Ghenwa Hamdoun and Rabih Fakhreddine
Date of wedding: 9th September 2017
Location: Biel Hall 1, Beirut
Their story: Rabih had his eyes on Ghenwa long before they actually met. He originally saw her at his friend’s engagement party but the couple didn’t officially meet until a few years later at a dinner organised by a mutual friend.
The duo completely hit it off with Rabih confessing his love for Ghenwa just three months later. After three years of dating, Rabih gathered all of Ghenwa’s closest friends in one of his night clubs in Beirut and as their song was playing, he got down on one knee and proposed and she said yes!
Venue: The couple chose to have their wedding in Beirut as it was the city they both grew up in. The location of the wedding was Biel Hall 1, which is an empty air hangar that was big enough to hold the 1,200 invited guests.
“We wanted to create something from scratch, something that represented us and our story. We also chose this venue because we knew we could use and divide the space any way we wanted,” explains Ghenwa.
Theme: “We were aiming for a modern fairytale. We wanted a royal feel to the wedding but at the same time we wanted contemporary décor that represented us as a young couple.
“I knew that I always wanted to come out of a castle, so, together with our wedding planner, we created and built the castle I always dreamed of for my entrance with the ceiling made with more than 30,000 crystal birds.
“We chose all white flowers for the tables and a touch of pink on the stairs of the castle,” says Ghenwa.
After interviewing multiple wedding planners based in Beirut, the couple made the choice to proceed with Paul Nasr, one of the best wedding planners in the region. He immediately understood the couple, their vision and what they wanted their wedding to look like.
Dress: Ghenwa chose world famous Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad to design her custom-made haute couture gown.
“On our first meeting talking about the dress, I told him that on my wedding night I wanted to be a modern princess. I didn’t want to have any flowers on the dress, I wanted it to be all about the beading and the crystals.
“I wanted my dress to sparkle when I entered the venue. He then created my dream dress and did exactly what I asked for.
“The dress took approximately six months to make. With a four-metre train, the dress was a princess cut with off-white beadings. I also had a five-meter veil with a head piece and the shoes were also customised by the designer for the occasion,” says Ghenwa.
Favourite moment: Ghenwa’s favourite moment was entering the venue with her father. Ghenwa’s smiles: “We were both trying to contain our emotions and our tears when he gave me away. It was overwhelming and definitely an unforgettable moment.”
Entertainment: With Rabih being in entertainment industry in Lebanon, it was only natural that he take care of the entertainment.
The welcome drink started with five piano players who played all at the same time. An orchestra then welcomed the invitees to the venue as they walked in.
For the groom’s entrance, Joe Ashkar, a well-known singer, escorted Rabih with a group of his closest friends. As for the bride’s entrance, a 3D mapping was projected onto the castle making it as magical and dreamy as possible.
During the dinner, pianist Guy Manoukian played for the guests. After the cake cutting, Assi El Hallani, a Lebanese pop star, joined the bride and groom and entertained them as well as their guests with his popular songs. As for the after party, Big Ali joined the couple all the way from LA.
The food: The menu was expertly curated by the groom as with his food and beverage business in Lebanon and Dubai, he is meticulous when it comes to food and wanted to have the best caterer. For that reason, the couple chose the company Cat & Mouth.
“We had canapes and finger food for the welcome drink, followed by a three-course seated dinner starting with grilled prawns with marinated salmon and fresh crab salad followed by pesto risotto with burrata, and ending the meal with a beef fillet black angus with potatoes gratin.
“To top it all off, we had a dessert buffet with a huge selection to suit every taste. For the after-party, we had live stations on the dance floor of mini-burgers, mini hot dogs, mini-manakish, mini-crepes and a station of ice cream for the guests to enjoy,” explains Ghenwa.
The cake was also made by Cat & Mouth and was nine levels, three meters and filled with handmade sugar flowers.
Honeymoon: “We knew that after all these months of wedding planning and after the hard partying of the wedding night, we would be so tired so we chose the Maldives for our first honeymoon destination.
“It was much needed and so relaxing with the breathtaking beaches and views. As a second destination, we chose Sri Lanka. We thought the mix of a luxurious relaxing destination and an adventurous one would make a perfect combination.
“To finish the trip, we made a stop in Dubai, one of our favourite cities for great food and amazing ambiance,” says Ghenwa.
Ghenwa’s top tips
1. Get inspired from other weddings but try not to copy anyone. Your wedding should represent you and your groom.
2. A lot of things might not be how you expect them to be on your wedding day. Let go and enjoy the party!
3. Have a photoshoot with your husband to be before the arrival of the guests. These are the best pictures you will get.