Meet Maryam Fattahi Salaam, owner and CEO of Physique 57, the concept that is going to revolutionize the Dubai fitness scene. Set to open later this Summer, renowned luxury health studios Physique 57 is set to sculpt bodies and change lives of women and men in our city! Maryam, the epitome of class and sophistication, was nothing short of a vision on her wedding day, held at the stunning Rosecliff Mansion, in Newport, Rhode Island. The mansion, from the gilded age, was a functioning museum, and on that day, became an amazing wedding venue. We sat down with Maryam as she recalled her wedding day on that beautiful New England Spring day in 2007:
“I always knew I wanted to wear Monique Lhuillier on my wedding day because I love her design philosophy. Her dresses are the perfect mix of modern, feminine, and glamorous. I wanted a timeless design that would mirror my personal style. My dress was a romantic ivory gown with a drop-waist bodice made of Alencon lace and a skirt made with clouds of tulle. My veil was a gorgeous, modern mantilla designed by Homa Bridal. I wore Bulgari & Tiffany jewels, and my engagement band and ring were designed by my husband, Talal. My shoes were the most comfortable silk satin platforms by Jimmy Choo. I enlisted a hair stylist from NYC to do my hair and since Talal & I both love my hair down, I chose a very natural and soft half-up look with a romantic texture. My makeup artist was from Boston – I am a makeup junkie but one who has had a very consistent look over the years – natural and simple, so on my wedding day, I stayed true to my look and went with glowing, soft makeup. Wearing my dress, I felt a wave of mixed emotions overcome me. I was relaxed, happy, and at times, slightly anxious, but overall, I felt simply perfect.
Today, my dress has been beautifully preserved by J. Scheer & Co. in New York City who are well-known for conserving and restoring museum costumes. Looking back, would I change anything? Perhaps, but I’m not telling. I hope to renew our vows one day, so I don’t want to give anything away!”
How does a girl react when Alberta Ferretti offers to design the most important dress of her life? Australian-born, London based photographer, blogger and model, Candice Lake tells us how:
“I was in Milan modeling for the Limited Edition demi-couture show,” Lake explains. “I was one of the first girls there, so following my fitting, I walked into this amazing archive space to pick a dress for the evening. I asked if I could try one on, and minutes later, Ferretti said she’d love to make my wedding dress. I just started crying!”
According to Ferretti, Lake is the personification of a modern women: “I immediately noticed not only her appearance, she is obviously a beautiful girl, but also the contrasts typical of today, where strength and romance must find a balance.”
Lake flew to New York to meet with Ferretti and her design team. “I had pictures of bohemian brides and New York society women from the 30’s,” explains Lake, “I also loved Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s wedding dress.” Although, Lake had originally dreamed of big ball skirt, the wedding was to be held at her fiancé’s family home with lush gardens overlooking the ocean. The venue dictated that she opt for a more bohemian and relaxed design. The long veil, lace and low back were her only requests, and Ferretti embarked on creating Lake’s dream dress.
“The whole experience was so magical,” said Lake, “like the perfect dream!”
At Carousel we have been blessed with amazing brides. Their flair and individual sense of style has always inspired us, and each and every single one of our brides has put so much thought into her wedding dress and each one has been a true reflection of their style and identity. This was especially true of Rasha Farsi. She was not a conventional bride, and when we sat down with her to go over her vision for her big day, we were pleasantly surprised that she did not want a traditional wedding. She wanted a party where she and her groom would feel at ease and spend that special day surrounded by family and friends. Nothing too staged or complicated, and the layout and theme was just that. Even her color palette was daring, and the whole wedding came together beautifully. Everyone agreed that the wedding was “so Rasha,” while still being “so Carousel.”
The same applied when it came to her choice of wedding dress. Rasha opted for a beautiful customized Vera Wang. We were ecstatic when she announced that her dress was not white! We instantly knew we were in for a treat, and we were not disappointed.
“When I first started trying on dresses at the Vera Wang store in LA, the one I ended up with was not even something I had originally considered. I was trying on another dress from the same collection but the same color at first. After which, I decided to try it on just for fun, but as soon as I put it on, it felt right and I fell in love with it. After a few modifications to the original design, the dress was ‘me.’
