Real Weddings

Amanda and Giovanni


Lucky No. 13

Couple Celebrates Love with a Lavish Affair

by Iris Winston
photos by Mark Cooper Photography

“Magical. A fairytale. If I had dreamed about it, it would have exceeded my dreams.

I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.”

This is how Giovanni Ianni describes his wedding day.

And, he adds modestly, his bride, Amanda Saab, dealt with all the arrangements for their special day.

“She did absolutely everything. It was incredible.”

Amanda and Giovanni were married June 13, 2015, five years after they met for the first time. The date they chose for their wedding is a special part of their story.

“The number 13 is significant for us,” says Giovanni, adding that he had regarded 13 as his lucky number even before he was introduced to his future wife — on the 13th day of the month.

The occasion was a blind date, arranged by two friends, who would eventually be part of the couple’s wedding party.

“It was exactly one month later, on December 13, that he asked me to be his girlfriend,” says Amanda.

Staying with the power of 13, Giovanni proposed in 2013.

“My engagement ring is very special to me because it has 13 diamonds — one big, high diamond in the centre with six diamonds on either side,” she says. “And my wedding band has 13 diamonds as well.”

Giovanni, who had both rings custom-made at Vivah Jewellery, surprised Amanda with the rings. He admits to having had “a couple of insiders” help him to ensure his choices would please his bride.

The number 13 carried through to the members of the wedding party — 11 adults and one child on each side, so that together, with the bride and groom, there were two groups of 13. Amanda invited the entire crew to take part in a pre-wedding scavenger hunt. The hunt involved searching throughout the City of Ottawa, following clues that retraced the path of the courtship of the couple.

Amanda, an aesthetician in charge of makeup for 25 or more bridal parties a year, was excited to prepare for her own special day. “It was a particular thrill doing my own makeup for my wedding.”

She notes that the number 13 was multiplied more than seven times during her hunt for the perfect dress. “I tried on more than 100 wedding dresses until I found the right one,” she says. “But I finally found it. And as soon as I put it on, I knew that I had to have it even though it doubled my budget.”

The gown, a designer model by Israeli designer Inbal Dror, has many special features. “I loved the detail, the lace, the extended train and the see-through back decorated with pearls. It’s so lightweight and, best of all, it has a very long matching cathedral veil. It was everything I wanted.”

Following the ceremony at Saints Peter and Paul Melkite Catholic Church, the reception for 420 guests was held at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. Featuring highlights from the bride’s Lebanese heritage and the groom’s Italian background, the emphasis was on celebrating the joy of the occasion, captured in a wedding video by Pink Tuxedo Productions.

“It’s still a bit of a blur for me,” says Giovanni. “I do remember the fun of bringing in ice cream for everyone with my wife on the ice cream cart.

“The very best part of the whole wonderful event was when I opened the gift that she had for me,” adds Giovanni. “She had made a scrapbook of us.”

“It was a truly magical day,” says Amanda.

Wedding Details

Ceremony: Saints Peter and Paul Melkite Catholic Church

Reception: Ottawa Conference and Event Centre

Decorator: Dream Party Décor, Toronto

Flowers: Ottawa Flowers

Video: Pink Tuxedo Productions



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