Amanda & Aref
July 15, 2017 • Newport, Rhode IslandBy Lannan M. O’Brien | Photography by Blueflash Photography
For Amanda Hauser and Aref Shehadeh, the start of forever is marked by a picture-perfect day on St. John. Knowing that his girlfriend was stressed about graduate school, Aref had planned a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands—complete with a day of kayaking, exploring and a privately cooked meal overlooking the island. It was that evening that Aref handed Amanda a photo book capturing their memories together, and then asked her to marry him (a milestone, of course, that was also caught on camera).
The couple decided to have a private Muslim ceremony last January, and with help from wedding planner Lindsay Costa, planned a prayer ceremony and celebration with loved ones the following July at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. Incorporating Aref’s favorite color, lavender, Amanda says, they chose “clean and sophisticated” décor and floral arrangements with white hydrangeas and antique purple roses.
“We both cried,” Amanda says, recalling the moment she walked out to see Aref for the ceremony outside Newport Harbor Lighthouse. Another treasured moment was their entrance together. “In Palestinian culture, the entrance is a very important part of the wedding,” she says. “We had drummers bring us in and we had the whole wedding up dancing around us.”
Later, the two had fun dancing and enjoyed a hookah bar on the deck at Gurney’s. As the couple made new memories together, they made sure to honor old ones: a heart-shaped charm on Amanda’s bouquet, gifted by her sister for the ceremony, was engraved with the outlines of her late parents’ faces. “My sister wanted to make sure they walked me down the aisle,” says Amanda. And of course, they did.
PHOTOGRAPHER Blue Flash Photography
VENUE Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina
CATERING Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina
FLORIST Le’s Ile Rose
LINEN RENTALS Peak Event Services
BRIDAL GOWN Designer: Maggie Sottero | Retailer: The Bridal Shoppe
BRIDAL ACCESSORIES Simply Dainty
HAIR + MAKEUP STYLIST Brianna Ruggeri & Corey of B Lovely Studios
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES Yris Bridal
GROOM + GROOMSMEN ATTIRE Calvin Klein
INVITATIONS + PAPER PRODUCTS New England Invitations
CEREMONY MUSIC Elite Entertainment
RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT Elite Entertainment