When former fashion buyer, Serena Mamlouk’s long term love, 28-year-old entrepreneur, Anthony Aour proposed, he pulled out all the stops to ensure his bride-to-be was bowled over. Conspiring to get his 27-year-old partner to his parents’ home under the pretence of a Christmas get-together on December 22, 2018, all became clear… “When I arrived I could hear romantic music playing and the door was slightly open. I walked in and the hallway was filled with candles and red roses. There was a rose on each table symbolising our relationship, and a few words describing each of the seven years we’ve been together. I then spotted Anthony bent down on one knee and he proposed. I got really emotional. The moment was so special,” Serena tells Bazaar Bride.
With nine months to plan their September wedding, the couple enlisted Mine Weddings & Events to help manage every intricate detail. “Renowned for their impeccable reputation in wedding planning, Pamela Mehanna and Ramzi Mattar are a wedding-planning duo like no other. My mother and my mother-in law were also present throughout the entire planning experience,” Serena explains.
The spectacular set up inside the Seaside Arena
Following an intimate civil ceremony in Cyprus, Serena and Anthony turned the Seaside Arena in Beirut into a magical wonderland for their elaborate wedding celebration on September 6, 2019, with 1,000 guests. “The theme of the wedding was ‘surreal world’. The main element was a 50-metre floating bridge that I walked across for my bridal entrance,” Serena shares. “We also had two 18-metre angel sculptures to welcome our guests into the reception area. Before our loved ones entered the space, curtains dropped and the angels rotated to face the other side of the ballroom.”
Serena and Anthony in front of the 18-metre angel sculptures
Naturally, fashion also took centre stage. The bride’s incredible custom gown was handmade by Lebanese designer, Elie Saab. “When I first met Elie I expressed that I didn’t want to go for a classic white wedding gown. During my first few fittings we trialled different shades of pink before settling on a beautiful nude hue.” Serena paired her Swarovski crystal-embellished gown with a breath-taking headpiece, veil and shoes — all custom-made by Elie Saab, and dazzling jewellery, designed by Anthony and her mother, Eman Mamlouk of Eman Mamlouk Jewellery.
The bride held a pretty posy of nude roses
The culinary offerings were also perfectly on point with guests dining on a bespoke three course meal of lobster, crab and salmon to start, followed by Angus beef served with gratin dauphinois, asparagus and micro-mushrooms for the main course. An extravagant dessert buffet offering a slew of mouth-watering cakes, macarons, fruit and a variety of chocolate fondues finished the meal while the final pièce de résistance was the couple’s impressive 12-tier chocolate wedding cake.
The 12-tier wedding cake was two-metres tall
After dinner, the bride and groom made their dancefloor debut to Perfect by Ed Sheeran before guests joined in to dance to a mixture of Arabic, French and English hits provided by a DJ and famed local singers, Ragheb Alama, Joe Achkar and Salim Assaf.
At the reception, friends and family were treated to a “pampering corner” consisting of monogrammed slippers, lip balm, moisturiser, hats, mints and other souvenirs, all labelled with the bride and groom’s initials.
The dessert buffet was a huge hit with the couple’s guests
Once the celebrations were over, the Amalfi Coast beckoned. “We honeymooned in Portofino, Positano and Capri. I’ve always wanted to visit the Italian Riviera and what better time to go to these very romantic places?”
BRIDE’S BLACK BOOK
DRESS, VEIL, HEADPIECE AND SHOES: Elie Saab, Eliesaab.com
JEWELLERY: Eman Mamlouk Jewellery, Instagram.com/emanmamloukjewellery
GROOM’S SUIT AND SHOES: Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, Zegna.com
VENUE: Seaside Arena, Beirut, Seasidedevelopments.me
WEDDING PLANNER: Mine Weddings & Events, Mine.events
PHOTOGRAPHER: Pulse Production, Pulse-prod.com
CATERER AND CAKE: Cat & Mouth, Catandmouth.com
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Bassam Fattouh, Bassamfattouh.com
FLORIST: Rony Bassil, Instagram.com/ronibassil
MUSIC: Ragheb Alama, Instagram.com/raghebalama. Salim Assaf, Salimassaf.com. Joe Ashkar, Instagram.com/joashkar and DJ Anthony Bassoulou, Twitter.com/anthonybassoulo
From the spring/summer 2020 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia Bride
All images: Pulse Production