A conversation with Zainab Alsalih

by Leonore Dicker

At this very moment, Zainab Alsalih and her team are shaping –to the very last detail– some of the most exclusive and unique weddings in the region. Anything a woman desires, from sailing under the stars to dancing in a candlelit industrial building, they make it happen.

Alsalih, who is the managing director at Carousel Weddings, has always had an urge to bring joy into people’s lives – as well as an obsessive attention to detail.

Leonore Dicker met up with this wonder-planner to understand both the tricks of the job, and what makes the job tricky.

Have you always known you wanted to be a wedding/events planner?
I have always loved making people happy.  There’s something deeply gratifying about bringing people joy and sharing it with them.  So, have I always known I wanted to be a wedding planner?  No, not at all, but I always knew that whatever I did, it needed to give me the opportunity to make people happy.  As I got older I also began to better understand and appreciate certain gifts I had: an artistic flair, a gift for communicating, and an almost obsessive attention to detail. I was also lucky to have people around me who also saw these talents, and encouraged me to develop them and apply them.  My husband, my friends, my mother – all of them encouraged to do what I am doing today, in one way or another.
What’s the most extravagant request you’ve ever had?
It was a wedding for 1000 guests that took place in a glass tent built on the beach next to Burj Al Arab. Besides the massive work scope that went into building a complete venue in less than a week, we faced the problem of the greenhouse effect, which meant working under extreme temperatures. We were unable to set up the flowers ahead of time because we could not risk the high temperatures destroying the flowers and we had nearly 33,000 Orchids, which we had to set up in under 3 hours to be ready in time. It was literally a race against time, but we did it – of course.

Can you describe one of your most memorable events?
My first ever wedding remains very close to my heart. It was a beautiful beach wedding and a multicultural affair. The bride was a former European model and the groom a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman. We had the pleasure to plan all the parties leading up to the wedding as well as the traditional marriage ceremony at the client’s home
As an events planner, you must deal with various wedding traditions. What's a significant difference between weddings in the Gulf and, for example, those in Lebanon or abroad? 
In the Arab world, weddings are much more of a family affair, where everyone is involved in some way. It’s also governed by traditions and customs that a lot of young couples want to break out of. Weddings in this part of the world tend to be more elaborate and significantly larger than weddings in the West.  They also tend to be, at least from a planner’s point of view, much more challenging to keep up with.
What would be your tips to soon-to-be brides? How long before the big day should they start planning?
The truth is, just between us girls, a bride starts to “plan” her wedding before she’s past third grade!  In terms of the specifics related to the real deal, the earlier the planning starts, the better.  Picking a date, picking a venue, starting your “mood board”, designing your dress, all of this can take place months before the actual wedding.
The most important bit of advice I would give to any bride is: Have fun and don’t let your wedding be a source of stress.  The best way to do this is to hire the best planner you can, and then sit back and enjoy the journey.
Planning should start at least 6 months before the set wedding date. Most venues get booked out a year in advance in Dubai and so do photographers, entertainers and even florists. Therefore, giving yourself ample time in advance gives you a lot more choices when choosing your vendors and venue.

Do you prefer winter or summer weddings? What do you think is the best time of year to throw a wedding? 
Being a wedding planner in this part of the world means it’s summer weddings all year long! However, given that most weddings take place indoors it really does not make a difference. The only important factor here is if it’s a destination wedding, you have to take into consideration holidays and what is the best time of the year for your guests to travel. If you are opting for an outdoor wedding, then it has to be a winter wedding in the Gulf, a spring or autumn wedding further north, and a summer wedding in the Levant and North Africa.

Do you have any favorite wedding venues?
We have several venues depending on the size, theme and format of the wedding. However, nothing beats a venue with the beach as a backdrop!

What’s an important detail that is often overlooked in weddings?
Lighting! Sadly it is one of the most overlooked and underestimated elements when planning a wedding. Bad lighting can ruin everything from the colors of your flowers, to your guests’ skin tone. Good lighting makes everything come alive, and allows us to change the mood of the night from romantic and whimsical to party time! We also always tell our brides that there is no such thing as too many candles. Nothing flatters the skin like the soft glow of candlelight, so use them everywhere you can!

We've all heard of the typical bridezilla. How do you cope with a nervous bride-to-be?
Bridezillas are usually brides that have been frustrated and disappointed in some way or another. With good planning and communication you prevent any bridezilla moments from surfacing. Our brides have all been relaxed and enjoyed the process from start to finish! I can honestly say that I have not had a bridezilla as a client to date.


In your experience, what are usually the bride’s biggest concerns? What about the groom? 
Most brides pay a lot of attention to the aesthetics and the romance of the wedding.  Things such as flowers, table linens, chairs and general décor are really important.  The grooms tend to be more pragmatic, and focus on more tangible things such as entertainment, food, and beverage.

