Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
The most unique thing about us is definitely the fact that when we met we didn’t speak the same language. We met in Dubai on Christmas day 2015. Daniele was on holiday in the UAE and I’m from NZ but had already been living here for almost a decade.
We exchanged numbers and began to WhatsApp using google translate. A few days later on the 30th we went on our first date. He didn’t live here and didn’t speak a single world of English but I can’t even explain it, I just knew I really wanted to meet him again. And I thought at the very least it would be one hell of an experience and I would be like Phoebe from Friends when she goes on a date with the diplomat. He picked me up in a taxi and we sat in the backseat staring at each other and laughing because we literally couldn’t talk to each other. We got to the bar we had planned for our date and ordered drinks. We took turns at typing into the google translate app and passed the phone back and forth. We laughed so much. We drank more and more cocktails and started dancing to the live salsa band. Somehow without even being able to speak to this person I just had the best date of my life. The chemistry was electric! The next day he flew back to Italy. We began (attempting) to video chat. One month later he came back and after that we did monthly trips back and forth between Italy and UAE. We decided very early on that this was it and we needed to live in the same country. I gave him all of Friends on a USB to help him learn English. And it worked! Sept 2016 he moved to UAE.
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
We wanted to keep it small and intimate with our absolute favourite people in the world. We had less than 30 people and for us this was perfect. The fun thing was our guests didn’t know where they were going until they arrived. We pin dropped the meeting point on the morning of the wedding. Then once they arrived they were lead onto boats to take them to the location. We thought this was fun and added a little suspense. Everyone was going crazy trying to guess what we had organized! The amazing talented girls from the dinner club 57 transformed the space into exactly what we had envisioned. The table setting was stunning and lots of fairy lights which makes everything magical. We decided to forego a lot of typical wedding traditions. I didn’t have a bouquet. We didn’t have a wedding cake or a first dance. We wanted the night to flow effortlessly without having to stick to a schedule and have that “organised fun” feeling. We decided to do the traditional religious vows during the ceremony and do our personal vows during our desert photoshoot privately just the two of us. This was Dan our photographers idea and it was perfect (more on him later).
Tell us about your main outfits:
I have had my eye on Hamda Al Fahim dresses for years. They are simply breathtaking! I always knew I wanted her to design my dress. I have lived in Abu Dhabi my whole adult life and it is really special to me to have had an Emirati woman design my dress. This is a small detail I will always remember wherever life leads us in the future. As for Daniele’s suit well the stereotype about Italian men and their suits is very much true. Sacoor has an amazing collection. He has such a unique style so it took him a while to settle on what look he wanted to go for. He opted for a blue tuxedo, so its classic but with a bit of a twist. He drives the tailor crazy with the amount of adjustments he wants to make so it fits perfectly!
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
Two days before the wedding we took our guests to a giant inflatable water obstacle course. The Italians couldn’t speak to the other guests so we thought this would be a super fun icebreaker. People told us we were crazy and in hindsight perhaps we should have listened! Daniele hurt his foot BAD and I dislocated my toe. We were at the hospital at 1am getting his and hers x-rays 36 hours before our ceremony. We were on the edge of loosing it, but we just looked at each other and burst into uncontrollable laughter. Daniele had bought his first pair of Louboutin shoes but his foot was so bruised and swollen he couldn’t fit it inside. So he just wore one shoe on our wedding day. Everything about us is crazy and unique so everyone just kind of laughed and expected it from us. As for the more serious stuff Daniele walked (limped) down the aisle with his Mom which was really beautiful and I had both my Mom and Dad walk me down. I read my vows in English and he did them in Italian so we were able to engage all our guests. Some of my closest Emirati friends came to the ceremony which was really amazing as it was the first time any of them had seen a Western/Christian wedding.
The most memorable moments and ones that we will have forever and ever is our photographer Dan. OH EM GEE he is just amazing. You will not find a nicer or more talented guy! Our pictures are just insane! I look at them and honestly can’t believe that it is us. He manages to capture the real and raw emotion. The main problem he has caused us is having enough wall space to hang all the photos we want to get printed. We went to the desert with Dan a few days later to continue the shoot and wow I mean, there is nothing more I can say, I think the pictures do the talking! Hiring Dan was the best decision we ever made!
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
When we started wedding planning we found it challenging and honestly didn’t enjoy the process that much. We were really stressed about not wanting to pressure family and friends to have to spend a fortune travelling from opposite sides of the world for us. I think a good starting point is to decide how you want the general feeling and flow of the day to be and work from there. It is very cliché but just remember that it is only ONE day. The most exciting part is your life together!
Photography: D&A Photography | Ceremony and Reception location: Private boat – Abu Dhabi | Celebrant: Yousef Faragalla – Priest | Bride’s gown: Hamda Al Fahim (wedding day), Staud (desert shoot) with a Lack of Colour Hat | Groom’s outfit: Sacoor Brothers (wedding day), Carhartt and Pull&Bear (desert shoot) | Rings: Cartier and Sarky Jewellery | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Jewellery: Cartier and Rella Gioielli| Watch: Rolex | Makeup: Charlotte Tilbury Products and Jiji Hammad Makeup Artist | Hair extensions: Bellami Hair | Fragrance: Giorgio Armani | Flora: The Botanical Lounge | Catering and Beverages: No. FiftySeven Boutique Cafe and Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel