Emirates Bride - Summer 2020

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MAGIC MAKING Wedding Trends Bridal Hair High Jewellery

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Editor’s Letter Emirates Bride is every bride-to-be’s essential guide to getting it right. Whether you dream of a classically elegant event or a one-of-a-kind day, designed to be bespoke for you both, you’ll find all the inspiration and access you need. We’ve curated the best edit of global designers from contemporary to classic to ensure you have access to the very best dresses to make your decision for The One. In the spotlight this issue are stunning pieces from Zuhair Murad page 22 and Jenny Packham on page 16. Sharing their stories and the success of how they achieved their own spectacular weddings, our real-life brides make the perfect read for your upcoming nuptials on page 48.

Whether you’re still debating the dream destination or having to rethink plans amid travel challenges in the current global climate, we’ve noted the ideal honeymoon destinations you can look forward to from chic city breaks to the most idyllic of remote islands. Allow yourself to fall off the grid and let Emirates Bride deliver both discovery and relaxation. Finally, giving you direct access to the very best in the industry, our directory is where you’ll find everything you need from photographers to florists, jewellery and more on page 78.

Congratulations & happy planning! The Emirates Bride Team

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Contents SUMMER 2020

05 – A Head For Glamour

Love hairbands? You will love these

06 – The Gown Report

All the inspiration you need from the S/S20 catwalks

10 – A Modern Statement 28

Be inspired by the Bridal Collection from Max Mara

16 – Love International

The Jenny Packham 2020 Bridal Collection

22 – Magic Making

Zuhair Murad’s mesmeric gowns from A/W20

28 – Leading Lady

Marion Cotillard shows off Chopard elegance

32 – A Royal Touch

The precious Princess Collection from Raniwalla 1881

36 – Sealed With Love 64

All the jewellery a bride would ever need

48 – Real Weddings

Sophie and Neha let us into their glorious weddings

60 – Indian Brides Say Yes... Embroidered and sequinned lehengas near and far

64 – The Know-How

Wedding etiquette questions and answers for every bride

66 – Floral Trends For 2020 Maison des Fleurs’ head florist Cheryl Cox weighs in

70 – Honeymoons 66

The ultimate destinations of all time

76 – Splurging in the Maldives Win a stay at Niyama Private Islands Maldives

82 – Lifelong Companion Show off your style with this beauty by Burberry

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Headi rabbit headband Dhs1,435 Maison Michel


Crystal embellished headband Dhs1,980 Miu Miu

A Head For Glamour

Bridal accessories have evolved past the traditional veils, with many brides now looking to exaggerated headbands and hair embellishments. We pick out the pieces that inject a touch of decadence to the proceedings Compiled: Diana Bell-Heather

Pearl headband Dhs1,835 Givenchy

Studded leather headband Dhs2,100 Prada

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S /S 2 0 T R E N D R E P O R T

The Gown Report Words: Amy Sessions

Kristina Fidelskaya

Giambattista Valli

For S/S20 the runways played host to impactmaking gowns in all forms, from modern, clean and minimal high-shine at Givenchy to Elie Saab’s regal embellishments

Floral A perennial favourite for wedding season, florals came in many forms for S/S20 from modern neon at Cong Tri to undone romance at Kristina Fidelskaya. Alexander McQueen conjured hand-crafted lace into floral forms that gave a nod to Victoriana. The Hero Brands: Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen, Kristina Fidelskaya, Cong Tri

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S /S 2 0 T R E N D R E P O R T

Movement Feathers took centre stage, evoking a sense of movement and magic on the runway. It’s an ideal investment if you’re looking for an impactful gown eschewing subtlety for boldness. Prabal Gurung’s monochrome offering played with proportions while Ralph & Russo delivered screen siren allure with feather-trimmed silk gowns cut to the floor.

Ralph & Russo


Prabal Gurung

The Hero Brands: Prabal Gurung, Ralph & Russo, Rahul Mishra, Valentino

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Elie Saab


S /S 2 0 T R E N D R E P O R T

Versailles Think powder pastels, oversized bows, ruffles and grandeur for event season. Elie Saab created elevated, elegant silhouettes that felt regal and refined while Aelis dared to dream up undiscovered dimensions for their Couture show with giant ruffles in the softest lavender tulle.

Elie Saab

The Hero Brands: Cong Tri, Aelis, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad

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Cong Tri

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High Shine Fabrics felt appropriately indulgent for wedding season. For S/S20, Oscar de la Renta added a Grecian feel to golden pleats and Cong Tri cut the highest quality silk into forms which evoked molten metal. Givenchy stole the show with a modern floor-length gown that was nothing short of show-stopping.


Oscar de la Renta

The Hero Brands: Cong Tri, Elie Saab, Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, Zuhair Murad

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Words: Diana Bell-Heather

A Modern Statement

Elevated minimalism is at the core of Max Mara’s 2020 Bridal Collection. Streamlined silhouettes have been enhanced with delicate tulle, micro embellishment and romantic feathers

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All Max Mara Bridal 2020 1 4 E mirates Brid e


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Love International

Jenny Packham’s 2020 Bridal Collection comprises gowns, mini dresses and capes, capturing the spirit of some of the world’s most romantic destinations: Paris, New York and Buenos Aires... Words: Diana Bell-Heather

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All Jenny Packham Bridal 2020

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Design your perfect wedding day at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Allow The St. Regis Abu Dhabi to assist you in flawlessly arranging a once-in-a lifetime and truly unique wedding

Since 2013 The St. Regis Abu Dhabi has been renowned for passionately and graciously executing exquisite weddings. With the relentless assistance of an experienced team and event planners, you can consider each request and meticulous detail taken care of, ensuring your special day is truly unique and personalised to your wishes. Begin your personal consultation with the specialised wedding and events manager and craft the ideal wedding following the local traditions or international profile. On the memorable day the professional events team and your

personal St. Regis Butler will be by your side to attend to the proceedings while you relax in the private bridal suite located next to the Al Mudhaif Ballroom. The Al Mudhaif Ballroom is a 1,311 square metre expanse of opulence and can comfortably accommodate 650 guests. The exceptional touches of gold throughout the room, the ornate details of the handcrafted ceilings, the captivating crystal chandeliers and of course the hand-tufted carpets all combine to give the venue and your day an ideal setting and a wonderful atmosphere. A setting that strikes a fine bal-

ance between impressive gandeur and cosy intimacy; immaculately beautiful yet warmly welcoming. You also get an epicurean and indulgent selection of specially created menus to personalize to your and your guests taste. Book your special wedding day at the iconic St. Regis Abu Dhabi and save 15 per cent on selected wedding menus. Valid for weddings taking place between May 2020 to beginning of September 2020. To know more visit weddings.stregisabudhabi.com

Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad creates magical gowns incorporating sculpted lace, romantic embellishment and a signature silhouette set to turn heads. For A/W20 his Bridal Collection is simply breathtaking...

Magic Making Words: Amy Sessions

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All Zuhair Murad Bridal A/W20

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Pure Romance Words: Diyana Hakmi

It’s not exactly rare for us to swoon a little over a Michael Cinco wedding gown. The Dubai-based designer has a knack for creating the kind of fairytale dresses that make a girl plan her wedding day to the Nth degree. His latest design, created for Thai actress, Rita Sririta Jensen, is no different. How does the dress represent your aesthetics? I am known for fabulous couture ball gowns and exquisite detailed wedding gowns with juxtaposition of fabrics and Swarovski crystals. Are brides still interested in volume and intricacy? Brides from the Middle East are up-to-date with the latest trends in wedding designs. Some brides are modern and they prefer minimal, no embroideries and blings but elegant designs that are light, practical and easy for them to walk the aisle and dance in. Some brides want to look special and unique on their wedding day, so they prefer the fantasy look in a voluminous, sparkling and glittering wedding gown. What do you love the most about wedding dresses? The passion of devoting my love and time towards creating the details that takes thousands of hours to finish by skilled artisans. I’m always in awe when I see the smiles and tears of the brides when they try the finished garment. Some brides are

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so full of emotions they burst into tears the moment they see their dream wedding gown materialise. Who would you like to make a wedding dress for? It has always been my dream to make a wedding gown for Audrey Hepburn whom I admired most and the first and only woman who inspired me to be a fashion designer. I wish I was born during her time to live out that dream. I have created the most beautiful wedding gowns for Arab and European princesses, daughters of Presidents and Prime Ministers, celebrity brides and powerful women, but it is always a pleasure and a dream for me to create a couture wedding gown to any brides who wants me to help them realise their dream wedding come true. What inspires you when designing a wedding dress? LOVE...it inspires me to create beautiful things in the world.

