It seems only natural that Zainab Alsalih and Leena Alsulaiman should choose Carousel as the name for their business. After all, life, just like a carousel, spins round and round and one day during all that spinning, it put the two in each other's paths.
Zainab, a businesswoman who started her career in the banking industry, met Leena, a jewelry designer, in Dubai. Their children attended the same nursery school and became friends. Soon after, their moms became friends too. And if fate wasn't clear enough, the two had coincidentally just bought new homes and discovered that they were right across the street from each other! "It was destiny!" as they put it. Indeed it was.
Zainab and Leena started Carousel four years ago as a corporate event-planning agency. Some of their clients included renowned names such as Italian premium furniture group Poltrona Frau and Trump Towers in the Palm Jumeirah. Then two years ago, they decided to go a different – albeit more creative – route and turned Carousel into a wedding planning company.
Their services include planning and event management, where they help a bride and her family choose a theme and execute it to minute details. Once the concept is identified, the team set on to put together everything from floral arrangements to floor plans and table settings. Whether it's a "Beach Fantasy" or a traditional occasion, the duo will always be found discreetly working behind the scenes to ensure everything goes according to plan.
The amount of love the ladies put into their work is evident. Simply taking one look at their beautiful designs makes you want to breathe out a big, long, happy sigh. What we don't see behind the picture, are the meticulously planned details and much fussed over preparations.
The Carousel ladies share with us their wonderful experiences as well as their tips to creating the perfect wedding…
How did you come up with the name?
A carousel evokes the images of innocent joy, purity and nostalgia and to us life can be just that~ a Carousel. Your wedding is the first step on what we hope will be a beautiful life journey, a Carousel of life.
What made you decide you want to be event planners?
Zainab: I have always wanted to do something that allowed me to combine my artistic flair along with my ability for making people feel at ease. My role as a wedding planner allows me to combine these skills perfectly. A passion for life, and for beauty, a love for people, and a deep desire to make people happy and to help young brides create their perfect wedding.
Leena: As a designer I am always creating whether it be a piece of jewelry or a wedding party. Being a wedding planner is a role that I hadn’t necessarily planned for, but has truly complimented my skills, and challenged me in the process.
How would you describe your decorating style?
Our style varies with each wedding and bride. It’s usually the theme of the wedding that drives our decorating style. We usually come up with a theme based on an inspiration board we draw from our client’s likes and dislikes. Certain venues and seasons also dictate a certain style.
What inspires your work?
Our passion for life, and for beauty, a love for people, and a deep desire to make people happy and to help young brides create their perfect wedding.
What is the best thing about your job?
Turning a bride’s dream into reality.
What are your top tips to organizing any event, big or small?
Start early, develop a theme, and finally put together a timeline.
Do you prefer taking on big projects or small intimate ones?
Size really doesn’t matter. It's about quality, beauty and joy. One of our favorite weddings was actually a small family affair, with less than 100 people, but so much beauty, love and joy. Quite often, the smaller weddings focus on a level of detail that is either not possible, or simply goes unnoticed, in the larger weddings.
What are some of the biggest mistakes in organizing events?
The biggest mistake would be assuming that you could handle it on your own without hiring a professional. Accordingly so many important elements and details will be overlooked which can undermine the event’s success.
What, in your opinion, creates a successful event?
When the bride has tears of joy in her eyes, and when your guests won’t leave!
Speaking of weddings, let's discuss those. What are your top 3 tips for a successful wedding?
Hire a wedding planner, relax and enjoy!
Do you recommend classic/traditional weddings or do you like giving them a twist?
We love traditional weddings because we always feel that your wedding should be timeless. You need to look back and feel like you wouldn’t change a thing! Trends and fads are fleeting. We don’t want any of our brides to look back and say, “What was I thinking!”
What is the biggest faux pas a bride can request for her wedding?
Sometimes brides want to manage certain elements on their own but a wedding needs to be designed, planned and executed in harmony to ensure a seamless outcome.
What is the strangest request you ever got from a bride?
No request is too strange for the Carousel Girls! The sky is the limit and we try and accommodate all our client’s requests. We love a challenge!
What was the most memorable event you created?
Our first ever wedding remains very close to our heart. It was a beautiful beach wedding, and a multicultural affair, bride being a former European model and the groom a wealthy Middle Eastern businessman. We had the pleasure to plan all the parties leading up to the wedding as well as well as the traditional marriage ceremony at the client’s home.
When it comes to favorites, what is your favorite…
Peonies and Hydrangeas.
We love neutral color palettes which we usually inject with a pop of color that is ‘Hot” in that particular season such as purple, fuchsia or orange.
Italian but we do enjoy the occasional burger!
We have several venues depending on the size, theme and format of the wedding. However, nothing beats a venue with the beach as a backdrop!
We love chilling at the Limetree Café. As for resorts and hideaways that would be anywhere in the Maldives, heaven on earth!
Name a few of your favorite websites?
We are big on research and scouring the net for inspiration and new ideas… We draw inspiration from so many sources. But here are some of our favorite wedding related sites:
It was lovely learning about what you do and how you do it. Anything else you'd like to share to our readers?
Life is a carousel what goes around comes around!
For more information visit www.carousel-of-life.com
– Alya N. Al-Othman