrived to pick us up, but the driver completely drove past the restaurant, at which point I said “babe, he’s driven past the restaurant”, Andy replied “oh, I forgot to tell you, I changed our reservation to the one by the beach”. Still not suspecting anything, I said, ‘’oh okay even better’’! We pulled up to the beach, and it was honestly magical. There were candles set along the beach to our table set by the waterfront, private dining, no one else around, it was just perfect. Andy looks at me shocked and said, “I only asked for dinner by the beach! Can you believe they’ve done all this for us?”. And I STILL didn’t suspect a thing! So, as I’m busy taking Instagram videos, I see Andy becoming a little impatient, hurrying me to sit down. It was then I started to sense something was up. We had our first drink and he didn’t wait much longer. As he stood up to get down on one knee, a photographer jumped out of the bushes (he really thought of everything). I honestly can’t remember what he said to me, it was such a whirlwind of feelings and emotions, I just knew that my answer was going to be YES. In all the excitement we didn’t eat much after that, we continued the night celebrating, and the perfect end to our night, was being serenaded by our neighbors with a whole new world from Aladin! It was everything I imagined a proposal to be since I was a little girl.
How did you decide on a venue for your wedding?
We held the ceremony at St Francis of Asisi Catholic church in Jebel Ali, this is our parish church, Andy was baptized there, and his family are part of the church choir, so it was a place close to everyone’s hearts.
And deciding on a venue for our reception was so easy, we didn’t spend time looking at any other venues. We knew instantly we would want to hold the reception at Fish Beach Taverna after going there on a date night. Andy and I aren’t really ballroom types of people, we wanted something very chilled, romantic and by the beach, and this venue was perfect. Andy said to me on our date night there “this would be a great venue for a wedding” and I agreed. It was perfect.
Did you have a specific vision for your wedding?
Our vision for our wedding day was just everyone we love in the same place having the best time. I think we definitely achieved that. We’re both party people, so that was inevitable! Andy’s a DJ here in Dubai, he’s played for so many weddings, so he already knew about sound and lighting and from his experience he knew exactly what works, what doesn’t, issues we may encounter, how things run and how he’d like our own wedding day. So, he already had his own vision of the day, but we both shared the same vision of a beach wedding from the first moment we stepped into Fish Beach Taverna. Which was great for me as I’d always dreamt of that since being a little girl. And he always knew how much I loved the sea, so it just made complete sense to us.
How did you decide on the theme for your décor?
The overall theme was a beach theme, in keeping with the location of the venue. And the venue has a Santorini vibe to it, lots of white and blues, so we stayed with that as our colour scheme. Also, Andy is an avid Man City supporter, so blue had to be our colour, He did want all the table names to be of Man City players…but we had to draw the line there! The decor at Fish Beach Taverna is already so beautiful that we didn’t need (or want) to do too much to it, so we kept it very minimal.
The church decor was absolutely stunning, I cannot hype it up enough! Lucia from Miranda Decor did an exceptional job of decorating the church and venue for us. All we asked for was simplicity, lots of white and greenery, and of course rose petals on the floor for when we walked down the aisle. I left everything in Lucia and my sister in law’s hands. All the flowers were just beautiful, everything I imagined and more! I just adore flowers.
Let’s talk dresses! Where did you find your dream dress and how did you find that process?
Being cabin crew, I was lucky enough to be able to travel the world in search of my perfect dress, and even take my mum with me. I was initially drawn to one particular Italian designer, Nicole. So, I thought what better way to start my dress shopping than in Milan. I took my mum with me on a layover and began the search, it wasn’t a success, but we had fun! We continued the search in Dubai, still no luck, so carrying on with ‘take your mum to work week’, she came with me to London, again on a layover. It was in small bridal boutique in Croydon that we found ‘the one’. It was the first dress that I tried on, that gave my mum the reaction I was looking for. It was a dress by Martina Liana, a designer from Australia. The dress was still a little out of my price range, so I went away and really thought about it, and couldn’t stop thinking about it! But it was honestly meant to be, because on my following months roster I had Melbourne, I thought maybe I could pick the dress up in Australia seeing as it’s an Australian designer. I found the same dress at Fairytail Bridal in Moonee Ponds. They offered it to me straight off the rack, at a discounted price, which was nearly half the price of what I had originally found in the U.K. It was perfect, fit me like a glove and needed no alterations. I’ve worn it at least twice round the house since the wedding!
What was your favorite part of planning your wedding?
I am going to take absolutely zero credit for planning our wedding. My instructions were to turn up and look pretty – the dream! It is was all down to my sister in law Amanda, my amazing husband and the help of his family. I was flying so much during the lead up to our wedding, so it was hard for me to stay on top of the planning being away most of the month, jet lagged, or in a completely different time zone. If it wasn’t for Amanda our wedding day wouldn’t have come together the way it did. She was our unintentional wedding planner, she fell so perfectly into the role. Andy and I aren’t the most organized of people, so Amanda was our savior with spreadsheets and colour coding galore. She was so organized, calm and just on the ball with everything. Amanda and Andy along with help of his family, took on the stress of the wedding planning. Not many brides can say they left the wedding planning to the husband. But all he wanted was for me not to stress about anything. I think us brides take on a different kind of stress, with a rollercoaster of emotions to deal with. My duties extended to invitations, on the day design, choosing to work alongside Rebecca from Love by Design (also our on the day coordinator and all-round incredible person) and cake tasting! But to answer the question, my favourite part of planning the wedding was the dress shopping! And I feel so lucky to have been able to share that moment with my mum.