Actress Rita Sririta Jensen wearing Michael Cinco

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This page: Bangle bracelets from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat gold, Ref. 85A029-5000 in rose gold; Ref. 85A029-0000 in yellow gold; Rings from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat gold; Ref. 829834-5010 in rose gold; Ref. 829834-0010 and 827702-0199 in yellow gold

Leading Lady Discover Chopard’s Ice Cube and Magical Setting collections in the graceful and elegant presence of Marion Cotillard

Compiled: Diana Bell-Heather

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This page: Rings from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat gold, Ref. @829834-0099 and 827702-0289 in yellow gold set with diamonds; Ref. 827702-1259 and 827702-1289 in white gold set with diamonds; Ref. 827702-1199 in white gold; Next page: 36-mm timepiece from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat rose gold, Ref. 124015-5001; Bracelet from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat rose gold set with diamonds, Ref. 857702-5003; Ring from the Ice Cube Collection in 18-carat yellow gold set with diamonds, Ref. 829834-0099

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A Royal Touch

Eclectic, modern and deeply rooted in tradition, Raniwalla 1881’s elegant Princess Collection pays homage to the elegant millennial bride

Photographer: Rahul Jhangiani

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The ornate collection of handcrafted keepsakes features enticing chokers, layered neckpieces, chandelier earrings, cocktail rings, bewitching bangles and alluring hathphools (hand jewellery). Exuding contemporary luxury with the centuries-old grandeur of Rajasthani tradition, the collection is handcrafted in 18 carat gold, and is set in exquisitely intricate jadau and open-setting techniques.

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Photography: Mustufa Abidi

Styling: Diana Bell-Heather

Sealed With Love

The gift of jewellery not only expresses eternal love, it also symbolises a memory that can be passed down through generations

Flowers: Florette

Left page: Valley of Fire necklace POA; Valley of Fire ring POA; Desert Bloom earrings POA all Messika High Jewellery; This page: Treasures earrings and ring POA Piaget Em irates Bride 3 7


This page: Earrings Dhs424,500 and ring Dhs39,00 both Tiffany & Co.; Right page: Avenues Statement earrings Dhs105,100; Avenues Crown bracelet Dhs53,200; Avenues Statement multi-finger ring Dhs40,430 all Marli New York

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Magnolia necklace part of Regalia Collection Dhs941,160 Mikimoto

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Fiorever necklace POA and earrings POA in white gold and diamonds both Bvlgari

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This page: Frivole bracelet POA; Frivole pendant POA; Frivole earrings POA all Van Cleef & Arpels; Right page: Clockwise from the top: Blast Bangle Dhs66,200; Carré Alterné earrings Dhs13,396; Blast Ring Dhs27,200; Carré Alterné ring Dhs24,231 all Repossi

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This page: Diamond and emerald necklace Dhs1,103,970 GRAFF; Left page: Étourdissant necklace POA and Étourdissant earrings POA both Cartier

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Limitless Imagination Embark on your beautiful journey with us. Together, Events Hub at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre will plan every detail of your special day to create a magical celebration that personifies your romance. Their 3 grandeur ballrooms and other reception spaces will serve your dreams whether it’s a lavish or an intimate affair. They always have something to suit you!

Your Journey Bring your dream wedding to life in the Great Ballroom, where unreal elegance and beauty surrounds you. Just sit back and enjoy every moment of your memorable day as Events Hub graciously takes over to welcome over 2000 guests effortlessly through their attention to detail and flawless execution. The Great Ballroom never fails to amaze with its vast foyer, unique show kitchens as well as the bridal suite and majlis that overlook the Great ballroom add a stylish tier to your magical celebration.

Events Hub ensures your day is garnished with splendor food, catering to different taste buds from varying nationalists, for example Arabic, Indian, Asian or Italian to name a few. Not only that, but the Great Ballroom’s 3 built-in kitchens create an attractive scene for guests, seeing the live-cooking stations! Think of a theme and Events Hub will transform the Ballrooms according on your taste and aspirations. Just recently it was transformed to a summer evening in Greece, a massive garden theme, even a wedding on a snowy day – Wish for it and it will be granted!

Your Experience Situated in the bustling heart of Dubai the hotel has an almost serene quality about it. An oasis of calm and sophistication, it has everything you need for your dream wedding. Being close to Dubai International Airport, it’s convenient for couples with guests coming from abroad but just as accessible from both Sharjah and Dubai.

Dreamy Surroundings Your dream wedding in an idyllic setting of Le Meridien Dubai with 580 rooms and suites, 18 restaurants to suit your taste, a full service spa and salon for both men and women and a state-of-the-art fitness center creates the perfect setting to come together with friends and family to celebrate your love.

Lavish Venues Diverse range of event spaces for you to choose from. The hotel encompasses 3 ballrooms and 21 impeccably dressed function rooms complimented with easy access and ample parking.

Linda Mwaffak, Complex Director of Sales at Le Meridien Dubai rightly puts it as she sums up the wedding venues at the hotel by saying, “The professional team of Events Hub is all about bringing a dream to reality through seamless orchestration of every wedding party. Attention to detail, passion, dedication and teamwork makes them successful over and over again.“ The combination of world-class catering, elegant venues and attention to detail allows Events Hub to surpass all expectations leading to a resounding success.

Exceptional Service They listen and they cater so you can cherish every moment of your special day. Events Hub listens to your ideas and transforms them into a memorable day! From table styling and floral arrangements to exquisite menus vand artistic cakes, every element is seamlessly attended to.

Events Hub - Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre Airport Road, Dubai. UAE T: +971 4 217 0000 | lemeridien-dubai.com



Planning a wedding abroad has its challenges, but Sophie had a clear vision of what she wanted for their idyllic celebrations in a French Chateau

Photographer: Richard Skins



We met at a music festival in the North of England and for our fist date, since I was at University in Manchester, Andrew got the train down and we spent a memorable day together in Manchester. It was the first of many. Andrew whisked me away on the most incredible ski trip to Whistler, Canada. After the most perfect first day of skiing, he suggested we have drinks and a swim in the outside pool and hot tub. It was snowing, and the setting was so beautiful. We then went back into our room where there were roses and champagne waiting. The fire (in our room) was roaring and as we sat by it chatting, Andrew got down one on knee. And I could not help but say yes. The wedding planning

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was both fun and stressful. I had a clear vision of the type of wedding I wanted and luckily Andrew was happy for me to take the lead. I thought it would be easier having such a clear vision, but I think it actually made it harder because sometimes it was difficult to find things or execute ideas exactly how I imagined. As we are based in Dubai, and the wedding was in France there was a lot of organisation and late-night calls needed. From finding our venue to the wedding week, we were planning for nearly a year and a half. We had a three-day wedding weekend in South West France. All of our closest family and friends flew out. We began with drinks on the Friday then had a BBQ and pool party on the Sunday at the Chateau. The main event – in the gardens of a beautiful 14th century Chateau in rural France called Chateau de la Bourlie – was on the Saturday, and it was the most incredible day. We couldn’t have wished for anything more special. After the ceremony, we all walked around to the back of the Chateau which had views of the valley for the reception. We had festoon lights draped over the courtyard and candle-lit tables so as the sun set, it all felt incredibly romantic. We later moved into an old barn and danced late into the evening.

THE DETAILS Dress: Susanne Neville exclusive for The Wedding Gallery, London; Her shoes: By Far; Groom's attire: Bespoke from Collars & Cuffs; Wedding rings: Cara Jewellers; Our bridesmaids: Asos Bridal; Flowers: Jenny Fairbanks; Cake: La Nectar (Caterer); Wedding song: You’ve Got The Love - Florence & The Machine.



