Gabriella Nassif, founder of fashion and lifestyle PR agency MGC London, and hedge fund analyst Sachal Majeed grew up in the same apartment complex in London during their entire lives, but never actually managed to cross paths. It wasn’t until they finally met at a mutual friend’s party, when the two hit it off and Sachal offered to drop her off in a taxi. When Gabriella gave her address, Sachal mistakenly thought she was planning on going home with him. “We were sitting in the back of the cab and he had a cheeky grin on his face,” she says. “We still can’t quite believe that we have spent our whole lives growing up just a few floors away from each other. My mum used to always tell me that the things you want are always right under your nose—little did I know she was being so literal!”
The couple dated for three and a half years until one Saturday morning, when Gabriella stepped out to get a coffee and Sachal sent her his location via WhatsApp and asked her to come join him. “We both grew up living on the park in Primrose Hill with both of our windows facing this beautiful patch of greenery,” she says. “The second I saw where he was, the penny dropped and I literally sprinted to the park. He was standing there with a ring box, surrounded by the most idyllic picnic.”
The couple spent months deciding what kind of a wedding they wanted and ultimately decided to combine all three visions of their day into one. The plan was to start off with a quintessentially British ceremony at the Ritz Hotel, followed by an Capri-inspired lunch reception at Petersham Nurseries—“the most gorgeous setting in London in our opinion,” she says—and cap off the evening with an Arabian Nights-themed party at their favorite London pub.
While Gabriella worked as her own wedding planner (her experience in PR and events served her well), she hired Liz Linkleter, who previously worked at Alexander McQueen, for help with the design and creative aspects of their wedding. “Her team acted as an all-round support system and sounding board and really held my hand throughout the entire planning process,” she says.
Gabriella had always had an idea of what she wanted her wedding dress to look like, but it all went downhill after she went through a round of bridal boutiques and realized her dream dress didn’t exist. She finally decided to go down the custom route and enlisted Emma Victoria Payne for help. “I had such a clear vision of how I wanted the dress to look, down to the very last button so I worked closely alongside Emma to bring it to life,” she says. “We started by choosing the fabrics and layers, and from there we tweaked with every fitting. It was so incredible to be so involved with the process and watch it develop. The full experience of immersing yourself into the design process is so rewarding.”
One summer day in July, the couple and their loved ones gathered inside the Music Room at the Ritz Hotel (the same place where the bride’s sister had gotten married a few years ago), where opulent floral arrangements by Paul Thomas decorated the venue. “Before I had even taken my first step I had tears streaming down my face and the moment I caught a glimpse of my husband-to-be I rushed ahead of my father and basically ran down the aisle towards him, leaving dad at least 10 steps behind,” Gabriella recalls. “I guess I should have practiced!”
Once the ceremony was over, the newlyweds joined a larger group of guests at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, just outside of London. “It had always been at the top of my list because it’s a hidden gem which instantly transports you to a whimsical vineyard in Italy,” she adds. Their lunch reception included lots of rosé wine, a Mediterranean-themed menu served family style, and live music played by the Gypsy Queens, who are known for jumping on tables and chairs to inject the crowd with energy. “To complement their vigor, we had personalized tambourines for all the guests,” says Gabriella. Speeches were given in between courses by the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. At the end, the bride decided to give a surprise speech as well, which she had been working on for months but wasn’t quite sure she would be able to say it in front of everyone. “I polished off a few glasses of wine and decided to bite the bullet!”
While the couple didn’t have a traditional first dance, they found an impromptu first song after cutting the cake, when the Gypsy Queens started playing “Angels” by Robbie Williams. “It was never a song I thought I’d want played at my wedding, but the timing was so perfect, we went for a little spin in front of everyone,” she says. “Now the song will always hold a special place in my heart.”
After lots of rosé under the sun, everyone headed off for the final stop of the day: the Arabian Nights-themed after party. For this portion of the night, the bride changed into a jumpsuit by Alexia Maria, which she found via bridal concierge service, White Dossier. Lebanese food and mezze was served as a nod to the bride’s Lebanese and Egyptian background, and guests danced to disco funk music courtesy of Soho House DJ Storm Mollison.
After the whirlwind celebrations, the couple headed to Sardinia for a mini-moon. “We stuffed our faces with pasta and drank our bodyweight in wine whilst going through all the photos our friends took at the wedding,” she says. A couple of weeks later, they flew to San Francisco and drove on a road trip honeymoon down Route One in Mustang, stopping off in Sonoma, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. “Both trips were planned at the last minute and we didn’t even think they were necessary,” she says. “But now I couldn’t imagine going back to work without that special time I got to spend with my new husband digesting everything that had happened. The whole thing was magical.”