Love finds us in the strangest of places. For Nour AlTamimi, it was a health spa in Austria that played host to a not-so-basic meet-cute with now-husband Christopher Maximilian Hertz. “I was actually meant to go with my parents,” the Saudi Arabian beauty tells Vogue Arabia in a special interview, “But they had to cancel last minute, so I ended up going on my own instead.” Serendipity at its best.
The chance run-in led to the romance of a lifetime for the stylist, life coach and founder of the Nou Project, who recently tied the knot with her beau in a fairytale Lake Como wedding — though their relationship, like all others, didn’t come without its fair share of ups and downs. “I was very upfront with Christopher from the beginning and mentioned that he would have to convert to Islam for our relationship to progress; otherwise, it wouldn’t work,” AlTamimi recalls. “He was willing to go through a lengthy process of conversion, and his commitment and willingness reassured me that he is the right man for me. We met each other’s families a few months after we first met because things developed quite quickly. Fortunately, his parents live in Dubai, so they are familiar with Arab culture and customs. When our families met, it was great because our parents’ ideologies and principles are very similar, and they got along so well. Their support of our union helped solidify our commitment to one another.”
After a heartfelt proposal in Ibiza that included an unplanned dinner, a few tears, and ring hidden in a bento box (“He met with my father beforehand to ask for his blessing and permission,” Nour adds fondly), the duo kicked off the planning process of what would become one of the most beautiful — and unique — celebrations of their lives: a wedding steeped in the mystical allure of astrology. “In the Arab world, it is usually the bride or the bride’s mother who plans everything,” Nour explains. “However with Chris, it was amazing because he was involved in every single detail. We did quarrel a lot and had disagreements on some aspects, but we quickly decided to work together as a team and compromise in certain areas. For example, he doesn’t really believe in astrology, but he allowed me to make the wedding an astrology-themed one because it is a passion of mine.” The result was one for bridal Pinterest boards everywhere: “We seated everyone according to their star signs, dividing each room based on elements: fire, water, air and the earth. As giveaways, we gave each guest an astrology book of their sign by Sally Kirkman, a beautiful scented candle by Sense Bougie in London, sage and precious stones for protection, and the most delicious chocolates from Peyrano, a chocolate factory based out of Torino.”
Spread across three days, Nour and Christopher’s nuptials began with a secret garden-themed family rehearsal dinner at Villa Bonomi, then led into ‘A Spring Day Dream’ pre-party, before ending with vows on a Sunday. Dressed in Dolce & Gabbana’s finest, the couple’s wedding weekend can only be described as magical. From the bespoke clothing to the perfectly curated decor, the glowing bride shares the most special details from her big moment in a very special conversation.
Your wedding gown was a unique pick. Please take us through the process of ideating and finally selecting the ensembles you did for your wedding.
Dolce & Gabbana had always been one of my favorite brands, especially when I lived in Milan during my Masters at Istituto Marangoni in 2011. It was always a dream of mine to have a custom Dolce & Gabbana dress, and this was truly a dream come true, especially since we were getting married in Italy. It was important for me to embody an Italian brand during my wedding.
When I went to their showroom in Milan with my mom, it was one of the most magical days of my life. They prepared the most beautiful sketches based on my theme, astrology, and it was really difficult to choose! My mother and I decided to go with a beautiful lace that had gold thread, and unique patterns. They also had this amazing luminous pearly material in white which they made sheer gold for the veil. They had never done anything like it before.
Of course, if you ask anyone who knows me, [they’ll tell you that] I am obsessed with headpieces, and so they made the most beautiful star-themed headpiece for me. They recommended adding an embellished belt to create a sense of separation in the dress, which I absolutely loved. While the dress is classic, this belt gave it an edge and made it trendy and very D&G. After we selected and confirmed the design, I went back for my first fitting in March with a dear friend of mine who lives in Lugano. The first time I saw the dress, I was in disbelief. It was even more beautiful than in the sketch and more incredible than I imagined, and I didn’t know that was possible. I got so emotional when I tried it on. It was just so beautiful, and I was so happy. The final fitting was a few days before the wedding with my mom and sisters, and it was perfect.
What was the decor for the day like?
We worked with Vincenzo Dascanio, who is the most incredible florist and visionary. For the ceremony, all the flowers were white, and the chairs were gold to create a contrast. For the dinner, each room at Villa Erba was decorated differently according to each star sign. We had an ‘Earth’ room for all the earth signs (Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo) with green flowers and tablescapes. There was a ‘Water’ room for all the water signs (Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio) with blue flowers and tablescapes. An ‘Air’ room was created for Geminis, Libras, and Aquarius, with white flowers and tablescapes. Lastly, a ‘Fire’ room at Sala Feste, the main room, was for all the fire signs, including family members. It had red flowers and tablescapes. Each room represented the signs in terms of color and elements.
Can you tell us about the style of the ceremony?
The ceremony was very special. It was important for us to have a circular ceremony arrangement to highlight astrology and the planets. We had our wedding at Villa Erba in Como and made use of each area of this beautiful Villa. Our ceremony took place in the garden facing the Villa, and then we had the reception area decorated with all gold furniture facing the lake.
Dinner took place inside the villa, and each room was decorated differently based on the four astrological elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. The beautiful frescoes in each room and on the ceilings created a magical atmosphere. The dance floor had light projections of the Milky Way and the universe, along with a neon sign that read ‘Written in the Stars.’
What was your favorite part of your wedding?
My favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony itself. It was a dream come true. We had a live cellist and pianist, and I personally selected the songs for every aspect of the ceremony. For the groom and his groomsmen, they played “Cornfield Chase” by Hans Zimmer. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “Comptine d’un autre été” by Yann Tiersen. And for my entrance with my father, we chose “Experience” by Ludovico Einaudi. At the end of the ceremony, my sister, who goes by the name “tamtam sound,” sang “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence and the Machine. It was an incredibly emotional moment, and our friends and family joined in singing along. I had goosebumps throughout the entire time.