Elena and Yan met while studying as exchange students in France. Yan is French-Canadian while Elena is from Moldova, Russia – a place, she jokes, she is sure her husband never knew existed. “We were from two different sides of the world,” she says. Yet that didn’t stop them from falling in love.

However, unlike most classic love stories, for this couple it was definitely not love at first sight. “To say we didn’t like each other when we first met is an understatement,” recalls Yelena. “I thought he was arrogant and he thought I was just ‘blah’.” For a year they had their differences, but two years later, by coincidence they ended up on the same train to Paris to visit some mutual friends. “Between Grenoble to Paris, around three hours into the journey, our lives changed forever…”

Conversation flowed, sparks flew and chemistry brewed. The fighting twosome suddenly clicked in ways that could only be kismet. Six months after this chance encounter, Elena got an offer to move to Dubai for work, and despite it being early in their relationship, Yan followed.

After seven blissful years together Yan proposed. To which Elena jokes: “To all the girls out there, I’m proof that it is possible to get married after so many years together!”

The couple, having fallen in love with Mykonos, decided to marry on the blissful island, organising everything in Dubai through their wedding planner. “We didn’t see the venue or location until we arrived,” explains Elena. “Luckily, it turned out beyond our expectations.”



Venue: Ostraco Suites, a cornucopia of blossoming courtyards and pergolas. The stunning boutique hotel is part of the Small Leading Hotels of the world.

Cocktails and reception: Gola Boutique Restaurant ( The open terrace offered a unique setting, serving gourmet Mediterranean cuisine with the majestic beauty of the resort as a stunning backdrop. The fantastic team went above and beyond to make it happen for the couple.

Number of guests: 45.

Theme: Summer holidays. Splashes of dark purple, fuchsia and apple green on white created the allusion of a tropical getaway.

Dress: Niagara gown from Pronovias.

Tiara: Elena opted against a traditional look, instead opting for a more relaxed, bohemian vibe with flowers in her hair.

Shoes: It had to be Gucci for the bride, who found the gorgeous and “comfy” pair in the Harvey Nichols sale.

Wedding rings: Both bands from were made in Cara at the Gold and Diamond Park.

Bridesmaids: Elena’s sister was maid of honour while two of her best friends acted as bridesmaids.

Flowers: The couple didn’t hold back on their floral décor, opting for summery flowers.

Music: Elena walked down the aisle to I’m Yours by Jason Mraz while the song of their wedding was Hey Soul Sister by Train.

First dance: Tango to Gotan Project.

Food: Italian fusion.

Unique touches: Envelopes and cones of the confetti were made from a collage of photos from their travels together.

As the couple had to wed first at a registry office they decided to spice up the event. Dubbing it a Secret Affair operation, no one but six bridesmaids and groomsmen were informed until the last moment. Wedding clips of the event were filmed as a memento.

Guests signed wishes on lanterns that were launched into the sky, lighting up the night.

Honeymoon: The couple had such a fun time with their guests in Mykonos that they cancelled the first two days of their honeymoon to extend their time there before eventually heading to Santorini.



Give yourself time to go crazy – try different themes, browse magazines and websites. Try different themes to the extreme. Just set yourself a deadline to define the final theme and style. Selecting a venue and destination is a good step toward taking a final decision.

Get a wedding planner. While ideas and scenarios will be yours, with a few very helpful tips from the pro you will have someone do the execution on the day without getting stressed, allowing you to fully enjoy your day.

Invest in good photographer – the memories are priceless…

Accept that a few things will go wrong. No one will notice and you’ll be surprised at how unimportant it will look to you as well – focus on the big things.


Wedding site: here

Reception venue: here

Wedding planner: Helena Han here

Photography: Ludivine Viguie  here