A Lush Garden Soiree | Park Hyatt Dubai
A Lush Garden Soiree
Today’s real wedding was submitted by one of our loyal readers, Amelia Quick, who had secretly been planning her dream wedding for a good few years during her five-year relationship with her new husband Ernst.
Having found a love for Pinterest (don’t we all?), Amelia carefully considered every detail, using information resources such as Bride Club ME, international wedding blogs and local bridal magazines. It’s safe to say that Amelia was one über-organised and enthusiastic bride-to-be.
The gorgeous couple, originally from the UK (Amelia) and South Africa (Ernst), chose to celebrate their marriage in Dubai, using vibrant hues of green, layered into a lush garden soiree at the Park Hyatt Dubai, surrounded by those closest to them. These two love-birds truly had the most amazing day and we are delighted to feature their wedding. Below, Amelia talks us through her special day, with images from Ugly Duckling Photography, and ends with some tips for all you future brides out there. Enjoy!
The proposal …
The word we heard most after getting engaged was not “Congratulations” or “Fantastic”, but “Finally!” In true Ern style, he wanted it to be on his terms, relaxed and unexpected, which made it utterly perfect
We were away for Valentine’s Day at Bab al-Shams, and of course there was the small thought in my head that this might be it. However, I just wanted to focus on the fact that he had booked a gorgeous weekend away. It was a double bluff as well, because I never thought he would propose on Valentine’s Day for fear of being obvious!
After a day at the pool, we spent the evening stargazing from the rooftop terrace and drinking cocktails, then headed back to our room. We were having a nightcap on the balcony to the distant sounds of an oud player and a firework display had just gone off nearby (which Ern still says he organised!), when he got down on one knee, box in hand. “You are my lover, my best friend, my partner and my soul mate – now will you be my wife?” he asked. It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment.
The wedding theme …
Fresh, elegant, outdoors and fun. When we saw the palm garden at the Park Hyatt, we knew the colour green would complement the setting really well. We still haven’t found the name of the green we used – avocado, peridot, grass, sage and moss are all good descriptions.
We love the outdoors so it had to be an outside venue, and we wanted the focus of the day to be on the people and having a great time.
We had a church wedding a week before, which was lovely. Just the wedding party and both of our families were present and we had a BBQ back at our house afterwards. I wore my mum’s old wedding dress, with a few edits by Moirai Style, and I made a brooch bouquet – we’re in Dubai, after all, where a bit of bling never goes amiss! My mum did the flower arrangements at the house. It was such a special day that everyone said we could have just had that wedding.
But the big celebration happened on 1st March at the Park Hyatt.
The DIY & special touches …
For the Park Hyatt wedding, I made origami confetti cones using the pages of an Arabic book on love and marriage. No one could read the script, but I wanted to incorporate some Arabic, given our location. The confetti was a mixture of hand-punched palm leaves on green and white paper and green and white hydrangea petals.
After a lot of research and thought about how to involve our families, we chose a sand ceremony as I am from the seaside, we live in a beach destination, and South Africa has connotations of sand as well. I ordered a frame online and then each parent, along with Ern and I, poured sand in from our homes past and present. It was a really special moment and it now has pride of place at home.
For my ‘something old’, my aunty gave me her garter from 40 years ago. We provided our guests with green fans to keep cool (these proved to be a really fun element of the day) and, after dinner, a live band – the talented Maple Jacks – got the crowd going.
The wedding cake …
As we had an incredible dessert table, we chose one of the cakes included in our package. It was so much more special than I was expecting – a really big, three-tier (two were fake!) cake that became a feature. Our cake toppers were African fertility dolls dressed up with a tie and veil, to add a touch of Africa.
The dress & accessories …
For a bride, I think the dress shopping is one of the most exciting elements of the wedding preparations. But to begin with, I was somewhat disheartened after being left in cramped, dark changing rooms with crumpled tattered dresses to try on.
Then I went to the Bridal Showroom in JLT and, without even trying any dresses on, I wanted to get my dress from there. Hand on heart, I had that feeling you dream of as a little girl. We had our own private, beautifully appointed fitting room, where we were seated and asked about the plans so far. Rather than sifting through racks of tightly packed dresses wrapped in crinkly plastic coverings, we were given an iPad with 2-3 pictures of each dress from different angles, on actual models so you could really see the shape and detail.
We were also allowed to take pictures of the dresses, which was another important point as you want to go away and think about them all.
I was set on having a fishtail, head-to-toe lace, backless dress in ivory, and loved the flowy ethereal styles of designers like Claire Pettibone. However, when I tried these styles on I looked absolutely terrible!
