Emirates Bride covers the beautiful wedding of Joanna Kathleen Fairservice and Alexander Christos Cargopoulos

WEDDING OF: Joanna Kathleen Fairservice and Alexander Christos Cargopoulos

WEDDING DATE: January 4, 2013

LOCATION: Christ Church Jebal Ali, Dubai, UAE


It’s a romantic tale of childhood sweethearts that all began at the rather less starry-eyed setting of Dubai College. At just 11 years old, Joanna and Alexander were too young to realise that they had found ‘the one’ and would be spending the rest of their lives together. “Suffice to say,” said Joanna, “We were far too young to ever imagine that we would one day be married.

However, three years later, a stolen kiss outside Joanna’s home sealed what was destined to be true love, and from that point onwards their lives began to slowly weave themselves together.

The couple remained good friends until New Year’s Eve 2005, when they caught each other’s eye at a mutual friend’s house party.  Joanna explains: “It’s hard to say what about that night was different, but neither of us has looked back since.”

Leaving the UAE, the couple set up home together in London, and seven years after ‘that’ night, Alexander proposed. Eager to ask his wife-to-be for her hand in marriage, Alexander, holding out the ring he lovingly designed after his own grandmother’s engagement ring, went down on one knee and popped the question. The excited couple wed at the stunning Jebel Ali Hotel just after their eight-year anniversary.



Venue: The wedding reception was held at the private beach at Jebel Ali Hotel, a place that both have been visiting since childhood.

Number of guests: 260! A quiet beach wedding didn’t quite work out!

Dress: Joanna wore a beautiful floaty creation by Lusan Mandongus, bought from Frou Frou Bridal boutique in Kent, UK.

Veil: After being a bridesmaid at one of her best friend’s weddings in Jordan, Joanna fell in love with her friend Nadia’s veil. Nadia lent it to her as her ‘something borrowed’!

Shoes: Jimmy Choo sandals.

Rings: The wedding bands were custom made at Dubai gold souk. The groom opted for a classic look, whereas Joanna chose to have hers hand-engraved with flowers in an early 19th century art deco style.

Bridesmaids: Joanna’s maid of honour was her sister Charlotte, fresh out of university and raring to organise her bachelorette parties on two continents. Bridesmaids Nikki, Diana, Nadia and Hayley are all Joanna’s best friends from Dubai College. On the night of the wedding, the maids donned animal onesies and performed a hip hop routine to Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s Push It.


Flowers: Preferring an eco-friendly approach, the couple used locally grown flowers wherever possible. They opted for wildflowers and thistles to represent the bride’s English heritage and the groom’s Scottish background. All the flowers were kept in mismatched jars and vases on the tables to give a bohemian, freshly gathered vibe.

Music: The groom’s aunt Judy sang at the ceremony, while good friend and musician Tim Hassall later provided an enchanting set at the reception, where guests were invited to sign up for an open mic hour. While Alexander created a playlist for the meal, band Tiny Monsters provided the evening entertainment.

First dance: Bridesmaid Hayley Summers sang the song for the first dance – Adele’s Make You Feel My Love. There was not a dry eye in the marquee!

Food: Dishes from the Middle East, Italy, Greece, Scotland and England were served, reflecting the couple’s heritages.

Favours: Small recycled craft boxes filled with a miniature plant pot and seed pellets in the shape of a heart. Also, hand-burnt wooden coasters, which doubled as place cards for the guests.

Cake: The extraordinary custom cake was made for the couple by bridesmaid Nadia Rahmann as a wedding gift. It was a four-tiered masterpiece mounted on a beautiful reclaimed slice of solid wood.

Unique touches: The ceremony mixed Anglican and Greek Orthodox traditions, incorporating Isaiah’s dance and traditional Greek head wreaths into the order of service, which was sensitively conducted by family friend, Reverend Stephen Miller, who flew in especially from Hong Kong. As art lovers, the couple hired Danesh Mohiuddin to capture the day. He positioned himself in amongst the action and depicted all the key details.

Honeymoon: The couple coined the term ‘Gap-Year-a-Moon’ to describe their honeymoon, as they hope to travel across Asia until November, when they’ll be moving to Canada.



1. Get a wedding planner! Planning a wedding is so much work, and you need to be able to enjoy it. We were so lucky to have had the best in town, with Dee and Dom from Elan productions here

2. Accept a helping hand. Having the people you love help you shape your wedding day is something you will never forget. We could not believe how many people wanted to be involved in the day. My brother David was not only a groomsman but also the unofficial third wedding planner, along with our house guests Rhiannon and Jory, who flew in all the way from Vancouver Island to help us with table plans and lugging boxes across Dubai!

3. Take time together alone. Alexander and I had this wonderful advice from a recently married friend – take five minutes every hour or so just to absorb everything that was happening around you. Apart from the speeches, it was my favourite part of the day.



Photography: Rin Nelson Photography, (055) 2488131 here 

Cake: Nadia’s Little Bakery, (050) 4545769 here

Music: Tim Hassall, (050) 5850432 here. The Tiny Monsters, (050) 1599327 here

Hair & Make-up: Illumin8 Make-Up Studio, (050) 8728374 here

Live Art: Danesh Mohiuddin, here. For bookings, email

Useful website:  here

Henna: Cleopatra’s salon in Satwa, (04) 3444423