Deena Alabbas and Omar Edriss met in high school and became friends in college; then one thing lead to another until they fell in love and got married.
Deena is an Iraqi young lady who works for the Canadian Federal Government, and Omar is a Lebanese lawyer.
The wedding was held at Manoir Rouville-Campbell, a hotel and wedding hall in Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada; a 45 minute drive from Montreal where we live.
We did not hire a wedding planner. My wedding was a DIY (do-it-yourself) wedding.
I did my own flower arrangements and designed my own bolero and headpiece.
What is the biggest advice you can give any bride-to-be when planning for her wedding?
A piece of advice I would give other brides is to try to be original and incorporate some of their own touches in their wedding.
For example, my husband and I are big tea drinkers, so instead of having table numbers, we decided to brand each table with a tea flavor (example: Bombay Chai, English Breakfast etc.) and each guest received a Tea Forte sachet of that flavor. Each place card had the guest’s name on it.
Also, I really like DIY weddings, I prefer them over hiring a wedding planner. It saves a lot of money, teaches you new skills and really gets your creativity going.
"I did my own flower arrangements,
and designed my own bolero and headpiece"
My color combination was orange, cream and champagne, with orange being the dominant color.
I ordered my dress online from a Cali contact I met on Facebook: Lyon Couture. My dress is a Sigilo from the 2008 La Sposa collection.
My makeup was from Mac and the bolero from a local independent fashion designer: Donatella Cefaratti.
I ordered my shoes online from Debenhams, a British department store.
Omar rented his suit from Waxman: www.waxman.com and his converse shoes were from Urban Outfitters.
I did the flower centerpieces and flower balls myself, but bought the bridal bouquet from Alain Simon Fleurs.
The cake was made by the hotel's pastry chef.
We were given a budget, therefore, we tried to do as much as we could ourselves. I had to learn how to make floral arrangements, and of course, they had to be done on the eve of the wedding!
"A piece of advice I would give other brides is to try to be original,
and incorporate some of their own touches in their wedding"
I bought the flowers at a wholesaler, did the centerpieces myself and had friends help me with the flower balls. However, I made the mistake of putting them in my fridge, which wasn’t regulated at the adequate temperature.
On the morning of my wedding, I opened the fridge, and saw all my arrangements frozen, wilted and dying. I panicked! I had to go get my makeup done and thus left my sister in charge of rectifying the situation.
She rallied a few friends together, went to a nearby florist to re-buy most of the flowers (at 6 times the price I had originally bought them at from the wholesaler), and tried to replicate what I had done the previous day!
I spent a lot of time designing my headpiece and bolero.
My wedding wasn’t segregated (men-women) and in these cases, Arab brides in hijab generally wear a white wedding dress with a matching head veil.
But truthfully, I never really liked the look. I always felt that being fully covered in white makes the bride look ghostly or like an egg.
I was determined to find another solution. I therefore decided on a champagne-colored dress instead of white. And one day, I stumbled into a jewelry artist’s kiosque where she displayed a variety of handmade necklaces made of malleable wire and crystals.
It then hit me; perhaps I could design a headpiece made of the same materials as her jewelry. Since my dress was champagne, I decided on a light golden wire, with orange, orange-red, champagne and colorless Swarovski crystals.
My vision was to have vines surrounding my head holding flowers of different colors and sizes. I did not want the piece to be glued to my head, therefore, I incorporated some volume by lifting the vines and cascaded them towards the right.
The vines were positioned and tied together on a bed of golden loops, and the entire piece was lined with champagne colored organza.