To 'I do' or Not to

In honour of April’s wedding special, we’ve asked three of the GCC’s cool chicks to talk life, love and the pursuit of happiness – with or without a spouse

Dana Al Ramadhan

At 28 years old, Dana’s career path has already been varied and fascinating. She was born and raised in Kuwait, moved to Colorado to earn her BA in Business Administration, then headed back home to work for HSBC and gained a wealth of financial knowledge. The past month has seen a whirlwind of change for the Kuwaiti, with her wedding coinciding with her taking up a full-time position at Apotheca Beauty, the distribution company she owns with her two sisters. 

Tell us about your views on marriage.

I just got married last month. I think marriage can be a wonderful thing if that’s what you want, and if you’ve met the right person at the right time. I think everything in life, especially marriage, has a time and a place. Marriage may not be on everyone’s cards, but either way, I think it’s important to live the best life possible with what life hands you.

How important is marriage in your culture? 

Marriage is very important in Arab culture. However, I think we need to teach the younger generation of girls that there are many other important things in life besides marriage and that you don’t need to get married to live a happy and fulfilled life. Although I’ve only been married for one month, it has been a happy and wonderful experience. I do think that everyone is different and everyone needs to do what is best for them and not conform to societal pressure. 

What are some wedding traditions from your culture that you think others should know more about?

Usually in Kuwaiti culture, there are four main events when a woman gets married: her engagement, her dazza (which is where people come to her house to give her gifts), her milcha (the day the marriage certificate is signed), and the main wedding day. Every family always does it a little differently. 

Priya Jelly

Half-Indian and half-Singaporean Priya Jelly, in addition to having a fun name, has a job most little girls dream of – she’s founder of Maison des Fleurs, the UAE’s  luxurious flower delivery brand, which caters to celebrity and royal clients in the UAE and abroad. Priya herself creates many of the arrangements, which are modern and elegant but with a little French Romanticism thrown in. The brand’s really unique offering is specially preserved roses that last all year round.  

Why is marriage important to you?

It’s great to be married and its importance really depends from person to person. For me, though, out of all the events we do with Maison Des Fleurs, I love weddings the most as they’re the happiest day in someone else’s life.

How important is marriage in your culture? 

Being half-Indian and half-Singaporean, marriage has always played a significant role in both of my cultures. Luckily for me, my life has stayed the same after getting married as it was before, except that now I have a loving partner to go back home to every night! 

What’s your favourite wedding you’ve attended?  

Because of my brand, I get a chance to experience so many different types of weddings. But my favourite was our best friend’s wedding in Florence, Italy.  Everything was perfect – the flowers, the venue and the music. It was a very intimate affair and very different from the culture I come from.

One of my all-time favourite events we worked on recently was an anniversary in Monaco. The venue was stunning, and the flowers – light orchids and peonies – looked phenomenal in the setting!

Reem Salman

Jordanian native, Reem Salman is a lawyer, handbag designer and owner of the fabulous handbag company BELQUIS Bags. She spends her time between Qatar, where she makes her home, and Dubai, where her handbag company is headquartered. La Femme is a big fan of her vegetable-tanned leather bags and the company’s ethos: being confident to wear what you choose, even when it bucks the trends. 

How important is marriage in your culture? Do you think it’s important generally? 

Both genders get lots of pressure from family and society to get married. Marriage has always been considered the natural step when a person reaches a certain age. Parents tend to think that they have fulfilled their obligations towards their kids when their children get married. This is changing a little bit, in some parts of the Arab world, with high education rates and many marriages that aren’t based on a solid foundation are ending up in divorce; so, young people, families and the society in general are recognising the importance of not rushing into this important step.  

What are some wedding traditions from your culture that you think others should know more about?

You’re bringing back some good memories! Marriage in Jordanian culture is full of details that are based on traditions. I think the zaffeh is the most important one. This is when people walk the bride and the groom, each from their houses, with traditional songs and again walk them together into the wedding party – it is a nice tradition where family and close friends share some special moments with the newlyweds. 

Top tip:BELQUIS’s Angelina cross body in pink alligator is the perfect wedding handbag for brides not sticking with ivory or white. 

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