Destination Weddings Trend Watch: 5 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding

Destination weddings are the perfect way to have a memorable, unique wedding that reflects the couple’s true love story. While traditional weddings are important to many newly engaged couples, destination weddings are increasingly becoming more popular seeing as the average destination wedding costs $20,000, as opposed to a minimum of between $80,000 to $136,000 for a local wedding in the Middle East. Below are a few other reasons that are motivating couples to move away from having lavish local weddings, to more intimate and personal weddings in destinations such as Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. 

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

1. Inexpensive

Destination weddings are significantly more affordable than a traditional formal wedding.  This may seem surprising since the thought of having a wedding at an exotic location may sound expensive. However in many cases resorts tend to have wedding packages that include the couple’s resort stay and ceremony.  With the help of destination wedding planning companies, such as The Wedding Haven, couples can stick to their budget and achieve their dream wedding at their dream location! 

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

2. Vacation for All!

Wedding planning can be extremely stressful for the bride and groom.  Although well intentioned, family and friends can create some confusion for the couple, leading to stress during what should be a time of enjoyment. A destination wedding can help eliminate some of this stress, as the destination wedding planners essentially walk the couple through most of the process. This allows the couple, their families, and their friends to focus on themselves, and on enjoying their wedding in paradise.  

3. Gorgeous Photos? Check

Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on flowers, candles, and centerpieces, having a destination wedding means that you get to choose that perfect wedding backdrop that you’ve always wanted at little or no cost at all. Imagine the beach behind you while you say your “I dos” or the Eiffel Tower in front of you while walking down the aisle – whatever your choice a destination wedding guarantees that your photos will be magazine worthy. 

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

4. Talk about a Bonding Experience!

Since a destination wedding is basically a little vacation, everyone in your group will get the chance to get to know each other on a more personal level. Thus, instead of having a hall filled with 200 guests that you really don’t know, you are actually investing in creating memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

5. Stand Out

Another great thing about having a destination wedding is that no matter the location, you will stand out. Couples who choose to have a destination wedding get to tell their love story their own way, in a manner that reflects their true selves. They have less people meddling in their decisions given that most of these are discussed in one-on-one sessions with the wedding planners, who make sure that the couple’s wedding concept and vision unfolds exactly the way they envisioned it. 

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

Photography by: Bernie and Bindi Photography

The Wedding Haven named Wedding Specialist of the Year for the UAE

Dubai - March 8, 2017 – The Wedding Haven announced today that they have been awarded the Wedding Specialists of the Year Award for the UAE by the Luxury Travel Guide.

The Luxury Travel Guide Awards represent the pinnacle of hospitality achievement, championing the best in their respective fields; therefore to come out on top is truly an achievement.

The Luxury Travel Guide pay tribute to and commend all those who have excelled in the industry. This year saw an unprecedented number of shortlisted companies, providing strong competition in every category.

All winners of the Luxury Travel Guide Awards are subject to the same rigorous assessment criteria, carried out by our in-house professionals. This ensures only the most deserving firms and individuals walk away with one of these prestigious accolades and gain a place in their awards winners’ guide, which will be distributed to over 500,000 professional & affluent people worldwide.

“We feel extremely humbled by the fact that the Luxury Travel Guide has recognized our hard work for a second year in a row. As an up-and-coming wedding planning company, these awards make a huge difference to us as they are push us to excel. They are also a testimony to the fact that our hard work is being recognized by industry professionals worldwide.” - May Abu Jaber - Halasa.

The Wedding Haven specializes in creating and planning one of a kind destination weddings that are inspired by the couple's own story, uniqueness, and experiences. We are committed to giving our clients an unforgettable experience from the first consultation to an absolutely flawless event. We are certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, as well as the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, and we provide full wedding planning services, wedding styling services, wedding coordination services, and much more. We provide our services in English, Spanish, and Arabic.


Fadi & Reema's Wedding in Playa Del Carmen

There is just something so special about celebrating your wedding in a totally different country. It really is a unique experience - probably because you are also on holidays and ready to celebrate your love with your nearest and dearest relatives and friends while relaxing and having fun.

I met Fadi and Reem through my brother at my own destination wedding in Punta Cana almost two years ago, and I instantly fell in love with them! They are such warm, and kind souls with a sheer love of life and adventure! So when they approached me to help them plan their wedding in Mexico, I was beyond happy. And I can tell you that their wedding was without a doubt one of my favorite weddings. It was a mixture of fun, and pure romance.

