Smashing The Glass was created by Karen Cinnamon, a London digital & branding designer. SmashingTheGlass.com aims to bring couples who are keen to make their wedding stand out from the cookie cutter crowd, a wealth of ideas through creative and innovative content, the best “real Jewish wedding” eye candy and access to the most desirable (and certainly not always kosher!*) wedding vendors.
Here at Smashing The Glass we talk a lot about enjoying your day your way and embracing the fun of the wedding day, but today’s bride takes it to a whole new level: gorgous Eden jumped into a pool in her wedding dress straight after her ceremony! #wecouldntloveheranymore
Eden, a kindergarten teacher at a Jewish day school (and a former wedding planner!), and Matan, who runs a construction company, planned a delightfully free-spirited day focused around all the things they love: an intimate day with only those closest to them, a gorgeous beach setting, a rocking party, and color color color—white flowers were forbidden, and groom Matan donned a bright red suit!
The LA-based couple chose to wed at the Paradisus hotel in the beachy wonderland of Cancun, Mexico, where Eden’s parents were living. In keeping with the laid-back beachy theme of the day, Eden opted for a stunningly simple two-piece gown from BHLDN. For the full-on tropical paradise vibe, she even went barefoot for her outdoor ceremony. Photographer Michael Segal did such a fab job capturing the exuberance of the day!
Following the ceremony, the couple took a dramatic plunge into the Paradisus’s gorgeous pool, fully decked out in their wedding attire! From there on out, the day transitioned into a full-on, chilled-out pool/dance party—which was the couple’s favorite thing about their wedding weekend. Eden says it felt like being at summer camp—now over to the bride herself…
How we met
Eden, the bride: You know how sometimes all it takes is a minute to fall in love? Well, for us all it took was some red velvet pancakes on a Saturday morning. I was 20, and definitely didn’t think I needed help from my mom to get a date. So when she texted me “I gave your number to my client with a cute brother,” I was NOT excited. But, I figured what’s done is done – if nothing else it’s a free meal. He insisted on picking me up for breakfast the next day (which at the time was super creepy in my mind but is now the most romantic) and ordered us red velvet pancakes. I guess the rest is history.
A Cancun Wedding
We got married at Paradisus hotel in Cancun. My parents lived there at the time, and the first time we visited them we knew this was where we’d tie the knot. Also, it was really important to us that only our family and closest friends were there to celebrate our marriage, so a destination was a great choice for us.
All About the Color
I was a wedding planner for four years, so when planning my wedding I knew exactly what I wanted and didn’t want. We’re a VERY chill couple who wanted to make sure this was all about the party. We love love love color, so we knew that our wedding would be colorful and happy! My husband wore a red suit, which is so him. And I knew that I didn’t want one white flower at our wedding.
A Very Personal Invitation
We actually didn’t have a paper invitation; we talked to every person on a regular basis and helped them through the booking process for hotel and flights. We also had a wedding website for our guests to check updates and see the weekend’s schedule.
Hair and Makeup by Family
My cousin did my makeup and my mom did my hair. Again, this is totally in line with who I am as a person. I loved having family around me all morning helping me get ready.
A BHLDN Dress
My dress was from BHLDN. It was the first dress I tried on! Actually… it’s a two piece, which I absolutely loved.
I wore my grandmother’s earrings and necklace. She passed away a few years ago and we were really close, so this was my way of having her at my wedding. I also wore a tennis bracelet that my husband bought me for my bridal shower.
A Barefoot Bride
I didn’t wear shoes I know, most brides would think I’m crazy. But I was so happy with my toes in the sand! I wore some foot jewelry. For the reception (after I jumped in the pool, yes, in my wedding dress), I changed into some white TOMS.
The handsome groom
Matan wore a custom red suit. Originally, I thought he was kidding when he said he wanted to wear red – I was thinking grey or light blue. But then he found a company to make him a gorgeous red suit and he totally rocked it!!!
A Minimalist Chuppah
Since we were on this beautiful beach, we wanted something minimalist that wouldn’t take away from the natural beauty.
A Colorful, Personal Ketubah
Our ketubah was made by a sweet friend and colleague of mine, and all we told her was “we want color!” She really went for it and it turned out beautiful.
