Oh the jewel tones combined with soft floral details are nothing short of stunning! Mina and Shean had an exchange of vows which included poems from friends and family. They then had a traditional Persian/Arabic reading with Sofreh Aghd setting outdoors on the beach.
Mina’s lace gown by Caroline Castigliano was divine. We’ll let the bride tell the story accompanied by photographs from Bernie and Bindi Photography .
How did he propose?
Being a huge fan of Korean and Japanese culture, Shean proposed on White Day (March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day, marks the day where men show their appreciation and shower their women with gifts in Japan & Korea).
We were on vacation in the Maldives… everything was perfect. On the last morning at our resort, we decided to wake up early and watch the sunrise… as we were lying on the balcony overlooking the beautiful ocean and yellow skies, Shean reached over and placed a ring in my hand asking me to marry him.
It was probably the most unexpected and romantic moment I had ever experienced. I was so overwhelmed, hugging Shean and crying tears of joy as he put the ring on my finger, I didn’t even realise I had to say YES!
Tell us about your wedding!
We wanted to go for a Jewel Theme to fit our rustic wedding vision… combining elements of South Asian, Arabic and Persian culture. Every colour in our wedding was inspired by the core jewel colours (emerald, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, gold).
We also wanted some Moroccan inspired lanterns and tea cups along with fresh fruits flowing out of bowls, dried fruits in jars and colourful flower arrangements. For the ceremony, our vision was to have a beach setting followed by a garden/courtyard reception.
While the reception was going to be colourful, we wanted a natural white & green look for the beach wedding. Our bridesmaids and the bridal bouquet would add the theme colours that would be represented again during the reception dinner.
After many locations were scouted in Dubai and abroad, we chose the Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah with its beautiful beach setting at Layali Beach and its Burj Al Arab backdrop along with the Abra boat ride to the Magnolia courtyard which perfectly fit our vision of a garden & beach wedding.
Tell us about your wedding outfits!
Mina was determined to find her wedding dress in London, searching all of the high-end Knightsbridge boutiques to find a romantic dress with lace. She decided to go for a made-to-measure silk organza dress by Caroline Castigliano which included a corsage that was accentuated by an off-shoulder French-lace shrug. Her outfit was completed with a tulle veil by Caroline Castigliano and white Fabienne Crystal-embellished heel boots by Gina. Mina’s wedding perfume: Rosa Nobile Acqua di Parma.
Shean wore a classic navy-coloured Ermenegildo Zegna 3-piece suit with an Eton bow-tie, a white shirt and cufflinks (engraved ‘The Groom’). His shoes were brown Ermenegildo Zegna matched with a calf-skin belt from House of London.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
It was important for us that all of our cultures were represented and infused into the day. We also were very much hands-on in designing elements such as the invites and wanted to make our families and friends part of the design experience across all our wedding events.
We worked together with London-based jewellery designer LeiVanKash to custom-design our own rings, which became a symbol of our love.
What was your favorite part of the day?
For Mina it was: Shean’s vows, walking down the aisle and seeing everyone’s happy faces and smiles (we had specifically asked for no phones).
For Shean it was: When Mina walked down the aisle and his favourite Korean song was played by the harpist; Our entrance to the reception with the Dhol players and us walking in together and performing an improvised Bollywood dance.
Our friends and family put together a surprise video package that included video messages from our family and friends who could not make it on the day.
Tell us about the wedding flowers.
I really wanted to have a colourful bouquet that would reflect our joyful personalities and match the wedding theme. We decided to go for a natural look and feel rather than a tight and unicolour floral arrangement. Peonies are everywhere these days, so I was happy to go with a range of flowers that were in season.
Tell us about the wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was prepared by a family friend who has been working tirelessly for the past years to now be a known name within the local community in Dubai. Sara did a fantastic job creating our 3-flavoured cake (Vanilla Sponge, Chocolate and Red velvet with a classic frosting). The decoration of flowers and fruits was finalised by the hotel in collaboration with our wedding stylist Joelle. We wanted a cake that would look DIY as well as feature the theme colours and rustic style elements.
What did you do for favors?
Shean loves honey and sweets, so we decided to go for honey jars, sugar-coated almonds and little pouches of Arabic dates to represent the sweetness of our love.
We wanted to make sure to infuse our different cultures into the setting. We sourced organic acacia honey from Imkerei Melissai, an Austrian honey farm based just an hour from Mina’s hometown in Vienna, and added a selection of individually wrapped dates from Dubai. To ensure that there would be enough variety for everyone, we also added some golden coloured sugar-coated almonds (a traditional favourite) in the mix.
Each jar had a name sticker with the watercolour background on it. The date pouches had a label with the guests’ name on one side and our wedding logo on the other.
Did you do any DIY or handmade details?
All of our individual invites were designed by Shean. We selected the classic ‘Storybook’ font for all of our stationery and together with our stationery designer Mona, we created a great selection of boards, leaflets and signage to be represented throughout the day.
Shean’s friend helped us design a wedding logo that would represent our jewel theme and emphasise our playful nature. The wedding logo with its watercolour background became an integral part of the overall wedding theme.
The seating plan on white glass doors was inspired by us and beautifully executed by our wedding stylist Joelle as we wanted to do something different.
Instead of a classic guestbook, we decided to go for a wedding piñata. On our first anniversary, we will be smashing it open to read all the lovely notes and wishes that our family and friends have dropped into it.
We also displayed a framed photo from each of our parents’ weddings on the gifts table along with a note that dedicated our wedding to our parents. We wouldn’t know what unconditional love, support and appreciation meant if it weren’t for them.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
We followed a Persian traditional Sofreh Aghd set-up to follow our exchanging of the vows part of the ceremony. The Aghd reading was performed by Mina’s father who has been performing modern Persian and Arabic wedding readings in Vienna for the past 20 years, so it was a special moment for him to be reading at his own daughter’s wedding.
Traditionally, Dhol players accompany the groom and his family as they enter the wedding. So it was a big surprise for Shean’s family to see both Mina and Shean walk in with Dhol players as they entered the reception together.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Make sure to have fun while planning your wedding. It’s great to do things together as a couple. But don’t make it an expectation. Sometimes it’s just easier to split up tasks and then check that you are both happy with the decisions made.
Don’t stress too much on every detail of the wedding and the execution, as things will change due to unforeseen circumstances. Try and enjoy every moment as much as you can and remember that it’s YOUR big day!
Photography: Bernie and Bindi Photography | Ceremony Venue: Layali Beach at Madinat Jumeirah | Reception Venue: Magnolia at Madinat Jumeriah | Day-of Coordination: lavender blue | Floral: Vintage Bloom | Stationery: Mona Makes | Videography: Morning Jacket Films | Wedding Cake: Toomi Pastries | Rentals: Party Social | Linens: Party Social | Styling: My Lovely Wedding | Makeup: Zooz | Wedding Dress: CAROLINE CASTIGLIANO | Groom’s Attire: EMERNEGILDO ZEGNA | Bride’s Shoes: GINA – FABIENNE CRYSTAL-EMBELLISHED BOOTS | Veil: CAROLINE CASTIGLIANO | Groom’s Bow Tie: ETON TIE | Wedding Ring: LEIVANKASH JEWELLERY