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Meet May from The Wedding Haven

Meet May, from The Wedding Haven

April 28, 2017

Today we had the pleasure to interview our lovely Wedding Planner, May from The Wedding Haven, based in Dubai.

Would you mind to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is May Abu Jaber Halasa, and I am the owner and lead wedding planner at The Wedding Haven. I am a certified wedding planner, and destination wedding okanner by the Wedding Planning Institute of Canada, as well as a certified travel agent by the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. I speak four languages fluently including Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. I've got a background in Human Rights and Gender Studies from the University of Oxford, and I moved from Toronto to Dubai with my lovely husband, and gorgeous dog Kaia more than a year ago.

When and why did you start The Wedding Haven?
When I was planning my own destination wedding at the Dominican Republic, I felt a sense of belonging. I felt like this was what I was meant to be doing. I initially attributed that to the excitement of getting married and all the emotions associated with that. However, a few months after my wedding, I had an intense feeling that wedding planning was my calling. So I decided to take several wedding planning courses. I got certified, and took a leap of faith. I quit my job, and founded The Wedding Haven.

What do you enjoy the most in your job?
One of my absolute favourite things about this industry is getting to meet new people on a daily basis. Whether it's fellow suppliers, or couples, every person teaches you a valuable lesson. I also love seeing hard work pay off. It's a nice treat seeing your bride and groom let loose on the dance floor and actually enjoy themselves after months of planning.

How would you describe your style? What makes you different, unique?
I tend to move away from the traditional. I love being creative, and I always encourage my couples to do the same.

Why should they hire a planner?
Planning for a wedding is an incredible exciting time; however, there are countless details that go into making an event run smoothly. With a busy career and personal life, it can be difficult for couples to find the time and resources needed for such a task. I think that hiring a wedding planner is the best wedding-related investment that couples will ever make. Here are my top 3 reasons:
Yes you can find websites with checklists that tell you when and what you should be doing every month, but planning a wedding means haggling with suppliers to get the absolute best prices, making schedules, lists, and reviewing each of them over and over again, it means being able to see the full picture of decor, flowers, stands, lighting, sound, etc.

You and your partner have commitments that keep you busy around the clock. Your job, your family, your hobbies. You have a full plate. This is our full time job; we do this for a living. We know the ins and outs of the industry and can source things in half the time that you can.

That's right. Hiring a wedding planner can actually save you money. Wedding planners help you create a budget, and then make sure you stick to it. I have relationships with vendors, I know when prices are inflated, I know where to find discounts, I know whom to trust.

What would you be your top tips when choosing a wedding planner in Dubai?
Do your research. The industry is saturated with wedding planners, and there's someone for every client. So look into their credentials, meet them in person, and make sure you click. Your planner is someone you'll be working with for several months, so if your gut tells you they are not the right person for the job, trust your instinct. You need to be able to feel comfortable around them, to be yourself, and communicate your thoughts easily.

How do planners really add a couple's personality to a wedding?
It's all in the details. One of my favourite parts of planning a wedding is translating my couple's tastes into what guests can see - so mainly decor. So if my couple loves traveling, it's looking into creative and unique ways of including that travel element into the wedding - it could be adding a dessert table with candy from different countries that the couple has been to, or adding table "numbers" in the form of countries. With a little creativity, planners can do wonders.

Is there any interesting trend in the wedding themes this year?
For 2017 expect to see bold and bright colours. Pantone named green the color of the year, which means we expect to see a lot of more rustic, earthy, and vibrant elements, which is pretty exciting since green is a perfect colour for all seasons! Also expect to see more non-traditional wedding invitations that mesh earthy vibes and simple sophistication such as wooden invites, touches of monochromatic / foil stamping, water colour botanical illustrations including leaves and flowers, and finally white ink is making a comeback.

What is the one piece of advice that you would give to our readers that are getting married?
Trust your planner. We are here to give you exactly what you want on your special day keeping in mind the bigger picture. Be open to their suggestions - we do this for a living.

As you know MyList is specialised in gift registry, working closely with brides-to-be, if you had to use it what would be your dream wedding gift?
I am sort of biased when it comes to this question given my passion for traveling, so I'd have to say a surprise vacation. And then a super cool suitcase that I can use for traveling!

Finally, could you share with us what are your feedback about MyList?
I like MyList because it is a practical tool that takes away the guessing out of wedding gifting for guests, while giving the couple some control over what they will be receiving, which cuts down the chances of receiving the same gift twice. Not to mention that it gives you the option to exchange gifts if you wish to do so!