We also had photos of all of our grandparents and my husband’s uncle who passed away at the entrance of the aisle. As our family and friends entered the ceremony, they were reminded of the people who came before us and made us who we are.
Sea of Love
We each walked down to a different version of Sea of Love. All of the children in our family danced down to Cake by the Ocean. Sense the theme?
Our first dance was God Only Knows. This was one of my favorite moments of the evening – my parents and my husband’s parents joined us and it was just so lovely.
I wasn’t too specific about my flowers (I know, so not wedding planner of me). I just wanted lots of color and that’s exaclty what I got!
Our fabulous Photographer
Michael Segal is the most fabulous photographer – he was with us the entire weekend. We even did a sunrise shoot on the day of our wedding!
A Cake to Remember
Funny story… we had this great vision for our cake and it turned out… UGLY. Well, it’ll be a funny story for our grandchildren.
A DJ to Keep the Party Going
We flew our own DJ in from LA: DJ River. Most of our guests were Israeli and we wanted someone who would get our vibe. Boy did we make the best choice! He kept the party going from our rehearsal dinner to the after party.
Very Cancun Favors
We had gift bags waiting in the guests’ hotel rooms as they arrived – with tequila (of course), some snacks, a schedule of the weekend, a waterproof camera, a floatie to hold their cocktails in the pool, sunscreen, and a hangover kit. It was just something fun to show them how grateful we were for everyone making their way to Cancun, and we knew everyone would need an Advil when they woke up the next morning.
Summer camp vibes
I think the most exciting thing for me was that it really felt like summer camp: when we woke up and went down for breakfast we ran into friends, when we were chilling by the pool our entire family was there, when we were swimming in the ocean a huge group of my husband’s friends joined us. It was like the entire hotel was celebrating with us! Even people who were just there on vacation ended up joining the party.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Somehow, at some point, something will go wrong. And that’s fine! You’ll still marry the love of your life, you’ll still have wonderful memories, you’ll still look back on that day and say, “It was the best day of my life.” The florist from our hotel FORGOT our flowers and told me at 3 pm on our wedding day as I was getting dressed. I told her to get what she can. Was it any less amazing? Did any guests say “Great wedding but I wish there were more flowers?” NO! It was the best day of my life!
Amanda will be marrying Adam on 25th March 2018 in a Jewish wedding at Braxted Park, UK.
THREE FACTS: (1) Amanda & Adam met outside in a bar in Tel Aviv (2) Adam has a ridiculous sense of humor (as described by Amanda!) and we love him all the more for it (3) Amanda & Adam’s wedding is 100% focused on all the people and things that mean the most to them. You can click here to read all Amanda’s planning posts to date.
So here we are. My final post and the last week in my wedding planning journey. For those of you wondering, I most certainly did not follow all of the advice in my previous post and as a result, we’ve experienced a fairly stressful two weeks, culminating in a bout of flu in the Yaffe-Parker household at the end of last week!
I have no doubt that some of the virus can be attributed to the two and a half day stag do that Adam endured in Budapest, but I’m fairly certain this was more than man-flu! Fingers crossed that the terrible cough I’ve been listening to for the last 10 days disappears before the ceremony!
Still, despite this slight set-back, we’ve worked our way through (or should I say out from underneath) a pile of ‘to-do lists’. We’ve finalised the guest list, caught up with all of our suppliers, printed menus, ceremony guides and reserved seat signs and AT LAST, I’m feeling excited more than anything else. The strong feelings of anxiety we’ve been harbouring for a couple of weeks have slowly faded away, and with only a week left before Adam moves out, things have started to feel real.
Of course, there are a couple of things left to finalise. As a natural (and somewhat professional) procrastinator, Adam has left his speech to the last minute. In the past week, he’s made a start but I know that he has found it particularly difficult, not least because of the emotions that come with such a task.
This week, Adam had a moment of realisation that his grandfather wouldn’t be there to see him get married. Unfortunately, I never had the privilege to meet Adam’s granddad or his maternal grandparents and likewise he never met any of mine.
