Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Feb 2 2017 / 14:26 PM

A three-day alfresco celebration amid the olive groves of Provence was perfection for this couple

Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal
Photography by Filmatography
Gabrielle and Mohammed in the picturesque grounds
Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal
Photography by Filmatography
Gabrielle with some of her bridesmaids
Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal
Photography by Filmatography
Gabrielle's couture gown designed for her by Elie Saab
Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal
Photography by Filmatography
The bride and groom
Gabrielle Thompson & Mohammed Zaal
Photography by Filmatography
Gabrielle and her father Grayden Thompson

Romance got off to a faltering start for Gabrielle Thompson, 26, and Emirati property developer Mohammed Zaal, 33, after they met through mutual friends at Blue Marlin Ibiza, in Dubai.

Gabrielle helped by her mother Kim and sister Naomi Thompson

Photography by Filmatography

“We were in contact for a few months before he asked me out,” says Gabrielle, an Australian entrepreneur. “He cancelled on me though so I took it to heart and played hard to get for a while. When I was ready, I messaged him – he was climbing to Everest Base Camp, returning three days later. We went out on a date later that week, and we’ve been together ever since.”

Four years later, on his birthday in August 2015, Mohammed proposed to a surprised Gabrielle on the back of a boat in Mallorca. The lead-up, however, was tumultuous. “I was adamant he was going to break up with me. Someone had mentioned in passing that he said he was going to propose. We had a hike planned to climb Mont Blanc and I was sure he would propose then,” says Sarah. “A week before the hike he cancelled the trip, so I thought he was getting cold feet.”

The bride's sisters Georgia and Naomi

Photography by Filmatography

For the wedding venue, they chose La Bastide de Gordes hotel in Provence, France; an area dear to them both, following a road trip together through the region.

The bride's dog, Taj

Photography by Filmatography

To find her dress, Gabrielle flew to London from Dubai initially, but keen to have a dress by a Middle Eastern designer, the plan changed and she flew to Beirut instead to meet with Elie Saab.

“I showed him a few images, he had me try on a few dresses, and then he drew up a sketch of what he thought I should wear. The dress was perfect. He suggested I didn’t wear white, instead choosing a dusty pink. I never saw myself as a traditional bride in white so this was a huge tick of approval from me – I feel like he understood me straight away.”

On the day, Mohammed donned a white Tom Ford tuxedo for the ceremony, which took place in the gardens of the hotel in front of 130 guests, as part of a three day celebration organised by sought-after British wedding planner Sarah Haywood.

The night before the ceremony, they dined among the citrus groves, and the next day the relaxed ceremony was followed by a dinner under the stars, guests getting up to dance as the Gipsy Kings walked among the tables.

A string quartet

Photography by Filmatography

“Mohammed pulled me aside during the night and we sat and watched all the guests dancing, reflecting on our favourite parts of the day. This was a great way of slowing the whole thing down.”

The morning after, a petting farm amused the children while the adults recovered over a poolside brunch. Then, Gabrielle and Mohammed embarked on their honeymoon in Italy, before cruising around Greece and Turkey for three weeks on a boat.

Guests dining under the olive groves

Photography by Filmatography

“The whole event was so perfect, I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” says Gabrielle. One piece of advice? “For the guest list. I was given some wonderful advice; only invite people you want to look around and see. This day is about you and your husband, it’s not about the party. You want to be surrounded by people that want to celebrate you.”

Photography by Filmatography


BRIDE’S BLACK BOOK

DRESS AND SHOES: Elie Saab, Eliesaab.com

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Pallas Couture, Australia, Pallascouture.com

GROOM’S SUIT: Tom Ford, Tomford.com

WEDDING RING: Cartier, Cartier.com

VENUE: La Bastide de Gordes & Private Villa, Lhw.com

CATERER: Helen Traiteur, Helentraiteur.com

FLORIST: The Isle of You, London, Theisleofyou.com

PHOTOGRAPHER: Filmatography, Filmatography.com

WEDDING PLANNER: Sarah Haywood Weddings and Event Planning, Sarahhaywood.com