Elie Saab is one of the most renowned names in the world of bridal couture. So, when his son, Elie Saab Junior, married Christina Mourad during an enchanting wedding in Lebanon, it was no surprise that the famed designer created an incredible collection of bridal ensembles for his new daughter-in-law to showcase.
Even though Christina was a longtime friend of Elie’s brother Celio, the two never met until 2018, when Celio hosted a party with several friends. Elie asked Christina to sit next to him, thus marking the beginning of a whirlwind romance. Unbeknownst to Christina, an intimate proposal would quickly follow.
"WE WANTED TO GET MARRIED IN LEBANON AS WE BOTH GREW UP THERE"
“We were invited to my parents’ for dinner,” she describes, “and when we were still at home, Elie proposed. I did not expect it, as we were dating for a few months only. I was really surprised, but I immediately said, ‘Yes.’ He wanted to keep it simple.”
While Elie was ready to get married immediately after their engagement, the couple needed more time to plan their ceremony and design the bride’s gowns. Christina mentions, “We worked hand in hand with two wedding planners, Neiman Azzi and Ziad Raphael Nassar, who did a fantastic job and made this celebration so special.”
When it came to Christina’s bridal wardrobe, the design process was not only a collaboration with her future father-in-law, but a rather serendipitous circumstance as well. “I met my father-in-law ten years ago,” she explains. “On that day, I told him that my dream was to wear a dress designed by him on my wedding day. And ten years after, my dream came true. I met with him and we discussed my tastes and what I would feel comfortable wearing. We had the same vision and saw eye-to-eye, so I felt at ease. We only had a few fittings. He created two unique gowns that perfectly suit who I am.”
To match the scale and glamour of their wedding vision, the couple decided to return to their roots for a lavish destination affair. “We wanted to get married in Lebanon as we both grew up there, but also because the country offers the possibility to create different atmospheres with the mountains not too far from the city,” says Elie. “We organized a three-day celebration that started with an oriental pre-cocktail party, followed by the religious ceremony the next day, and later on a 1,200-guest afterparty held in Faqra. The celebrations ended on the third day with a pool party in the mountains.”
Christina and Elie were wed during a religious ceremony abiding by Lebanese and Maronite traditions. The bride wore a sleeveless gown with a high neckline, voluminous skirt, 4.5-meter train, and a matching veil and headpiece. It took a total of twelve embroiderers, three pattern makers, six tailors, three artwork designers, and ten petites mains to create the gown made of tulle, silk and lurex embroidery, and half a million sequins. Later that evening, Christina changed into her second dress consisting of a heart-shaped corset, 650,000 gold sequins, 150,000 Swarovski strass pieces, and a sequined veil – the final masterpiece after 450 hours of embroidery, 150 hours of moulage and volume creation, 80 hours of embroidery layout design, and 200 hours of tailoring.
Friends and family gathered for a lavish reception at the Faqra Club with high-profile guests including Dita Von Teese, Karolina Kurkova, and Lily Donaldson. The party continued well into Saturday, with everyone gathering once again at Elie Saab Senior’s Faqra residence – the bride wearing a full-length aquamarine silk georgette dress from the ELIE SAAB Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
To cap off such an epic wedding experience, the newlyweds jetted off on a multi-destination honeymoon in Ibiza, Italy, the Swiss Alps, and Turkey.
Wedding Dresses: Elie Saab; Photography by: ParAzar Productions; Ceremony Location: Le Plateau de Bakish, Qant Bakish, Lebanon; Reception Location: Faqra Club, Faqra, Lebanon; Wedding Planners: Neim Azzi & Ziad Raphael Nassar, Beirut, Lebanon; Assistant Photographer: German Larkin, Milan, Italy