One Couple's Two Over-the-Top Weddings in Greece and Lebanon

Complete with six parties across two countries—and a performance by Diddy

Updated 03/15/18

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Celine Zabad and Jad Najjar have known one another since they were children. “Our fathers were both working in Nigeria in the 1980s, so that’s where we first met,” says Celine. “When we were teens, Jad and his family moved back to the U.S., and my family moved back to Lebanon, and we lost touch. Many years later, we ran into one another in a nightclub in Beirut!” Adding to the list of international destinations that make up their relationship, Jad took Celine on a surprise birthday trip to the Maldives, which is where he proposed in April of 2015.

When planning their wedding, the couple couldn’t decide between a more intimate celebration and a blowout bash, so they had both! Over the course of two weeks, they celebrated in both Greece and Lebanon, with hundreds (literally!) of family and friends in attendance. First up: their July 8, 2017 wedding in Spetses, Greece. There, 180 guests joined the couple for two events designed by the bride herself. “Jad and I are both beach babies, and always envisioned a sunset ceremony,” says Celine. “Greece was central for both of our families to arrive from all over the world, and a short trip to Lebanon for the rest of the festivities. We chose Spetses for its natural beauty and the quaint village feel.” The celebration—planned by Cherry on Top, produced by Deplan V, coordinated by Lauren Drablier, and photographed by Pablo Beglez—was the perfect combination of luxe and laid back. And of course, it took place on the beach!

After spending some intimate time with their guests in Greece, they newlyweds hopped on a plane and headed to Lebanon, where nearly 900 people joined them for a party like nothing you’ve ever seen before. From July 11 to July 15, they treated their loved ones to incredible entertainment, spectacular design, and more than a few surprises. “I wanted to complete the story we began in Greece with an evening inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” says Celine, taking a cue from her passion for literature. “My vision was to create something truly extraordinary and unique, and brought together a number of teams to make it happen.” She worked with Matisse Events for the events leading up to the wedding, and then turned to Stree Events and John McGuire for the wedding on July 15, 2017. Photographed by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions and coordinated by Lauren Drablier, this extravagant wedding is one for the ages.

Keep reading to see Celine and Jad's two-week wedding extravaganza, which featured six parties across two countries. Seriously, prepare to be amazed!

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Greece Wedding: Taverna Night

Photo by Pablo Beglez

The night before the wedding, the party was kicked off with a Greek-themed evening at a waterfront villa. Guests dined on an amazing spread of local delicacies, including a tower of cheeses.

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Greece Wedding: Taverna Night

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Celine and Jad set the tone for a weekend of fun by handing out personalized tambourines (made by Shindig Bespoke) to guests. They made a pretty display at cocktail hour but were ultimately made for the late-night dance floor!

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Greece Wedding: Taverna Night

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Brides, take note! The couple came up with a playful way to break the ice by installing a spin-the-wheel game. Each slot on the wheel featured a different phrase, like "Hug a stranger" or "Pick a couple to kiss!"

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Greece Wedding: Taverna Night

Photo by Pablo Beglez

The spectacular rehearsal dinner was set on the lawn beneath trellises draped in olive branches. Mismatched tables and chairs were topped with patterned china and arrangements of roses and succulents.

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Greece Wedding: Ceremony

Photo by Pablo Beglez

The next day, everyone came by boat to a remote beach. After the bridal party's grand entrance, Celine walked in last with her mother. “The moment when our guests watched our arrival, while my mother and I waited to walk down the aisle, was picture-perfect,” says the bride.

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Greece Wedding: Ceremony

Photo by Pablo Beglez

The bride walked down the aisle with her mother and her uncle, her late father’s oldest brother, to meet Jad at the altar. “We built a platform over the water so we could literally get married over the sea,” says Celine. The circular platform was decorated with gorgeous white blooms, including a cascading altar in the center. She adds, “We wanted to create a feeling of inclusion and be completely surrounded by our family and friends.”

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Greece Wedding: Ceremony

Photo by Pablo Beglez

As guests waited for the ceremony to start, they perused an illustrated program by Shingdig Bespoke, identifying all of the evening’s key players.

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Greece Wedding: Ceremony

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Celine’s wedding gown was truly a masterpiece. The Versace design offered not one, not two, but three looks throughout the evening. It took 1,100 hours to turn 130 feet of tulle and 30,000 Swarovski crystals into the final creation, which featured a perfectly sculpted bodice, a crystal adorned skirt beneath the tulle, and an embroidered mini dress under that. This meant the bride could transition from ceremony drama to dinner elegance to late night dancing without ever having to change.

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Greece Wedding: Reception

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Candles in the sand surrounded the reception area, a tent-like structure extravagantly draped with greenery and lit with crystal chandeliers. “We incorporated my love of poetry in the decor, including on the ends of the fabric runners,” says Celine. Oversized tables were adorned with white flowers, including roses and peonies.

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Greece Wedding: Reception

Photo by Pablo Beglez

Each place setting paired a textured ceramic charger with a soft linen napkin and gold flatware. At dinner, guests read quotes about love—which were calligraphed on table runners—from some of Celine’s favorite thinkers. After dinner, they were treated to more words of wisdom—this time, from the matron of honor and best man. “Their words were lighthearted but powerful, and spoke to the raw love between Jad and me,” she recalls.

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Greece Wedding: Reception

Photo by Pablo Beglez

After Celine removed the tulle skirt from her wedding gown, the couple shared their first dance to a remix of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, featuring Lil’ Wayne and Jah Cure. Guests took to the LED dance floor as they partied all night under the stars. But their party wasn't over—they still had celebrating to do in Lebanon!