WEDDING TEAM Venue: Chateau de la Bourlie, Urval France Date of wedding: 7 September 2019 Planner: Rosie Green Events Caterer: La Nectar Makeup: Emily Naylor Honeymoon: South Africa, Mr & Mrs Smith Photographer: Richard Skins Photography

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From the start Neha and Adeel’s romance wasn’t only about the flowers, the moonlight and date nights… it was also about the utmost commitment towards each other Photographer: Hitesh Chhabria

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WEDDING TEAM Venues: Kino Cottage, Juhu, Mumbai; Gallops; Mahalaxmi Racecourse Mumbai Date of wedding: 12 January 2020 Planner: Neha Adeel & Co. Caterer: Venue Makeup: Make Up My Mansi. @mansididwhat Photographer and videographer: Talking Pictures By Hitesh

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Adeel and I worked in different divisions of the same company in Dubai and were introduced to each other at a work get together. My heart definitely skipped a beat and later into our romance, I found out that it was similar for Adeel too. One of my friends was visiting Dubai and I

took the opportunity to ask Adeel to drive me to the airport. He did one better and asked me out for dinner. It ended up being a dinner at Soho grill, picking up my friend and then all of us partying together late into the night. We kept arranging dinners and appointments just to be in each-others company. I am a very practical girl, and my friends would actually say I have no romantic bone in my body. Adeel is my exact opposite. He told me his company was having a recreation programme over the weekend at The Ritz Carlton- Al Hamra Beach, RAK. When we reached there it was to a beautiful dinner set up in a chalet where Adeel got down on his knee to pop the question. Of course, I said yes. We got married in Mumbai, India. The planning took us nine months, and eight flights back and forth between Dubai and Mumbai. It was the most in-

tense and crazy period of our lives. Trying to co-ordinate all the suppliers over weekend trips, and international phone calls was a lot of hard work, but absolutely worth it in the end. Our wedding itself was spread over three days of great fun and merriment. We had friends and family flying in from all over India and the world. The henna function – where I got my hands and feet decorated with beautiful designs, and Adeel’s name hidden in it – was followed with lots of dancing to the beats of the Punjabi dhol (drums). Later that afternoon we had the haldi ceremony and in the evening a rock ‘n’ roll party for all our friends. The second day was a lot less hectic. We had an intimate brunch with our closest friends and a private photoshoot. The third day was reserved for our official wedding registration at the court house, followed by a reception with lots of delicious food, music and dancing.

THE DETAILS Dress: Mehendi Outfit Designer - Reet by Bhavna & Shweta, Dubai; After party Dress: Lace & Beads; Reception Outfit Designer: Soltee by Sulakshana Monga; Rings: Fergus James; My shoes: Valentino; Groom's attire Mehendi: Purusham, Mumbai; Grooms attire Reception: Gaurav Gupta; Grooms Shoes: Shutiq India; Our bridesmaids: Their Own; Flowers: Arth Eventertainment; Cake: The Cake Lady, Mumbai; Wedding song: XO John Mayer; Unique touches: Handmade favors for guests. Colourful pouches filled with combinations of Indian jewellery & Jenga blocks placed on tables signed by guests.


Indian Brides Say ‘Yes’ to Lehengas Near and Far (Ver-y Far) Words: Sapna Maheshwari


fter an 18-hour journey from New York to New Delhi in December sandwiched between my parents, I wanted nothing more than to take a long shower and dive under the covers. But we were there on a mission, and time was scarce. So, one brief pit stop at our hotel later, we were yawning in a car on the way to Chandni Chowk, a famously crowded market hawking everything from textbooks to hardware supplies. The maze of stalls is so sinuous that cars can only travel so far, at which point we clambered into an auto rickshaw and told the driver to head to Asiana Couture. I nervously hoped that it was as good a store as my distant cousins had claimed on our WhatsApp group chat. Finally, at the end of a dimly lit alley lined with heaps of vibrant saris and the occasional stray dog, we found the store. And so began a frantic week of shopping for my bridal lehenga, aka my wedding dress. The notion of shopping in India for my June wedding in Connecticut has struck many of my friends and work colleagues as unusual and even glamorous. But for many

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South Asian brides, as well as people marrying South Asians, this sort of high-pressure, whirlwind trip is a normal rite of passage in the lead-up to their weddings. Countless stores are visited where shopkeepers attempt to discern your tastes as they trot out garment after garment. Scratches may be left on your arms from trying on so many richly embellished clothes. Decisions have to be made quickly, which is a challenge because most stores do not allow photos. “It was the most intense 10 days of my life,” said Maya Eichler, a 31-year-old product manager at Uber in San Francisco, who shopped in Mumbai, India, before her wedding in June 2017. “Every hour was planned.” Jennifer Welch, a 30-year-old government employee in Washington, who married her Indian American husband last year, said that she and her in-laws planned a trip to Mumbai and managed to find two lehengas for their fusion wedding in just four days there. While she had fun, she noted, “a lot of chai got us through it.” Pop culture has made it easier to explain the colour and customs of Indian weddings since the days of Bend It Like Beckham.


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There was Cece and Schmidt’s wedding on New Girl, the People magazine spreads of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, and the lavish Isha Ambani wedding where Beyoncé performed. Rent the Runway recently started testing formal Indian garb for guests. But even as Indian weddings have entered the mainstream in the United States, and more first-generation Indian Americans get married, the options for bridal clothing in the United States are limited. A quick tutorial in the garb: Wedding garments and colours can differ based on the region of India where brides are from, but many wear lehengas in shades of red, pink or orange for their ceremonies. These include a cropped top, flowing skirt and a sash known as a dupatta. It’s common to wear lightercoloured lehengas or gowns for receptions and brightly coloured lehengas or saris for prewedding events, like a Sangeet, which is an evening event centered on song and dance. While the internet has expanded access to Indian attire, a wedding dress is one of those pieces of clothing that women reasonably prefer to see and try on in person. In the United States, that quest is often limited to small shops like Nazranaa on Oak Tree Road in Iselin, New Jersey, and stores that are essentially set up in family homes. Anu Rajasingham, a 35-year-old public health engineer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visited one such home in the Atlanta area last year while searching for wedding saris from Sabyasachi Mukherjee. It was an unusual retail experience, she said, given that Mukherjee is one of India’s top designers and the host of an Indian wedding dress show akin to Say Yes to the Dress. But the address was listed on the brand’s website. “We drove for 45 minutes and got to a very suburban-looking house, and all of us were like, ‘Is this really it?’” Rajasingham said. “And then downstairs in her basement, she essentially had a mini Sabyasachi store.” When Rajasingham, who is of Sri Lankan descent, couldn’t find the right white sari for her ceremony, she was told that she could receive images of the designer’s upcoming collection through WhatsApp photos and, upon making an order, share her measurements through Skype. Ultimately, though, it was a challenge to discern the outfits from grainy WhatsApp images, she said, motivating her to make a shopping trip to Chennai, India, and Sri Lanka. These frantic searches have fueled a lucrative business for Indian designer Anita Dongre, who opened a 5,000-square-foot store in SoHo in Manhattan in 2017 to sell a variety of clothing. Now more than half her business is tied to wedding-related garb for brides and other Indian wedding guests.

