Stef and Malek’s Colourful Bohemian Wedding at Villa Taman Ahimsa, Bali
Stef and Malek fell in love during their first holiday to Bali together – so it was only fitting for them to return to the island to celebrate their marriage! Joined by 56 of their closest friends and family travelling from both Italy and Dubai, these two hosted their day amongst the beautiful surrounds of Villa Taman Ahimsa in Cemagi.
Planned by the talented Elvira from Hari Indah, this dreamy Bali celebration was packed with colourful florals, eclectic bohemian styling and thoughtful details that showcased Stef and Malek’s Italian and Palestinian heritage. From the music selections to the food and wine choices, each element was carefully curated to reflect the two cultures coming together.
Working with a bright and bold colour palette including fuschia, magenta, lavender, burgundy and green, Stef and Malek began their day with an intimate beachfront ceremony underneath a naked tipi. From there, guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the garden, with an eclectic mix of furniture from Bali Event Hire creating the perfect bohemian setting.
As the sun set, dinner was served under the stars, as guests sat amongst earthy timber tables adorned with an abundance of colourful blooms, scattered candles and trailing linens. To complete the look, a canopy of fairy lights and floral chandeliers were strung from above, creating the most beautiful warm glow – magic!
Keep scrolling to see more from this dreamy Bali wedding (captured by Axioo) as Stef and Malek share their top tips on hosting a destination wedding, staying organised, and the benefits of working with a wedding planner.
How we met:
I met Malek during a night out with my girlfriends shortly after I moved to Dubai. He was out with his cousins who were visiting him from abroad. We glanced at each other from across the room and within the next two minutes Malek approached me and introduced himself. We ended up talking for two hours and with a dinner date for the week after 🙂
Malek’s proposal was very sweet and totally unexpected. It was just a very normal weekend and we decided to stay in, order a pizza (my favorite food is a good Italian) and watch a movie, to be precise the Disney movie “Aladdin” … we both love Disney movies and once in a while we watch our favorites.
I noticed that Malek had quite a weird behavior that night because he kept smiling, taking videos of me just watching the movie, singing every single song of the movie… but I just thought he was in a happy mood. Once the movie finished, he told me to wait because he had to grab something from his car. And then it started… He kept going back and forth from the car gifting me one rose at the time, making jokes and saying very sweet things every time. He kept doing this 51 times till the last rose and finally he came in with a huge 2 meters tall teddy bear. I was so happy about the teddy bear that I didn’t even think about a possible ring at that moment! After a while, however, I asked laughing, “where is my ring?”, still not sure if this was a proposal or simply a very sweet gesture from him. He laughed as well and told me that if I really was sure about wanting to marry him and I wanted this from the deep of my heart, I should check in the teddy bear’s heart and look for it. And there it was. I opened the back zipper of the bear and I found the ring. I turned and Malek was on his knee… you know the answer!
Wedding date: 15 August 2017
Wedding Ceremony Venue: Villa Taman Ahimsa, Cemagi Bali
Wedding Reception Venue: Villa Taman Ahimsa, Cemagi Bali
Total Guests: 56
Our style/Inspiration: The style of the wedding was colourful bohemian with ethnic and vintage accents. The main colors we used were gradual tones of pink, magenta, fuchsia and deep red and the side colors were purple, violet, lavender, orange and green.
We used several boho details like teepee structures decorated with flowers and vines, lanterns, gypsy boho ottomans, a wooden swing, colorful tea light holders, vintage carpets and colorful cushions.
We also wanted to include some details of both our countries, Italy and Palestine: we arranged a cheese selection with the most typical cheeses from both Italy and Palestine and of course we had a music selection of both Italian and Arabic songs. We also rented a typical Italian Vespa that was also embellished with colorful flowers.
As table escorts cards, we used “Canestrelli”, typical Italian cookies with a Palestinian design painted on the top along with guest name and table number. Finally, some shisha and some Italian wine!
