Real-Life: An Affair to Remember
Who: Lynne Burrell, 27, is a key accounts manager and Allan Fairbairn, 28, is a continuous improvement lead
When: 13 February 2011
Where: The Park Hyatt Dubai
Allan and Lynne met through mutual friends and had been together only a year when he proposed on a frosty hillside in Allan’s hometown in Scotland. As residents of Dubai, they chose sunshine over snow for their romantic setting, bringing together their past and present in a unique Arabic-Scottish theme. With 60 guests during the day and 40 additional joining them for the evening celebrations, they created a warm, personal feel from the morning ceremony right through to the midnight feast.
Why did you decide on a Scottish wedding?
We wanted something simple and stylish. Being Scottish, of course we had to bring some Scotland to Dubai. The result was a Scottish-Arabic theme, with lots of tartan, bagpipes, haggis and traditional Ceilidh folk dancing combined with Arabic mezze and a shawarma station that served at midnight.
Who took charge of the organising and did that pose any challenges along the way?
It was all 50/50. We had weekly to-do lists and a spreadsheet so it was all very organised. The biggest challenge was that Allan travels a lot for work so it was important we allocated the tasks and reviewed the progress regularly.
The Park Hyatt is an amazing venue. What was the most appealing thing about it?
We’d never even been there before, but when we saw it, it was love at first sight! We could just envisage the entire wedding taking place there and it worked perfectly for our schedule and number of guests. It made the planning so much easier.
How did you make the venue work for you?
Our venue was small and very private with Arabic style décor, so it felt like our own space. We had the use of the two gardens for our civil ceremony, dinner and the drinks reception before we headed inside to the ballroom to dance.
Choosing your wedding dress can be a real challenge. How did you do it?
I’ve worked with the same tailor since arriving in Dubai and before we even got engaged he said he wanted to make my wedding dress. I looked in stores and online to get ideas, then I put it all together and designed my dream dress that was practical and worked beautifully for my body shape.
How did you choose your bridesmaid dresses?
I went for navy blue, which was inspired by the colour of the tiles in the Park Hyatt, and Allan’s kilt. My tailor made the bridesmaid dresses in only a week while my sister and friends were out visiting me on holiday. He’s amazing!
You seemed to really enjoy playing with the theme of your wedding. What are some of your favourite details?
Our stationary was all written in English and Arabic. It worked with our Scottish-Arabic theme and looked completely unique. On the day, each table was named after a country Allan and I had visited together, and our favours for the ladies were pashminas in our theme colours, which came in pretty handy when it got a little chilly in the evening. We had also set up a mobile photography studio. By the end of the day it was full of our friends and family, all dressing up and having fun with each other, having their picture taken.
We loved the Scottish bagpiper – how important were the musical elements in your big day?
With the Scottish theme we had to have a Scottish bagpiper. He ended up playing throughout the day at various moments. Our musicians played our favourite songs, but in their own style, which made it even more romantic. In the evening we had some traditional Scottish Ceilidh dances, which went down a storm, even with our non-Scottish guests.
How did you choose the menu for the reception?
We wanted a mixture of Arabic, Asian and Scottish inspired cuisine so we tailored the standard banqueting menu to suit our wedding style and guests preferences. The buffet selection was amazing but the best were the bespoke Scottish dishes including haggis parcels and chicken stuffed with haggis. Everyone raved about the beef Wellington live carving station and the banoffee pie dessert.
Describe your cake and why you chose it?
We wanted something incorporating the ‘Pride of Scotland’ tartan ribbon, and trusted the hotel pastry chef to make us something pretty, which she did.
Weddings can be an emotional rollercoaster, how did you cope with the ups and downs?
I was so stressed about getting ready on time. I didn’t want to be late walking down the aisle. Both of us were nervous and emotional in the morning, but by the evening we were so relaxed, the party atmosphere had kicked in and people were mingling and dancing. It was rewarding to see everyone having so much fun.
Did you have many overseas guests?
We had 40 guests fly in from Scotland and had a family barbecue before the wedding to ensure everyone got to know each other before the big day.
What will you always remember?
My Mum and Dad’s emotions. I wasn’t expecting to be so overwhelmed!