Because of this, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try to honour those who can’t be with us on the day. Sadly, although there are 8 grandparents who were not spared to be with us on our wedding day, we are extremely lucky that Adam’s nan will be celebrating with us on the day. I hope that her beaming smile will represent all of our late grandparents, doing what they would have done best – beam proudly from the front row. All of this emotion will no doubt be our biggest challenge on the day, as we miss those who cannot be with us.
On a more positive note, I’m looking forward to making my own speech. I decided fairly early on in the process that I wanted to stand up and speak, and that I’d want to say more than a few hurried shout-outs at the end of the night. Those who know me well know how difficult it is to keep me quiet for long and with so many of our loved ones in the same room, it was the perfect opportunity. But what did I even want to say? I didn’t want to repeat Adam’s carefully curated list of ‘thank yous’. I certainly didn’t want to speak for the sake of speaking. And I knew that this wasn’t just about making sure that there was a woman speaking at our wedding (even if that was an added bonus).
I spent a few weeks reflecting on it and came to the conclusion that my speech could be the piece of the puzzle that was missing for me. I’ve always loved listening to personal and handwritten vows at weddings. There’s something so raw and emotional about them that really gives you a sense of the relationship before you. Vows didn’t necessarily form part of our fairly traditional Jewish ceremony, which left me with no space to talk about my feelings towards Adam. Of course, traditionally, the father of the groom will speak about his daughter and new son-in-law, the best man will make fun of the groom and the groom will say thank you to everybody and talk about his new wife. There lay my opportunity. As the bride, I wanted to find a way to speak to Adam in the presence of our family and friends. So that’s what I’ve decided to do.
It will be short and sweet, and my little ode to a man who I am so excited to spend my life with. Often at home, there aren’t opportunities to really articulate the things that you love about the other person, and as part of our wedding celebration, I’d really like to tell him.
So that’s all from me! Thanks to everybody who has taken the time to read my blogs over the past year. It’s been a load of fun, and I wholeheartedly recommend writing things down throughout the planning process. Not only has it been therapeutic for me, but I hope it will serve as a reminder to me of what the last 15 months has been like.
Could we pretty please order up some of the brilliant Australian sunshine on display in today’s super personal, super spiritual Jewish wedding? This winter thing is getting awfully old here in the Northern Hemisphere!
Bride Liron, a lawyer, and groom Jason, a writer and product manager at an international education company, believe that people should come away from your wedding “feeling like they just had a glimpse into your love,” and that’s exactly the effect their beautiful day had on us.
The couple infused their outdoor wedding at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne with so much of themselves, and you can really feel the love and intention they put into each step.
How awesome is it that Liron and Jason hand-built their own chuppah?! No mere DIY project, the couple viewed it as symbol of the home they are building together, and they took the time they spent constructing it as a chance to discuss the kind of family life they want together. Isn’t that so lovely? Not to mention that the simple white fabric canopy they chose was the very definition of simple elegance under the eucalyptus trees at their gorgeous outdoor garden ceremony.
Another way the artsy pair connected with each other and their guests on the day was to perform some of the music themselves! In addition to joining in on an acoustic set during the reception, the performed two songs for their guests—as if just getting married weren’t nerve-wracking enough for one day!
Liron looked like a bombshell in her elegant Pronovias gown, with vintage Hollywood waves to match. Photographer Free The Bird and videographer C2 Films really captured the authenticity and spirituality of the day. Now over to the bride…
How we met
Liron, the bride: we met at university (we both studied law). I was involved in the Jewish students’ club and on this particular day we had a stall at the orientation carnival, giving away challah and selling memberships. Jason came by to grab a piece of challah… he walked away with the phone number of his future wife.
The main intention we had for the wedding was for it to feel authentic and spiritually uplifting. We thought about many aspects of the wedding and tried to make it us.
We planned the whole wedding ourselves. No wedding planner; we put love and thought into each element.
Together we created a website where guests could RSVP.
Hollywood Waves and Natural Makeup
Iris Wieselmann did my hair and makeup on the day. I chose her not only because she is phenomenal at what she does but because I loved her energy and knew I would be happy in her company on my special day.
