The beginning of Najla and Alaa’s happily ever after began with an encounter in New York City on the thirteenth of April 2012. Coincidentally, this particular day happened to fall on Friday the thirteenth; however, in spite of superstitious convention this turned out to be one of the couple’s luckiest days.
On the fifteenth of February 2013, Najla was invited to Alaa’s home in Philadelphia. Here, she found an aisle filled with candles that led her to the living room. Najla was given a book that Alaa had created to go alongside a video that played on the television, “The Story of You & Me,” narrated by Alaa. The ending of the movie and the last page of the book were a photograph of Najla’s engagement ring; “will you make me the luckiest, happiest man alive and marry me?” With tears of joy, Najla happily accepted Alaa’s proposal. In order to truly share the proposal story with their family and friends, Alaa set up a camera to record the proposal in its entirety; together, Najla and Alaa will be able to relive their proposal for years to come. Alaa along with his family also asked for Najla’s hand in marriage to follow with their Arab traditions.
The Big Day
Being the Editor-in-Chief of Blush Magazine brought with it tremendous expectations, but as you can tell from the words that only photos can tell, Najla and Alaa exceeded any expectations that had been placed on them. With a collaborative of some of Edmonton’s finest wedding vendors, Najla and Alaa invited their guests to attend a unique wedding reception, held at the Matrix Hotel, that would exhibit many personal elements of their love story. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with hors d’oeuvres—mini empanadas, in honour of the couple’s first date—and shown to their seats by the bridesmaids. As guests entered the amber lit ballroom, they were instantly overwhelmed by the romantic atmosphere of the candlelit room. In a sea of gold and neutrals, with a touch of sparkle, and a hint of peach, guests were invited to admire opulent florals, and enjoy the creations from a cappuccino bar—coffee from Najla’s favourite local café, Da Capo, and the couple’s favourite spiced chocolate biscotti from Starbucks. In order to represent their cultures, the couple selected to pair their traditional table numbers with the name of a city or town from their origin countries of Lebanon and Palestine.
Najla and Alaa wanted their cultures to be represented throughout the reception, but even though many elements were Middle Eastern, there were also many that were western, such as the large wedding party, the head table, and a formal seating plan. In order to represent their cultures, Najla and Alaa invited a Lebanese musician and drummer who sang and played traditional Arabic songs and instruments. The newlyweds were welcomed by the Lebanese singer who had written a personal song specifically for the couple’s grand entrance. Following the events of the entrance was a formal dinner service, after which many of the guests found themselves on the dance floor until the very end.
While the ambiance of the reception and all of the details were significant, what was most important and what lies at the foundation of Najla and Alaa’s core is the importance of family and friends. With an intimate wedding compared to many traditional Arabic weddings, Najla and Alaa shared their wedding in Edmonton with their closest family and friends—some of which travelled great distances to celebrate. The attendance of her grandparents who visited from Brazil is a memory that Najla holds near to her heart. As the reception drew to a close, the bride and groom were escorted out by all of the remaining guests, while a final song played, and they said their farewells. With the support of all of their family and friends behind them, they could now begin their life together, as husband and wife. As Najla reflects on her wedding day, “I could not have dreamt of anything better.”
Coincidentally their entrance was Najla & Alaa’s favourite moment of their celebration, an arabic singer sang a personal song specifically for the couple’s grand entrance, it filled the room with energy and set the tone for the entire evening.
Michael Bublé: Close Your Eyes
BRIDE: Plan Ahead: Good vendors book up fast, to avoid disappointment get in touch and book them before they get snatched up. Hire A Planner: A wedding cannot function properly without one. Relax: Take some time for you to unwind. Book a couple’s massage and private lunch a day before the wedding – you will need it.
GROOM: Get Organized: Plan an itinerary for your wedding day and events leading to it. Make a checklist of all your tasks to refer to up until the wedding day. Stress Management: Bring your A game in managing her accumulated stress in the days leading up to the wedding.
Santorini & Mykonos – Greece