All Melanie wanted was an open-air wedding—more specifically, one by the water. When she and Justin became engaged and found Four Seasons Hotel Doha, they knew it was their dream location for celebrating “I do’s.” “The Hotel has a beautiful garden area right on the water’s edge,” says Melanie, and the location was a great meeting point for out-of-town guests who would be travelling from Australia, Canada, and Europe for the wedding.

The Festivities: Though they chose to have a destination wedding, Melanie and Justin didn’t want to abandon all tradition. On the first night, their immediate families and close friends came together with them for an intimate henna party, a nod to the mother of the bride’s Sudanese heritage. “Justin and I thought that this would be a nice tradition to continue, even though he is Australian and I have very little ability to dance to Sudanese music,” says Melanie. Dressed in traditional attire, the couple celebrated throughout the night. The following morning, they hosted a welcome brunch for their international guests at the Hotel.

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The Ceremony: Just after 1:00 pm, 400 guests gathered in a nearby church for a traditional Coptic Orthodox wedding, during which Melanie and Justin took part in various traditions, including the dressing of the bride and groom in capes and crowns. Once Melanie and Justin were declared husband and wife, they walked down the aisle to Charles-Marie Widor’s Toccata.

The Bride Wore: “I wanted to have a classic, timeless dress,” says Melanie, who chose a bespoke gown by London bridal designer Suzanne Neville. The cream lace gown boasted a mermaid silhouette and was complemented by Stuart Weitzman heels and a white gold, diamond, and pearl jewellery set—Melanie’s “something borrowed” from her mother.

A Personal Touch: One of bride’s favourite parts of her look was the bouquet, a stunning compilation of antique brooches designed and created by her good friend and talented designer Peter Ashman. “I wanted to have something different and that I would be able to keep,” says Melanie. “I am honoured that he was able to make the bouquet for me.”

The Reception: The couple’s dream of an outdoor wedding came true with their simple yet elegant reception, held on the Garden Terrace at Four Seasons Hotel Doha.  To match the pearls and lace theme, tables were decorated with glass vases of various sizes, adorned with lace and filled with candles, pearls, white hydrangeas and tulips. For dinner, the couple’s guests enjoyed lobster rings, crab mousse with avocado and lemon drizzle, and filet of beef, and ended the night with a selection of cakes, fruits and cheeses. The wedding cake featured alternating layers of chocolate sponge and red velvet cake, and was decorated with white icing and edible pearls.

Photography Gwannian Photography

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