I loved being in that dress, I felt like a princess on the night and it complimented my figure beautifully! Today the dress is safe and sound at my parents home.”
We couldn’t agree more. Rasha looked like a fairytale princess and the night was truly magical. We leave you with these beautiful images by Ugly Duckling Photography.
When it comes to wedding trends, most of the focus is on the traditional items of importance, such as the dress, venue, flowers, entertainment, wedding theme, and the wedding cake. The new trend today, given the emergence of a truly global food culture, where chef’s have become celebrities, and food has become theater, is on the food served at a wedding. Not only what is served, but how it is presented and displayed.
Whenever we sit with a new client we seem to discuss everything at great lengths and a lot of thought goes into the presentation of every component of the wedding, from table linens to centerpieces and accessories. When it comes to food, on the other hand, there is not so much chatter. However, much to our delight, we are seeing, and yes, even promoting, a shift in the way couples are approaching food at their wedding. More of our couples are now focusing on what types of food they serve at the wedding and most importantly the presentation. We find that with a lot of our weddings, there is an increased focus on food as a form of entertainment and décor and we couldn’t agree more! Just like everything else, food at the wedding should be customized, unique, and part of the overall theme and feel of the wedding. Food can be such a central part of the overall wedding, as both entertainment, décor, and immense pleasure for the wedding guests. It is also a deeply personal statement about the bride and groom – their sense of style, their outlook on life, their sense of hospitality and generosity.
In 2013 we will expect a major shift in the way food is presented. Gone are the days of the sit-down dinner, as more and more people want their guests to enjoy the meal in a dynamic and interactive way, making it a social affair. People love to eat, dance and socialize rather than be confined for an hour and a half at a table to finish a meal. Enter the a new wave of family style vs. sit-down dinners; food stations, stalls and pass around finger foods vs. the traditional buffet. You will find that guests will love a taco or pasta bar and for dessert a DIY sundae station and popcorn stall! Canapes and finger foods are all the rage at the moment from mini tacos, sliders, pizza bites and mozzarella and tomatoes skewers, these little creations will not only wow your guests, but make for an equally fun, whimsical, and yet elegant atmosphere.
When managing your caterers remember: communication is key! You must be very clear with what you expect and want from them. Always go for a food tasting session where you can sample the selection and see the presentation. Our favorite caterer of the moment is Dish. They are a breath of fresh air when it comes to crating unique menus that cater to specific themes and styles. The presentation of their food and service is hip and artistic.
As 2012 comes to a close, we can’t help but look back at all the wonderful memories we have created and shared with our beautiful couples. Each and every one of our weddings holds a special place in our hearts. The love and joy that emanated on those days was always amazing. We cannot begin to express how fulfilling it is to watch families being brought together in love, with tears of joy, and dreams coming to life. There is such human grace in weddings, and such genuine love, passion, and compassion, and it really makes the world a better place. Our thoughts looking back, and our hopes looking forward, is to remind ourselves that after all is said and done, nothing else matters except being with and around those we love.
We also want to share with you some of our fondest memories of 2012, while wishing you a love filled 2013, and may there be many many more weddings.
On the Carousel today is the lovely Teresa Karpinska, a swedish lifestyle and fashion blogger and stylist living in Dubai. Teresa’s portfolio spans from fashion editorials and lifestyle shoots to fashion videos. Her unique sense of style has certainly earned Teresa a place on Dubai’s fashion ‘it’ list.
Right now I’m wearing…. a red skater dress and white Converse.
My current obsession is…. surfing lessons. The season is just around the corner.
I’m listening to…. Jazz, Afro House and anything by Zero 7.
My favorite quote is…. “Have less, do more, be more.”
Most over rated style icon is…. Pippa Middelton, don’t get me started!
Coffee or tea? EARLY GREY for life.
What brings a smile to your face? Many things-I love to smile.
Bags or shoes? Shoes. Always shoes.
I can’t leave the house without my…. my camera, I see beauty everywhere.
My favorite product…. my red lipstick by Julie Hewitt.
Blackberry or iPhone…. tough one, I have a hate/love relationship with my BBM and I secretly envy iPhone users. they are just so much cooler!
On my wish list…. is a Jeep Wrangler.