These two lovebirds decided to have their destination wedding at the Gran Porto Real Resort and Spa in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The resort was simply gorgeous. It was architecturally reminiscent of Mexico’s finest haciendas. Set upon the longest stretch of beach amid hush verdant gardens in a truly enchanting atmosphere. Not to mention, the staff at the hotel went over and above to make sure everybody felt at home.

Fadi and Reema had their wedding ceremony on the beach. The sound of the waves kissing the shoreline was a gentle reminder of all the small treasures that nature offers us every day. Reema opted to have white vintage wooden doors positioned at the aisle's center opened for her grand entrance. Guests sat on the other side of the doors, waiting for her to arrive. The doors added a perfect vintage charm to the beach wedding decor! Brown sugar starfish marked Reema's way as she entered through the doors escorted by her father.

Following the ceremony, guests were escorted to the Gran Royal Ballroom, which featured all of Reema's DIY decor - yes, she had spend several months before the wedding crafting her wedding from centerpieces, to wedding favors. And boy did we fall in love.With that said, I’ll let you check out some highlights from Fadi and Reema's destination wedding!

Photography by the talented Eric Cheng

Press Release: The Wedding Haven Award Winner for Outstanding Service and New Talent

The Wedding Haven is named winner for the Outstanding Service Award and New Talent Award in the 2017 WedBiz Awards (previously known as the Wedding Industry Experts Awards).

Dubai — February 17, 2017 – The Wedding Haven announced today that it has been named the very first winner from Dubai to be awarded the Outstanding Service Award and New Talent Award in the 2017 WedBiz Awards. 

The WedBiz Awards honor wedding industry professionals whose passion, talent, expertise or products are outstanding examples in their field.  An entrants eligibility for an award is based on votes which come from local wedding industry peers or individuals who have worked with the same clients as the entrant. 

The Wedding Haven was awarded both the Outstanding Service Award, which is awarded to wedding professionals from all fields of the industry, who consistently provide outstanding service. Local, wedding industry peers have voted for recipients of this award category because they are masters of their trade who have a strong track record for delighting couples by delivering outstanding service. And the New Talent Award, which recognizes companies and individuals who are new to the wedding industry. They have been operating for less than 3 years experience in their field, and are considered by other local wedding industry professionals, to be highly creative and productive when it comes to delivering their service or product. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they are also considered to be up and coming innovators in their field. 

“It is an honor to be recognized for the 2017 WedBiz Awards. As a wedding planning company, our team understands the importance of maintaining excellence and high standards, so that we can continue to exceed both our own expectations and goals, as well as those of our clients’ and peers. It is our honor to work with exceptional professionals in the wedding industry who not only make our job possible, but who push us to do our very best.” May Abu Jaber-Halasa

The Wedding Haven specializes in creating and planning one of a kind destination weddings that are inspired by the couple's own story, uniqueness, and experiences. We are committed to giving our clients an unforgettable experience from the first consultation to an absolutely flawless event. We are certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, as well as the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, and we provide full wedding planning services, wedding styling services, wedding coordination services, and much more. We provide our services in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

Club Tropicana: A Totally Tropical Wedding

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Club Tropicana: A Totally Tropical Wedding

A tropical themed wedding is all about recreating that care free, laid back, fun against a back drop of colour explosion. Think the Caribbean, think Hawaii… doesn’t that make you smile?
We decided to create a haven of tropical bliss… in the desert! 

You might think that sounds like madness, well then you probably haven’t visited a venue like Desert Palm PER AQUUM!


What we’d say is probably Dubai’s only true boutique hotel; PER AQUUM Desert Palm is a lush oasis in the Arabian desert, offering opulent accommodation within easy reach of metropolitan Dubai.
This stunning venue has much to offer, including Polo fields, an open-air Polo bar overlooking said fields, horses, scores of rare wild birds and stately lawns. 

Our talented photographer Paula Scalco really captured the romantic and intimate nature of the shoot, whilst really showcasing the sense of enjoyment. Our real life couple models really helped to reinforce really helped to translate that chemistry in to images. 

We chose laid plain white benches, contrasted against bright coloured cushions to really set the tropical simplistic scene. The large “I DO” sign added a fun element to the shoot and would be a great instagram worthy prop at a wedding, think of the photo opportunities! All of which was loaned to us by Party Social. 