“There are a few mom-and-pop stores in the U.S., but I would say we are the first Indian wedding wear designer brand there with our flagship in New York,” she said. Dongre, whose designs have been worn by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Chopra, said she was inspired to expand her wedding collection into the United States by the women who travelled to her stores in India. She knew of the pressure to complete their shopping quickly, their concerns around fittings and the tight management of vacation days. “Having our store and the brand there just makes it so much more convenient for them to come in,” she said. “She can come

“While the internet has expanded access to Indian attire, a wedding dress is one of those pieces of clothing that women reasonably prefer to see and try on in person” in with her fiancé, the in-laws, and all of them can be part of that process of helping her choose a wedding lehenga, and it’s a very special time.” The popularity of her wedding business has caught her by surprise and piqued the interest of other Indian designers. Calcutta-based Sabyasachi, for example, recently announced on Instagram that the label will be opening a New York flagship this fall, though the brand didn’t respond to inquiries about how much wedding wear it plans to carry. It also announced a jewellery collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman. It speaks to the scarcity of options in the United States that Dongre has been such a hit, given her steep prices. She said that her lighter, non-ceremony lehengas start at $1,000 (Dhs3,673), while bridal outfits rise

to $7,000 (Dhs25,707). On average, women spend $1,600 (Dhs5,876) on wedding fashion, from gowns to jumpsuits, according to a 2019 study by The Knot. But Dongre has benefited from brides who are factoring in the potential cost of a trip to India with their families. “A trip to India is not cheap so you might as well buy a beautiful lehenga in that amount.” While Dongre sells the lehengas and measures brides in the United States, the garments are still tailor-made in India and then shipped back to her store. When my parents and I travelled to India, as well as my older sister before me, we each brought an empty suitcase. It took up an entire suitcase and, according to my mother, came in at 20 pounds of deep pink fabric and embroidery. Many stores in India, from designers to regular boutiques, require at least 30 days to customise lehengas and may not ship goods. Eichler, who shopped in January for her June wedding, was told that her two Sabyasachi lehengas would be ready in three months, but she didn’t have time to make another trip to India, and the store did not ship to the United States. “That whole five months, my parents were constantly looking for who was going to India of all our friends living in the United States,” Eichler said. “I had to coordinate all sorts of handoffs between uncles.” Until more options emerge for Indian bridal wear in the United States, the shopping trip to India and all its accompanying chaos remains the norm for many women. On Facebook, a roughly 2,200-member group for Indian American women planning weddings called “The Little Brown Diary” regularly lights up with recommendation requests for visits to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmadabad and more, where they intend to buy their own clothes as well as outfits for family members and bridal parties. Itineraries are hastily stitched together through tips and direct messages from strangers and references from loved ones, and then it’s time to hope for the best and prepare for totally unpredictable events. In my case, I’m pleased to report that Asiana Couture was as good as my cousin said it was. In fact, we ended up buying a lehenga that I tried on that first, exhausted night in Delhi – but only after days of visiting a slew of other shops. Even though I was halfway around the globe from home, fighting jet lag and wearing an outfit that had been lifted and tied onto me by no less than three people, I still felt that spark that most of my friends describe when they buy their wedding dresses as I exchanged a tearful hug with my mother. Now, let’s just hope it fits.

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10 Frequently Asked Wedding Etiquette Questions Words: Alix Strauss


f you’re planning a big, fancy wedding – or even a more modest affair – you need to know how to put it all together properly. This is where wedding-etiquette preparation may help. “Protocol, respect and behaviour are still crucial,” said Myka Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, a consultancy firm in New York. “But many couples don’t know what’s correct. Books don’t address everything. People want affirmation.” Etiquette coaches like Meier, in partnership with hotels, are offering classes for couples and their families looking for guidance on everything from organising rehearsal dinners to tactfully making adults-only requests in the invitations. “There’s a huge return and resurgence to etiquette,” said Meier, who is a founder of the Plaza Hotel Finishing Program, which is held at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Maggie Oldham, an etiquette coach based in St. Petersburg, Florida, was hired by the Watergate Hotel in Washington earlier this year to teach, among other classes, Etiquette for the Modern Bride. Oldham maintains that understanding proper etiquette is more

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important than ever “as gender norms are changing, and as our culture has adapted.” “Brides, grooms, even their parents, feel coming to a class is one more way to look polished and like a princess,” she said. Here are 10 of the most asked weddingetiquette questions. 01. Who do we have to invite with a plus one? “We used to say, ‘No bling, no bring.’ But that’s completely out of date,” Meier said. “If they’re married, engaged, or living together, they get a plus one, no matter how you feel about that person.” If the couple is dating for six months or more, or is considered in a serious relationship a plus-one invite would be appropriate. “There’s something significant about half a year,” she added. “I know people who have gotten engaged within that time.” 02. Can we fire a member of our bridal/groom party? Not unless you want to end your relationship. “Keep them in their wedding party, but redistribute their tasks to someone else,” Meier said, adding that it is culturally un-

derstood that being a bridesmaid comes with certain duties and responsibilities. Another solution? “If someone in the party isn’t pulling their weight, put the wedding planner in charge of making sure they’re doing what they’ve been asked to do, like helping plan the brunch, bridal party or shower,” she said. “Then you’re not seen as the bad guy.” 03. How soon can I reach out to people who haven’t RSVPed? Soon. As in the day after the due date. “Typically, guests are given three to four weeks before the wedding date to RSVP,” said Lizzie Post, the great-greatgranddaughter of the etiquette author Emily Post and who is co-president of the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vermont. “Once that date has hit, you can call, email or text people.” Post suggested using a friendly tone, saying you’re just checking in and hoping you and whomever you’ve included in the invite are able to come. “Try to get them in person so you’re not left hanging or have to chase after them,” she added. If you can’t reach them directly, give them another hard date. “At some point you will have to decide how long you’re going to hold the spot for them.” 04. Is it inappropriate to do a “honey fund”? No, as long as you’re not asking directly for cash. “Some consider this tacky; others don’t. It’s a modern addition that’s become socially acceptable,” Oldham said. “It’s a nicer way to say, ‘the couple wants cash,’ even though guests think they’re gifting an experience.” Truth is, most couples already live together. They own their household items and have picked out their décor. Money for their honeymoon is truly what they want. So that you don’t offend anyone, Oldham suggests having a short registry as well. “A smaller list means it will fill up fast,” she said. “So you increase your chances that guests who don’t know what to give will end up gifting to the honey fund.” 05. Who do we have to invite to a rehearsal dinner? A lot of people. “Immediate family, anyone who is in the wedding, and out of town guests,” said Suzanne Pollak, the dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, a school specialising in etiquette and entertaining, in South Carolina. What the bride (and groom) might be really asking is: How much input do we have with the rehearsal dinner? “If you’re not paying for it, not much,” Pollak said. “You can share how you would like the evening to look, which shouldn’t upstage the wedding, and that the meal being served offers a different feel than the wedding, but if you’re not paying, your in-laws call the shots.”



06. Most asked question by besties: Do I really need to give multiple gifts? Unfortunately, yes. “It’s expected and it looks really bad if you go to a shower and everyone has a gift but you,” Pollak said. Best advice? Go big on one; small on the others. “Traditionally you would spend the same amount on a gift that the bride’s parents spent on you to attend the wedding,” Pollak added. “The wedding gift is your big one. If you’re going to the bachelorette party, and travelling, that’s your gift. Stick to the registry for the shower. 07. Can we have a no-phone, no-social media wedding? “Couples are now about having their guests present, and not wanting them to miss important moments,” Pollak said. This fall she will teach etiquette classes at the Beach Club Hotel at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, in South Carolina. For others it’s about privacy. “This is a new wedding etiquette,” she added. “It’s about a celebration, it’s not about advertising yourself and where you went over the weekend.”

Those wanting a “no-phone policy” can say so on the invite. Others can share their wishes with a sign seen by guests upon arrival. “Saying something like, ‘Please leave your phone in your purse or pocket. We promise to share our photos with you afterward,’ is perfectly reasonable,” Pollak said. 08. Can we keep our wedding adults-only without offending anyone? Yes, but tread lightly. “You don’t want to say. ‘No children,’” Oldham said. “Instead, the adults’ names should be the only names on the envelopes.” Some guests may still add their children’s names anyway. “If that happens, call the couple and say, ‘We are so thrilled you’re coming. But this is an adults-only wedding,’” she added. “The format is geared to adults, and not conducive to kids, so we don’t think they will enjoy the event. But we would love to catch up with all of you after we get back from the honeymoon.’”

