Elegant Magnolia: A Chic Wedding in Dubai

Gemma + Ryan’s unbelievably beautiful wedding in sunny Dubai was styled so wonderfully by Joelle of My Lovely Wedding and captured by the super talented Maria Sundin Photography. Here Gemma shares about their love story and her advice for Brides-to-be!

When and how did you first meet? Was it love at first sight?

We first met on an evening out at a popular bar in Dubai called the Yacht club. It was January 26th 2012. It was all a bit of a last minute plan for me to go there as I had been planning to meet a friend else where, who cancelled last minute. So since I was all ready dressed up I called another friend who happened to work with Ryan at the time and was still out from her companies after work drinks. So of I went to meet her.

We were in the same bar but not in the same immediate social circle so what actually got my attention was the sound of a Northern Irish voice to which I immediately turned round to find my future husband. We drank and chatted all night and the attraction was instant.

Where, when and how did the proposal happen?

Since we had talked about rings and getting married in the past I had an idea that it was going to happen soon. So Ryan had a tough job on his hands trying to surprise me. He thought that I would of guessed straight away what he was up to if he had of arranged a nice dinner or date. So the Saturday afternoon of the 1st August 2015 I went of to my gym class as I always do suspecting nothing and on my return home I opened my front door to find candles lit all down the hall wall and Ryan down on one knee at the end of them. It’s worth a mention that it was the middle of the summer here in Dubai and he had had to turn the AC of to keep the candles lit and he had been waiting down on one knee for quite some time as I was running behind my usual schedule. I wasn’t sure if he was sweating because of the situation or because he was surrounded by candles. Lol. But a surprise it definitely was.

How long did it take to plan your wedding?  

We booked our venue pretty much straight after we got engaged which was a year and a half before the wedding date in order to give all our family and friends enough notice that they would be travelling to Dubai for the wedding. So we were very laid back at the start with planning it as we kept thinking we have a year and a half. I got my dress first ( the important stuff) then it wasn’t until about 7-8 months before that we properly started putting all the pieces together.

Why did you choose your venue? What did you like most about it?

I think we viewed every location in Dubai that had a beach but none came close to Al Qasr hotel. It had the beautiful clear beach backdrop for our blessing that we were after but on a beautiful grassy area which made the whole shoes in the sand situation a lot easier and had the Burj al Arab sitting pretty on the right hand side of the ceremony.

Then one of my favourite things about the venue was the mode of transport you got on to reach each venues. All the guests boarded traditional Arabic Dhow boats which are completely romantic by themselves, sailing along the water taking in the picturesque scenery of the hotel grounds. The courtyard that we had our reception in which is called Magnolia was also everything we were looking for filled with twinkle lit palm trees and an adjoining inside room so the party could continue after the outdoor noise restrictions kicked in.

What was your favourite part of the day?

We both agree that our favourite part was the dinner reception. Part of it was seeing the venue and decor all come together for the first time and being overwhelmed by how beautiful it looked and then it was really only then that we finally got to completely relax and enjoy the rest of the day. I’m sure the drinks helped that bit to.

What’s your top advice for brides-to-be?

If your stuck for ideas then Pinterest is your best friend! And don’t stress on the day. If something hasn’t turned out as it was meant to be don’t let it bother you as it’s to late to change it and none of your guests will know it’s not right . Enjoy the day and take it all in!




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