Who we couldn’t have done it without:
Being a long-distance destination wedding and not being able to travel there myself to take care of the preparations, I knew from the beginning that I needed a very good wedding planner based in Bali. My planner and stylist Elvira Nawrocka from Hari Indah Wedding Planning helped me with every step of the wedding’s preparation, from venue scouting till every detail of the set up. After spending hours chatting on Skype and in WhatsApp she also became a very good friend and we were sincerely sad to say goodbye after the wedding. I wanted something very particular and I wanted to take care of every little detail and Elvira was amazing in this, always coming up with new ideas and proposing a lot of great options. She is the one who managed to make my dream wedding come true.
Advice for future Bali Brides:
If you decide to go for a destination wedding I truly believe that the best option is to make sure to hire a wedding planner (possibly wedding stylist at the same time) based there and make sure that they are 100% dedicated to you. I also think that it’s very important to take care of every small detail because that’s what makes a wedding successful and enjoyable for the guests.
Lastly, enjoy every moment of the creation process and don’t stress about it… you will miss it once it’s done!
Our Wedding Day…
Wedding Planner/Stylist: Elvira from Hari Indah Wedding Planning & Design
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Décor/Furniture: Supply & Demand, Bali Event Hire, Bali Sewa Sewa
Flowers/Florist: Herni from Gloriosa Flowerhouse.
I still remember when the florist came early in the morning morning on the day of the wedding…I was impressed by the colors and the quantity of the flowers, it was beautiful! Herni Gloriosa really did an amazing job.
Flowers: proteas, hydrangeas, roses, spray roses, snapdragon, ginger flower, anthurium, lotus pod, green and orange berries, delphinium, eustoma, agapanthus
Leaves: eucalyptus, textured local greeneries, pampas grass.
We also installed a wooden frame on top of the bridal table covered with greenery and with lush hanging flowers, vines and mixed colorful lights. For the guests’ tables, we used 8 gold chandeliers with flowers and foliage inside decorated with fairy lights in a star shape.
Hair & Make-up: Manuel Losada Make Up Artist
Photography: Adi from Axioo Bali
Videography: Robb from Axioo Bali
Favours: Yes, we gifted all our guests with Palestinian inspired embroidered bracelets handmade by Palestinian women in refugee camps in Lebanon. We used the bracelets as napkins holders during the dinner with a card attached saying:
“Thank you for sharing our special day with us!
Love brought us together, a Palestinian and an Italian, and with love 10 Palestinian ladies from the Sabra & Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon hand embroidered 60 bracelets for our small Italian wedding #LOVEcanDoGood “
My dear friend Ahmed Chaaban, co-founder of Palestyle (https://www.palestyle.com ) was essential in coming up with this idea and getting the right contacts to bring it to reality
Catering: MNM Innovative Concepts, their service was impeccable.
We started with a selection of canapes to be served around during the cocktail: Seared beef tenderloin with rucola and pecorino romano on pesto bruschetta, Salmon tartare in crispy cone and seared prawn with black sesame seed, soba, ponzu and chili flament.
For dinner, we offered 2 choices of starters and 3 choices of mains. For starters, we served Seared scallops with champignon, apple dressing, white cabbage pure and red cabbage gazpacho, and a second option of vegetable falafel on grilled eggplant salad with pomegranate and lemon.
The mains options were: 1) Cold fish confit with Lobster roll, zucchini rolls, almond crusted, chestnut pure, water chestnut, turmeric lemon zest oil 2) Tenderloin, baby carrots, celeriac pure, Kalamata crumble, broad bean, caramelized onion, creamy mashed potatoes 3) Aubergine and zucchini lasagna layered with citrus pesto, served with tangerine and kalamansi, tarragon gnocchi, hoi sin spring onions and soy cream.
As explained before, we also had a cheese station with a selection of Italian and Arabic cheeses with olives, grapes, and fresh figs on the side
Cake/Dessert: Cheese station.