09. Do we have to pay for bridesmaids’ and grooms’ flights and rooms? No. Phew. “That’s not your responsibility,” Meier said. “Some couples have a destination wedding so they can intentionally make their wedding smaller because they know a lot of people won’t come. And guests understand a destination wedding means it’s not mandatory to attend.” Once guests arrive, however, the party and events are on you. And your job doesn’t end there. “Help offset costs by organising room blocks, group discounts, even negotiating car service rates,” she added. 10. Can we have a cash bar? Absolutely not. Even a tip jar on the bar is considered distasteful. “If you’re trying to save money, cash bars are still considered tacky,” Oldham said. “If you need to control budgets, serve a set number of drinks.” Or switch your dinner to brunch and serve set bubbles. “You’ll probably slash your reception cost in half by having a morning ceremony followed by a late brunch reception,” she added.

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Hair Raising Styles Should you go for the traditional up-do? Roll it? Curl it? Or just leave it down? Bridal hair comes with a lot of decisions. We got Angelina Stengler, from Pastels Salon to help with some tips and suggestions to take your bridal hair to the next level Words: Cecilia D’souza

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What tips do you have for women wanting to have perfectly shiny hair on their wedding day? For the hair to look healthy and shiny on the day, it is important for the bride to start having regular moisturising treatments a couple of months before the wedding. She should also speak to her hairdresser who will prescribe an at-home haircare routine that will be tailor-made to suit her hair type. How long before your big day should you have your hair coloured and cut? The bride should colour her hair a week before the wedding. This will ensure the colour is fresh and she won’t have any regrowth. It is not usual for brides to have haircuts as usually they keep their hair long for the upstyle. If she wants to have a little trim, however, she can do it at the same time as the colouring treatment. How many hair trials would you recommend before your wedding? I usually have one trial that lasts about two and a half hours. During the trial, I will try a few different hairstyles so the bride can firmly and confidently decide what exact style she wants. Many brides come with an image of a style that they want recreated and when I do it, they will decide. If this is the first style I have tried, however, I will still tweak or change it to give them some options. This will ensure they get a style they love, one that suits them and their hair type and will ensure they look as beautiful as possible on their big day. The most important thing for me is that all my brides leave happy and feeling confident with the choice of hairstyle they have made for the wedding. Would you recommend women go for something that’s completely out of their comfort zone or stick to what they know when it comes to bridal hair? I don’t recom-

mend a bride to debut a completely new look for the wedding. This is because brides feel most comfortable having a hairstyle that channels their usual style. What would you recommend for women with short hair? If a bride has short hair, we can still do several things. This includes waving the hair or having some hair tied at the back, or using accessories in the hair to give a special accent to a blowdry. How about those who want hair extensions – how soon before the wedding should this be done and are there any types you recommend? If the bride has never had extensions done, I wouldn’t recommend she invests in some before the wedding. Instead I would use clip-ins at the time of the hair appointment (both trial and on the day of the wedding) to get any length and volume needed to create the style she wants. By using clip-ins, I can place the hair exactly where I need it and also cover them completely in the style I create so they won’t be visible in the upstyle. If the bride has certain types of extensions or if they have been fitted a certain way, it can be difficult to do a complete upstyle and so a half-up/half-down hairstyle might be the best option. My advice when it comes to extensions is that rather than one long piece, it is better for a bride to have individual extensions as this gives more choice when it comes to possible styles. I would also recommend not having them fitted less than two weeks before the wedding so they have loosened a little, allowing the hair to be more flexible. Are there any particular trends or styles you’re loving right now? The great thing about bridal hair is there are no rules or trends that you have to follow. Instead the bride can choose any look she wants. Recently though, there has been a move towards natural, looser styles. I have many


brides who are choosing either half down styles with romantic curls like Mediterranean-esque waves and styles that feature loose braids. What about those getting married in Dubai – how do we deal with the humidity? Humidity is a big problem in Dubai, especially when brides choose to have loose waves or styles that are half-up/half-down. Even with lots of hairspray, it is common that the hair will fall with these types of styles

and not last an entire day. For this reason, I usually suggest to have a complete hair up style. I can then place the hair once I have styled it in a net that matches the hair’s colour and this means the hair will not lose its shape and will keep the style it has been given for much longer. Are there any treatments you would recommend having before the wedding and how long before the wedding day should we have them? It is vital to invest in mois-

turising treatments to minimise frizz. Have an in-salon treatment at least one month before the wedding and then give the hair some TLC at home by treating it to a conditioning treatment once a week. If the hair is super curly and frizzy then a good treatment option is the in-salon treatment from KeraStraight. This will smoothen the hair and ensure it has a silky shine. What products should a woman invest in before her wedding day? Have a consultation with your hair stylist and ask him/her to prescribe a mask, shampoo and conditioner to suit your hair type. Invest in heat protection to prevent damage to the hair and a good serum for moisture. It’s always a good idea to have a can of hair spray on hand to touch up the hair throughout the day, if necessary. Do you have a favourite wedding up-do? My favourite look is a romantic hair up using loosely-placed curls just above the nape of the neck. I also like to have hair soft around the face, so I leave some hair down so the style seems more natural and doesn’t look too rigid. On the day of the wedding how much time should be scheduled in for our hair? Around two and a half hours. Are there any other tips or tricks you can share? Always have the make-up done first. If it is done after (which is common practice!) then the make-up artist might touch your hair, move it out of your face, and even accidently pull it out of place! Most veils have big plastic combs. The comb is difficult to put in and can mess the hairstyle. For this reason I usually remove the plastic comb and replace with bobby pins so I can place it in the hair securely without affecting the style and the bride can easily remove it, if she wants to during the day.

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Flowers are a classic feature of any wedding, whether we’re talking about a bouquet, table or venue set up. And the choices of arrangement trends are ever-changing. They are also majestic backgrounds for that Insta upload. Planning weddings are stressful enough, and so, we asked Maison Des Fleurs’ head florist Cheryl Cox to help bride-tobe’s with everything they need to know about the flower trends for this year

Words: Cecilia D’souza

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What floral trends can we look out for this year? We expect themes to be opulent yet intimate such as flower arrangements that are designed in volume or classily cascading from ceiling to floor. What goes through your mind when planning a bridal bouquet for a client? Usually, we like to understand the bride’s personality and create a bouquet that is based on her character and style. Each bouquet we create is unique as it will be created to capture the bride’s essence, taking into consideration the flowers that are in season and colours that will best match her.

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What goes into planning the flowers for a large event? Any advice for the brides? It is always a good idea to consider the seasonality of flowers. Then we decide on the theme and the colour combinations. We aim to plan as much in advance as possible and to work with event planners and florists, so that she can just enjoy her big day without worrying about logistics, or centrepieces. What else should a bride consider? There are certain flowers that could either be too large, too small, too weak, etc. For example: flowers such as delphinium, eremurus, jasmine and latirus are not usually used in

bridal bouquets, but you would see them in centrepieces or other arrangements. What do you think about flowers that go in and out of style? It’s not specific flowers that go in and out of style, but more the composition of flowers and how they are used together. Some factors that influence floral trends are certain colours and elements used in interior decoration as well as fashion. However, the seasonality of flowers and availability of specific flowers during a certain season will always be a key driver. Are there any flowers that you feel are underused and would do really well in a wedding

Both pages: From wedding bouquets to the ultimate table settings, here are some cool ideas for your wedding day bloom displays

or bouquet? Tropical flowers. They are not usually used for bridal bouquets due to their weight, however they would look quite unique. How do you ensure that the flowers you pick will last and look luscious throughout the event? When a bouquet is compact and hand-tied it will last for a day. There are certain flowers to pick that we know from experience would last, like peonies, roses, and tulips. As for other arrangements at the event, it is very important to understand the location in advance so that certain conditions can be taken into consideration when selecting the flowers.

Is there an increase in demand for faux and long-lasting flowers for weddings? Why do you think that is? Yes, there is certainly an increase in demand for faux or long-lasting flowers for weddings as we are seeing that brides would like to keep them to remember the big day. Additionally, there is no seasonality with faux flowers, so brides that want certain flowers in their bouquet might opt for a faux bouquet if the flowers they want are out of season. We are also seeing more demand for faux flowers for larger structures such as arches and flower walls, due to the huge cost of creating these structures

with fresh flowers compared with the cost of renting faux flowers which could be cheaper. Another reason is that there are now producers of faux flowers who are making these look and even feel very real to the point where the wedding guests might not even be able to tell the difference. Anything else to add? Floral colours, themes and quality will make a huge difference in the whole wedding set up. So don’t underestimate the importance of flowers and leave them till the end which may not give your florist enough time to create and execute the concept.

