Singaporebrides | Real Weddings
Soukaina and Siddartho’s Destination Wedding in Dubai with Cultural and Modern Elements
Soukaina and Siddartho celebrated their nuptials over a spectacular two-day celebration in Dubai with their friends and family.
Soukaina Faruq, 29, co-founder of Rawbought, and Siddartho Zeet Sarker, 30, Regional Market Access Lead (APAC) at Johnson & Johnson, knew right away that they were meant for each other after their first meeting. After an intimate and private proposal, the lovebirds brought their dream of a destination wedding to life by tying the knot over a two-day celebration in Dubai, where their family and friends from all over the world reunited to celebrate and bless their union.
How did the two of you meet?
Soukaina: Sid and I met through a mutual friend after I came back from my studies in the United Kingdom. Sid did his studies in Singapore and had just started work and it was at a random hangout that we were introduced to one another. My friend randomly reached out to him to say we were at Wine Connection and asked if he wanted to join, and he agreed. Within the first meet I knew we clicked. He made me laugh a lot and I came home thinking it would be funny if this is the guy I’d one day marry.
What drew you to each other?
Soukaina: I think for me initially it was how much positive energy Sid gave off and made everyone around him laugh and feel comfortable at the same time. I was meeting him for the first time but it felt like we were friends for years. As time went by, I think we realised that we had similar goals in life and the same taste in cheesy music and movies, and felt we could be our most authentic versions of ourselves with each other. We also had very strong family values that we both shared and that was important to us both.
What is it about your partner that you love the most?
Soukaina: Sid is probably the most caring and understanding person that I know, not just with me but to those around him. He’s one of those rare people who is happy when someone asks a favour of him, and will go above and beyond for anyone. He also just has a very calm aura about him and when I’m at my most vulnerable, just being around him makes me feel safe.
What was the proposal like?
Soukaina: Sid proposed during the height of COVID-19. He couldn’t rent out any space or get help to set anything up and I had always said, I never wanted a public proposal- so he had planned it in our home.
We had already picked out the ring together and were meant to be notified by the store together on when it would arrive. A week before it was due to arrive, he told me there would be a delay so I was a bit upset but didn’t think too much of it. At the time, no florists or decorators could come in and set up the house so Sid (which is very unlike him) did up the house with flowers and candles and had different zones in the house where he described his favourite memories at each zone. At the end of tour, in our bedroom there was the ring box where he went down on his knees to propose.
Tell us about your wedding. Why did you decide to hold your wedding in Dubai?
Soukaina: I’ve always wanted a destination wedding from as far back as I can remember. Dubai made sense for our families because we would have guests flying in from Bangladesh, Singapore, Morocco and the United Kingdom. It was the best middle point for everyone.
We looked at many hotels in Dubai and Park Hyatt Dubai had a very calm but romantic vibe to it, which we really liked. We also felt that our guests would get the perfect balance between enjoying their outdoor scenes, which were done up very beautifully, as well as a homely vibe. As soon as we saw the outdoor garden, we knew immediately that it would fit the vision we had in mind.
Tell us more about your two-day wedding celebration.
Soukaina: We split the wedding into two days and incorporated Bangladeshi and Moroccan elements into the celebrations – the first day was more of a cultural experience while the second day was more of a modern and Western celebration. On the first day, we had an Italian garden party with a white and blue theme. We handpicked all the vases and plates and had them made specially for the celebration to fit the theme because what I had in mind wasn’t readily available in Singapore or Dubai. We requested for our guests to be dressed in white while we wore blue so that we could stand out.
I was dressed in a Moroccan kaftan and both Sid and I were carried on carriages called amaria, which is a Moroccan custom. We had live Moroccan music in the background as well as a band playing Arabic music throughout. As we entered, we had Moroccan tea and nibbles served for our guests to pay homage to my Moroccan heritage.
