I packed my bags in November 2001 and headed for the sunny shores of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to be an air stewardess. One of my flying buddies grew up in Dubai (although she’s Swedish) and she knew Hamad from school. She introduced us and we were friends for about a year and then we fell in love! Aw!
How old are you both?
I’m 26 now and Hamad is 30 in July.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
We had arranged to go for a holiday back home to Scotland. I was so excited and the day after we arrived we went to the Brig O Doon hotel for lunch. It’s a beautiful traditional hotel on the banks of the River Doon. It’s so romantic and it’s one of my favourite places. Hamad didn’t really talk that day and I just thought he hated Scotland because it was cold and wet, not like Dubai! After a very quiet lunch, we went for a wander down to the banks of the river, and he proposed to me there! It was such a surprise! I started crying I was so happy and I’m sure I saw a wee tear in Hamad’s eye too!
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
I had a hen night in Dubai. Started off with me being dressed up very stupidly, and then blindfolded. My friends Surina and Hanna took me to their house where they had planned a great party – really girly! My mum was out on holiday in Dubai so it was great that she was there to enjoy it with me! We ended up dancing the night away in the Hard Rock Cafe Dubai!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Hamad paid for most of it and then he just turned up on the day!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
The website was fab for ideas and planning tools! In the beginning it seems overwhelming to try and organise a wedding, but Confetti makes it easy and there’s also the chance to speak with other brides in the same position!
Do you have a confetti web page?
No, I don’t.
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
I bought Confetti cameras online.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
I wore a beautiful dress by Alfred Angelo. It was a plain ivory dress with a gorgeous detailed lace overcoat which I bought from a boutique in Dubai. My cathedral veil was handmade and my shoes and tiara were from a wee shop in Irvine back home.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
No, I did not – too many family and friends to choose from!
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Hamad chose his best friend Ruben as his best man. Ruben wore a plain grey suit, but Hamad wore his traditional clothing which is called a kandoora.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We were married in the Brig O Doon hotel, so it was not a Christian wedding as Hamad is Muslim. We did however have the blessing of God, and the ceremony was conducted by a minister from my local town in Ayr, Scotland.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
The ceremony was held in the Brig O Doon Hotel in Ayr, Scotland.
Where did you hold your reception?
The reception was also held at the hotel.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
I had a gorgeous silver Bentley take me to the wedding – I felt like a princess!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had around 50 at the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. There were around 150 guests in the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
As I’m from Scotland and Hamad is from the United Arab Emirates, we decided to have some aspects of both cultures. Our colours were cream and gold with splashes of Scottish and Arabic thrown in! Lots of restaurants in Dubai are lit by candles and lanterns, so we tried to incorporate this idea as much as possible into our big day.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Our table covers were traditional cream and gold embroidered Arabic covers and in the centre of each table we had beautiful cream Arabic lanterns with lots of fresh wild berries and foliage and thistles around the base of each.
Did you give your guests favours?
We gave every woman a vanilla scented candle wrapped in gold muslin bags, which were all handmade by my mum! They were gorgeous, and made the room smell lovely during dinner!
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My flowers were done by a great florist called Kirties Flowers from Troon in Scotland. As part of the Scottish side of our theme, my flowers were very organic looking, full of foliage, berries, thistles and calla lilies. My engagement ring design is based on calla lilies so this was a nice connection. All the stairs in the venue had Arabic lantern covered with thistles and foliage and we also had large pedestals of calla lilies for around the hall in the venue. Hamad wore a thistle on his kandoora which I thought just captured the mix of both cultures!
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
We had a very ‘normal’ menu as I’m not really into fancy things when it comes to food! And Hamad just loves good Scottish dinners – meat and ‘tatties!’ It’s a very long day and therefore the idea of sitting down to a ‘teeny weeny’ mini quiche just didn’t thrill me so we had soup to start, then for the main course we had chicken in a white sauce and for dessert we had ice cream with brandy snaps and chocolate sauce! The venue did cater for me though as I’m a veggie and also catered for any other dietary needs of our guests. Our menu isn’t spectacular but the food was amazing and at least you know most guests will enjoy it!
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
A wee place in Troon called Sugar and Spice made our 2-tier wedding cake. A glass bowl separated the 2 tiers. The top layer was chocolate cake covered in cream icing and the bottom half was traditional fruit cake covered with cream icing. I don’t really like fruit cake, but for the design we wanted we needed a sturdy cake to hold the weight of the top layer. There were also calla lilies and thistles made of sugar icing scattered around the cake.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
During the day we had a Scottish bag piper on hand to entertain the guests when Hamad and I were getting our photos taken. At night we had a man on keyboard and a singer and they were fantastic! Most of our music was by Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack jazz style, but when the night got into full swing we had a mini ceilidh and some Arabic music in there too; a real cocktail of music!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
No, we did not have a gift list.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night together in the bridal suite of the Brig O Doon Hotel, and then we went to Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand on our Honeymoon.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Walking down the stairs with my dad, in front of all my family and friends and then seeing Hamad for the first time that day. That moment was so special! We were both so nervous, but instantly relaxed when we got together.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
The shop that I bought my dress from ordered the wrong size! Therefore five weeks before my wedding day I was told they couldn’t fix it and there wasn’t enough time to order a new dress! After lots of kicking and loud screaming, and me paying out financially to fix their mistake, my dress finally fitted perfectly! Oh and the Visa process for Hamad to enter Scotland and get married was a complete nightmare!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I don’t think I’d worry so much, especially in the evening! By the time you say hi to everyone from during the day, the evening guests arrive and you have to start going round everyone again. Then people start leaving and you have to go around and say thank you and goodbye! So my advice is to make sure you and your new man sneak away for 15 minutes during the day! Just to reflect on what you have just done and to sneak a little time to yourselves, otherwise you won’t see each other the whole night!