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The Ultimate Honeymoon Destinations of All Time Words: Cecilia D’souza

Whether you want to relax on a golden beach, go on an adventurous postnuptial trip or explore a far-flung hideaway, here are 10 destinations to add to your shortlist Em irates Bride 7 1



The Maldives, Dhaalu Atoll Why go: Well, we cannot help but state the obvious here. It chooses itself in any honeymoon discussion. Home to snow-white sands, glistening blue waters, secluded resorts and heart-melting sunsets, this luxurious destination has it all. And then there are the watersports, the scuba diving and the spa pampering, too. It’s a one-stop shop. What to do: Drink in the amazing views, jump from your villa into the ocean, go surfboarding, scuba diving, take loads of photos for your Instagram, play footsie in the sand and feast on local and international cuisines. Where to stay: There are a plethora of luxurious hotels spread across the Maldives. On the Dhaalu Atoll, there stands the majestic Niayama Private, on the Noono Atoll the Cheval Blanc Randheli, the exclusive Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, One & Only Reeti Rah, the Naladhu Private Island Maldives, Coco Bodu Hithi and Velaa Private Island.

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Marrakesh, Morocco Why go: You’ll feel like you wandered onto a movie set complete with a bustling medina, snake charmers, belly dancers, horse-drawn carriage rides and an extensive maze of colourful markets. What to do: Visits to Jardin Majorelle and Yves Saint Laurent’s former home and gardens are Insta-gold. Celebrate your love when you stop by the Galerie ‘Love’ – a collection of all of the designer’s collage posters with the word ‘love’ emblazoned on each one. Where to stay: The stylish and luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, the Jnane Tamsna, the character-filled La Mamounia with its lovely walled gardens and Jasper Conran’s 19th centrury riad L’Hotel.


Rwanda Why go: If trekking through misty mountains in search of wild gorillas in this land of a thousand rolling hills, watching beautiful volcanoes and golden monkeys excites you, then this one is for you.

What to do: The delightful Nyungwe Forest National Park, the Volcanoes National Park, the utterly stunning Lake Kivu are a treat to the eyes and add a calm to the soul. Romantic leisurely walks by the waterfalls and canopies, bird watching and much much more. Where to stay: The One&Only Gorilla’s Nest offers a front row seat to the gorilla sanctuary and has loads of adventure spaces. The Bisate Lodge is immersed in greenery.


Ladakh, India Why go: Situated at an average altitude of 11,500 feet and crisscrossed by four mountain ranges it is one of the few breathtaking places on Earth that remain virtually untouched and unexplored. What to do: Tour the city of Leh, meet local monks, stargaze to your hearts content and maybe even catch a game of Ladakhi Polo. Where to stay: Why not stay in beautiful homestays in unknown villages and then luxury tented camps. Try the momo, Ladakhi Pulao and Chutagi (dumpling soup) cooked by a local. You will find it beats any restaurant. The Grand Dragon Ladakh is top of the list.


Left page: The Maldives, Dhaalu Atoll; This page, from top: Marrakesh, Morocco Ladakh, India

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From top: Salta, Argentina, The Faroe Islands, Denmark; Right page: Tulum, Mexico

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St Barts Why go: This island is one of the most picturesque and stylish destinations in the Caribbean and has a French Riviera feel. It has it all – sun, sand, acquamarine waters and total privacy. What to do: Pack a picnic basket, swimsuits and beach towels and head to the insanely beautiful Le Colombier beach, which is only accessible via boat or by foot. Laze in the sand and watch the sunset, kite-surf, snorkel with turtles or hire a car and take a memorable drive on the coast. Where to stay: Supremely stylish stays await you here. The enchanting Le Sereno, the Hotel Le Toiny which is set on a panoramic hillside or the majestic Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, are gems to lap in.


Orkney, Scotland Why go: Indulge in all your daydreams at this northern archipelago off the coast of Scotland with green-topped islands, turquoise waters and sandstone cliffs. What to do: Take a day trip and wander around Stromness Port. Stand in awe at the Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, an ancient and eerie ring of standing stones. It is still a mystery how the stones were brought here or what the circle means but it makes for a supernatural sight. Where to stay: The family-run Kirkwall Hotel is steps from shopping. The Sands Hotel on Burray and the ornate 17th century Orkney hotel are also close to the magnificent sights.


The Faroe Islands, Denmark Why go: Located in the chilly waters between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are a mesmerising treat. The dramatic landscapes redefine the meaning of untouched archipelago and offer one breathtaking view of waterfalls and quaint villages after another. What to do: Rugged coastlines are home to natural wonders best explored by old fishing boats. The Faroe Islands are limiting tourism to preserve the ecosystem and authentic culture, so begin planning your trip as soon as the wedding preparations are underway. Make your trip extra special by embarking on a helicopter tour and, while there, why not snag a reservation at the Michelinstarred Koks for a taste of regional specials. Where to stay: Hotel Foroyar is perched on the hillside overlooking the world’s smallest capital city, the Gásadalsgardur Guesthouse

is cosy and very inviting and the Hotel Vagar is as popular a spot as any.


Salta, Argentina Why go: Famed for its spectacular scenery and richly coloured landscapes – think red rock valleys, multi-coloured hills and terracotta peaks set magically against blue skies, you will fall in love all over again. What to do: Visit its outstanding museums, plaza side cafes and the vibrant folk music clubs where you can dance the night away in each other’s arms. The diversity of the area also makes it a haven for trekking, horseback riding, rafting and a lot more. Where to stay: La Merced del Alto is a spectacular escape while the delightful townhouse Legado Mitico Salta and the grand Patios de Cafayate are also choice stays.


Cartagena and Llanos Orientales, Colombia Why go: It has stunning colonial architecture, oozes romance, a buzzy nightlife and impressive wellness offerings. What’s not to love?

What to do: Check out Cartagena, where pastel buildings in the old city house some of the best dining options. For something completely off-the-beaten track yet luxurious, it’s the Corocora Camp in Llanos Orientales region that you head to. Spend days exploring the terrain on horseback, go offroading or even birdwatching. Where to stay: The 17th century converted monastery Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartegena has heaps of fascinating history. You can also try the Bastión Luxury Hotel in the heart of Cartagena’s walled city.


Tulum, Mexico Why go: With pristine white beaches, the ultimate hammock life and colourful culture, it has something for all couples. What to do: If you are in the mood for shopping, you should check out the local boutiques which run along the beach road for caftans, locally-made knits, leather goods and funky accessories. Where to stay: From a rustic bungalow to a luxury suite, it’s all here. The Nest has everything you have dreamt about. Another beautiful eco-boutique hotel is Sanará.

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Splurging in the Maldives How does a stay in a beach villa at Niyama Private Islands Maldives with sun decks, a private butler, endless Instagram opportunities and just you and your love, sound? Magical? We think so too...

