Zahirah & Andrew on top of the world - Wedding Album

Zahirah & Andrew on top of the world

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Local TV presenter Zahirah Variawa and her Australian love Andrew Marty celebrated their union in opulent style in their adopted home of Dubai.


I’ve always been a fan of Steven Khalil, and within minutes of sitting down with him, he’d sketched a dress that was exactly what I had in mind – it was amazing. The dress was a pale-nude tone in a trumpet style with an off-the-shoulder neckline, embellished with pearls and crystals on silk crêpe.


Classic elegance, if I had to term it. Visually, we wanted something that, when we looked back in 10, 15 years, wouldn’t feel as though it was dated. 


Fairmont The Palm hotel in Dubai was always somewhere I wanted to have our wedding. It offered us a variety of spaces for the ceremony, canapés and reception, with open-air views of the cityscape. Our apartment is also across the water, so in a way we felt like our kitties at home could see us from the window!


Our colours were mint, gold, white and grey. There was no theme in terms of the decor; the seaside location did a lot for the beauty of the setting. I worked off some images that I liked, which inspired the dreamy lighting, fresh florals and the touch of character in the signage and decor elements, such as the bicycle and chandeliers.


With a South African-Australian guest list, meat really was a must! Mains were a choice of lamb and gnocchi or chicken Parmigiana (Andrew’s favourite – and that of all the Aussie guests, judging by their visible excitement at noticing it on the menu). We also had a seemingly never-ending dessert table and an ice-cream counter, which was a huge hit.


During cocktails, we wanted guests to do fun activities and mingle rather than fill up on food, so we had quirky games for them to play while they lazed on the couches and took in the Dubai sunset. SA comedian and presenter Siv Ngesi MC’d for us. He had the crowd singing Zulu songs, on their feet dancing to Miriam Makeba’s famous ‘Click Song’ and telling hilarious jokes all night.


Dress – Steven Khalil
Jewellery – Randeree Jewellers
Groom’s suit – Tom Ford
Catering – Fairmont The Palm
Stationery – Wedding Paper Chic
Photography – Brett Florens
Videography – Hauke