The only thing I knew I didn’t want was strapless with a big skirt … which is exactly what I ended up with and it was stunning. My dress was by Jordan Fashions from the Bridal Showroom in JLT. It was the perfect combination of all the elements I had liked in other dresses. I have always loved a bit of bling and it was embellished with the most beautiful delicate stones and pearls – heavy on the corset, but then very delicate on the skirt.
I discovered I loved soft-looking tulle skirts and my dress had exactly that, which I thought was very romantic. My concern with strapless was that I’d be pulling it up all day, but when I found out how much reinforcement wedding dresses have, this worry was gone and strapless was actually very flattering – the neckline didn’t seem to cut me in two or give me the dreaded armpit bulge I was afraid of.
I tried some fitted dresses, but I didn’t get the ‘wow’ bridal feeling – they would have been great for an evening do, but I slowly realised I actually wanted a princess dress. This was my only chance to be a princess for the day, after all! I ended up going for A-line, which was flattering on my upper body down to my hips and then went out gradually. I could still move, dance and hug people, but it had the bridal factor. Also, my dress was alabaster, which I hadn’t expected – for someone with an olive complexion, it was so soft and flattering.
I wanted to keep the overall look quite simple, so chose pearl and tiny diamond drop earrings and a necklace from Cara in the Gold and Diamond Souk, as the dress was already quite sparkly. My husband-to-be bought me a Tiffany eternity bracelet for a wedding gift, which looked beautifully simple and delicate.
I wanted a fairly plain but cathedral-length veil, and couldn’t find one I really liked anywhere, so eventually I had one made by Moirai Style, who captured what I wanted perfectly.
Most enjoyable part of the planning process …
The research and sourcing! This is probably the worst bit for some people, but I loved seeing all the beautiful options; the hard bit was staying within the budget and not going over-the-top with theming!
I loved the whole process actually. Ern and I were aligned perfectly on everything; he let me get on with it for the most part, but then on some things he was set on exactly what he wanted – the colour of his suit and the petals down the aisle, for example. This was unexpected, but I loved that he took an active interest. In the evening, my dad, who plays in a band at home, took to the stage and did a rendition of ‘Dream a little dream of me’. Ern had organised it as a surprise for me weeks before and it was so, so special.
Working with such lovely people was also a highlight. B from Moirai Style, Angelique Turner, Ananda (DJ Sister Rock), Rio (Bride Club ME), Ritu at Creative Box and so many more all felt like friends by the end of the process.
Most testing part of the process …
It was hard choosing a destination venue as we knew there was a risk some family members wouldn’t be able to make it. In the end, as both of our families are so far apart, Dubai was a perfect middle point and we were delighted that so many more family members and friends came than expected.
Top three tips for a bride-to-be …
1. Plan a good timeline and make lots of lists. So many people told me not to sweat the little stuff and I’m so glad I listened.
2. Try on as many different wedding dresses as possible! It’s such a fun process and you’ll be surprised by some styles.
3. If you don’t have a planner, leave very clear instructions for the hotel so you’re not bothered with anything on the wedding day itself. We did an on-the-day document with suppliers’ contacts, timelines and diagrams, and they still needed further direction on the day.
How www.brideclubme.com helped
I really felt like Bride Club ME was an unofficial bridesmaid! Rio is amazing at adding a personal touch and would always come back with answers and advice – the responsiveness and support was so much appreciated!
Even though I had done so much research, I still didn’t find half the suppliers Bride Club recommended! DJ Sister Rock made the evening for us with her fun and unique style and awesome personality. We originally went to Barbaranne at Moirai Style just for bridesmaids’ dresses, but ended up coming away with a modified vintage gown, veil, four dresses, five waistcoats, ties and pocket squares, and a mother-of-the-bride dress! I loved how much of a perfectionist she is and she also made the process so much fun.
I found the invite and wedding stationery designer through Bride Club ME too. Creative Box supplied beautiful products, all personally designed.
I had no idea where to find an officiant for the day, but again Bride Club ME came through and recommended Toni Bloodworth-Barker, who was another gem and created a beautiful, personal and meaningful ceremony that was tailored perfectly to us.
The Brides Little Pink Book
Venue: Park Hyatt Palm Garden, Fountain Garden and Ballroom | Cake: The Park Hyatt Dubai | Band: The Maple Jacks | DJ: Ananda Shakespeare – DJ Sister Rock | Flowers: The Park Hyatt Dubai| Photographer: Ugly Duckling Photography | Makeup: Angelique Turner | Charger plates, beanbags and candles: Flowers by Contempo | Dress: The Bridal Showroom | Groom’s party suits: Deepa’s | Groom’s party accessories and bridemaids’ dresses: Moirai Style | Wedding stationery: Creative Box | Fans: Dragon Mart | Sand ceremony frame: www.confetti.co.uk
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