Is there a more exotic island honeymoon destination than the Maldives? We think not. And it’s hard to imagine something better than the Niyama Private Islands Maldives. Set across two spacious private islands – Chill and Play – connected to each other by a single wooden bridge across the Indian Ocean, in the southwestern atoll of Dhaalu, is a dream to stay at. The beauty of a dual island setting is that space is in abundance. At Niyama, you’re pretty secluded at whichever island you choose. Surrounded by the magnificent blue waters, the white sandy beaches you can walk barefoot on, the swaying palm trees, the utter privacy, all the Instagrammable spots and loads and loads of sunshine, it checks off all the boxes for a honeymoon destination, and then some. Chill is home to the hotel’s DRIFT spa, a true sanctuary at sea with six over water treatment rooms all with dreamy views across the ocean. Don your white robe, slip into your white slippers, relax and feel all the pre-wedding stress that has followed you, banish. Relax on the roomy Dhoni-shaped swing in your lavish

beach villa and drink in the unreal Maldivian sunset views along with a chilled drink. Meanwhile at Play, explore the incredible array of activities. Try parasailing, waterskiing, jet skiing, windsurfing and much more. The Maldives is famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving, so taking a plunge from Float – the resort’s go-to spot for PADI dives and watersports – is an absolute must. And did we tell you about the yummylicious food? Well, there is Epicure where you will be treating your palate while also unique to Niyama is the Caribbean themed surf shack – a popular spot for après-surf as the sun sets. Then, for some extra-special dining experiences, there is the treetop dining at Nest, the underwater gourmet at Subsix – their bubbly breakfasts with views of parrot fish, moray eels and other exotic marine life are to die for – and The Edge which is set one kilometre out at sea and only accessible by boat. Totally loved-up dreams are made of this. To make a booking log on to niyama.com or email reservations@niyama.com


3-night stay in a Beach Pool Villa inclusive of breakfast at Epicure + Domestic transfers for two from Malé For your chance to win, answer the question below: How are the Chill and Play islands at Niyama Private Island Maldives connected to each other? A) Stairs B) Boat C) Bridge

Rules: This competition is open to residents of all GCC countries and valid until 30 April, 2020. Entries received after this date will not be accepted. The prize will be awarded to one entry received, at random. The prize is non-transferable, and no cash alternative or extension on voucher is available. The prize voucher has to be used over consecutive nights and cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers available at the time. Subject to availability, bookings to be made by the winner directly with the hotel. Any additional extras not included in the prize will be charged directly to the winner. Flights and travel insurance are not included in the prize. Black-out dates apply. Employees of Motivate Publishing and the company contributing the prize are not eligible. The decision of Motivate Media Group is final, and no correspondence can be entered into. The winner will be announced on our website and notified by email.



Raj Mahtani

The Directory B E AC H H OT E L S U P TO 5 0 0 G U E ST S ANANTARA DUBAI THE PALM RESORT & SPA, (04) 5678888, Dubai-palm.anantara.com. Blessings and wedding reception for up to 150 guests BURJ AL ARAB (04) 3017777, Jumeirah.com. Blessings and wedding for up to 300 guests. JUMEIRAH BEACH HOTEL (04) 4068501, Jumeirah.com. Blessings and weddings for up to 90 guests. JUMEIRAH ZABEEL SARAY (04) 4530000, Jumeirah.com. Engagement parties, blessings and receptions for up to 250 guests. ONE&ONLY ROYAL MIRAGE (04) 3999999, Oneandonlyresorts. com. Blessings are available with an indoor reception for 250 guests and outdoor for 350. PARK HYATT ABU DHABI (02) 4071234, Abudhabi. park.hyatt.com. Blessings for up to 300 guests.

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THE RITZ-CARLTON, DUBAI MARINA (04) 3994000, Ritzcarlton.com. Blessings for up to 250 guests with receptions catering to 500 guests. WALDORF ASTORIA DUBAI PALM JUMEIRAH, (04) 8182222, Waldorfastoria3. hilton.com. Blessings and wedding reception for up to 350 guests B E AC H H OT E L S M O R E T H A N 5 0 0 G U E ST S ALANTIS THE PALM HOTEL (04) 4262626, Atlantisthepalm.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 2,000 guests. AL QASR (04) 3668888, jumeirah.com. Blessings and wedding receptions for up to 1,800 guests. EMIRATES PALACE (02) 6907956, kempinski.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 1,200 guests. JEBEL ALI GOLF RESORT AND SPA (04) 8145500, jaresorts.

com. Blessings and receptions are available outside for 800 guests and indoors for 300 guests. MADINAT JUMEIRAH (04) 3666293, Madinatjumeirah. com. Blessings and receptions for up to 1,200 guests. THE ST REGIS SAADIYAT ISLAND RESORT ABU DHABI (02) 6944444, marriott.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 1,500 guests with cocktail receptions catering for up to 2,500 guests. C I T Y H OT E L S M O R E T H A N 5 0 0 G U E ST S ARABIAN RANCHES GOLF CLUB (04) 3664700, Arabianranchesgolfdubai.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 1,500 guests. FOUR SEASONS ABU DHABI, (02) 3332222, Fourseasons.com. Blessings and wedding reception for over 500 guests

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dubaimarinayachtclub.com Blessings and receptions for up to 300 guests JUMEIRAH EMIRATES TOWERS (04) 3300000, Jumeirah.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 500 guests. GROSVENOR HOUSE (04) 3998888, marriott.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 250 guests. SHERATON KHALIDIYA (02) 6666220, sheratonalkhalidiya. com. Wedding receptions for up to 120 guests. THE ADDRESS HOTEL DOWNTOWN (04) 4368888, addresshotels.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 200 guests. THE ADDRESS MONTGOMERIE DUBAI (04) 3905600, addresshotels.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 500 guests. THE PALACE – THE OLD TOWN (04) 4287888, addresshotels.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 300 guests. TAJ DUBAI, (04) 4383100, Taj. tajhotels.com. Blessings and wedding reception for up to 300 guests A LT E R N AT I V E V E N U E S AL HAMRA FORT HOTEL AND BEACH RESORT (07) 2446666, hilton.com. Weddings available for up to 800 guests. AL MAHA DESERT RESORT AND SPA (04) 8329900, marriott.com. Receptions available for 100 guests. Blessings need to be organised by the couple. Fifty per cent of the guests must also stay at the resort. BAB AL SHAMS (04) 8096100, babalshams.com. Blessings for up to 40 people and receptions for 50 people. BATEAUX DUBAI (04) 3366768, Jaresortshotels.com. This Dubai cruise boat can be customised for weddings. THE MONTGOMERIE GOLF CLUB (04) 3905600, Themontgomerie. com. Blessings and receptions for up to 250 guests by the pool and up to 500 guests on the lawn. DUBAI POLO AND EQUESTRIAN CLUB (04) 3618111, Poloclubdubai.com. Blessings and receptions for up to 1,000 guests on the polo field.

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How to get hitched Islamic marriages ST E P O N E The couple intending to marry, together with the bride-to-be’s father or her legal guardian and two other male Muslim witnesses, must be present at the Islamic marriage court for the ceremony to take place. All witnesses must present their passports stating that they are either UAE citizens or valid UAE residence holders. To be married under Sharia’ah law, the groom must be Muslim, while the bride can be of any religion. Before the wedding, a dowry has to be confirmed and paid. If this does not occur, a written declaration must be provided stating that there is no dowry. ST E P T WO Following the ceremony a UAE marriage licence will be issued for a Dhs50 fee in addition to a Dhs10 fee for identification purposes. If the marriage is conducted outside of the UAE and you want the agreement to be legalised here, the documentation will need to be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates for ratification. If the certificate is in a language other than Arabic it will need to be translated and ratified by the Ministry of Justice. ST E P T H R E E Final authentication, for non-UAE citizens, is then required by your embassy or consulate, which will involve a fee.

Dubai Courts. Then you need to decide if you want to marry in the church or at an alternative venue which needs to be supported by a wedding licence. Keep in mind that you will need to have at least two witnesses present. ST E P T WO Once the ceremony has been conducted, the minister will issue a marriage certificate. This will be in English so you will need to have it translated into Arabic by a court-approved legal translator for a specified fee of Dhs40-Dhs50 per page. ST E P T H R E E Both the English and Arabic certificates then need to be certified by the Notary Public Office at the Dubai Courts for a fee of Dhs110. ST E P FO U R The paperwork then needs to be processed and authenticated by the Ministry of Justice for Dhs52. This is followed by verification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Dhs150. ST E P F I V E You can then have your marriage legalised for your country of citizenship by taking the certificates to your embassy, which will process the information. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED Original passports plus certified copies need to be provided by both parties. If either bride or groom is divorced decrees need to be provided. Generally a ‘no objection’ letter is required from your embassy – fees vary. The church will provide a standard form, which needs to be completed by both parties. l

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED Original passports and photocopies need to be presented by all involved. Identification papers are also required for the bride’s father or guardian, as well as the two witnesses. If the bride’s father is deceased, a Sharia’ah Declaration of his death must be provided. In this case she must have consent from her brother or an uncle. If there are no male relatives to give consent, documentation of proof is necessary. Alternatively if the bride’s father cannot be present, he must provide a letter of consent, along with a certified copy of his passport to verify his signature. In the case that the bride is Muslim and her father is not, a certificate of no impediment (no objection) is required from either the bride’s embassy or consulate. l





From top: Clark draped crepe gown Dhs8,309 Alex Perry; Zelda feather shoulder bag Dhs1,258 Loeffler Randall


Indian marriages

Christian marriages

ST E P O N E Following the engagement, you must organise for three witnesses with residency visas to accompany you to the Indian consulate Marriage Officer. Here you will need to provide a Notice of Intended Marriage form and pay a fee of Dhs190. This entitles you to a newspaper marriage notification whereby the couple must then wait 30 days for any objections. After this a date for solemnisation is given, provided there were no objections.

