She smiled and lowered her eyes in shyness. Then smiled even wider. Knowing how he felt.
With mesmerizing big green eyes, she looked like a goddess in her pink gown. Mohamed entered the room for photo-shoot but stood still for a solid couple of minutes to collect himself. I couldn’t decide if he was simply struck by her beauty or he couldn’t believe that this gorgeous girl is finally his. And the entire universe can guess what happened to my dear heart – it melted!
Most of the brides enquire if I’m available for their engagement/wedding date. Maryam was different. She asked me when I’m available and then arranged her entire engagement around my availability, leaving me both stunned and grateful with her utter thoughtfulness. I couldn’t have been happier to be a small part of her elaborated engagement party because it was full of carefully put together details.
Maryam & Mohamed’s engagement party was celebrated with immense love & joy by their close family and friends in Barsha, Dubai. Maryam’s vision of having a rustic themed party was brought to live by Fiftyfive Degrees who did a marvelous job at decoration the stage, centerpieces, and a beautiful entrance. She wore a pink dress by Dar Sara Fashions and Nine West shoes. Oh and a super cute bouquet of real flowers by Royal Armani Flowers.
Dearest Maryam & Mohamed,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtfulness, consideration, and for your friendship. Photographing your engagement party, meeting your families, and watching you two together made me realize – yet again – how beautiful love is. I can’t wait to see and document your wedding because I know it will be nothing short of perfection & love.
Fumbling with the locks, she seemed to be struggling with the jewelry as I photographed her getting ready. I mean, it wasn’t easy trying to protect the manicured nails. He politely came to the rescue and not only did he manage to open the necklace’s lock for her but also put it on her.
It was such an awwww… moment. Without wasting a second, I clicked through and was able to preserve their ‘moment’. The best thing was it wasn’t just a moment, he helped her open the locks for the bracelet and earrings as well without her even asking. ‘He’s a keeper’ I thought to myself and of course smiled while clicking through their momentS.
Dhuha wore a customized bridal gown by Hazar and opted for a dull gold shoes by Manolo Blahnik. She looked immensely stunning. Ali couldn’t help but smile while trying to peek glances at her. Their beautiful wedding was celebrated at Baniyas Ballroom in Grand Hyatt, Dubai. The ballroom was decorated with tons of pink and white details and five types of centerpieces.
Dearest Ali & Dhuha,
I adoreeeeeeeeeee you both. And your families too. Documenting both of you was an experience full of awwww moments. I pray that the Almighty showers you both with the utmost blessings. May you both help each other through thicks and thins of life, love and take care of each other meticulously, create and cherish a life full of moments, ameen.
I’m so thrilled to announce that I will be at The Bride Show, Dubai 2016. Whether you are a bride-to-be or a fellow industry vendor, here is your official invitation to come visit & meet me in person.
What: The Bride Show, Dubai
When: Wed February 10 -Sat February 13, 2016
Venue: Saeed Halls 1-2-3, Dubai World Trade Center
Time: 3pm – 9:30pm
I’m super excited to launch new products AND will be offering exclusive packages for The Bride Show’s visitors only. Also, I’ll be opening my calendar for – not just six months – but for the entireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 2016. Oh and there will be lots of giveaways for the brides-to-be. Make the most of it!!!
Make sure to mark your calendar & buy your tickets now.
See you at the bride show!
Dancing with joy,
“I love reading your blogs. How do you get time for them though…?!?
A friend of mine – who works for a photography studio as a manager- asked me this question at a wedding summit we both were attending in Dubai.
I said with a smile “I make time for it.”
When you do something you love (in my case – photography & writing), you just make time for it. Or better yet, you should make time for it. Running a successful studio by myself, following up with past clients, meeting new ones, emailing enquiries, album deliveries, managing social media along with being a housewife is not easy. Not easy at all!
I love my business from the core of my heart but it doesn’t mean I don’t make time to read books, to watch television, travel the world, update my blog, or simple things as catching up with my family back home. I chose to be an entrepreneur so I don’t have to wake up at 6 am, get ready, work tirelessly and make money for someone else. I chose to be an entrepreneur so I’m able to do things that I love.
If you feel like your work is taking over your life then take some time to think. Take sometime out for yourself to do things you love. If you can incorporate the things you love into your business, its a win-win situation. Remember why you are doing whatever you are doing and always remember who it is for!
Life is too short to hold back on – anything!
I have been wanting to blog this engagement ever since I transferred the files on my computer.
With tons of decoration details to die for, I was head over heels in love with her jewelry designs because they were unique. My personal favorite was the gift for the groom, a Versace pen. Not a usual gift I get to photograph.
