It would be difficult to imagine a more romantic location than the one chosen by Gabrielle Thompson, 26 and Mohammed Zaal, 33 for their wedding celebrations last June. The ceremony was held at The Priory just a short drive from La Bastide de Gordes, nestled between a medieval castle and cypress trees, the couple enjoyed a spectacular banquet to welcome their 130 guests. Set amid the olive groves of Provence, The Priory area is known for hosting such retreats.
Love blossomed for Gabrielle, Australian entrepreneur and Mohammed, Emirati property developer when they met through mutual friends at Blue Marlin in Dubai. The romance moved relatively slowly after their initial encounter, taking months to pluck up the courage to arrange to meet up. Upon returning from his hike in Everest base camp, Mohammed was delighted to have heard from Gabrielle.
Four years later, Mohammed surprised Gabrielle on the back of a boat whilst on vacation in in Mallorca. Gabrielle was certain they were meant to stay together and after asking for her father’s permission, Mohammed proposed and the grand plans were underway.
In the warmth of the dry summer air, Gabrielle seemed to float across the mossy lawns, wearing her bespoke gown designed by the prestigious Elie Saab of Beirut. The dress was richly adorned with pearly golden details that spread across the vast train, carried by her bridesmaids who dressed in shades of lavender. Mohammed wore a stylish Tom Ford suit, as sharp as his wit and as honest as his love for Gabrielle. The ceremony took place in the grounds, set amongst popping flowers in a colourful array, planted amongst the stone and ancient trees.
With the help of the wedding planner, Sarah Haywood, the couple achieved what can only be described as a seamless and heavenly affair. Sprinkled with delightful touches they employed the talents of accordion player Yannick Agobian, to welcome guests as mini Champagne bottles were handed out. A band called Ruby’s performed and later an electric string quartet filled the air with joyful sounds. Gabrielle’s good friend DJ Ash Keogh took the guests to the dance floor with his disc spinning. With breathtaking views and scenery, the occasion was idyllic. Surrounded by their friends and family, amongst the citrus groves and stood beneath the starry sky, Gabrielle and Mohammed took a special moment to stand back and observe the magic of the evening.