Their eyes first met across a crowded room at a friend’s engagement party, but it wasn’t until a few years later that Lebanese couple Ghenwa Hamdoun and her husband Rabih Fakhreddine hit it off, after meeting again at a dinner organised by another mutual friend. And it was three years from that moment that Rabih gathered all their closest family and friends in one of his Beirut night clubs, Black, where he proposed to a soundtrack of Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars. An orchestral version of the same song was played when Ghenwa walked down the aisle just six months later, in September 2017.
25-year-old Ghenwa, who works in real estate and assets management, met with a slew of wedding planners before deciding on the mastery of Paul Nasr and his team to bring their dreams to life. “We felt he really understood our vision,” Ghenwa explains. The couple chose a space called Biel Hall 1 in Beirut, an empty air hanger big enough to hold their 1,200 guests. “We wanted to create something from scratch, something that represented our story,” she tells Bazaar. “We were aiming for a modern fairy tale. I knew that I always wanted to enter from a castle, so together with the wedding planner we created and built the castle I always dreamed of.”
The groom also played an integral role in the organisation, but that was customary given his status as the founder and CEO of one of the region’s leading F&B and nightlife operators, Seven Management. The pressure was on for Rabih to deliver a flawless, yet deeply personal event. Thankfully he surpassed expectations. The entertainment is what “made the wedding truly unique,” Ghenwa recalls. A stellar line-up included a quintet of piano players, an orchestra, singer Joe Ashlar, specialist pianist Guy Manoukian, as well as Lebanese pop star Assi El Helani and US rapper Big Ali. It was everything they imagined it would be. Acoustic versions of their favourite songs filled the vast space as guests partied under a ceiling made up of 30,000 crystal birds. All-white floral arrangements dressed the tables, while a touch of pink high-lighted the stairway to their very own castle.
The culinary offerings were equally on point. “He [Rabih] is meticulous when it comes to food,” Ghenwa tells us. The menu and its creators had to be the best of the best. Canapés and finger food from Lebanese-based Cat & Mouth accompanied welcome drinks, and a three-course dinner offering included grilled prawns, marinated salmon and fresh crab salad, and Black Angus beef fillet with gratin potatoes. Live stations on the dance floor kept guests fuelled to party well into the early hours, while tired feet were given slippers customised with couple’s R&G initials.
As for the spectacular bride, “I wanted to be a modern princess, in a dress that sparkled,” Ghenwa says. Her Zuhair Murad couture gown came complete with a four metre train, off-white beads and a five metre veil, as well as custom-made shoes from the same fabric as the dress. The only accessories required were the Tabbah jewellery gifted to her by her husband, and of course, the groom himself who wore Lebanese designer Nemer Saade.
BRIDE’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK
DRESS & SHOES: Zuhair Murad, +961 1 575 444
MAKE-UP: Bassam Fattouh, +961 1 791 021
RING & JEWELLERY: Tabbah Jewellery, +961 1 583 980
GROOM’S SUIT: Nemer Saade Couture, +961 1 219 177
WEDDING PLANNER: Paul Nasr, Paulnasr.com
VENUE: Beil Hall 1, Beirut, +961 1 995 555
CATERER & CAKE: Cat & Mouth, +961 1 424 484
FLORIST: Flower Concept, +961 4 716 765
MUSIC: Joe Ashkar, @joashkar, Guy Manoukian, Guymanoukian.com, Assi El Hallani, @assielhallaniofficial
and Big Ali, Twitter.com/BigAliNYC
INVITATIONS: Nahhal Printing Group, +961 1 811 505
PHOTOGRAPHER: Elie Azar at ParAzar Productions,