When Emmanora Al-Shazli married Ahmed Salem at Four Seasons Resort Cairo at the First Residence, they shared her Iranian heritage and his Egyptian roots with their 120 guests. Their two cultural traditions created a ceremony and reception that guests will never forget. “I kept the culture of an Egyptian wedding, but added some Iranian flavours, which I knew would be exciting for the guests,” says Emmanora. “It was dazzling!”
The Scene: The elegant ballroom, aglow with white candles, white flowers and silver accents, was also the ideal setting for a reception full of warmth and fun. In a tradition known as zaffah, Egyptian singers, drummers and belly dancers preceded the couple into the venue, followed by friends in zany masks and hats and showers of multicoloured confetti. Guests danced all night to traditional Iranian and Egyptian music as well as Sinatra classics, all spun by a DJ.
Magical Moment: After entering the ballroom surrounded by music and guests, Ahmed and Emmanora were settled on a love seat for an Iranian wedding tradition: After reading from the Koran, they looked into a mirror illuminated by candles to symbolize their bright future. Then, two happily married female guests held a white veil over the couple’s heads while a third guest rubbed two sugar cones together over the veil. “This signified all the sweetness that will come into our lives together,” Emmanora explains.
The Bride & Groom: Emmanora and Ahmed both work in information technology and met at their Dubai-based company. Their friendship soon blossomed into love, and they dated for a year before Ahmed asked Emmanora if his family could have tea with her family—an Egyptian tradition that shows his desire to get the bride’s family’s blessing. “In our case, he asked me directly, and when I accepted, he proposed ‘officially’ to my family,” says Emmanora.
The Bride Wore: Emmanora designed her taffeta and lace gown herself. A tiara by Provonias complemented her diamond engagement ring. She chose nude Jimmy Choo heels so she could “wear them again and again and always remember that lovely day!”
A Personal Touch: Rather than throwing her bouquet, Emmanora gave white roses to the single ladies on the guest list. The couple also gifted guests with a candle engraved with their names.
Photography Fadi Gwanny