The ever increasingly popular pineapple features so heavily on social media and being quintessentially tropical just had to make an appearance in our shoot! E-Walls Studio provided us with the vinyl wall stickers displaying a quote chosen by our loved up couple to use as our aisle décor. 

Sanjay and his amazing team at Firenze Flora created an effortless and graceful arch with white drapery, with pops of vivid coloured roses and hydrangeas. 

What is an essential item in tropical/desert weather? A fan of course! Design by Louma took care of this by designing fun wedding programs in the shape of a fan. Louma also created an entirely bespoke acrylic invitation for the bride and groom. We predict the acrylic keepsake invite will be big! 

The breath-taking and refined gown Ozlem Suer gown was loaned to us by the ever so helpful team at The Bridal Showroom Dubai. Featuring front white crystal embellishments and leafs patterned cap sleeves, the gown also has a fun daring side, with the accentuating open back that goes till the  natural waistline. 

Pretty as a picture… Our bride wore a delicate silver beaded handmade headpiece by Megan from ANAQA.

The devil is in the details… what could be truer about these beautifully indulgent Jimmy Choos! The colour really encapsulates the tropical vibe, whilst the style adds that classic elegance needed on every girls wedding day.

Our hair and make-up artist, Monica from MHG Beauty, gave our bride a classic and elegant look that really showcased her natural beauty. This was teamed with a timeless low bun hairstyle that would be sure to withstand that tropical heat!

Something blue… that was our groom in his handsome navy blue suit, and midnight bow-tie. The suspenders made sure to keep the look fun and relaxed.

Whoever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too? And finally, the wedding cake was created by Sugarology, and featured a colorful floral bottom tier, and a golden top tier with handmade sugar flowers. Beautiful yet unpretentious with a hint of fun… just like our shoot!

Creative Direction & Styling: The Wedding Haven

Planning & Coordination: The Wedding Haven

Photographer: Paula Scalco

Hair and Make-Up: Monica by MHG Beauty

Flowers: Firenze Flora

Stationary: Design by Louma

Signage Text: E-Walls Studio

Headpiece: ANAQA

Bridal Dress: The Bridal Showroom Dubai

Venue: PER AQUUM Desert Palm

Cake: Sugarology

Rentals: Party Social

Check out all the photos on our blog.

Alice in Wonderland Wedding

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(photo credit: Paula Scalco)

The evocative tale of Alice In Wonderland is not only full of whimsical charm but totally unforgettable, making it the quintessential inspiration for a wedding. The story pushes the boundaries, challenging the concept of the norm…hello? Did somebody say photo shoot?

“Why sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast”- The Queen


(photo credit: Joem Aldea)

Quite frankly, here at Wedding Haven we are entirely bonkers about our latest shoot shot by Paula Scalco and Joem Aldea and are super excited to show you why!

 “You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” – Alice

Our ‘Alice’ for the day, the beautiful and charming Rafael and Tamara. Tamara wore two enchanting lace numbers from the Bridal Showroom Dubai. While Rafael opted to wear a black suit with a subtle golden tie for the first look. For his second look, he wore a deep red tie which looked equally stylish with his dark colored suit. With the help of the amazing Monica from MHG Beauty, we styled Tamara's first look with a contrasting black version of the iconic Alice band, and for her second look we decided to go with a delicate beaded headband provided by The Bridal Showroom.

Blush Beauty Inc kept our model’s hair and make-up fresh and youthful whilst adding a touch of the classic Alice in Wonderland icey blue to the eyes.

“Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” – Daisy
Firenze flora created a beguiling suspended garden over the table place. The upside-down meadow became a retreat at the heart of the show.

The flower arrangements teamed with the surrounding greenery of our venue, the Polo Club Dubai resulted in a stunning woodland garden being created for our shoot.

“it’s always tea time” – The Mad Hatter
Party social gave a nod to the romanticism of the Victorian era with the delicately beautiful mint table napkins alongside a rustic wooden table and benches. Whilst The party’s clocks and old key elements certainly added to the fun and playful element to the shoot.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road with get you there” – Chesire Cat
We were pretty ‘’wild’ about Creative Box's original invites.

And the icing on the cake was… the cake! Crafted by Niceribbonatelier, it screamed “eat me”. The work of art enhanced the theatricality of the shoot whilst being full of exquisite details.