I had an outfit change for the night celebration which was entered around the Bengali culture. We had a change in music and had henna artists come in for the celebration. We also requested our guests to dress in traditional Bengali wear to suit the theme. We also hired a singer who played a mix of songs that Sid and I used to listen to over the years.
The celebration on the second day was a more modern affair, with the theme being red roses. I wore a red lehenga to match the theme and our welcome boxes had edible red flowers, while the entire ballroom was filled with more than 50,000 stems of roses. Although the day’s theme was more modern, we included elements of our cultures into the celebration as well. Our parents gave speeches in their native languages and small biscuits from Morocco, handpicked by my grandmother who couldn’t make it to the wedding, paid homage to our backgrounds.
Take us back to your wedding day. What was the day like and how were you feeling?
Soukaina: Throughout the process I was very overwhelmed. Planning a destination wedding takes a lot of thought in terms of making sure the guests are happy and comfortable and the events run at a timely manner. I was also concerned that it might rained as it had the previous days, but thankfully, it did not!
Our wedding planner and her team of eight flew in from Singapore the night before and worked over night for two days transforming both locations. There were a few hiccups along the way so I was definitely nervous going into it but as the day went on, it ran quite smoothly. Before each entrance, I was very nervous. I had built up such an idea in my head and wanted it to turn out to be perfect. Thankfully, everything worked out the way it was supposed to!
But most of all, I was grateful that so many people took the time and made the effort to fly in. For a lot of our guests, we had not seen them in years so it just felt like we were having a massive reunion with the people we love the most in the world and seeing them all made us both feel quite emotional.
What did your family/friends have to say about your wedding day?
Soukaina: Most people were really happy with how it went. I think the goal of the wedding for us was to make sure that our guests had a good time and experienced a different kind of wedding. We really focused our efforts on the decor and our wedding planning team really did make each and every one of our visions come true.
Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?
Soukaina: The most memorable part would have to be on the second day when my husband and I walked into the ballroom to a specific song. It’s a song we both loved individually before we met and something we bonded over. But more than that, it was a song that my father used to sing to my mother when they were younger, so it had a lot of meaning behind it. So, getting to walk to that song and have our first dance to it held a lot of meaning.
What is one lesson you’ve learned from your wedding planning that you’d like to share with other couples?
Soukaina: Of course it’s important to plan everything out before the wedding so it all runs smoothly, but it’s also important to enjoy the moments while you’re doing it. It’s a great bonding experience with your husband and family, so really appreciate those times as it flies by so quickly.
Also, it is important to really prioritise what’s important to you on the day. Sometimes, you can go overboard and want everything and that’s not always feasible. So, go into the planning process and have a few things that are non negotiable, and be more flexible with the rest. I would also say it was very helpful to have a planner who you connect with and understands your vision and holds your hand through everything. Our planner was both our planner and therapist at times! Last but not least, it is also important to delegate tasks to those whom you trust as it can be a lot of pressure on you, the bride, at times.
The Venue: Park Hyatt Dubai
Size of Wedding: 120 guests
The Bride’s Outfits: Yellow Saree – Custom-made from Sunaina Khera // Pink Kaftan, Green Dress – Faraz Mannan // Red Dress – Sabyasachi // White Dress – Manish Malhotra
The Bride’s Shoes: Amina Muaddi, Mach and Mach, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo
The Groom’s Outfits: Faraz Mannan, Zegna
The Groom’s Shoes: Tods, Dior
The Wedding Bands: YouTube artist Jeffrey Iqbal
The Wedding Photographer and Videographer: Violet Studio Dubai
The Hair and Makeup Artist: Rafi Fazaa
The Caterer: Park Hyatt Dubai
The Wedding Cake: Area Federal Cakes
The Florist: The Floral Atelier
The Wedding Planner and Stylist: Lelian from The Wedding Atelier
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: The Wedding Atelier
The Wedding Band: DJ Jeff and Claudia Patrice
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides
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