Fairy-tale Como nuptials for Dubai-based couple BIANCA and HAZIM
COUTURE, CASCADING FLOWERS AND CELEBRITIES AT A LAKE COMO FAIRY-TALE DO
When Hazim Mohamed first laid eyes on bubbly blonde Bianca O’Donoghue working in a bank in Dubai’s Deira quarter it was love at first sight.
Yet although the South African, who moved to Dubai 11 years ago, noticed the very regular repeat VIP client – who invariably came out of work hours, too – she didn’t realise she herself was the reason he kept returning.
“He used to come every day, and I didn’t realise it was to see me. He was too shy to talk to me,” Bianca laughs.
Fast forward two years, and finally Hazim got the nerve to ask Bianca out – and the rest is history.
“From the day we started dating we knew we were going to be married one day. Both of us just knew,” she confesses over coffee at her beautiful new married home in Damac Properties’ The Fields. “We were both in it for the long term.”
PRACTISING THE PROPOSAL
The planning took just five months from the moment Hazim casually suggested his other half wander to Cartier to pick out any ring she wanted; his idea of a proper proposal!
Her choice? A stunning Trinity ring with a two-carat solitaire – as a surprise the Sudanese groom-to-be picked up the rest of the set for her to wear, presenting it to her the day before they jetted off to their wedding.
Luckily, the engagement had a do-over as he got down on bended knee – both of them resplendent in one-off Dolce & Gabbana -when the couple flew to Lake Como to see the lavish location of their wedding for the first time; Villa d’Este.
Anna K. from Just Amore Weddings was the mastermind behind the whole celebration and Bianca admits the biggest piece of advice she can give to any bride-to-be is: “Get a planner! Ideally get Anna. You will have the ultimate peace of mind.”
The planner extraordinaire admitted it was all pain sailing: “Bianca had a very precise vision. She wanted a truly romantic event with a white horse-drawn carriage, pink flowers, a refined four-course meal, a sumptuous wedding cake adorned with fresh flowers and a royal firework display.”
It’s an A-list draw; George Clooney lives next door and Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh got married at Lake Como – so this spot really draws the rich and famous.
Villa d’Este is the ultimate luxurious destination; an artistocratic palace transformed into a five-star resort on the lake shore. “I fell in love with it from the moment a friend told me about it. I needed that venue,” gushes Bianca.
Anna elaborates: “Given over 60 guests were flying in from all four corners of the world, this dreamy venue was a natural choice for a fairytale-themed wedding.”
Visiting their picture-perfect wedding venue sealed the deal – and the couple was able to tick another essential off the list while there: the dress. The hotel suggested famed atelier Tosetti Sposa nearby and Bianca instantly found her dream gown.
A BIG SEND OFF
Bianca originally hails from Durban so it was no wonder South Africa was the destination for a blow-out bridal shower. The party of ten were given a full tour of Cape Town’s highlights -- from the mountains to the beaches -- setting expectations sky high for the nuptials.
THE MAIN EVENT
Their summer wedding unfolded like a romantic movie.
There were a few surprises; Hazim, who lost his mother, had been given a silver bracelet by her when he was 11. He carried it with him everywhere.
Bianca secretly had it beautifully engraved with both his and his mother’s name on it and presented it to him -stunningly packed -- before the wedding, resulting in instant tears.
Anna also conjured up a belly dancer as Bianca was keen to pay homage to her new husband’s Egyptian roots at the reception.
Everything went according to plan; from the vintage Excalibur car that ushered Hazim to the entrance, and the Cinderella horse and carriage, to dove balloons at the vows and the bride’s top Disney tunes played by an expert violinist – it was all exactly as the bride had envisaged.
There were also some seriously starry touches; the wedding vocalist turned out to be a real favourite of George Clooney, while fellow hotel guest, actor Adam Sandler popped into proceedings to congratulate the couple and fist-bump the bridal party.
Fireworks – the highlight for both the bride and groom – as well as a multi-tiered chocolate and vanilla cake, ended the night on the perfect note.
“The fireworks were a real highlight. They were spectacular” Hazim
Bianca and Hazim were thrilled her parents (left) could join them in Italy as the celebrant named them man and wife at the picturesque Villa D’Este resort
From the fireworks to the carriage and the multi-tiered cake, Bianca’s wedding, which took place in dreamy Lake Como, had every fairy-tale element The jewels were filled with symbolism; the groom bought his wife the rest of the Cartier set matching the ring she picked. Bianca had the bracelet his mother bought him engraved (below right). The party started early with the hen do taking place in South Africa (below far right) which is where Bianca is from