A white and gold wedding in Dubai
15 Oct 2020
Olga Maczynska and Sam Meymand travelled from London to Dubai for a wedding at the Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel
Tell us about the proposal
Sam proposed on our one year anniversary in Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai (a seafood restaurant) on a terrace before the dessert. Dubai is a special place for us as we travelled there before we started dating.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Our colours were white and gold. The theme was ‘international’ as we had many international guests, our wishing station was a gold and white globe on which guests could write wishes, we also had a welcome sign with ‘Welcome’ written in the different languages spoken by our guests. Each table had a name of a country where our families are based globally.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
The venue - Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel Dubai - is the hotel where we stayed at the beginning of our relationship and where we love to regularly travel to. We always dreamt of an outdoor wedding (both ceremony and reception were outdoors, the ceremony on Layali Beach and the reception at Magnolia, a waterfront venue with a private abra station) in a warm country. Also, the hotel is the same complex as Burj Al Arab Hotel where we got engaged.
Tell us about the dress
The dress was by Pronovias (called Princia) and I tried it on for the first time in my first wedding dress appointment in London’s flagship store. I always thought I would go for a princess style dress but after trying a few dresses on I realised that the mermaid style with sweetheart neckline would be perfect for me. After a few dresses I tried the Princia dress and I instantly knew that this was the one, especially once the veil was put on and my friend with who I went to the appointment loved it too. I subsequently went to three more wedding dress shops and in two of them I tried on the same Princia dress and each time I knew it was perfect. One year before the wedding I also tried it in Dubai’s Pronovias store for the last time and made my decision to go ahead with the order in the London store.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids – three of them are my best friends from when we studied together at the University of Sussex, the other bridesmaid was my best friend that I met at the Legal Practice Course when qualifying to become a solicitor. The dresses were of mink colour and they were from ASOS.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
Our wedding planner was incredible, we found her online and at the same time she was recommended by the venue. We met with her for an initial chat over Arabian sweets, she went out of her way to meet us in a hotel we stayed at for that. Throughout the preparation we had a WhatsApp group where we were always getting instant responses and shared photos of inspiration for our decorations. After interviewing us Joumana knew exactly what we were looking for and made excellent suggestions to really show the theme of the wedding that we wanted. The planners organised everything from the flowers and decorations to liaising with a celebrant and finding a violinist and were also really supportive throughout and on the day.
Tell us about your floral arrangements
We chose white flowers (mainly roses). There was a mix of tall rose bouquets and low white floral installations with golden accents and candles. My bouquet was a mix of white roses and falling white orchids.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
As my husband is Persian along with the civil ceremony we set up a traditional Persian wedding table decorated with many symbolic items all representing an element of marriage. We also had ‘our story’ printed on a paper shaped like a plane that was on each guest’s seat.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
It was the best moment of my life!
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had my great grandmother’s poem about flowers written on the wedding invitation and for the wedding I had my two close friends read a Persian poem about marriage by Rumi and a Polish poem (where I am from) written by a Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska about love at first sight.
What was your most memorable moment?
We prepared a surprise for the guests during the reception – we sang a famous Polish song about love in Polish (my husband had to learn the whole song and lyrics in Polish which was very impressive).
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Packing our bags and the wedding dress for the flight as we travelled from London to Dubai for the wedding.
What was the most important investment for you?
The look of the reception venue (decorations, dancefloor etc) and also food. We chose a varied buffet with many international dishes, including Polish and Persian specialities that were enjoyed by guests throughout the evening.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We chose Just The Two Of Us by Grover Washington Junior. We were looking for wedding songs for a long time and then heard this one played on a saxophone during a trip to Cypus for my husband’s 30th birthday, and instantly knew this was the one.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a Polish DJ who works in Dubai (we saw him play a year before, loved it and reached out to him to play at our wedding), and a modern violist who was absolutely excellent and played after the ceremony and along with the DJ. We also prepared a video with a photo show of our childhood and family photos as a surprise for our parents.
Tell us about your wedding cake
We chose a white and gold cake to fit in with the colour theme of the wedding. We also had a Persian cake cutting dance before cutting the cake where the bridesmaids and female guests were dancing with the groom holding the wedding knife and the groom had to pay them during the dance to get the knife back which was very entertaining.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We were so busy that we forgot to eat enough and we hardly had any dinner.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
It was actually very windy on the day and my veil was flying away during the outdoor ceremony - but on the bright side the wind cooled everyone down.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I wish we’d considered a plan B in case of rain to avoid some stress. There are only a few rainy days in Dubai per year and so we thought the weather would be guaranteed but the day before the wedding it was pouring down which stressed us a little. Luckily our wedding day was sunny and warm.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went for a mini-moon nearby Dubai and stayed in the Waldorf Astoria hotel which we’d visited a year before and loved it. We had a proper honeymoon six months later in the Sandals resort in Jamaica.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Be prepared that it is a lot of work which can be stressful and require a lot of good organisation and planning things in advance, don’t leave things to the last moment as it can be stressful.