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Lebanon Wedding: Traditional Welcome Party

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The next portion of the wedding extravaganza took place in Lebanon. And since they have had such an international guest list, Jad and Celine made sure to incorporate plenty of local culture into their celebration. On July 11, guests were welcomed to Jad’s hometown of Bishmizzeen to kick off the weekend celebration.

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Lebanon Wedding: Traditional Welcome Party

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The al fresco meal was served at tables topped with vibrant local produce. Seriously, who needs flowers when you're in a grove this beautiful?!

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Lebanon Wedding: Lebanese-Nigerian Night

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The next day, the couple hosted a Lebanese-Nigerian night, in honor of the two countries that played a crucial role in their love story. Celine and Jad dressed in traditional Nigerian attire for the occasion.

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Lebanon Wedding: Lebanese-Nigerian Night

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

“We welcomed guests to a market full of Lebanese and Nigerian artisan products, then enjoyed a multicultural dinner,” says Celine.

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Lebanon Wedding: Lebanese-Nigerian Night

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

Bright colors filled the outdoor space, where tables were topped with lush greenery and draped in Nigerian textiles. The design was created by Jonathon Beck.

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Lebanon Wedding: A Celebration of Life

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The next night, Celine and Jad hosted a night in honor of the bride’s late father. The evening—designed by Jonathon Beck—was a celebration of life and love, and the perfect way to keep the bride’s father in their hearts.

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Lebanon Wedding: A Celebration of Life

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The festivities ended with an installation reading "I carry your heart with me" lit up above the venue.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

Celine turned to Lebanese designer Elie Saab for her spectacular wedding dress. “I always knew I would wear Elie Saab, and he created something absolutely magical for me,” she says.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photo by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The bridesmaids wore custom Nicolas Jebran dresses, all in nude colors and finished with white floral accents.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

A towering book-like installation, featuring quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, served as the entryway to the celebration, transporting guests into another world.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

Inside the space, guests found themselves in an enchanted garden, complete with waterfalls, bridges, and cascading flowers by Theirry Bouthemy that transformed the environment. “Usually, the bride and groom don’t interact with their guests before the wedding celebration, but we decided to join our guests before the Zaffe [Lebanese wedding march] so we could spend time in the enchanted forest we’d created,” says Celine.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The night kicked off with entertainment by Luc Petit, who choreographed performances by dancers and acrobats dressed in costume. “We had creatures from the story interacting with guests throughout the space!” says Celine.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

Guests climbed a flight of stairs up to the grand ballroom, where an ancient Greek amphitheater had been created. “We used projections to extend the overgrown ruins around the space, and covered the ceiling in stars,” says Celine. For the Zaffe, the bride wore another Elie Saab ballgown that shone nearly as bright as the star lights above. The haute couture gown took 50 craftsmen and women 1,200 hours to create, using hundreds of thousands of crystals and sequins and featuring a 13-foot train. The finishing touch was a custom-made headpiece bejeweled with crystals and pearls.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

The couple remixed traditional Arabic music with R&B to put a contemporary twist on the Zaffe tradition. This was just the beginning of the night's entertainment, which truly brought the party to life.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

“The creatures from cocktail hour emerged after dinner to build a 20-foot-tall wedding cake on the stage,” says Celine. “It was a work of creative genius!”

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

Seriously, look at that cake! The couple used a massive sword to cut into the 20-foot-tall confection.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

A door beneath the cake led to the final space of the night: an Art Deco-inspired lounge for an evening of wild fun. Lebanese artist Haifa Wehbe kicked off the performances before the music shifted to R&B and hip-hop. “To everyone’s surprise—including mine and Jad’s!—P. Diddy suddenly appeared on stage!” says Celine. The recording artist performed his greatest hits as the newlyweds joined him on stage.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

“P. Diddy even performed ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ in honor of my father,” the bride recalls.

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Lebanon Wedding: The Grand Finale

Photography by A Fist Full of Bolts and PULSE Productions

For Jad and Celine, their wedding was all about being true to themselves and creating something completely unique for their loved ones. “Do what makes you happy, and what will bring your vision come true,” says Celine. “And once it’s all done, really enjoy the fruits of your labor so you can remember how it feels to have your loved ones all around you.”

GREECE Wedding Planner: Cherry on Top|| Wedding Production: DePlan V || Wedding Venue: Paraskevi Beach|| Bride's Dress & Shoes: Versace ||| Groom's Suit: Isaia || Floral Design: Studio 7 Flowers || Paper Products: Shindig Bespoke || Favors: Cherry on Top, Shindig Bespoke, Rana Cheikha || Catering & Cake: Dipnosofistirion Catering || Entertainment: Salut Band, DJ Ralph Antoun || Rentals: Style Box, Zazoo Event Rentals, White Lilac || Photography: Pablo Beglez || Calligraphy: Talulah Ketubahs

LEBANON Pre-Parties Planner: Matisse Events || Wedding Planner: Stree Events and Jonathon Beck (Celebration of Life) || Production: John McGuire || Wedding Venue: Biel || Bride's Dress, Veil & Shoes: Elie Saab || Bride's After-Party Dress: Versace || Groom's Suit: Tom Ford || Floral Design: Thierry Boutemy || Paper Products: Ceci New York || Catering & Cake: Cat and Mouth || Favors: A Whole Lotta Love || Entertainment: Djette, MadJam, Ragheb Alama, Haifa Wehbe, DJ Aktive, P. Diddy || Photography: A Fist Full of Bolts, PULSE Productions

BOTH WEDDINGS Creative Direction : Celine Zabad || Coordination: Lauren Drablier || Bride's Jewelry: Yeprem, Lorraine Schwartz || Hair: Wassim Morkos || Makeup: Fadi Kataya || Bridesmaids' & Flower Girl Dresses: Nicolas Jebran || Videography: Happy Wedding Films

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