With Weddings in mind…
Cake or cupcakes? Gluten free cake.
First on dance floor or last to stand up? Dance until your feet hurt.
Tears of joy or keep it together? Weep away. I love people who show their emotions.
Not long ago we met a young and enthusiastic newcomer to the wedding photography scene in Dubai. At the time, Tasneem had just relocated to Dubai from Bahrain and we met for an informal chat. Within a very short time, we watched Tasneem evolve and come into her own, covering weddings across the region. Her intimate and personal approach to wedding photography can be seen through her work and her undeniable passion for her profession shines through.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, such as your education and family background.
Born to Saudi parents, I grew up between the US and UK. Finished my BA and MA in English Linguistics! Mother of 2 girls and currently living in Dubai.
Have you always been interested in photography, and how did you interest in wedding photography come about?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by great family portraits. My grandfather would hire photographers for every Eid and special occasion. My mother would scrapbook 300 page albums to cover the whole year of events. So when I asked for a camera when I was 9, my parents weren’t surprised. I took photography courses 6 yrs ago, not knowing I would one day take it up as a profession. It was only after a relative’s friend kept asking me to take her wedding photos that I realized how much I enjoyed it. After that I started doing my homework on wedding photography. It was my mission to never have a bride regret her wedding photography. After all, the wedding photographs is all that remains after the day.
In 5 words please will you describe to us what you feel makes a good wedding photographer?
Evoking and capturing original and raw emotion.
What, in your opinion, does good wedding photography add to a wedding in terms of on the day itself, and in the memory?
On the day itself, I am behind the scenes, trying to be invisible capturing the moment without being a part of it. It’s about the family, the friends, the details. I’m telling a story that the bride and groom won’t be able to see on their own day. It’s the memory that you’ve captured that will last forever.Having newlyweds call after viewing their album with tears and laughs, is what differentiates a good wedding photographer from another. I’m blessed to have all my couple’s love their wedding day and are proud to show off their wedding albums because they get to relive the day through my photography.
If you could document through photography one famous couple’s wedding, past or present, whose would it be and why?
Tough question! I would choose a couple I have ALREADY shot. I don’t think many can top the famous Bahraini jewelry designer Azza Alhujairi’s wedding. It was such a fun day, it rained and no one cared to go in to save their dresses. It was truly a magical event.
Whose work as a photographer do you most admire and how does your love of their work inform you and your work?
I have alot of photographers that I admire and I am lucky to have met and studied with some of them. One of my most recent favorite photographers is Susan Stripling. I love the way she captures subtle but grand shots. Her work pushes me to never take a shot for the sake of taking it. I have to constantly think of how to make it a spectacular image.
What is your favorite film that has a wedding in it and why?
HAHA! I love the first scene of the Godfather, when the daughter is getting married. The hustle and bustle of the crowd is very similar to Arabian weddings.
What new developments/trends do you predict in the world of wedding photography?
I think people will stop over editing their photos, avoiding fake back-drops and couples will realize that having a destination wedding is much more accessible than they thought
Every girl dreams of the day she wears a white dress and marries her “Prince Charming” and most of the time she knows exactly what her dress is going to look like! But it doesn’t always work that way. Noor tells us how her perfect dress was not really what she had in mind.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew what my dress would look like. Way before Kate Middleton put the lace long sleeve dress on the ‘must have’ wedding dress list, I knew I wanted a mermaid cut-off the shoulders long sleeve dress. The October before the wedding, my sister Tala and I flew to San Francisco (Alaa, my fiance was relocated there for work) to go dress shopping. Alaa made reservations for me at 6 different bridal boutiques, every time I tried “the dress” something just didn’t fit perfectly; it was either too plain or the perfect dress for a size zero model bride, but not for me. When we walked in the fifth boutique, the owner, who is also a designer, asked me what I was looking for, I told her, she then took a long look at me, and told me to keep an open mind and that she has the perfect dress for me. When she showed me the dress it was nothing like my description of my ideal dress. I looked over at Tala and whispered, “Is this lady serious?” Nevertheless, I tried it on. It took me 20 minutes from the second I put it on to the second I paid for it. It’s true when they say “you just know when it’s the one,” and I really did. Plus, my sister started crying when she saw me and she’s not one to cry, so that said a lot. It’s now packed away safe and sound waiting to be worn by my 6 year old cousin, who I promised can wear ‘the princess dress’ at her wedding.”