Fatma & Mohammed got engaged / nikka-ed / milcha-fied at Markaz al Rasool hall in Dubai. Fatma looked absolutely stunning in her gorgeous pink dress and her glowed even more after she put the jewelry on. Mohammed couldn’t take his eyes off of his soulmate…
Ringing in the new year, their family and friends surrounded both sweethearts and celebrated their engagement party. New hopes were found, juices were toasted, promises of being together through ups and downs of life were made, and love was in the air.
Dear Fatma & Mohammed,
Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your big day. I had immense fun documenting both of you, your love, and loved ones. May you both love each other devotedly, fulfill your promises, and start each year with double celebrations – for both the new year and your engagement.
If you have been worried about whether to have your grooms-to-be look at you before you go into the ballroom or on the stage, then this is the post for you. I’m a huge supporter of having the bride and groom do the First-Look (yani, meet each other before the party begins) for several reasons.
Now before we continue, I want to put a disclaimer: my clients are not required to do the first-look at all…It is totally up to the brides. Some families are more conservative than the others and that is absolutely okay with me. I respect my brides’ decisions regardless of our difference of opinion. But over the years of documenting weddings, I can only make suggestions to the couples as I want the BESTESTEST for them (yeah, I made that word up ;) ).
So, couples who choose to do first-look before going to the reception/ballroom experience the following advantages:
- Fresh Make-up & Hair – oh lord, have mercy! I think I don’t even need to explain this one…
- Get the Reaction – every bride wants that from the groom. The experience of having your life-partner standing there with a dropped jaw, mesmerized by your beauty is priceless. Because UAE’s local weddings are segregated 99.999% of the times, the groom get too nervous entering the ballroom full of covered women and don’t express their feelings of looking at their beautiful bride. First-looks are the best remedy for that.
- More Time for photos – couples who do first-look get the photography done and are relaxed during the party. Remember, the more time you give to your photographer & videographer, the better job they’ll do.
- Recover the Investment – you invest a lot in wedding photography & videography, and by doing the first-look before the reception, couples generally get 40% more photos. These are the photos for the albums, house decorations, photos you’ll show your grandkids, your legacy! Make the most out of your investment….
- Time to Yourselves – this is the only intimate time you’ll get with each other during the wedding before its 12 am and the day changes. By having the first look before the party lets the groom tell you privately how beautiful you look. Believe me on this one!
- More romantic photos – the more time you get to yourselves alone, the more chances there are to share compliments & make lifelong promises that result in more of romantic photos together.
- More Energy – guess who’s wearing the heavy dress, high heels, and make-up? You are my dear brides. YOU are. Having the first look allows you get the photography and videography done when you have lots of energy. Not only that, the photographer & videographer have a lot of energy to be creative.
- Enjoy the Party – now put all the points together….you got the reaction, recovered the investment, had some time alone with your groom, got very creative & romantic photos while you had energy….now what? It’s time for you to relax & enjoy the party. Dance the night away my friend…
With that been said, I’ll sign off with the hope that this post helped you make your decision regarding the first-look. May you enjoy your night to the fullest!
If you have any questions/concerns, please send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips, feel free to leave them in the comment box to help others.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
“Fatma…” I said in hush tone while entering her bridal suite.
“Rimaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” She screamed from her makeup chair. I smiled, gave her a tight hug while trying not to ruin her makeup, and knew it would be a great day. Brides like Fatma make my job more fun. Her enthusiasm spoke a thousand words, from the first day I met her, for how much she cared about photography.
Fatma possess all the qualities one wants in a friend. She’s elegant, kind, soft-spoken, very laid back, beautiful girl with a heart of gold. Oh and amazingggggg cousins as well. They are an epitome of perfect bridesmaids who helped her throughout the planning process and the wedding day itself.
A girl like Fatma, with so many outstanding qualities, deserves nothing less than Ali. He is an educated, handsome, considerate, and all smiles. His smiles got wider when Fatma was around. In short, he’s the guy in love. And they both enjoyed being photographed – especially when together. A match-made-in-heaven!
Fatma & Ali were surrounded by their amazing families to celebrate their wedding at Al Boom Tourist Village in Dubai. Fatma looked stunning in her Mori Lee bridal grown from New York, shoes by Nose, and bouquet by Aster Flower shop.
Dear Fatma & Ali,
Whether its on camera or off, you two are sweethearts! Such joy to work with. I consider it my honor to be able to capture the happiness, joy, & love on your wedding day. May you both always love each other & cherish each moment spent together. May Allah bless you both abundantly today, tomorrow, and days to come, ameen.
From the moment I entered the bridal suite to the minute I left, every second of being in Mahra’s lively presence was a pleasure.
I was absolutely smitten by her style & thoughtfulness (and her love for perfumes). From choosing a gorgeous black kosha/stage, cleverly giving hints of bright red with flowers, centerpieces, shoes, bouquet, to lipstick, she was on top of her game.