A Pronovias Dress
My dress was Pronovias – Princia. I loved that it was just lace and tulle. Nothing fancy or glittery. I went for something fairly modest and simple, focusing on the purity of the day.
Pearls, Diamonds, Opals
I wore Jason’s mother’s pearl and diamond earrings. I also wore a small stud in my second piercing that just had a tiny opal in it. My late grandmother loved opals and it was a way for me to feel her close on the day.
The handsome groom
Jason wore a vest from Politix. The rest was from Roger David, nothing fancy but I swooned nevertheless.
I gave each of my bridesmaids a crystal bracelet and a blessing on the morning of the wedding.
A Homemade Chuppah
Jason and I built the chuppah. It symbolized us putting in the time to build our home and in the process we had many conversations about what kind of home and family life we would like to create together.
A Spiritual Ceremony
We asked our dads, brothers, cousin, and grandfather (all the men in our family – yes, we’re a small family) to each read one of the Seven Blessings under the chuppah. We wanted everyone to be included. We also asked my two brothers, Jason’s brother, and his cousin to hold the chuppah poles.
The rabbi lead a meditation for the groom and his groomsmen before they went inside for the signing of the ketubah to keep them grounded, centered, and present.
We walked down the aisle to a magical instrumental song played on the hand pan and flute by our musician friends Archer and Tripp.
A Very Personal Ketubah
Our ketubah was painted by our friend who is an artist. We requested that the writing be inside the shape of a magen david made out of sticks. In one corner there was a moon and in the other, a hand pan (an instrument that Jason plays). The moon was to represent the divine feminine and the hand pan the divine masculine. She painted gardenias, lavender, and jasmine wrapped around the magen david. Those flowers grew in Jason’s parents garden and were in full bloom when we started dating. She also painted two figures in an intimate embrace, representing closeness and love.
We had roses and dahlias for our flowers.
Dinner in a Tipi
No cake – we had dessert, but we are generally health freaks so we didn’t want to do a whole thing around the cake.
Dinner (vegetarian food from shared plates) was served in a tipi marquee where half of the seats were cushions beside low tables. We wanted our guests to feel like they were a part of one tribe, eating and celebrating as a family.
Music by the Bride and Groom
The reception began with us welcoming our guests with a song that we sang – Your Feet by Nahko and Medicine for the People. Later in the evening we also sang Two Step by Dave Matthews Band. It was a deeply personal and loving way for us to connect to each other and our guests.
We got engaged at a concert of a friend of ours, Husky. As his song Hunter came on, Jason spontaneously proposed to me, overwhelmed with the memory of falling in love to that song. We asked Husky to perform Hunter at our wedding. It was absolutely magic.
Horas – our rabbi actually has a jazz band so they played! We had an acoustic set during which we and our friends played music, and we also had a DJ – DJ Masters.
Speeches Full of Gratitude
My father is a true tzadik, a righteous person who goes out of his way to help people in the most generous and selfless ways. Like a true holy man, not many people know the extent of how incredible he is, only his family. Jason honored my dad in his speech, telling a few of the stories of how he has helped people, moving every guest to tears. Jason talked about each of my and his family members, thanking them and honoring them for their contribution in making us who we are. He mentioned his grandparents who are no longer with us and acknowledged that everything we have is thanks to their hard work and the values they instilled in us.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Think deeply about your intention for the day and let that guide you when deciding what to include, leave out, or alter from the traditional way. People should walk away feeling like they just had a glimpse into your love and feel inspired.
Nature meets up-to-the-minute technology in today’s breathtaking Israeli Jewish wedding. Shirin, a teacher, and Shai, an engineer, joined their passions for the outdoors and for the latest in multimedia design. The Tel Aviv-based couple chose to wed at Lago, a gorgeous contemporary venue (named for the beautiful lake on the property) that pairs spectacular outdoor scenery with an indoor space equipped with 3-D video mapping technology.
Designer Hilit Gordon loaded the space with oodles of verdant greens and white florals—we’re talking about some truly massive arrangements here—for a forest chic vibe, with stunning boughs of greenery hanging from the ceiling in a super sophisticated touch.
