Having been introduced by their own sisters, blogger and stylist Lana, 25, and her businessman husband Ali Awada, 30, managed to skip the worry of wondering if their families would get on. The pair, both from Beirut, fi rst met “casually over coffee with our sisters, who had always been friends at school,” Lana describes, telling Bazaar how they became a couple for four years before getting engaged last September. “Ali took on the challenging task of finding a special place to propose to me in Paris – a city that I know so well. He chose La Petite Ceinture, a romantic and beautiful stretch of abandoned railway that had been taken back by nature,” she says.
Six months later, the pair said their vows in front of 1,060 guests in Lebanon. “Beirut is our city and we really wanted our families to be there,” says Lana. “We held it at Biel Hall 1. It’s an empty hangar, and I chose it as I wanted to create something new from scratch,” she says. No mean feat, but luckily Lana was supported throughout the process by her mother and sister. “We did hire a planner but the ideas came from my mother, my sister and I. We chose big white orchids, small white roses, powder pink thalia roses and white tulips to add something modern. I wanted it to be very bridal, very romantic,” Lana describes. The cake translated her fairy tale vision too; a seven-tier vanilla with praline croquant creation covered in tulips, jasmine, and camellias made of icing sugar.
Each guest also received a mini two-tier wedding cake with a single sugar fl ower on top, as well as gifts of a gold bracelet for ladies and a tie pin for gentlemen by Lebanese jeweller L’Atelier Nawbar, along with a box of decorated Patchi chocolates. Another element to the day designed entirely “from scratch” was Lana’s breathtaking couture dress by Elie Saab. “My mother is a client of his and it seemed like the natural choice. The time frame was quite long, as it took us from March to end of June to approve the sample,” she recalls. “We changed the colour of the dress several times. It was a wonderful experience, and I didn’t even stress a second. We added pearls on my dress as a last minute decision, but it completely transformed the dress, which also had 100 metres of tulle and a four metre train. Elie Saab’s team is so patient and professional in their work. My last trial for the dress was at 8.30pm the evening prior. My mother is very picky, so she was paying attention to every detail that could make the difference!” Music also played a huge part in the day. Following the service and the speeches, Lana and Ali danced to You’re My Everything by her favourite singer Michael Bublé, before the track I Need A Girl (Part 2) by P. Diddy livened things up, “because we both adore it! It was actually fun,” Lana laughs. For the father-daughter dance, a live performance of Josh Groban’s You Raised Me Up by French band Festival Mibely took centre stage, ahead of friend Nancy Ajram and Ragheb Alama who each performed a 30-minute set, at which point the real party began. “People truly enjoyed dancing the night away, and it was a blessing seeing them enjoying it all as much as we did,” Lana smiles. “It was an eventful night!”
This article first appeared in Harper's Bazaar Bride Spring/Summer 2015