Without overdoing anything, she was able to mesmerized every guest by her beauty and style. And her bright white smile. Even Bashir, the quite yet poised groom couldn’t hide the gleam in his eyes when he saw Mahra as a bride…
Their beautiful wedding was celebrated at Grand Hyatt, Dubai and the ballroom was decorated by the very talented Eissa Hakim. Mahra personality reflected in every peace of jewelry she picked for her wedding. Her beauty was enhanced by the very talented makeup artist Ayesha Bahraini and hair by Amy. She totally rocked her bridal gown designed by Michael Cinco and bright red Louis Vuitton shoes.
Dearest Mahra & Bashir,
I feel beyond honored for being able to document your first day as husband and wife. The planning process, jokes that we laughed at, and some unforgettable moments shared together are things I will always cherish. May Allah showers you both with his blessings, gives you all the happiness in the world, and increase the love you two share – exponentially…
Although I’ve been blogging for years, writing this one makes me feel like a newbie as it is my first blog giving out tips to the future brides-to-be. I’m not a wedding planner or any guru but after couple of years of meeting and working with lots of brides, I feel comfortable to post these tips. This post is merely to assist the brides-to-be with the wedding planning. Because these are the tips magazines might not give.
Future Brides, are you ready???
Here are the 5 tips to help you with the wedding planning.
- Services over Products. Once you have the date confirmed, book service based vendors first. Venue, makeup artist, hairstylist, and of course the photographer! These are the people who tend to get booked by another bride. Dress, shoes, cake, party favors can be bought/ordered later from variety of retailers but once a service based vendor is booked, you might not get them for your wedding.
- Personality over Perception. Plan ahead so you have enough time to meet vendors in person. Especially those who are providing services. Your makeup artist, hairstylist, and photographer are the people you’ll be spending most time with on your wedding day. Just because one vendor is famous doesn’t mean they will gel along with you on the wedding day. Personality matters a lot. Choose wisely!
- Quality over Quantity. Let me ask you this…is it better to choose a yucky 7 tier huge but dry cake for lower price instead of a delicious 3 tier cake from an awesome baker? Of course not! Instead of hiring a low-priced amateur vendor who is giving you free this and that, it is better to hire a professional. Remember, it is once in a lifetime day.
- Comfort over Crisis. In the last fitting of your dress, make sure you sit down in it. Trust me on that one! I had a bride who wore a gorgeous fish-tale dress customized just for her. It fit her so0o0o0 perfectly and she looked jaw-dropping beautiful but once she reached the stage, she couldn’t sit down. I still cringe thinking about that day. Opt for a comfortable to move in dress and shoes, easy to carry hair, and manageable bouquet so you can enjoy the party.
- Reality over Fantasy. Every bride dreams of a perfect day. And they totally should. But brides get too easily depressed by late schedules, screaming bridesmaids, wrong color of bouquet, uninvited guests, etc. Things are bound to happen. Girls, please don’t let anything or anyone ruin the day for you. No matter what happens, you are the star of the night. Surround yourself with positive people, overcome the stress, take the spotlight and shine like a star.
I hope these tips help you perceive & approach the wedding planning process in new light. I pray that your wedding is even more glorious than your plans. If you have any questions/concerns, please send me an email on email@example.com. If you have tips, feel free to leave them in the comment box to help others.
~ Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid – Rima
The bridal suite’s bell rung followed by a man screaming something in Arabic outside the room as I photographed the beautiful bride’s formals. I looked at my assistant with shock as to who it might be. Within split of a second, the bride said something back in Arabic out loud and our heads turned back to the bride in shock. Both of them started laughing.
In that moment, I knew that the chemistry & understanding they shared can’t be stopped by closed door. Being on the opposite sides of anything didn’t matter. They were one. Meant to be together….
Mariam is the girl who believe in details. Her wedding was full of details which Mariam spent months of planning and collecting from several countries. With gorgeous display for her jewelry to hand-writing a personal message in Arabic on those displays, she made sure her love for Matar is expressed with its full intensity.
Mariam & Matar’s wedding was celebrated at Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi and was decorated by Dream Wedding Services. Mariam was beautified by the very talented Asya Shah. Mariam looked stunning in her custom made gown from KSA, Chanel shoes, and her beautiful bouquet/maska from Fiore Design provided a gorgeous pop of colors in the photos.
Dear Mariam & Matar,
Shukran (thank you!). I know these are two very simple and overly used words but I said it in Arabic because you said words are more powerful when said in Arabic. You two are perfect – both individually & together. I had super much fun meeting both of you behind my camera, sharing the joys with your family, and it was my honor to document your wedding. May you keep sharing hand-written notes, out-loud-yet-secret-jokes, and eternal love.