19 Secrets To Planning The Perfect Wedding

BY Nina Catt / May 30 2019 / 15:51 PM

According to one of the region's top wedding planners

19 Secrets To Planning The Perfect Wedding

From selecting a venue to how far in advance to send out your invitations, Founder and Creative Director of Dubai-based, Carousel Events, Zainab Alsalih, sits down with BAZAAR Bride’s, Nina Catt, to talk planning and perfecting your special day…


When should planning begin? As early as possible. Six to 12 months is ideal.

What are the benefits of having a wedding planner? To save you time, money and energy — the last thing you want to be doing is chasing after vendors and supervising the set-up process when you should be sitting back and enjoying the most special day of your life!

What should brides look for in a photographer? Selecting a photographer/videographer is one of the most important decisions that couples will make when it comes to their wedding. The most important thing to look for is good references.

What are the key points when choosing a venue? Location, location, location! There are also key functional (seating capacity) and operational (will the venue cater to your dream of a brass band?) considerations, in addition to the obvious aesthetics.

What should you consider when choosing food? Food is a nice way to further personalise a wedding with dishes that reflect the backgrounds and cultures of the bride and groom. In more recent years a great deal of emphasis is being placed on live cooking stations, family style dinners, and fun and quirky ways to serve food.

When should a bride start looking for the dress? Most bridal gown designers require four to six months lead time to create the dress.

When should invitations be sent? At least four to six weeks in advance — or three months ahead for a destination wedding. As soon as you decide on the date, a save-the-date should be sent out.


How have décor trends changed over the past 10 years? Couples are now looking to have a timeless wedding instead of an event that is filled with fashion or design fads — that may not look good in a few years. We are about to see less couples opting for rustic and casual settings, naked cakes, and photobooths. Wedding favours are becoming less of a fixture too. Young Middle Eastern brides are recalling the classic beauty and elegance of weddings past, and resurrecting some of the old forgotten traditions, design elements and symbols.

What are the biggest décor trends for 2019? Rich and vibrant colour palettes, using a combination of blooms instead of single flower arrangements.

What are the most popular flowers? We are seeing a resurgence of garden flowers such as peonies, the garden rose and ranunculus. Phalaenopsis orchids are also making a comeback as the undisputed flower of elegance.

The most popular wedding cakes? Gone are the days of cupcake towers or asymmetrical cakes and individual multi-sized cake displays. We are seeing the return of traditional, grand wedding cakes.

The best unique touches? Personalised touches always add a special something to your wedding, whether it is personalised and monogrammed menus, place cards, gifts, or wedding programmes.

What makes a wedding memorable? No matter how beautiful the wedding is, the most important things that your guests will take away, are the memories of being part of such an important milestone.

What are the biggest wedding gown trends for 2019? More and more brides are opting for classic yet simple wedding dresses, with a focus on opulent fabrics and tailoring. Less is more for brides in 2019, and comfort is key.



Stay true to your personal style... Your wedding should always be a reflection of your personality and your lifestyle, whether you are a casual person or a glamorous girl.

Always select a venue that has an indoor contingency plan in the event of bad weather... I always tell my clients, I can control and guarantee everything for you except the weather — and their wedding is not something I am ready to take a chance on.

When it comes to budget... Couples should always decide on what they wish to prioritise. If you have a limited budget, then do fewer things, but do them well. Your guests will not miss something that is not there, but will notice something that is not done well.

Keep your big day a surprise... From the theme, to the colour palette, to the entertainment programme. Keep your guests guessing and wondering what they are in for. Special surprise elements can be anything from well-known entertainment and fireworks, to food and beverage surprises and celebrity appearances.

My motto is... Focus on what truly matters and don’t lose sight of that. A wedding is first and foremost a celebration of your love for each other and sharing this with your family, and friends. 


From the S/S19 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia Bride