Ed, 29, and Sonali, 30, from Australia and the UK
Sonali: We initially met at a mutual friend’s house. We went out that night as a group to 400 Club at The Fairmont and briefly spoke. For me, it wasn’t love at first sight, though I thought he was a good person.
Ed: I had a lot of work to do before we became an item! Our friend in common left the country, so I had to create ways to see her. My most creative effort was when I offered to come to her villa to inspect a water leak.
Sonali: I was touched that he came round to help with the leak, and thought he was cute. As time went on, we became closer…
Ed: We were able to chat for hours without realising.
Sonali: He proposed in the desert, one of our favourite places.
Ed: Right on sunset!
Sonali: The future? We plan to stay in Dubai for a few years before moving to Sydney.
Phil, 34, and Aoife, 31, from the UK and Ireland
Phil: We met at a joint birthday party for mutual friends at The Terrace at Le Méridien Dubai in Garhoud, but were both seeing other people at the time. She certainly did catch my eye.
Aoife: I thought Phil was cute, and he impressed me with his breakdancing!
Phil: After that, we started to spend more and more time together with our group of friends.
Aoife: When we broke up with our respective partners, we were the last two standing at the party on a number of occasions. Eventually, we became an item, but it was a gradual process.
Phil: We then went on holiday to the Maldives, a year to the day that we first got together. There couldn’t have been a more beautiful location to pop the question – I had the ring engraved with the date on the inside. Luckily she said yes!
Aoife: Now we have an ongoing debate about where we’ll go after Dubai. Phil wants to return to London, whereas I ultimately want to head back to Belfast. So we’ve compromised – and agreed to settle in Belfast!
Nadim, 30, and Laura, 28, from Lebanon
Nadim: We both worked in the same advertising agency in Dubai for about two years before anything happened: the relationship really started when I moved jobs.
Laura: It was a long love at first sight.
Nadim: I was interested, but tried to play it cool. It didn’t work in my favour: I’d played it so cool that she had a terrible first impression of me – it took two years to fix.
Laura: The proposal happened two years after we’d started dating. He gave me a personalised album with all the best moments we’d shared together. At the end there was a photo of him on one knee, and the ring attached.
Nadim: I travel a lot in my current job, so any time I spend in Dubai I like to spend with her.
Laura: We’re enjoying our married life and want to discover new places together – we often think about our future together as a family.