When Hassib El Hage realized how much he and his girlfriend, Amy Watson, had been through together, he knew it was time to take the next step. With his mother and grandmother going on a trip to Lebanon, he used the opportunity to enlist their help in procuring the perfect ring without being detected. “Each day they sent me messages with photos of many, many rings, and because of the time difference, I would have to wake up in the middle of the night,” reveals Hassib. After three months of secretly looking over options, his mom and grandmother found a ring he felt was worthy of his beloved. In line with his sly search, Hassib surprised Amy with a proposal when she was least expecting it. “We were in our lounge room,” she tells. “I was anticipating it happening the week after when he had planned a weekend getaway!”
Eschewing family tradition, the couple decided to have an intimate destination wedding in Maui, far from the couple’s home in Sydney. “In my culture, we have very large weddings, so to have only very close friends and family was unique,” explains the groom. Amy and Hassib chose the island because they wanted a relaxing location where their nearest and dearest could truly enjoy themselves. “Hawaii is magical,” gushes Amy. Planning your nuptials from halfway around the world is no easy task, even when the bride is a self-described “control freak.” Bringing in an expert consultant was essential. “I had an image in my head of what I wanted,” Amy affirms, and Unveiled Hawaii was able to bring that vision to life.
In accordance with Hassib’s faith, he and Amy were wed in a Catholic church. “The ceremony was most important to me,” he confirms. The beautiful paintings and religious statues that filled the space meant that very little décor was necessary. “We didn’t want to deflect from the art, instead sticking to handmade Hawaiian leis on the ends of the pews,” the bride notes. Her wedding gown was decoration enough: a stunning fit-and-flare dress with lace cutouts along the side of the skirt and ethereal off-the-shoulder tulle straps. The groom cites Amy’s walk down the aisle as one of the moments that most sticks in his memory. He looked rather sharp himself, in a midnight blue suit jacket and white bow tie, while his groomsmen donned classic black ensembles. Amy’s bridesmaids wore flower crowns instead of carrying bouquets, with violet orchids adding a pop of color. Their dusty rose dresses were a convenient convertible style, allowing for variance among the frocks. As Amy and Hassib stood at the altar in front of just 18 of their closest friends and family, the happy couple was at last married, years after they first met while working at the Sydney International Airport.
After taking gorgeous photos in the rainforest of Maui, the newlyweds were greeted by revelers outside their reception tent. The long, elegant dining table featured a nod to the location of the nuptials, as fresh pineapples were peppered amongst the alabaster flower arrangements. “I wanted romantic white with a touch of Hawaiian,” the bride says of her vision. Crystals were draped from large displays of orchids and freesias, while smaller arrangements were held in mercury-glass vases. Amy’s bouquet was given a place of honor in the center of the table, and the chairs were woven with flowing ivory linens. In case there was any risk of their wedding day not exuding enough romance, rain fell as Amy and Hassib swayed to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri for their first dance. After enjoying the buffet, guests were treated to the couple’s charming three-layered cake. The confection included a white chocolate ganache, pearl and orchid detailing, and a topper that spelled out “Mr. and Mrs. El Hage.” “It was delicious!” exclaims the bride.
As they did with their wedding, the newlyweds keep their advice to future brides and grooms simple: “Just make your fiancée happy,” asserts Hassib. “But also help with input or decide on a few things,” he adds. Concludes Amy, “Listen to yourself and follow what you both want.”