On the Carousel today is Senior Fashion and Beauty Writer at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Kate Hazell. One of Carousel’s favorite Bazaar ladies, Kate’s stunning good looks and fashion sense makes her a dynamic force within the Dubai fashion scene.
Right now I’m wearing…. Lots of leather! I’m obsessed with a gold metallic leather skirt I can’t stop wearing, from House of Holland.
My current obsession is…. Filling my flat with art. I’ve got my eye on a piece called Life Story by Australian artist Natasha Chambers and I really want to buy some of Leonard Cohen’s sketches.
I’m listening to…. M83, Joni Mitchell, Alt J and Tame Impala.
My Favorite quote is…. ‘Why bloody not?’ It’s not a quote but I feel it’s a suitable phrase for most situations!
Most over rated style icon is…. Victoria Beckham.
Coffee or tea? Both have a time and place in my day-to-day.
What brings a smile to your face? Animals. Especially baby animals of ANY sort.
Bags or shoes? Bags.
I can’t leave the house without my…. Lip balm. I’m addicted and panic when I don’t have any on me.
My favorite product…. Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask is a real skin-saver.
Blackberry or iPhone…. iPhone without a doubt. I use the camera all the time.
On my wish list…. A Chanel 2.55 Reissue bag with gold hardware in large. And Charlotte Olympia black velvet cat flats.
With Weddings in mind…
Cake or cupcakes? Cupcakes.
First on dance floor or last to stand up? Last to stand up.
Tears of joy or keep it together? Tears of joy
Favorite wedding movie? The beginning of Love Actually where Kiera Knightley gets married makes me cry EVERY TIME! That and Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway. Her sisters back yard hippy wedding is my dream wedding.
Favorite celebrity bride? Margarita Missoni recently. She looked amazing.
On her wedding day, Shalmali D’sa was twenty seven years old, had just returned from completing her Master’s degree in London. Her lucky groom was twenty eight year old Don Moraes, Director at Fabtech International.
“After an amazing courtship of four years Don and I along with the blessing of our parents decided to get married in December of 2012. Once the date was set everything moved so fast that on occasion I still can’t believe that we are already happily married! We picked Dubai to say our ‘I Do’s’ because of its convenience for our families and most importantly because of the memories we both share of this place we now call home.
Don and I saw a few pictures from a wedding hosted by Oprah Winfrey which had a garden theme with bright hues and knew we wanted something similar for our big day. We decided to exploit the crisp weather Dubai offers in December and chose an outdoor venue for our reception. I realized earlier on the importance of a wedding planner and wasted no time in signing up the ever so elegant Carousel Girls, who understood exactly what we wanted and executed everything we dreamed of to perfection.
Being in London I was spoiled for choice when it came to selecting my wedding dress. However, I realized that amongst all the stunning dresses I tried, the one in which I looked the best was the simplest. I worked with Phillipa Lepley to design my dress and was involved in every little detail from selecting the lace to the silhouette. To accessorize, I chose silver leaves with crystals for my hair and a delicate pair of diamond drop earrings, both of which added a touch of glamour to my dress and veil. My makeup was done by the very talented Basma Masri from B.Beautiful, who highlighted my best features and brought a glow to my face. My hair, done by Fadi Rashwani from Pace e Luce, was let loose in soft curls with a side sweep that framed my face. I loved the way the look came together, it all blended in seamlessly.
My father walking me down the aisle has by far been the most overwhelming moment of my life. I held on to his hand so tight, filled with mixed emotions, it felt like the world stood still for an instant. Seeing my future husband waiting for me at the altar did calm my nerves. Making a commitment to Don who is not just my soul mate but also my best friend, my confidant and lover, in front of all those who I love cannot be described in words and is a day I will cherish for the rest of my life!
