Mikael Daher and Lana Khoury met on the picturesque, white-washed coast of Mykonos in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2014, on that very same island, that they began dating. At that time, they were living halfway across the world from each other. “That year was spent up in the air between Paris, London, Athens, Beirut, and Dubai. Phone calls, WhatsApp messages, and late-night Skype calls – you name it, we did it!” the couple tells Savoir Flair. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The wedding celebrations kicked off in Beirut with an Oscars-themed dinner party on the night of May 12th. “We wanted the dinner party to be classy but also fun for the young guests in attendance. The theme gave everyone a chance to feel as glamorous as they wanted, and we had fun playing with famous Oscar-winning movie names and aspects,” explains Lana. The walls of the venue, Biel’s Pavillon Royal, were lined with photos of the couple re-creating some of Hollywood’s most beloved rom-com posters, including Notting Hill, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. From life-sized Oscar statues to a dessert room filled with cakes made to look like pop-corn boxes and clapperboard-shaped cookies, the scene was set for a night of Hollywood magic.
The next day, over 600 guests gathered for lunch in the Nahr el Kalb valley for a “Kan Zaman”-themed party organized by Weddings ‘R’ Us by Ghada Blanco. “Being Palestinian, born in Washington DC, and raised in London, I wanted to do something very different and share my rich cultural background with everyone – to give them a little taste of the old days, a return to our roots. I felt that it was important to show everyone a glimpse of my family’s colorful traditions, from the zaffe entrance and the dancing to the food.”
Traditional Levantine fare was laid out in a souk-inspired set-up, with a whole section dedicated to Lebanese sweets and crafts. Adjacent to that, a glass structure had been erected and decorated with mashrabiya details and pop-art prints of old Lebanese singers to drive home the day’s theme. Only a towering cake made to resemble a stack of embellished oriental cushions could distract the guests from the succession of acts on stage.
At this point, you’re probably thinking: How on Earth did they top that? The answer is simple; for their wedding night, Lana and Mikael left Earth behind and embarked on an outer-space journey to their very own universe. Named MIKLAA – a playful twist on “Milky Way”– the celebrations were held in Biel’s main reception hall. “The idea was that it was our very own planet, created for our guests,” Lana explains.
“Never in my life have I felt as happy and excited as I did on our wedding night. I felt like all my dreams had come true. I was finally marrying my best friend, my soulmate, and the man of my dreams. I had everyone I loved around me, all of which contributed to the amazing atmosphere. It was the most magical night of my life. The house, church, and wedding venue were set exactly how I had envisioned and more,” says Lana of her big day.
The couple worked with Mine Events and Pamela Mansour to achieve their vision, which included a welcome area divided into four sections: Beirut (Mikael’s home), London (Lana’s home), Mykonos (where the couple met), and Paris (where they say their love prevailed). The 1,350 guests in attendance were treated to floral arrangements of bright-pink orchids, roses, peonies, hydrangeas, and cherry blossoms, huge LED-screen domes, and a rotating Milky Way under which they danced the night away. Intergalactic performers entertained throughout the first half of the evening before artists such as Tinie Tempah, Joe Ashkar, and Ragheb Alama took over to provide the evening’s soundtrack.
As for Lana’s dress? The bride wore Valentino. “My late grandmother, with whom I was very close, was very elegant and always wore Valentino. It was her favorite fashion house, and she bought me dresses from there from a young age, so it felt right to be picking a designer that was very dear to her heart.” Lana met with the brand’s design team a total of five times between Paris, London, and the atelier in Rome. “During my very first meeting with the designers, I tried on a part of the embroidered fabric with the veil and I immediately started tearing up. My heart warmed up. I knew there and then that Valentino was going to design my dream wedding dress.”
With so many beautiful moments to choose from, the bride recalls her absolute favorite, saying, “It would have to be walking down the aisle with my father. Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. My father has always been my rock and my ultimate role model. Walking down the aisle with him, linking arms while looking into Micky’s eyes, was a very surreal feeling. I knew that my father wasn’t giving away his daughter – he was gaining a son. That moment brought so much love to my heart.”
Photos: Courtesy of Bright Light Photography