In Holly Wall and Mohammad Shaid Yunus’s lives, the second time has always been the charm – they first met while working at Lloyd’s Bank in Wales but began dating each other only years after when their paths crossed a second time. And just like love at second sight, their dream wedding too materialised 10 years after their first wedding, at a beautiful beachside ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria The Palm.
Amidst the cheers and whoops of 40 family and friends who’d flown down from Wales, were also the excited voices of the couple’s nine-year-old son Niall and six-year-old daughter Laila, who were an integral part of the celebrations of their love’s second innings.
‘Shaid (41) was raised a Muslim, so the simple at-home Nikah ceremony in 2008 brought both our families, cultures and religions together,’ Holly explains. At first the low-key ceremony didn’t matter to Holly, but as years went by, the registered nurse who was raised Catholic felt like she’d missed out on a big white wedding. ‘But Shaid always promised me that when the time was right we’d have a proper wedding and because Dubai is our favourite holiday destination I’d joke that it was the only place I’d marry him in,’ Holly, 33, laughs.
The right time chimed in at 4pm on October 29, 2018; the result of 10 months of research, emails and coordination with the venue and the couple’s wedding planner, Tania Kreindler of My Dubai Wedding, was a poignant destination wedding that was intimate, elegant, personalised and budget-friendly to boot.
‘The entire wedding cost us Dh78,000, including a beautiful party back home in Newport, Wales,’ explains Holly, busting the myth of the destination weddings that break the bank. For most couples, a wedding, especially a destination wedding helmed by a planner, would cost a pretty penny. Holly, however, credits Tania’s thrifty, inventive and resourceful expertise as one of the main reasons that allowed the couple to reign in their expenses. ‘Tania’s great relationship with suppliers got us discounts and she helped cut back on costs by using items she already owned and suggesting we opt for an arch of balloons instead of flowers.
‘At the same time, she took advantage of her design team’s services to create our classy logo and font that was [consistent throughout] wedding stationery and gave everything from the signage, invitation cards and place cards an expensive finish,’ Holly explains. That steadfast attention to detail also extended to miniscule elements such as printing lyrics from the song Holly walked down the aisle to (Beyoncé’s Crash Into You), on the welcome sign and on the wedding cake ribbon. ‘She even went to our food tasting and expertly picked everything right down to the canapes and beverages. The hard part of a destination wedding was being unable to see the venue but my phone conversations with Tania would help me see it all come together.’
Tania also connected the couple to their celebrant Zu, who wrote them a unique and individual blessing that included their children as witnesses.
For Holly that was the moment that encapsulated the magic of her and Shaid’s love story: ‘I was elated to have the children sign our ceremony certificate as we have always only had each other to trust and rely on. I couldn’t imagine not having them there.’