Wedding venue: Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

If you’ve always imagined a desert wedding, Bab Al Shams is like an Arabian Nights fantasy plucked from your imagination, with a quiet beauty that manages to cast a spell over even the most cynical, long-term resident. With traditional stonework, wind towers, peaceful courtyards with trickling pools and waterways, and serene dunes on either side, it’s an evocative setting in which to host your special occasion.


Exchange vows in an intimate blessing ceremony among the ochre-coloured dunes bedecked with carpets, or by a tranquil courtyard pool with Arabian architecture as the backdrop. 


Opt for a minimalistic desert set-up to let the beauty of the natural landscape speak for itself, with a firework display adding to the open-air energy. Smaller parties can choose the Masala Rooftop Lounge for stunning views over the resort, while those with more than 250 guests can even take over the legendary al fresco Al Hadheerah restaurant, where open fire pits and decorative carpets create an Arabesque atmosphere beneath a starlit sky.


It’s impossible not to be caught up in the desert magic while staying at Bab Al Shams and although it’s tranquil during the day, it feels festive after dusk, particularly at Al Hadheerah where diners are treated to a live band, tanoura and belly dance performances. Lingering for a honeymoon or arriving early to make the most of Satori Spa is also highly recommended. Whether you’re planning to wear an off-the-shoulder couture creation or a modest gown, all brides will feel like Scheherazade once they emerge from the three-hour Blissful Desert Rose Experience which, along with a facial, polishes, massages and soothes the skin from tip to toe with rose-infused oils, promising a satin-smooth complexion for the big day.


Scattered with rare, handcrafted Arabian furnishings, stone walls and carved archways, the Junior Suite is a fitting retreat for the happy couple, with a plush majlis and terrace area replete with twinkling lanterns for romantic evenings in. 


There is nothing like a private desert photoshoot to create spectacular shots for the wedding photo album. 


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