The cake was a three-tier cake with tier separators decorated with real flowers in the same style of the ones used for the wedding flower arrangement. The first tier was chocolate cake with salted caramel filling, the second tier was lemon cake with raspberry filling, and the third tier was red velvet cake with cheese cream filling. There was a buttercream finish on all tiers in different colors to match the color theme
Stationery/Invitations: Hari Indah
Entertainment: DJ Billy
Gift Registry: Contribution to our Honeymoon
I decided to walk the aisle on the notes of a very classic and romantic track “Canon in D – Pachelbel)
However, Malek decided to make a grand entrance in typical Arab style with a very nice Zaffa song accompanied by his family and friends. The song was a mix of a few Arabic songs and it was a very fun and happy moment, especially for our Italian guests who never saw anything like that before and really enjoyed the show.
We finished the ceremony with the song “Lost Frequencies – Reality” because it was Malek’s and my theme song during our first trip to Bali
We picked “Fly me to the moon” by Frank Sinatra for our first dance because we both love Frank Sinatra and the lyrics of the song were perfect to describe our feelings towards each other. For the cake cutting we played “That’s amore” by Dean Martin, I just love the lyrics and I liked the idea of adding some Italian vibes to that moment! “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie That’s amore” 🙂
For the rest of the reception we mixed both our cultures with classic Arabic, Italian, and of course English songs
The Bridal Party Details…
Bride’s Dress: Rue De Seine bridal – Beau Gown
Bride’s Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Taylor made
I had 3 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls. My bridesmaids wore tailor made dresses, 2 of them made from a Dubai based tailor and 1 of them from an Italian one. I didn’t want to force them to wear something they didn’t feel comfortable with, so I simply bought the fabric for all of them and give them complete free rein about the design. I know them well enough to know they all have amazing taste and I was totally comfortable with this option, also to make it look more personal. They all wore a slightly different flower crown and a bouquet that looked great with the fabric of the dresses.
Bridemaid’s Shoes: Their own
Groom’s Attire & Shoes: Both my husband and his brother/best man Sultan tailored a suit in Dubai. They picked a light beige cotton fabric for the jacket and pants, and a plain white fabric for the shirt and embroidered them both with their initials and the date of the wedding. They also wore respectively dark red and blue suspenders and plain white Givenchy sneakers.
Flowergirls/Page Boys: My flower girls were both wearing an off-white bohemian maxi-dress by the Australian brand Tea Princess with a white flower crown and custom-made Converse embellished with Swarovski crystals and pearls.
Jewellery: I didn’t think it would have been nice to wear a lot of jewelry with the dress I picked, therefore I only wore a headpiece with crystals and a ring that my mom gifted me on the same morning. This ring means a lot to both of us because it’s the ring that my father gifted her when she was expecting me. It’s a heart shaped gold ring with one green tourmaline and one purple amethyst stone and I always loved it since I was a baby. It was the best gift my mum could have thought about
The rings: Tiffany
Honeymoon Details: Because all our guests travelled from far to come to our wedding we decided to share part of our honeymoon with them and stay in Bali. We spent one week with family and friends between Canggu and Seminyak. Afterwards, we headed alone to Ubud, very magical place, and after that we travelled by boat to Lombok and Gili Islands and relaxed there for another week.
Where did you find your styling inspiration for your Bali wedding?
Mainly through Instagram and Pinterest. I’ve always loved to follow accounts with boho vibes that features events and weddings therefore it wasn’t so difficult for me to find the inspirations for my wedding. Elvira played a key role on this of course! I was also following The Bali Bride account and I found many good inspo here as well☺
What was the hardest part about planning a destination wedding?
You really have to trust your wedding planner a lot and find someone who is always available to help you and Skype as much as possible, since I’ve never been able to go on location till a week before the wedding. I think that’s the hardest part, especially if you are someone obsessed with details and perfection like me.
Why did you choose Bali as your wedding destination?
The reason why we picked this location is because we went there on holiday 3 years ago and not only we fell in love with the place, but we also fell in love with each other. While we were there we agreed that if we were going to get married that would be the place.
When we gave the news to our families they weren’t so happy about it due to the long travel (17 hours from Italy and 9 from Dubai!) but after the wedding fortunately they said it was worth it.
How did you stay organised while planning a destination wedding? Lot of excel sheets!!! And well organized folders! And patience ☺