A Bohemian-Themed Afternoon Wedding Celebration in Dubai
One couple invited 250 guests to Dubai to join them for a pre-nuptial party—the reception took place a full six months before the actual wedding!—with a bohemian lawn party full of drinks, dancing, and a buffet-style dinner.
Dona and Firas met through mutual friends on March 14, 2016—and nearly three years to the date, Firas was down on one knee. The groom-to-be decided to propose to Dona on a trip to Greece, where they spent the days under the Mediterranean sun—surrounded by their nearest and dearest. Firas, anticipating Dona would want to share the moment with her loved ones, had invited their friends and families to join them there, which added another layer to the happy surprise.
The couple took a nontraditional approach to their nuptials and decided to host a celebratory reception on December 27, 2019, at Address Montgomerie, in Dubai, before their actual wedding day (which took place on June 26, 2020). Gathering RSVPs was the most difficult part of the planning process, they say—their guest list spanned the globe—so they relied on technology to make sure that each and every one of their 250 guests, near and far, received an invite.
Dona leaned on her own experience as an event planner and teamed up with a coordinator from The Purple Chair to pull off all the bohemian-inspired details, from pouf seating and textured chandeliers to plenty of jute and rattan table accents, she had envisioned. "It was extremely smooth, and my planner just knew my vision better than I did," the bride says. "We enjoyed the entire process from A-Z without any doubts or worry." The couple asked guests to wear whatever they wanted to the afternoon event, as long as it fit the "bohemian chic" theme.
Dona worked with Lebanese designer Raymond Daou to create her wedding dress—a process made difficult due to the distance between them. Dona sent him her measurements and a picture of the A-line gown she had in mind—including the materials she wanted him to use, from blush tulle to floral appliqué. She took a quick four-day trip to Lebanon for two dress fittings and was finally able to solidify the details.
On the big day, she held an organic bouquet by Le Marche Des Fleurs featuring pampas, white berries, ranunculus, O'Hara roses, palm leaves, and anthurium. The arrangement, which was tied with an orange ribbon, spoke to the event's color palette, which included beige, mustard, pastel pink, white, and burgundy.
She wore several simple stud earrings, as well as a statement pair with fringe detailing. She also donned a Rolex watch and Tiffany & Co. bracelets that she never takes off, each a gift from a loved one.
Her best accessory? Her groom! Firas wore a tan suit with a two-button closure and notch lapels. He wore a floral patterned bow tie and matching pocket square, and finished his look with brown suspenders and shoes.
Dona's finishing touch? Blue Valentino patent leather pumps with stud detailing and a slender heel.
The First Look
Originally, the couple didn't plan on having a first look—but their photographer convinced them to take advantage of the alone time before the festivities began. "We both really appreciate that he did that because when we look back, we have amazing pictures and portraits!" Dona says. Although they were nervous leading up to the moment, having their photographer there made them much more comfortable, they say—and the photoshoot ended up being one of their favorite moments from the entire day.
A Wedding with a View
Dona and Firas chose Address Montgomerie in Dubai for their celebration; the resort offered tons of space for their guests and allowed them to divide the area into two lawns—one for the kids and one for the adults. Plus, it offered views of both the city and the surrounding lake. "The lake was gorgeous, especially during sunset, so it added a really special touch," Dona says. "It is a very unique venue with beautiful scenery!"
A Welcoming Entrance
Patterned rugs were scattered at the entrance, where guests walked underneath rows of arches that read, "And so it begins." Organic flower arrangements, composed of white, cream, and peach flowers with pampas grass for texture, were placed in an assortment of gold vessels at either side.
As the couple took photos, their guests enjoyed a DJ and a jazz singer during cocktail hour. The pair offered an open bar; they decorated this station with unique mirror artwork emblazoned with on-theme phrases, like, "Good Vibes Only" and "What's Your Poison?"
To keep with the bohemian theme, the couple's planning team scattered macramé wall hangings, textured lanterns, and tons of pampas grass in oversized white clay pots throughout the space.
Bite to Eat
Passed apps—for both the kids and the adults—made the rounds during this interlude.
The couple created lounge vignettes, where attendees could unwind lakeside. Couches were covered in plenty of throw pillows and gold-rimmed glass coffee tables were placed on top of area rugs; console tables, holding various monochrome flower arrangements, separated the spaces.
Take a Hat
Dona and Firas also offered hats—displayed on a colorful wall—to their loved ones, to help keep them cool under the Dubai sun.
The Upper Lawn
Originally, the couple planned to set up two separate spaces for dining; one for the kids and one for adults. Guests, however, ended up mingling and enjoying both areas.
On the Upper Lawn, two pole structures were decorated with pampas grass, palm leaves, O'Hara roses, and anthurium. Beaded chandeliers hung from the center of each for a bohemian feel.
Four low-bearing tables were placed underneath the structures. Bohemian poufs and cushions in varying colors added a cozy, casual vibe to the space.
The wooden tables were left sans linens, but held candles on tall candle sticks; garlands that incorporated larkspur and anthurium ran the length of each. Place settings included woven gray chargers, pale yellow linen napkins, and silver cutlery.
The couple decided to include a fun maraca for each guest, along with a thank-you note. For dinner, the celebrants enjoyed several buffet stations, including ones for pizza, pasta, and burgers.
The Lower Lawn
The Lower Lawn was also set up with four long tables—but these stations upped the formality factor. They were positioned underneath a structure embellished with more palm leaves, pampas grass, and dried florals.
Tables also held tons of tall candles, but unlike those on the Upper Lawn, tablescapes also featured several centerpieces in various vases and vessels. Basketweave pendant lights hung from the structure in varying heights.
Almost Too Pretty to Eat
A chocolate wedding cake was displayed on a table on the Upper Lawn, and backed by a triangular arch loaded with on-palette flowers. The cake itself was hexagonal in shape and incorporated the color scheme of the day; white, mustard, and burgundy patterns adorned the fondant, as did a few floral embellishments and a small dreamcatcher.
On the Floor
The couple hired a caricature artist—along with a jazz singer and a DJ—to entertain the crowd all night long. Later in the evening, Dona and Firas shared their first spin to Frank Sinatra's "I Love You Baby" before the rest of the guests joined them the dance floor.
The Last Word
To couples currently planning their weddings, Dona recommends hiring vendors you fully trust. "Once you pick your planner, you need to relax and enjoy the planning process—everything will work out in the end!" she says.
Photography, Elias Kordelakos
Venue and Catering, Address Montgomerie
Event Planning and Design, The Purple Chair
Flowers, Le Marche Des Fleurs
Bride's Jewelry, Rolex; Tiffany & Co.
Bride's Shoes, Valentino
Hair and Makeup, Monica MHG Beauty
Music, DJ Elios Coucha; Ciaran Fox
Cake, Cakes by Zoya
Rentals, Innovative Hiring
Lighting, MRamez Events
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