Arabia Weddings’ very own Jamileh Al-Alami recently got married. And where better to share her experience than on Arabia Weddings?
Jamileh is a freelance writer, editor and lecturer at the German Jordanian University. She is the Editor of Arabia Weddings. We couldn't wait to have her over for coffee after she got back from her honeymoon, and hear all about her experience.
Here’s what she told us:
How did you and your husband meet?
We actually met a few years ago, but never really talked or saw each other after that. In 2011, we met again at a friend’s gathering, and talked for a while. His name is Justin and could definitely pass for a foreigner, so obviously we held the first few conversations in English throughout seeing each other with mutual friends.
This one time, he said something in Arabic (in a very thick Jordanian accent I might add) and I was shocked! It turns out he’s half Canadian half Jordanian, from Salt. We got along so well so quickly, and whenever we’d go out with friends we’d end up just talking and talking and talking. I guess we established a connection, and slowly but surely, fell in love!
When was the wedding held and where?
We decided to do things differently. Seeing as he’s from Salt, Jordan, his family wanted a traditional wedding with Arabic music, traditional Arabic food, and close family and friends. The way I always imagined my wedding to be was an outdoor day wedding, with all my friends around me, Jazz music playing in the background and lots of delicious finger food.
"Arabia Weddings was my inspiration!
Reading every article on here really helped me:
from beauty tips, to advice, to helpful numbers and information, really everything!"
We were blessed to have gotten the chance to do both, Hamdulillah. We had a family wedding at the Madineh Al Riyadiyyeh on October 27th, and a wedding party for friends on October 29th at the beautiful estate of Osama Shashaa (my uncle) in Zay. The only problem is we have no idea when to celebrate our anniversary!
That sounds interesting. But that must have been quite a hassle, planning two weddings, not just one! Did you hire a wedding planner, or planned them yourself?
Well it was definitely a challenge! I always find myself juggling two things at the same time. I had two majors in university,I have two jobs, and now had to plan two weddings. I actually did not take any time off before the wedding from work, and I didn't hire a wedding planner. But I was really lucky Justin’s mom helped out a lot! She has great taste, and she basically planned almost everything for the family wedding. We trust her completely and we were right to do so as it turned out great.
As for the wedding party we did for our friends, my bridesmaids also helped me out a great deal!The centerpieces, the decorations, the planning, everything, was all done with the help of my best friends. And it was all DIY stuff so we had a lot of fun preparing for it. Also, (and I’m not saying it because I have to) Arabia Weddings was my inspiration! Reading every article on here really helped me: from beauty tips, to advice, to helpful numbers and information, really everything!
So two weddings, meant two dresses as well?
Yup! And that was one of the many challenges I faced, especially time wise! Two dresses meant double the fittings, amendments, and ‘provas’. I ordered a nice layered ice white dress online for the family wedding; I wanted it to go with the traditional theme, and look good in the pictures.
"His family wanted a traditional wedding with Arabic music, traditional Arabic food, and close family and friends,
The way I always imagined my wedding to be was an outdoor day wedding"
As for the second wedding party, my best friend Sarah Asaad is a fashion designer, and her and her sister own the label Nut&Ptah, and they designed the most beautiful dress for me. So I wore a Nut&Ptah original which was absolutely flawless. I feel so blessed because it really was the dress of my dreams, and how I’d always imagined it would be. It was a cream color, very simple, flowy dress. They also designed a head piece for me to wear, and it all went with the simple daylight setting that I had planned.
What is the biggest advice you can give any bride-to-be when planning for her wedding?
I know everyone says “don’t stress!” and “try to look at the bigger picture” but I really doubt that’s going to happen with any bride. You will probably be stressed out, and you will possibly take it out on your partner too. In my case, Justin and I argued a lot about the wedding because he didn't want to be a big part of the planning. I then realized that is how a lot of guys were. So my advice out of personal experience is not to take it personally!
I recommend having a notebook in your purse at all times, and having to-do lists and constantly updating them. You tend to get more and more overwhelmed closer to the wedding, and your mind will probably be all over the place. So once you put everything down on paper, it’ll feel much better and you’ll feel more organized.
Did you pick a certain theme or color scheme? What was it? Did you use it all throughout the wedding?
As I mentioned, the family wedding was very traditional, and very classic. It was all white and gold, with white flowers, crystals and candles as centerpieces. My theme for the wedding party was actually taken from an article on here where I used jars in almost all the elements of the party, and it turned out lovely, thank God. We had flower arrangements in jars, nuts, bread sticks and cookies and jars, and the giveaways were jam jars as well.
"I recommend having a notebook in your purse at all times,
and having to-do lists and constantly updating them"
Do you recommend specific suppliers you worked with? Feel free to include as many as you wish.
The photographer, Ibraheem Shaheen was amazing! He took the pictures for our wedding party and they were breathtaking! Also, one of my close friends Bilal Hijjawi, who is the project manager at Behind the Scenes Eventology, helped us out from the very beginning: the Jaha, the Wedding Party, the equipment, everything.
What was the most difficult and stressful part of wedding planning?
Well, everyone would ask me, “how is the wedding planning going?” or ask me if I’m stressed out from all the wedding ‘stuff’, and I kept telling them the wedding bit was a fraction of the stress that came from organizing the house! The most stressful part was deciding where to live, buying or renting that place, furnishing it, setting up electricity, water, plumbing, kitchen, etc.
It felt like the work was never going to end! And that is what stressed us out the most! It wasn't just the wedding, it was the house that was way more stressful.
Do you consider yourself as a relaxed bride or more of a bridezilla?
I thought I was doing very well and keeping calm, but apparently I was a bridezilla to some extent. Nothing too major or evil, but I tend to be a control freak (at least that’s what Justin pointed out) and I just wanted everything to go smoothly. The pressure of it being this once-in-a-lifetime experience was daunting.
I just wanted to create as many happy memories as possible. And the bridezilla monster would appear when every single person you come across has a say in your wedding, your house, your life. That’s when I’d get super sensitive.
How can you best describe your wedding and the planning process?
Looking back, all I can say is that I’m very blessed and very grateful. My family was with me every little step of the way and made me feel so special, so supported and loved.
I felt I have an army of strong women as bridesmaids who made it their mission for me to have the most spectacular wedding month. And that’s what you remember at the end of the day; being surrounded by all your loved ones and sharing this amazing milestone with everyone you love.
More pictures of Jamileh and Justin's wedding? Click here!