Congrats are in order for Christina Mourad and Elie Saab Jr.! The couple—he's the son of fashion designer Elie Saab—married this past weekend in their home country of Lebanon. The wedding festivities took place over the course of three days, ending at sunrise at Mr. Saab's home in the mountains of Faqra.
Though Elie proposed to Christina after just three months of dating ("It all went very fast! We had no doubt we had found each other," she says), their wedding was more than a year in the making. "Elie wanted to get married last year just after the proposal," Christina reveals. "It was too short in terms of organization; even to create my gown!" Time was indeed a factor in creating two haute couture gowns for the summer nuptials. Elie Saab and his team devoted 450 hours of embroidery, 150 hours of draping and volume creations, 80 hours of embroidery layout design, and 200 hours of tailoring to each of the bride's two wedding dresses. The result? A sleeveless tulle embroidered gown made with 500,000 sequins and a 14-foot-train for the ceremony and a corseted ballgown embellished with 650,000 sequins and 150,000 Swarovski crystals for the reception.
Keep reading to see the bride shine (literally!) in Elie Saab, and trust us: The rest of the wedding is as beautiful and over-the-top as the haute couture gowns.
"I met my father-in-law, Elie Saab, ten years ago and told him on that day that I would like him to realize my wedding gown," says the bride. "Ten years after, my dream came true." That said, the bride admits that she did not give much thought into what her wedding dress would look like. Naturally, she left that decision up to her father-in-law. " I felt at ease and could not get in better hands," she says. "We only had a few fittings. He understood my personality and created two gowns unique that suit perfectly who I am."
Ultimately, Mr. Saab dreamt up a conservative, high-collared gown for the ceremony to respect the venue and Lebanese traditions. "I cried when I put my dress on for the first time. It was a very emotional moment," Christina recalls. "When I saw the dress, I immediately felt in love with it. It is so perfect! I could not dream of a more beautiful dress. It exceeded all my expectations."
On the big day, the bride completed her look with a veil and headpiece decorated with 50,000 more sequins.
The ceremony took place at Bkerké, where the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch oversaw the proceedings. "We wanted to engrave this moment forever into our memories, that’s why we chose this church which is emblematic in the Maronite ritual," explains the bride. Wedding planner Neiman Azzi decorated the space, lining the aisle with taper candles and lush greenery. Christina and Elie married under an arch of more greenery.
Following the religious ceremony, the couple invited everyone to join them in a "beautiful and intimate secret garden," also designed by Neiman Azzi. The space was filled with trees, greenery, and 365 candles (one for each day of the year). "We wanted to respect the history of the place which is very ancient by having scenery that gives the feeling that it has always been there," says the bride.
Christina and Elie, who wore a black suit by Ermenegildo Zegna, cut into a massive, five-tiered wedding cake. It was decorated with 52 taper candles to represent each week of the year.
After, the newlyweds and their guests traveled through a 114-foot tunnel of greenery that led to the after-party venue. Ziad Raphael Nassar transformed the room for dinner and dancing, covering each tabletop with mirrors (to reflect the sky) and hanging moons from a trellis of greenery.
At this time, the bride made a transformation of her own, changing into her second wedding dress by Elie Saab. Mr. Saab designed this gown to be even more glamorous than the first and added touches of gold to the corseted silhouette. Naturally, it also came with a veil of 100,000 sequins.
Want to see even more? Check out Mr. Saab's sketches below for an inside look at the designer's creative process.
Looking back at the process of creating a wedding dress for his daughter-in-law, Mr. Saab admits that even he (a true pro!) got emotional during the special time. He also offered a piece of advice for dress shopping with family, whether your future in-laws are haute couture royalty or not. "It is very important to share ideas and to respect each point of views," he says. "But as long as the atmosphere and the mood are positive, it can only be a beautiful experience." We couldn't agree more, and we'll take Elie and Christina's stunning nuptials as proof!