ST E P T H R E E If the couple requires a religious ceremony under the Muslim or Christian faith, they should follow the guidelines given above for correct procedures on ceremonies and attesting certificates. Alternatively the Church of South India (CSI) parish in Karama offers services for their members and can be contacted on (04) 3372111. The Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai is available for Hindu ceremonies, phone (04) 3535334.

ST E P O N E Begin by choosing a church and minister, but note that some ministers will only marry members of their own denomination. Also take into consideration that for your marriage to be authenticated in the UAE the church and minister must be recognised and registered by

ST E P T WO A day before the confirmed ceremony the couple and their witnesses need to provide original passports to the Marriage Officer. The following day is the final solemnisation of marriage, where everyone invited to the wedding can attend.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED The Dubai and Abu Dhabi Consulates are the best source for details on the formalities on Indian wedding ceremonies and for all relevant forms, and a structured guideline. Cgidubai.com and Indembassyuae.org.


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Wedding countdown A F T E R T H E E N G AG E M E N T Choose a wedding date. Calculate your budget and draw up a spreadsheet. Decide on the style and theme of the wedding you want. Speak to your religious head or registry office to confirm any necessary details. Decide on and book the wedding and reception venues and note the guest capacity. Make a preliminary guest-list, including your bridesmaids, best man and full wedding party. Create and post Save The Date cards to notify guests of the engagement and wedding. Discuss menu options, look at estimates for food and drink, then confirm a caterer. Start looking for your dress. Book your photographer and videographer. Take out wedding insurance if it is required. Start a health/beauty regime. l












Buy all of your accessories to match your dress including jewellery and shoes. Speak to a hair and makeup artist and discuss potential looks. Book another dress fitting appointment. If you are getting married in a hotel make sure you have a room booked for the day and/or night of the wedding for getting ready. Decide if you are having centrepieces, discuss with florist and order them. Notify your bank and any other official government bodies that require your change of name status. l









O N E M O N T H B E FO R E Book your hair and make-up artist for a trial and arrange timings for your wedding day. Collect your wedding bands. Arrange for a trusted friend or family member to bring the cake knife, toasting glasses, ring bearer pillow and flower girl baskets. Draw up a seating plan. Finalise the outfits for the groom, bridesmaids, best man and bridal party. Finalise any last details such as gifts for the guests and the wedding party. Confirm running order of the ceremony with all relevant parties taking part.






T WO M O N T H S B E FO R E Confirm all of your prior bookings. Give your caterer the final head count noting any special dietary requirements. l


T H E DAY B E FO R E Help to decorate the reception venue if necessary and make sure all final details are in place. Arrange for the cake to be delivered to the reception. Book your wedding party in for manicures and last-minute beauty treatments. Relax and have an early night. l



your feet most of the day. Ensure you allow plenty of time to have your hair and makeup done. Get everyone dressed and ready. The mother of the bride should leave 15 minutes before the bride and her father. At the ceremony, the speeches run in the order of father-of-thebride, followed by the groom, then the best man. At the end of the evening, it is tradition for the bride and groom to leave the reception first. l





O N T H E DAY Start the morning with a good breakfast, as you will be on

A F T E R T H E DAY Enjoy your honeymoon. Send ‘thank you’ cards for your wedding gifts. l













T H R E E M O N T H S B E FO R E Organise a second meeting with your religious head and venue organiser to confirm timings and other details. Finalise wedding cake options and place an order. Book transport to and from the ceremony and reception. Discuss flower arrangements with a florist, keeping in mind what will be in season. Book a musician, band or DJ for the reception. Decide on the honeymoon destination, book a hotel, transport and check passports. Pick your wedding stationery and order of services and place your order. Choose your wedding bands and order them. Decide on your wedding dress, groom’s suit and the wedding party’s attire for fittings. Confirm wedding guest list.

Prepare an emergency wedding kit including dress repair materials, any essential make-up, tissues and other important items.

T WO W E E KS B E FO R E Speak to your DJ and confirm a first dance song for the reception. Have a final fitting of your dress with your veil, jewellery and shoes. It helps to practice walking. Reconfirm the honeymoon arrangements and pack for the vacation. Confirm the number of guests with your caterer and finalise the seating plan. l




O N E W E E K B E FO R E Arrange a rehearsal at the venue. Re-confirm your photographer, florist, hair and make-up artist, transport and catering. Liaise with your photographer regarding specific shots you want. Ensure anyone doing a speech has it written and ready to be presented. l




Churches, legal aid and government departments Ministries in Dubai Christ Church, (04) 8845436 Christchurchjebelali.org Holy Trinity Church, (04) 3374947 Holytrinitychurchdubai.org l Saint Mary’s, Roman Catholic Church, (04) 3370087 Saintmarysdubai.com l United Christian Church, (04) 8846623 Uccdubai.com l l

Court-approved translators in Dubai Al-Diwan (Legal Translation), (04) 2232169 Aldiwan.com Eman Translation Services, (04) 2247066 Emantranslations.com l Diamond Legal Translation, (04) 2273133 Diamondlegal.com l Dana Translation, (04) 3935702 l l

Government departments DUBAI Dubai Courts, Marriage Section, (04) 3347777 Dubaicourts.gov.ae Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (04) 2958161 Mofa.gov.ae ABU DHABI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (04) 4444488 Mofa.gov.ae Ministry of Justice, (04) 6814000Uae.gov.ae/moj SHARJAH Sharjah Sharia First Instance Court, (06) 5024382

Embassies and consulates Australian Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4017500 Uae.embrassy.gov.au, Australian Consulate General, Dubai, (04) 5087100 Uae.embassy.gov.au. British Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 6101100, Ukinuae.fco.gov.uk/en. British Embassy, Dubai, (04) 3094444 Ukinuae.fco.gov.uk/en. Canadian Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 6940300 Uae.gc.ca. Canadian Consulate, Dubai, (04) 3145555 Uae.gc.ca. French Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4435100 Ambafrance-eau.org. German Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 6446693 Abu-dhabi.diplo.de. German Consulate, Dubai, (04) 3972333 Dubai.diplo.de. Indian Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4492700 Indembassyuae.org. Indian Consulate General, Dubai, (04) 3971222 Consdubai.esteri.it. Italian Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4435622 Ambabudhabi.esteri.it. Italian Consulate, Dubai, (04) 3314167 Ambabudhabi.esteri.it. New Zealand Consulate General, Dubai, (04) 3317500 Mfat.govt.nz. Philippine Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 6415922 Philembassy.ae. South African Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4473446 Southafrica.ae. South African Consulate, Dubai, (04) 3975222 Southafricadubai.com. US Embassy, Abu Dhabi, (02) 4142200 Abudhabi.usembassy.gov. US Consulate General, Dubai, (04) 3116000 Dubaiusconsulate.gov

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S AY I D O Bringing its legendary reputation for putting on a show to the most important ceremony of all, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai promises to make every dream come true on Bluewaters island. Choose between a masterpiece of modern architecture at Caesars Forum, a 750sqft contemporary interpretation of an ancient Roman plaza or opt for an alfresco affair on the iconic resort’s pristine private beach. Caesars Bluewaters Dubai has a host of exclusive wedding packages so couples can celebrate their special day #LikeACaesar. For wedding enquiries and bookings, please contact weddings@caesarsdubai.ae