Greis and Ayman met through work at London’s Mansion House, so they chose another iconic building, Hampton Court Palace, as their backdrop
Palace of dreams at Hampton Court
‘The first time I saw Ayman, at a work event, I thought he was admiring the architecture at the Mansion House when, in fact, he was trying to get my attention, so I was surprised when he came up to speak to me!’ says Greis. ‘When it came to choosing a venue, we were both in awe of Hampton Court Palace. The Painted Room ceiling was magnificent and the views of the Thames were hard to beat. Plus having a space that is already beautiful helps set the vision.’
That vision included an intimate ceremony with a reading from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet to reflect Ayman’s Lebanese heritage, while Greis walked down the aisle with her mum to Albanian songs to celebrate hers.
The ceremony was followed by Champagne in the grounds to the sounds of a string trio, followed by a tour of the palace for guests while the couple had photos taken. Dinner, served at tables named after their favourite London parks, was Mediterranean-inspired and featured crispy duck with fresh compressed watermelon, followed by sea bass with baby fennel and an olive and lemon butter sauce, then a lavish peach Melba served in a chalice. And just in case anyone was still hungry, Edible Essence created a towering, tiered cake covered in sugared flowers. ‘They almost looked real,’ says Greis. ‘We went for indulgent dark chocolate (everyone loves chocolate!) and fragrant lemon drizzle – the results were beyond my wildest dreams.’
Designs on us
‘Our stationery was our only go at DIY. A friend came up with the idea of using the outline of the palace and love doves on the invitations, then we sealed them with wax using a personalised stamp we got via Amazon.’
Nearest and dearest
Fifty guests were invited to the celebration at Hampton Court Palace and the couple kept things personal by deciding against a traditional top table. ‘We wanted our first married meal to be with our parents, so we sat in the centre of the room to be closer to them,’ says Greis. The couple also saved their first dance – At Last by Etta James – until the party definitely got started two weeks later at a second celebration in Beirut. ‘On that occasion, we danced alongside 450 guests for seven hours straight!’
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