For information on Carousel Weddings please visit:

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The Secret to Your Honeymoon Beauty Is in This Bag

Your wedding day is over and you finally have time to pack for your honeymoon. However, you certainly don’t want to lose that glow you gained thanks to all those efficient treatments you underwent before the big day. With this in mind, the secret to preserving this beauty is packing the right products in your beauty pouch – without taking your entire cabinet with you!

To pack a light beauty pouch, you should first and foremost take into consideration the destination and the weather that you will expose your skin to. If you are headed to a European destination with cold weather, then make sure to pack a face cream that hydrates your skin. Are you hitting the slopes with your husband, seeking adventure on safari trips, or spending your whole trip on the beach? Never forget your sunscreen!

At night, your face needs care as well. If your night creams are not available in travel sizes, many pharmacies – if not all of them – have small containers that would be perfect for your night products in small quantities! For your body, you should also ask yourself the same questions and pack the products necessary for your trip. While going to a cold destination calls for a heavy moisturizer, I’m sure you won’t hit the beach without your favorite tanning products.

Finally, makeup! The destination also plays a big role in choosing the ideal makeup products for your trip. For a wonderful honeymoon image in a place like Paris, let romance inspire you not to forget a light foundation, a blush, a black eyeliner and a red lipstick. For a lighter look, pink blush and lipstick are just perfect. And for the ones who are heading to a beach destination, let your tanned skin do the talking and enhance its beauty with a bronzer, some highlighter on the cheeks and a touch of blush paired with a nude lipstick. Your face still got some imperfections? No worries, you can add a small concealer to your pouch!

Article Written by Mirella Haddad

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Keep Your Wedding Guest List under Control

Perhaps one of the hardest tasks a bride can do is narrow down a never-ending list of guests for her wedding. After all, no person wants to be the one to over-invite or under-invite, especially if said person has the weakness of wanting to please everyone.

So if you belong to this category of people, then allow to us un-burden you. Believe it or not, there are more ways than others to shortlist your wedding guests and you can definitely pull it off without having to get the nasty eye from the people you didn’t get the chance to invite. Bride-to-be, if you’re having a hard time trying to select your wedding guests, we’ve got you covered.

Scroll below as we take you through some tips and tricks to alleviate the “invitation” pressure!

  1. Being in love means you want to share your wedding day with the whole wide world. But when reality kicks in, you’ll soon realize that neither your venue of choice nor your budget permits you to do so. Enter the “Draft 1” guest-list. Make a small estimate of the number of family members and friends you want to invite, just to have a clearer idea. From there, you’ll be able to move more freely.
  2. Keep in mind that some of your invitees will have plus ones. So if you think that you probably won’t be seeing said person after the wedding, then it’s sure as heck not worth inviting him/her.
  3. Also, one of the most important factors in the wedding guest list is the parents. Whether they’re paying for your big day or not, it’s nice to take their guests into consideration.
  4. Now once you take all these factors into account, you’ll probably end up with – to say it mildly – a pretty huge list. So with all these names and plus ones in mind, you’ll want to consider who are the people who will really be supporting you throughout your marriage and who will not. The ones that you know can make an impact are definitely the keepers.
  5. Lastly, keep a little margin for the people who probably won’t attend your wedding. You can replace them with a little something we like to call “List B”.


Article Written by Cindy Menassa

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A Romance on Sandy Beaches

You’re planning for your big day and deep down, you know that nothing beats a beach wedding at the end of the summer. As the sun rays become quite subtle to allow you to celebrate your love for the outdoors and the sea, a breeze comes to make the setting and your comfort something every bride dreams of! I don’t know about you but that’s my idea of a picture-perfect wedding. With destination weddings stealing the spotlights nowadays, it’s only natural for us to narrow down a list of 5 beaches that will certainly make their way to your list of dream places that will make your big day one to be forever remembered – by you and your guests.

Have you ever watched an animated series where its characters dance on the beach in flower crowns and long tasseled skirts? Well, this is Hawaii and believe it or not, it would be a great destination for your wedding with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean making for a perfect backdrop.

Second on the list is Goa, which brings together fun, adventure and peace in one of the most picturesque beach scenes in the world. No matter which resort or beach you choose, this place in India will never fail in making your big day a great one.

No list of beach wedding destinations can exclude Greece and more specifically Santorini. If you are looking for a romantic venue surrounded by the sea and beautiful scenes in blue and white, this is definitely your place to be.

Looking for an island where you can also stay for your honeymoon and relax? The Maldives will definitely offer you an experience like no other. With privacy and luxury taking over your wedding day, your expectations of a dreamy wedding will be exceeded.

Another one of those places where you can celebrate your wedding and spend your honeymoon is Bora Bora. This romantic paradise ends our list on a beautiful note.


