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A Chit Chat with Destination Wedding Planner May Halasa

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A Chit Chat with Destination Wedding Planner May Halasa

The Wedding Haven, a UAE-based wedding planning company that specializes in creating and planning one of a kind Destination Weddings that are inspired by the couple's own story, uniqueness, and experiences.

May Halasa's passion drives the work that she does for her clients, no matter what the bakcground, style, or ideas of the couple are, The Wedding Haven will create the wedding of their dreams.

We had the chance to ask May, the Founder of The Wedding Haven, a few questions and here is what she had to say:

  • Tell us how you started The Wedding Haven and what got you into weddings?

My actual academic background is in Human Rights and Gender Studies. I hold a Masters Degree from the University of Oxford, UK. However, I completely switched careers after planning my own wedding. I kind of fell in love with being able to express myself through creativity. So, I got licensed  as a wedding planner and a destination wedding planner via the Wedding Planning Institute in Canada (WPIC). And I also got certified as a Travel Agent via the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). The Wedding Haven was born two months later. We now have two branches, one in Toronto, and one in Dubai.

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  • Weddings have different traditions from one Arab country to the other, but when it comes to wedding planning, do you find any difference in the Gulf region or in any other Arab country?

The overall planning process is pretty much the same - we tend to follow a set of strategic processes that make it easier for us as the planners to stay organized and on top of every detail, and for our couples to feel more relaxed. So irrespective of culture, religion, city, or country, we are faced with similar categories that need to be covered to have an elegant wedding including: decoration, foods,  drinks, entertainment, flowers, cake, lighting, sound... etc. So even though there may be little additions and slight variations depending on the couples’ needs, they are definitely not huge. In fact, the biggest differences we tend to see are related to music selections, and food requirements.

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  • What is the most favorite wedding you organized? What was the theme about?

Without any gainsaying, all our weddings are unique and special; in terms of theme, colors and the couples involved in each one. However, my favorite weddings are those where the couple is willing to break with tradition and try something new rather than maintaining the status quo. We recently had a super cool wedding where the theme revolved around tangerines. It was an outdoor wedding in the UAE where the bride knew exactly what she wanted. Her preferences were easy to decode, and coupled with the expertise and experience of our team, we helped her implement her vision, and the end result was just a mesh of modern, unique and creativite. The venue was exquisitely decorated with tangerines - everywhere from the centerpieces to cake. Needless to say, it had such an exotic and unique feel that made it a truly memorable one.

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  • What are the hottest wedding trends in 2018 and which are your favorite?

Wedding trends evolve every year with new edgy and trendy ideas being incorporated into it. Usually, in wedding planning and management, the way to foretell the likely wedding trends for the coming year is to examine the trends and ideas that were receiving rave reviews towards the end of the previous year. Towards the end of last year, some trends were beginning to gain wide acceptance in the wedding planning industry and most of these ideas are already gaining popularity in the early days of 2018; some of these include;

Cake tables: We are gradually moving away from the days of having a single cake at weddings, nowadays, the trend of having multiple tables where different smaller sized cakes of different flavors will be placed for guests to choose from!

Hanging floral installations: This is one trend we can look forward to in most weddings throughout the year. Hanging flowers above tables not only creates a natural and splendid feeling to the venue design, it gives more space for spoons, candles, plates or any other item to be placed on tables, because the hanging floral design already provides the necessary attractions needed which then affords planners more spaces for other items. 

Ultra Violet: Pantone named Ultra Violet the color of the year for 2018, which means we are likely to see an increase in the number of brides asking to incorporate shades of purple in their wedding - be it in their bouquet, centerpieces, wedding shoes, stationary, bridesmaids dresses, or cake.

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  • What made you choose Dubai to start your wedding planning company?

We actually started The Wedding Haven back in Toronto, where our main focus was planning and coordinating destination weddings around the world. However, when we moved to Dubai we realized that there aren’t many Destination Wedding Planners in this region, let alone planners who can speak 4 languages fluently. So it was the perfect niche for us to continue doing what we love: meet new people, travel and experience new adventures, and learn about different cultures. We also realized that the multicultural composition of Dubai and its people provides a viable market for any wedding planner, because we are faced with the prospects of meeting highly diverse couples who have different wedding requirements, with different themes and budgets. Based on this, we decided to also offer our services to couples wishing to have their weddings in the UAE.