Gabrielle Lamberta and Belal Ayoub met through mutual friends and started working together across the street from Grand Central a few months later. Grand Central became the spot for weekly lunches together, which allowed their immediate connection to flourish. “This ultimately led to our decision to have our wedding ceremony in the middle of Grand Central, and why we chose to get married at Cipriani 42nd Street,” Gabrielle explains. “Grand Central holds a special place for both of us and where our lives together started. We tried to stay friends, because we were coworkers – however, that did not last very long. Maybe a day or two.”
While vacationing in Santorini, Belal arranged a romantic dinner for two. A driver picked them up and took them to the highest point in Santorini, where two chairs awaited the couple with champagne and strawberries. In a moment that seemed like one out of a fairytale, Belal got down on one knee and proposed as the sun was setting.
"BELAL GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE AND PROPOSED AS THE SUN WAS SETTING."
Within a short wedding planning process of three months, the couple had two weddings scheduled for April 15th and April 29th. “We had two weddings, because Belal’s family is from Afghanistan and mine is from Italy,” says Gabrielle. “We wanted to have two culturally influenced weddings that represented both his culture and mine; and of course, we wanted to make everyone in our families happy. This was the best decision we ever made! We got to celebrate twice, it allowed for me to enjoy both weddings, both our cultures, and in such different ways.”
The first wedding was a modern celebration with a color palette of white, black, and silver, while the second was a whimsical, enchanted garden-themed extravaganza. Centerpieces of cherry blossom trees were highlighted by a sleek, all-white dance floor and gold mirrored tables. Lucite menus with gold calligraphy were also incorporated, along with white marble place cards.
“I designed everything myself,” Gabrielle adds. “I’m very easygoing and felt extremely confident with the vendors I chose to run each of our days and manage our design process. I was also so excited for Belal to see two completely different looks on me. I went with a low, tight bun for my first wedding, a dress that was pretty conservative, and makeup that accentuated by eyes. For the second wedding, I wanted my hair flowy and wavy, and selected an Oscar de la Renta dress that complemented an April wedding. My dress was filled with incredible amounts of floral design that really matched the enchanted theme I was going for with the second wedding.”
Thankful to have pulled off two incredible wedding days, the newlyweds were on cloud nine as they started their new lives together surrounded by love from family and friends.
Location: Cipriani 42nd Street, New York, NY; Planner: Sarah Christine Productions, New York, NY; Event Design: LLG Events, New York, NY; Rentals: Luxe Event Rentals & Decor, Brooklyn, NY
Wedding Dresses: Oscar de la Renta; Bridal Salon: Bergdorf Goodman, New York, NY; Groom’s Attire: Tom Ford