Article Written by Mirella Haddad

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Thierry Wasser Recreates Guerlain’s Cuir Intense in Words

No one can depict the spirit and character of a fragrance better than the creative mind behind it, and for Guerlain’s latest fragrance “Cuir Intense”, the captivating scent comes alive again through the words of its creator, master perfumer Thierry Wasser. Luckily for us, Azyaamode got the chance to sit with this skillful perfumer and unfold the mystery of this new beauty marvel.

How can leather become a scent, might you ask? In fact, Thierry Wasser unveils the secret of “fragrancing” leather. On another note, he also talks about a few more topics such as the “Absolus d’Orient” collection in general, the first leather notes created in the beauty industry, the influence of a certain region on a fragrance, as well as the Middle East’s role in the perfume world.

Dive more into Guerlain and Thierry Wasser’s world by watching this video!

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Bvlgari’s Save The Children Campaign in the Words of Aimée Sayyah

This year, Bvlgari has its own way of celebrating 10 years of saving the children. As part of their campaign, the Italian house gathered A-List celebrities to communicate its thoughtful message and promote care and love in the most glamorous of ways.

Lebanese actress Aimée Sayyah was part of this campaign, and Azyaamode had the opportunity to interview her and ask her a few questions about her relationship with the house. Without further ado, here’s what she said! 

Tell us a little bit about your relationship with BVLGARI.
It all started in March 2016 in The Voice Kids Big Finale, and the next step was at Milan Fashion week later that same year when I had a Beautiful collaboration with the brand through Marie Claire Arabia. Since then, I have been working closely with the brand but most importantly, it has become Family for me; I love the team, the brand and the way they work.

What can you tell us about your latest collaboration with the house and your involvement in this initiative?
I am so proud to be part of their latest campaign. It is heartwarming to see a big brand like Bvlgari, giving back to society and people in need, especially kids. So when I was first approached I agreed on the spot because who wouldn't want to support such a cause and give hope to people in need. And I really hope my tiny effort would make a difference somewhere.

What are your favorite pieces from BVLGARI?
I definitely have favorite pieces from Jewelry to accessories. But the Save the Children Jewelry collection has a special place in my heart, especially because part of the funds goes to help kids in need, and this makes me happy and proud when I wear the collection’s pieces.

What’s next for Aimée Sayah business wise?
Well I just finished the final live from Zaman Al Jamil Talent show on Abu Dhabi TV, and now I'm going to catch up on some other projects that are still on the table... Nothing is confirmed yet.

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4 minutes with Lily-Rose Depp

You’ve probably heard this name time and time again and you’ve probably seen her walking the CHANEL runways in her majestic demure and fronting many of the Maison’s big campaigns as well. But who is that angelic-faced blonde sensation whose picturesque silhouette and raw magnetism are all everyone can talk about?

Meet Lily-Rose Depp, Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp’s offspring, a 19-year old French-American actress and model who could only be described as down-to-earth and humble. Basking in the fame of her parents might not be her thing, but working hard on climbing her way up the success ladder definitely is. And with CHANEL written in bold letters on her portfolio, who wouldn’t love to hear more about her relationship with the Maison?

We, at Azyaamode, have had the fabulous opportunity to meet up with the little starlet and safe to say, she’s had a lot to say about CHANEL, Karl Lagerfeld and the Cruise 2020 runway show.

You’re the youngest face ever of CHANEL and some might say you’ve even followed your mother down the CHANEL runway. What was it like to become the Maison’s muse and ambassadress just like your mother?

Well it all started at a really young age, as I’ve always loved CHANEL and I’ve always seen it as this classy, elegant and timeless Fashion House. I actually grew up idolizing CHANEL, and I love everything that they made and still do!

Can you tell us more about your relationship with the late Karl Lagerfeld?

The memories I have with Karl Lagerfeld are just perfect, I am so grateful to have worked with such a genius and it’s an honor to have known the person that he was. And it’s all way beyond his genius because he was truly an amazing and kind person, and to find someone who is not only a legend but to also have a pure-hearted soul is as unique as ever. He truly loved and cherished his team and he was loyal to the core! So yeah, to have known him is one of the biggest honors!

What’s your first memory of yourself wearing CHANEL?

Well I always used to steal my mother’s CHANEL pieces, but perhaps my very first piece was a pink CHANEL purse my mother gave me and to be honest I still have it and I wear it all the time – it’s a timeless piece.

What did you think of Virginie Viard’s first solo CHANEL show?

She did so amazing! I was really blown away because nobody knew Lagerfeld better than she did and she truly carried his legacy in such a magical way, infusing her own special touch as well.

Are there any future plans on the CHANEL front?

I really can’t tell you exactly but all I can say is that I love working with CHANEL and I’m very lucky to be able to say that I’ll be continuing down this path…

Have you been to the Middle-East?

No, I haven’t visited the Middle East yet but I’ve always wanted to! Hopefully soon!


Article Written by Cindy Menassa

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