When Don and I saw the venue setup for the first time we were just blown away, it was all that we had ever dreamed of and much more. The opulence of the chandeliers and sheer drapes hanging from the pergolas, the warm colors of the blooms in the centerpieces, and the soft lighting made for the most picturesque setting. The cake adorned with sugar flowers and love birds was definitely a sight to behold was sculpted by the talented Lori Hutchinson, aka The Caketress, who flew all the way from Canada to deliver the cake. The evening zipped by filled with laughter, fun, dancing and loads of love. Our guests also truly enjoyed the fishfayce photo booth, which brought out the child in them. With the help of Carousel we put together favors consisting of bubble wands and wraps that came in handy during the windy night. Photographs do not do justice to how amazing the place looked and we cannot thank Zainab and Leena enough for all their efforts in putting together the best wedding ever imagined!
Last but not the least, once the champagne is drunk, presents opened and the dress safely stashed away, the only reminiscence of the day is your photographs and videos. Sherif from Mokbelography and Peter from Filmatography did the most amazing job of capturing all the beautiful moments of the evening which helps transport me back in time. I watch the trailer of our wedding every other week, and after having watched it a hundred times it still brings a smile to my face!”
To view more of Don & Salmali’s wedding visit our gallery Wedding Bloom and don’t miss the behind the scenes video on Vimeo.
Founded in the 1780’s in Paris, Chaumet have been jewelers to European aristocracy for over 2 centuries, when Napoleon appointed Nitot, the founder of Chaumet, as the official supplier to the imperial court. Chaumet’s designs are intricate and delicate, and the company’s unique symbol of a spider and a bee draws from the beauty of nature.
In celebration of the XXVIth Biennale des Antiquaires, Chaumet looks back on the the creative designs of its jewelers over the past two centuries. The collection captures the spirit of 12 Place Vendȏme and the essence of high end Parisian jewelry. Numbered from 1 to 12, the jewelry sets combine French classicism and modernity. The collection includes tiaras and the exquisite “aigrette,” which can also be worn as necklaces and brooches. The necklaces and earrings within this collection are inspired by the Garçonne of the 1920’s. Watch the stunning collection come to life in this behind the scenes video:
The embodiment of style and creativity, this collection transforms us back to the age of European aristocracy and opulence, equally fitting whether you are a modern bride or a classical one – or anything in between.
Below are some of our favorite pieces from the collection. To view the full “12 Vendȏme” collection visit www.chaumet.com.
Salma Al-Akeel was one of Carousel’s most elegant brides, her wedding (which we named “Deco Nights”) was like a fairytale, and her custom designed gown was absolutely stunning.
In Salma’s own words: “My dress was designed by Basil Soda. Basil is a Lebanese designer and architect with a beautiful atelier in Beirut in a gorgeous building that was designed and built by him. He also has the world’s greatest dog, that walks around the atelier and looks around like he’s making sure all is well!”
“I wanted a classic design that reflected my personal style. I am a classical girl at heart and when it came to my wedding and dress I wanted them to reflect who I am. When I slipped into the dress I felt like a princess. I wore a cathedral style veil, Chatila jewels and Swarovski encrusted nude Jimmy Choos. I opted for a classic up do with my hair swept in an elegant bun and my make up complemented my whole look.”
Today my dress is safe at my Parent’s house and I have plans to take it back to Basil and have him redesign the dress by removing the trail and replacing it with another but in a different color to enable me to wear it again.”
Our love for weddings is endless, and even while away on a much deserved summer break before our new season kicks off in the Middle East, we are still drawn to everything bridal, so when coming across a BHLDN store in Chicago, it was like being a kid in a candy store! We are huge BHLDN fans, with their accessories being featured in many of our weddings, and from what we saw in Chicago, we expect them to be in many more.
For those of you that are not familiar with BHLDN, it’s a bridal store concept launched by one of our favorite US based retailers Anthropologie. BHLDN, pronounced Beholden inspiredfrom the dutch word “to keep” was launched in 2011 on Valentine’s Day.
From dreamy and whimsical wedding gowns to bridesmaid and party dresses, vintage-inspired jewelry, feathered headpieces, veils and lingerie, BHLDN is a one stop dream destination for the modern bride. They carry their own designs as well as designs from the likes of Anna Sui, Catherine Deane, Fleur Wood, and Tracy Reese to name a few. They also offer a range of bespoke and vintage inspired wedding accessories like cake toppers, candle holders, and table numbers.