What did you find the most testing part of the planning process as an expat bride?
I felt the most testing part of being an expat bride is not having your own family close by for support, and to involve in the planning process. Everyone wants to be included one way or another, but it’s difficult being in different countries. Two of our bridesmaids lived outside of Dubai, my sister in France and my cousin in Amsterdam, so bridesmaid dresses were a bit of a challenge! But it all came together in the end, Andy & Jess style, last minute! That being said, not many expat brides are as fortunate as I was having Andy’s side of the family (who all reside in Dubai) to help and support us through the entire process. For that I am so grateful.
How did you incorporate both yours and your husband’s cultures into your wedding day?
Andy is Catholic and I’m Anglican, so our cultures and religion are pretty much the same. But when my family found out I was marrying someone of Indian nationality they kind of assumed that we would be wearing saris and that we’d ride in on elephants! So, to incorporate his nationality (and mostly for me to play dress up), we had a get together at Atelier M a couple of days before the wedding as a chance for our immediate families to meet each other, and for everyone to wear saris. I went all out and was an Indian princess for the day! A real dream come true!
What was your favorite part of the whole day?
That’s a really hard question. I honestly can’t pinpoint one particular part, it was amazing from the moment I woke up, and to be honest, I’m still on cloud nine! I loved getting ready in the morning with all my girls, my dad walking me down the aisle and of course marrying my best friend, love of my life and twin flame! But, if I was to just say one thing from the entire day, it would be seeing two families come together and everyone having the time of their lives, it made my heart feel so full.
What’s your top three tips for brides-to-be currently planning their wedding in Dubai?
♡ Even if you have a wedding planner, or family to help with the process, just enjoy it, it goes by so fast!
♡ Try not to stress, you probably will, but try not to.
♡ When it comes to your big day, be present, in the moment, and make time for you and husband to enjoy it together.
Did you use www.brideclubme.com when planning your wedding and how did the website help you?
brideclubme.com was one of the first websites I came across in search of some inspiration. I loved reading the Real Weddings section, they really helped me as I had no idea about weddings! I used a couple of the vendors featured on the website. I managed to get my dress dirty before I even wore it, so used Champion Cleaners to clean it, they did an amazing job. It came back even whiter than it was before! I also used Rebekah’s Bespoke Tailoring. One small tip for brides, try your wedding shoes on with your dress before you take it for alterations.
Anything/anyone you wish to add/credit?
My sister-in-law Amanda, who I’ve already thanked a million times, and she’ll kill me for saying it again, but we’re honestly so grateful for all she did for us, we love her. Her partner (now fiancé) proposed to her the day after our wedding at the same venue Fish Beach Taverna, wish is so special. I wish I could do the same for her as she did for us…But I don’t know how to do spreadsheets! We’d like to give massive credit to Yigit, the manager of Fish Beach Taverna and his fantastic team. They really made our day. The service and the food were absolutely outstanding, every single one of our 180 guests were blown away with the efficiency of the staff, and how delicious the food was. We’d also like to thank all the staff at The Westin Mina Seyahi for the hospitality, for taking such good care of us and our guests who stayed there for the wedding. Thanks to Atelier M for letting us host our pre-party there, the food here, also incredible! Rebecca at Love By Design for all our design work, and for being the best on- the-day coordinator so we could just enjoy ourselves. I highly recommend Rebecca, she’s wonderful! Andy’s family for helping with the church arrangements. Miranda Decor for the stunning flowers. Mark Maynard, our MC who isn’t an MC, we couldn’t have had anyone better to host the show! Our musicians, Kane Smith, Oli-Frost Danson, Mark Maynard, Chad Sycamore, Jaymie Deville, Andy’s Dad Ronnie, my Step Dad Drew and our DJ Dean Curtis. Our photographers and videographers. I could go on for days thanking people!
But lastly, I’d like to give credit to Andy, my husband. The kindest, selfless, caring, loving soul, who always puts everyone else first before himself. Thank you for all you did for us to have the most perfect wedding day. Thank you for taking on the stress for me when you knew I couldn’t quite take the heat, thank you for making me the happiest bride, I love you.
The Bride’s Little Pink Book
Special mention to: Champion Cleaners & Rebekah’s Bespoke Tailoring / Venue: Fish Beach Taverna / Invitations, Decor & Wedding Day Coordinator: Rebecca, Love By Design / Cake: Dana, Whisk Bakery / Flowers & Decor: Lucia, Miranda Decor / Wedding Favors: Chelsea, Chelsea Living/Homeware / Cake Topper & Bridal Hangers: The Party / Photography: Gavin Hardy / Make Up: Denny Clements / Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Jingle Fredo / Video: Soda Agency / Sound & Lighting: Wild Planet