Morning Coffee With Zainab Alsalih, Founder Of Carousel Events

Diana Bell-Heather   |   11-02-2019

Planning a grand event or a wedding is as equally exciting as it is stressful. Zainab Alsalih, founder of Carousel Events, and her team of experts strive to make your job that little bit easier.


Zainab Alsalih carousel


Below, we discuss the ingredients for a perfect occasion as well as the latest wedding trends, and what should the bride keep in mind ahead of her special day.



Describe your morning routine.
When I was younger, I was never really a morning person but as I got older, and especially after having children, mornings became basically the time when I wake up and have some peace and quiet before the kids are up. It’s a time I am able to collect my thoughts and ideas and plan my day ahead. It also gives me an opportunity to send out some emails to my team. I also catch up with husband because we are both so busy that we don’t end up spending any time together so we have our morning coffee together.


Tell us a little bit about Carousel Events.

Carousel Events started 10 years ago. It is a boutique event design and management company. We cater to a very distinct clientele who are after unique events and experiences.


What ingredients make for a perfect event?
Besides the aesthetic part of the event and the whole design element, I think most important ingredient is what a couple and the family bring to each event and wedding, it’s that joy and happiness. I think no matter what, at the end it really is that important ingredient that makes a wedding what it is.


Do you have a favourite venue in Dubai?

Think we are spoilt for choice in Dubai, we have so many beautiful venues, so many luxury venues, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint one venue that I like. I think I love a lot of venues so it really depends what we’re looking for, it depends on the type of event or wedding that we’re planning, it depends on size and location and time of year. If I were to pick some of my favourites it would be Four Season Jumeirah, the Ritz Carlton on JBR, the new W The Palm, and the Mandarin Oriental which is exciting to have open this year.


What do brides need to keep in mind for their special day?

Think they need to not lose sight of what’s important when they’re planning their wedding. Yes it is about the destination, but not at the expense of the journey. It’s very important for them to understand that the journey is just as important. Enjoy it, try to make the most of it, it goes by so quickly that you look back and might think to yourself ‘why didn’t I relax more? Enjoy it more?’ So I think it’s important to focus on that leading up to the big day.


Are there any event or wedding trends you’re excited about at the moment?

I’m loving all the garden themes. I think they have always been popular but I think especially after the royal wedding in 2018, that kind of became more of a trend, I have a lot more brides asking for a garden-themed wedding. Especially given that in Dubai we are limited with our outdoor venues, so I think a lot of the time you find that the people want to bring the outdoors in which is quiet nice. Although I’m a big fan of white weddings and they will always remain really classic, I’m loving how bold brides are becoming with the use of colour. Just a pop of bright colour to really bring a wedding to life. The focus on the afterparty is nice, to see couples nowadays wanting to give their guests a memorable experience, focus more on the entertainment and what happens when the formalities are over.


What do you consider your biggest career success to date?
Being part of so many people’s beautiful memories and making dreams come true. The main source of my inspiration, and is what drives me and have been fundamental to the success of Carousel.


What’s is the motto you live by professionally?
Do it with passion or not at all. I’m not a person who can do things half way. I either do it and do it well or I’m not going to touch it.


What has been the biggest challenge?
I wouldn’t say they are challenges, they’re just part of what we do. We work in a very stressful industry, event planners have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, so I’m not going to call them challenges, they come with job, and just anticipating them becomes very important.


What do you still want to achieve?
I think it’s inspiring young girls in our community. Girls that look up to women in business. I’d like to do that through writing books, or lecturing or mentoring, and just giving classes maybe to just help them understand that ‘you too can achieve that if you work hard enough’.


Who has influenced you the most?
I’m inspired by a lot of people in the industry, but I would say my main mentor, the person I look up to the most has been my husband. He has been my biggest supporter and fan and he has been pivotal in the success of my business, and who I am today. He has just been amazing support throughout the years.


If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
To be committed, do everything with passion, but accept there are certain things beyond your control. A favourite saying of mine that I repeat to myself time and time again it is what it is, there are just situation where you say ‘I gave it my all, I gave it my best, but there are things outside my control’. Just let it be.


Describe your personal style in one word?


When should you learn to compromise?
I think when working on team projects it’s important to compromise in order to create that inclusivity and give everyone a say in what we’re doing, it’s crucial to the success of a project. Sometimes I can be set in my ways and thing’s that I want but in order to make my team feel empowered sometimes I feel that I might need to compromise to give them that kind of push and get them to take ownership of what they’re working on as well.


When should you never compromise?
I would say when personal and professional ethics come into question, that’s when I would never compromise.


What book are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. I think there is so much all of us as women can relate to no matter which walk of life you come from, there are things that we all share.


How do you want the world to remember you?

As a woman who lived life gracefully, one who achieved success without compromising her ethics and one that has been able to remain kind throughout the process as well.