From the likes of workplace colleagues to tying the knot in beautiful Italy, Sana and Hani tell Wedded Wonderland all about their magnificent love story, the narrative behind the dress and everything that led to their opulent nuptials.
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The Love Story
“I was living in Dubai and he was living in London so we didn’t actually start dating for a few years. We randomly started talking while I was interviewing for a job in London! We decided to make it official once I got the job as neither of us wanted long distance.”
With picturesque Menorca as the backdrop to their fast date, Hani had researched the best beaches, organised a car for their time away and booked all the restaurants.
“I was so taken care of and in the best company…it was like we had known each other for the longest time”, Sana told Wedded Wonderland. The trip set the tone for their relationship as they travelled the world together, with destinations including but most certainly not limited to – Japan and South Africa.
Que a lockdown proposal! Having lived together for a few months, Hani got a team together to bring their home’s terrace to life.
“Our parents were supposed to meet in April 2020 (I didn’t know he’d already asked my parents for my hand in marriage). That family meeting was very important for us as we are both very family-oriented. So when it was postponed, any sort of proposal idea I had got parked as I couldn’t imagine getting engaged when our families hadn’t met”.
“The weather was amazing all week but that day was graced with gale-force winds. So the alter and the flowers kept getting blown over! He arranged for me to go have cheese and wine at a friend’s place while the house was being set up. But given that I hadn’t seen her in a while, I didn’t want to leave so needless to say, I was late for the proposal and missed half the sunset!”.
“My first and most important request to my amazing wedding planners was that I didn’t want it to look like a wedding. I wanted it to look like a beautifully curated dinner. No white, no black and definitely no red roses!”.
The bride and groom became fast friends with Anne, Heike and Reyjeane from Festival of Dreams. After following each other on Instagram and being in touch so frequently – the team got a real feel for Sana’s eclectic and colourful style – and this was fully reflected in the design of the wedding.
“I also love that they made an ode to our civil wedding. The toile table cloth – I used a pink/red version at our civil wedding”.
“They have the most incredible eyes and attention to detail. Reyjeane designed a vase candle for our wedding and she named it the ‘Sana’. Heike hand-painted the fabric for the bridal party robes. It was inspired by the décor of the wedding itself – the fabric, also name the ‘Sana’, is available on her website in various colours”.
The newlyweds hosted a total of 240 attendees at the opulent Villa Aurelia in Rome.
“I come from a really big family. My mom is one of six and my dad is one of ten – you do the maths haha. So the challenge was to find a venue that we loved that fit all our guests”.
“I had attended a friend’s wedding – fashion designer Lilian Afshar – at that exact venue a few years before and was still madly in love with it! We knew we wanted an Italian wedding so we immediately reached out to Villa Aurelia”.
Sana wore a prototype from Lebanese Atelier Krikor Jabotian. Taking pride in refined craftsmanship and the use of opulent fabrics, his dresses create timeless messages of heritage, style, tradition and innovation. This magnificent piece was from ‘Chapter VII”, the exquisite collection that was on display at the Beirut showroom at the time of the devastating August 4th, 2020 blast.
Speaking to Wedded Wonderland, Krikor said that at the time their “sole concern was the safety of our loved ones and team. However, we were plunged into an immediate renovation process, as with most people who’s places of livelihood were hit”.
Among the devastation, “valuable equipment, material and prototypes were damaged and so we’re lucky that this specific dress came out unscathed”.
“The dress was meticulously crafted from a scuba double satin. Enfolding the top and shoulders of the dress is a lush assortment of petals in gazer, organza and feathers – exuding rich textures on a base of taffeta faille material, while the cape is made up of pleated tulle. Finally, the dress is embellished with baroque scrollwork in beads, cut-beads and threads”.
Delving into those all-important details, Krikor revealed that it was a renaissance painting from Botticelli that inspired that sensational shade of sage.
Sana continued, “It was so unique – short, sage green and one of a kind. It ticked all the boxes I didn’t know I had”.
“I tried on so many dresses and was convinced I was going to have to settle for one I liked and not one I loved. I eventually narrowed it down to two and for some reason (so unlike me) I decided to hold off from placing the order. But in December of 2020, a friend sent me an Instagram post by Krikor of this dress on, writing ‘I cannot imagine anyone in the world wearing this dress but you’. Well, she was right because I fell in love with it the second I saw it”.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the wedding had to be postponed. However, Krikor and his team ensured the dress was at its best come the big day. The gloves were a decadent last-minute addition for the ceremony.
“I’m so proud to have worn a Middle Eastern designer to my wedding! I really believe that Krikor has an incredible future ahead of him”.