It was a picture-perfect moment when Financial Consultant, Ameen Rhayem, 33,got down on one knee and proposed to 28-year-old public relations manager, Melanie Makki as the sun set across the ocean at the couple’s favourite beach in Sri Lanka. “I had no idea. We were taking photographs at the water’s edge and Ameen said,‘Your hand looks empty and I would like to change that’. I was completely shocked, confused and excited all at the same time.” Melanie tells BAZAAR Bride.
The Dubai-based couple spent the next 11 months planning their dream wedding with the help of event planner, Marica Coniglio. “We chose the south of France as it’s a place that means so much to me. I spent a lot of my childhood there with my family.”says French-Lebanese Melanie.
Set against the striking backdrop of the Massif de l’Esterel coastal mountain range,the couple chose 18th century coaching inn, Domaine des Grottes as their location. Nestled on a100 acre estate surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, the venue is provincial perfection at its Instagram-worthy best.
At 7:30 pm on July 13, 2019 accompanied by her father and in front of 130 guests, the bride walked down the aisle to Beethoven’s 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys and One Republic to meet her future husband under a towering cedar tree. After exchanging handwritten vows, the newlyweds recessed down the aisle to Washwishni by Rima Khcheich—walking hand in hand for the first time as husband and wife.
“Provincial weddings are known for their rustic themes but we wanted something fresh and modern for the reception. We had a combination of seasonal flowers lining the banquet-style tables including garden roses, carnations and hydrangeas in different tones of white, plus a touch of lavender along with candles and green foliage.The grounds of the estate are vast with plenty of areas we could have used for our evening celebrations. We picked an outdoor space which showcased both the venue and the beautiful scenery,” says Melanie.
Under a canopy of twinkling fairy lights guests dined on a Mediterranean feast that included zucchini flower fritters with Persillade sauce, creamy seafood risotto and a bespoke dessert buffet station offering a kaleidoscopic array of mouth-watering sweet treats. A traditional French croquembouche stood in place of a classic wedding cake.
“Our first dance was I Love You Baby by Frank Sinatra as it’s a song we have played together since day one — on road trips especially.” Melanie smiles. The couple then danced the night away into the early hours of the morning to a mix of Arabic, French and English music. Melanie in her floor-sweeping Sara Murad gown and Ameen in his custom- made black and white tuxedo.
After their magical day, the couple jetted off on an unforgettable honeymoon in Italy.“We visited Capri, Rome, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. It was a truly amazing honeymoon. The food, the scenery, the vibe, and absolutely everything in between was perfect.”
BRIDE’S BLACK BOOK
DRESS: Sara Mrad, Saramrad.com
SHOES: Saint Laurent, Ysl.com
JEWELLERY: Yasser Younes, Yasseryounes.com
WEDDING RING: Cara, Carajewellers.com
VENUE: Domaine des Grottes, Domaine-des-grottes.com
CATERER AND CAKE: Institut Gastronomie Riviera, Institut-gastronomie-riviera.com
FLORIST: L’art Qui Pousse, Lartquipousse.com
MUSIC: Odd Socks, Oddsocksinternational.com (band), DJ Rita Haddad, Instagram.com/rita_ha (DJ)
WEDDING PLANNER: Marica Weddings & Events, Maricaevents.com
PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER: Hisham Saba Photography, Instagram.com/hishamsabaphotography
HAIR & MAKE-UP: Jessica Nadal, Jess-makeup.com
From the autumn/winter19 issue of Harper's BAZAAR Bride
All Images: Hisham Saba Photography