“In my world, the books would be nothing but pictures” – Alice

Styling / planning: Theweddinghaven
Photography @paula.scalco and @joemaldeaphoto
HMUA @blushbeautyinc
Cake @niceribbonatelier
Flowers @firenzeflora
Stationary @creativeboxdubai
Signage @_the_party
Bridal gowns @thebridalshowroomdubai
Rentals @partysocialuae
Venue @poloclubdubai
Models @tamarapauny and @rafacegon

Check out all the photos on our blog.


The Wedding Gift List

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The wedding gift list


Choosing a wedding gift list can be very time consuming but luckily enough, with the help of the world wide web you can this from the comfort of your own sofa (soon to be accessorized with plush new throws if you so wish). Which gift list company should you choose? What happens if you want physical gifts or contributions to your (desperately over budget) honeymoon fund?

The rise of social media has meant that the concept of a wedding registry, where bride and grooms select the gifts they would like, makes it far less stressful and simpler for all parties involved as most people have busy lives with little time to hunt gifts.

Irish-Palestinian Sara Farah launched White Almonds back in 2014, tailoring the site to the local region. According to their market research, while weddings in Europe invite between 100 and 200 people, in the UAE they are bigger affairs, catering to up to 1,000 guests. Invitees spend anywhere between Dh60,000 and a whopping Dh500,000 on gifts per wedding! A three-month summer job at a London wedding shop gave Sara Farah the idea for her business, they have now featured in elite magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and are extremely well established.

At White Almonds, an engaged couple can create a wedding list free of charge that includes household goods, furniture and art etc. They can even put their honeymoon on the registry. Guests can log in to contribute money towards the list of the desired gifts featured in it. Contributions can be made four months ahead and closed a month after the actual event.

Meanwhile, the money is held in a non-interest bearing trust account. After the list is closed, the accumulated money is uploaded on to a debit card valid for a year for the couple to then redeem against gifts.

We adore this luxurious pair of silver plated champagne flutes by Robbe & Berking.

As well as this unique and eye catching tray by Rablas.

Check out their site White Almonds


Check out all the photos on our blog.


The Wedding Budget: Self Help

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The Wedding Budget

“A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went”

Whether you have $100,000 or  $10,000 spend, with careful organization you can put together a fabulous wedding day. Here we talk how to budget for your special day.

First Things First…Who's Paying?

The first step for many couples is talking through with their families regarding who will pay for what. Traditionally, some brides' families still pick up the entire tab, but in this day and age more and more groom's families are participating too.
 Here are a few pointers to help out when having the discussion:

  • Try to talk to each family separately in order to have an open discussion and limit any uncomfortable feelings.
  • Ask both of your families if they are planning to contribute to the cost of the wedding. You will need to ask them to commit to a specific amount in order to be able to add up all the contributions to get to that final budget figure.
  • Rather than a ball park figure, some find easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding, such as the dress, honeymoon, or venue for instance.
  • Decide how much you both as a couple can contribute yourselves. This may well help when asking for a contribution from the families as they may for instance decide to match your own contribution.

(photo credit: Paula Scalco)

Considering Costs

Naturally, the type of wedding you have in mind will usually dictate the cost! If you're planning on a grand fairy tale affair then the budget may well run much higher than that the intimate wedding abroad.
In general, there are several major factors that will really affect what you'll need to set aside.

The Guest List

The per-head costs for catering and alcohol are typically the largest expense in the whole wedding. However, the beauty of this is that one of the most obvious ways to increase or decrease your costs is of course by altering the the guest list size is the surest way to increase or decrease your costs. By decreasing the guest list you’ll surely save on the smaller details such as stationary and rentals etc as you’ll need less of everything over all.

Wedding Location: Near or Far

Some cities/locations/venues are just more costly than others, plain and simple. Tourist spots and grand locations normally come at a heftier cost, whilst he more remote and rustic locations usually carry a lighter price tag.
Date and Time

Peak seasons and weekends are of course more highly sought after. This is another factor to consider when creating your budget.


Again, more grander and plush events come at a higher cost. Keep this in mind, as it’ll mean every aspect of the wedding will be that bit more expensive in order to keep in line with the opulent tone of the day. For instance, a full band is bound to cost more than a DJ of course.
Grander affairs are generally larger affairs at that!

(photo credit: Paula Scalco)

The Law Of Average

The average wedding cost is something in the midst of $31,000/£25,000!

