Leila Sidawy and Nabil Fallouh could have first locked eyes at a wedding in Syria they both attended in 2005, but they didn’t. The two could have met in Washington, DC in 2007, but Leila has no recollection of the introduction Nabil insists they had. It wasn’t until yet another wedding in 2014 that the pair finally admits to formally meeting. “While neither of us would use the phrase ‘love at first sight,’ other people in attendance at the nuptials say just that,” smiles Leila. Following an evening filled with conversation, the duo became an item and decided to date long distance between the nation’s capital and Michigan. When Nabil popped the question a year later during their anniversary dinner, Leila was entirely surprised. “I repeatedly asked him to explain what was going on. ‘I’m proposing,’ he kept clarifying in between laughs,” recalls the bride-to-be.
The original plan was to host their vow exchange in September, but after discovering that their desired luxury hotel venue had an opening in May, Leila found herself on the phone with her fiancé. “I remember calling Nabil to ask what he thought about May instead of September, and he said, ‘Well, I know that’s four months sooner,’” the bride jokes. “I took this as his blessing and booked it!” The couple quickly hired Blair Peterson of SoCo Events to help design the day – and not a moment too soon for the busy bride. “The decision fatigue caught me completely off guard,” she remarks. “I’d heard of this concept from notable business leaders, and it made a lot of sense to me while undergoing the ordeal of wedding planning.”
When the spring day finally arrived, Leila’s stress melted away as she readied herself – donning a classic trumpet gown with a simple and chic strapless neckline with extra tulle detailing. Carrying an understated bouquet of ivory and light-blush blooms accented with crystals, the bride met her tuxedo-clad groom for a sweet “first look.” “It was so special to have a relatively private moment with him,” says Leila. Later, the two were married in front of their 212 guests inside a softly lit ballroom underneath a verdant floral arch.
A short time after the “I dos,” friends and family had gathered in a separate space for dinner, dancing, and celebration. Attendees found their seats by way of escort cards placed on shimmering gold cubes that complemented the reception décor perfectly. “When asked what my color scheme was, I typically responded with a question: ‘Is sparkly, shiny, glitter a color?’ I’ve since learned that this is called ‘mixed metals!’” muses the bride. As such, tables – both round and long – displayed ghost chairs and silver linens from Nüage Designs. Circular concepts featured tall white-and-green centerpieces made up of hydrangea blooms, orchids, Tibet roses, and lisianthus blossoms. Longer tablescapes sported a collection of satellite florals and an intricate arrangement of glass votives and candles. Edison bulbs suspended from long crystal strands were displayed over the dance floor, which featured the newylweds’ custom logo. Behind the DJ booth, a gold geometric structure tied the metallic motif together.
Leila and Nabil desired to infuse a bit of their heritage into their special day. “We wanted to honor our homeland, Syria, as best as we could through various elements,” explains the bride. “We had a traditional entrance accompanied with Arabic drummers, played several Arabic songs throughout the night, Nabil’s friend lead a traditional call-and-response chant, and there was an Arabic sweets candy bar from Aleppo for guests to make their own goodie bags.” In addition to the cultural components, the sweethearts also included a Broadway-style performance from a trio of singers masquerading as waiters. In the end, despite the initial stress, everything came together. “The look and feel was exactly what we wanted for our big day,” gushes Leila.