See inside the elegant wedding of our Senior Editor, Sophia Triantafillou and Arnaud Serin on March 4, 2011 at Park Hyatt Dubai.
“In the spring of 2006, I found myself on a friend’s yacht who was hosting a party for 100 of his closest friends here in Dubai. My sister was my date and as we boarded the boat, the sun was setting, making sure this was already a night to remember. Several hours into the soirée, my dancing feet were failing me so I took a seat only to find a man standing before me. He extended his hand, asked me to dance and I said yes – for the first time…”
The Blessing And Cocktail Reception
Venue: We have celebrated birthdays, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions at the Park Hyatt Dubai and as Arnaud proposed to me there, there was no question that this would be the location for our wedding.
Guests: We had 100 guests in total and around half of those came from overseas and the other half from around the Gulf and the UAE.
The programme: We started the wedding day with a blessing of the rings and vows in the Fountain Garden. After the blessing, guests enjoyed a drinks reception while we left with our bridal party to take pictures. Guests were then seated in the Palm Garden for dinner and dancing.
The playlist: Our parents and bridal party walked down the aisle to Harry Connick Junior’s It Had To Be You, I walked down to She Makes My Day by Robert Palmer and after the blessing, Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life played as confetti was thrown.
Music: DJ Tim Cheddar.
Bridesmaids: One of my all time favourite designers is Australian Carla Zampatti. Most of my eveningwear wardrobe consists of her dresses so when I emailed her look book to my two bridesmaids, they fell in love.
Flowers: My bouquet was a mixture of peonies and freesias and my bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet. The lapel flowers were freesias, too
Dress: Vivienne Westwood Gold Label at www.net-a-porter.com
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik.
Something special: We placed a piece of card into everyone’s napkin fold with a pen asking our guests to write us a note or draw us a picture. We laughed (and cried) the next day reading these over breakfast, definitely one of the best things we did at our wedding.
Tablesettings: We didn’t want just a piece of card for our name cards so each guest had a miniature potted plant with their name placed inside. Our table names were larger potted plants with pictures of us on our travels around the world.
“Both Arnaud and I come from the country (islands) and from families that produce their own olive oil, wine, honey and jam, so we decided to put our sugared almonds in miniature jam jars and made our own labels.”
Amuse bouche: Foie gras terrine, rhubarb marmalade, and rye bread
Entrée: Grilled lobster tartar, avocado, crème fraiche and frisée
Main: Grilled beef tenderloin, asparagus, tomato confit, potato dauphonise and thyme sauce
Dessert: Gran cru choclate with ice cream. Selection of digestifs, chocolate pralines and cigars were served with coffee and leaf tea.
Sophia’s Wedding Tips:
Plan your event: If you have a full time job, it is difficult to plan the wedding you want by yourself, especially a month before the big day. I originally had Elan Productions come in and assist for our wedding reception only, but in the end, they thankfully took over the three-day event.
All in the detail: Attention to detail makes or breaks a wedding. Hotels have set wedding progammes, which is great, but once the bones of the wedding reception are in place, this is when you and your fiancé can come in and add your personal touch. We bought in our own Tiffany chairs, table settings,
DJ booth and over 200 glass vases for the candles. All of these small tweaks made a huge difference to the garden setting.
Mix it up: Start your seating arrangements early. We knew early on who would be attending so we took a lot of time to discuss people, their personalities, where they came from and their interests and mixed our guests up according to this.
Don’t believe the hype: People who have been married will often expect you to feel a certain way at your wedding. Of course you feel exhilarated, but some of my most enjoyable moments were spent with my family having brunch, shopping for last minute bits with my bridesmaids and hosting guests at our home pre-wedding day, so really take the time to enjoy the lead up to your big day.
Money talks: Impromptu family dinners at La Petite Maison, bridal party bashes at Zuma and sundowners at One On One at One&Only The Palm, all add up so you should definitely put some dirham’s aside for last-minute entertaining.
If the shoe fits: The days of wearing shoes to match your dress are over, so invest in shoes you love so you can keep wearing them long after the wedding.
In the spin: Get a good DJ and interview them before signing up. As most of our guests were 30 to 40-somethings, we wanted music that people could dance and sing along to, so we played 70s and 80s with a modern mix of songs thrown in. We also selected some Greek and French music, which everybody danced to!
Drive on: Whether you are getting married here or abroad, arrange transport for your guests to and from each of your wedding events. At least this way you know they will be on time and, more importantly, in the right place.
LITTLE BLACK BRIDAL BOOK
Venue: Park Hyatt Dubai: (04) 6021234
Wedding planner: Elan Productions, (04) 4494044
Photographer: Rebecca Hobday (050) 8810038
Hair: Vanilla by Jelena Salon & Spa: (04) 3297008
Lashes: Sisters Beauty Lounge: The Dubai Mall (04) 3398500
Dress: Vivienne Westwood at net-a-porter
Tunes: DJ Tim Cheddar: Email