Here is a simple breakdown of what you can expect to pay:   

Reception 45%
Ceremony 2%
Attire 8%
Flowers 8%
Music 8%
Photography 5%
Videography 5%
Stationary 3%
Rings 3%
Transportation 3%
Gifts 2%
Miscellaneous 8%

Total 100%

If you are paying for your honeymoon yourselves (some ask the guests to contribute to this fund rather than a traditional gift), remember to budget for that as well.

(photo credit: Paula Scalco)

Now, I think it’s time to get saving don’t you?

All the best of luck Xx

(All photos from previous shoots styled and planned by The Wedding Haven!)


Show Your Girls Some Love: Popping the Question in Style

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Show Your Girls Some Love: 
Popping the Question in Style


 Photograph by Melissa Fuller photography

Your bridesmaids are the ones who will really bring out the fun side of the wedding planning. They will keep you laughing when it all gets a bit daunting, talk you out of a Bridezilla moment, aid you through those inescapable family dramas, and talk through all those difficult decisions, never losing their patience through all that instagram tagging!

They will be there on the day to keep your locks pristine and those lips glossed to perfection, and that champagne flute full when necessary.

Asking your favourite girls to be your Bridesmaids should be a special moment and the experience is bound to bring your already close knit friendships to the next level. Pop the question to them in style by way of a thoughtful invitation or gift is a sweet gesture to spoil them considering you will be relying on them plenty, before and on your wedding day!

Stationary by the Creative Box Dubai

Your invite may be treasured by your bridesmaids as keepsakes of your special day!

Isn’t this the “sweetest”?

Stationary by the Creative Box Dubai

Cookies by Elenis Cookies

Flowers are an elegant and simple option

Flowers by Tulipano décor Dubai

Stationary by the Little Posy Print Company


Gift box by Monica Marie Designs

 Custom wine labels by Studio B Labels

Necklaces by Vintage Day Dreamers Designs


Make it a moment to remember! They definitely will..


Check out all the photos on our blog.

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Destination Wedding Timelines: The Importance of Being Earnest

Most of us women have dreamed of our wedding day for as long as we can remember. We've debated with ourselves over the years with questions such as "classic and simple or lavish and opulent?", "intimate or grand?” Some of us are even guilty of trying on a potential beau’s family name for size. Who me? Uttering the words "'At my wedding…" whilst amongst girlfriends when one is perfectly single. And so, after what seems like a lifetime of dreaming, here you are, engaged to be married! You have decided to shun convention and opt for a destination wedding because well, c’est unique! Now it’s your opportunity to give your big day the justice it deserves.

A famous quote I like to apply is just this "The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail." We all know that Rome wasn't built in a day, and as it so happens neither was an amazing wedding.

Destination weddings, done well can be a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience for all those involved; however planning from a distance makes it particularly important to give yourself enough time to plan to perfection.

So how long should you allow for planning?

Starting the planning process between 9-12 months in advance should allow ample time. This also means less stress and more time to enjoy the ride. No Bridezilla here!

And how should you go about this? Keep to a simple check list. Your time line should be divided into stages. This will really help you to keep in control.

The bigger picture is the first phase. This is your vision of how you want your big day to be and who you want to be a part of it.

Now is a great time to start searching for “The Dress”.

The important details come next. Once you have finally settled on a resort or venue and a date, thereafter you can move on to the save the dates, hotel bookings, a photographer, DJ or band and flowers arrangements etc… And obviously, the cake.

The finer details are your next point of call. Think travel plans, rings, outfits, playlists etc.

The finishing touches means, confirm, confirm, confirm.

It is now time to consider wedding gifts, hairstylists and makeup artists.

Tying up any loose ends. Make sure that nothing has fallen through the cracks. You'll know exactly who is attending and so can create a final seating chart and so on.

Now it’s time to tie the knot! Breathe, pat yourself on the back for all that you’ve accomplished and enjoy one of the best days of your life!

Photos by Paula Scalco Photography

Cake by Sugarology

Flowers by Firenze Flora

Rentals by Party Social

Bridal Dress  by The Bridal Showroom

Hair / Makeup by MHG Beauty

Check out all our photos HERE.

Rustic Chic Wedding at Zabeel Saray, Dubai

Rustic weddings are becoming ever increasingly popular with the more natural approach reflecting the want of an intimate affair. With the help of the rustic’s more refined cousin, vintage, we at Wedding Haven and Itsoura photography set about creating and capturing a relaxed yet detailed look.

Read More

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