As if all that weren’t dramatic enough, the venue’s tech capabilities meant that the couple were able to have a fab VJ, Gil Valdman, project a custom-designed image of a forest on the walls with the 360° video mapping. What a cool surprise for the guests as they walked into the hall after the ceremony!
This couple’s story really highlights the difference a great planner can make in crafting an amazing day (without making yourself crazy in the process!). Shirin and Shai quickly decided to turn to a wedding planner to help them realize their vision, and they found the perfect match in Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Naama Raicher.
Along with her colleague Yael Kfir Frumkes, Naama helped the couple work out all the details to make their hi-tech forest fantasy come true. According to Shirin, Naama and Yael made the process relaxing and stress-free—how often do you hear a bride use those words to describe wedding planning?!
In addition to their primary photographer, Nitzan Gur of Love Marriage, the couple’s planners encouraged them to bring in a second photographer, Liat Federman, who specializes in shooting interiors to make the most of their breathtaking décor. Yet another point for Naama and Yael—Shirin and Shai are so glad to have Liat’s stunning photos of the venue in all its glory. Rounding things out was videographer Roma Nerom of Nerom, who captured the day in live action.
Beautiful bride Shirin wanted a dress that made her feel like a princess yet was still comfortable to dance all night in, and she found her perfect match in a sparkling rose-gold Berta. And now it’s over to her to fill you in on the details of her exquisite day…
Shirin & Shai_hightlights - Vimeo
How we met
Shirin, the bride: We met during our military service through a mutual friend. We were together for 6 years prior to the wedding.
A High-Tech Venue
We got married in Lago – a venue defined by its innovative modern design. It offered so many advantages for us: it’s located only 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, so it was easy for our guests to get to. It could accomodate the number of guests that we had. There was the opportunity to hold the ceremony outside in the venue’s spectacular scenery, with a lake and a ferris wheel close by.
Also, the venue is designed with a dazzling combination of multimedia systems with video mapping technology, which uses spectacular 3D projections to create breathtaking interior scenery. We loved that!
We love love love nature and greenery, so we choose to decorate the venue to look like a natural forest. We chose white and green as our colors, since they signify calm and serenity for both of us.
Very wisely, we decided right from the start to hire event planners to assist with all the little details that were so important to us, and we were so happy to find Naama Raicher and her colleague Yael Kfir Frumkes, who were perfect for the job. Thanks to their involvement, the process was incredibly relaxing, fun, and stress-free.
In the nine months of organizing and planning our wedding day, they both made sure that every wish/dream/request we or our families made was fulfilled with a big smile and no strain whatsoever. We were totally certain that everything was taken care of to perfection. They both became such an enormous part of the success of our amazing wedding and became dear and significant to our families and us.
They led us through choosing vendors and emphasized what was important to us in the process. They compared a few proposals from different vendors for us and didn’t let go until we received the best offers. Thanks to them we had a beautiful layout and we choose the best, most reliable and professional vendors. Their super precision leading up to the event is what made our evening so successful.
My parents were also important to the planning process. They advised us, gave us recommendations, and assisted us with every decision we made.
We based our invitation on the nature theme. The cover to our invitation looked like a garden gate with two halves of a heart folding into one that had our initials on it – S & S. The square envelope was grey and the invitation was white, so that the overall look was classic, clean, and elegant. We sourced our invitation from Mozart.
Finding the Perfect Fit
I spent a long time looking for the perfect hair stylist and makeup artist. It was extremely important for me to be the only bride that they worked with on the day, and for them to be there for me mentally and physically throughout that day as well as for the evening itself (after the chuppa and before the dancing).
I chose Ofir and Gali based not only on how beautiful they made me look but also on how calm, relaxed, and happy they were. They listened to me, advised me, and acted upon all my wishes and requests making the most of their knowledge and experience.
The makeup I choose was classic overall, with bold eye makeup that emphasized my green eyes.
I changed my hairstyle during the wedding. At the beginning, I choose a loose hair style with a tiara. For the second hair-do, after the chuppa ceremony, my stylist tied my hair into a low ponytail so I could dance the night away.
A Real Princess Dress
Berta‘s styles attracted me from the beginning of my search for the perfect wedding dress. It became clear that it was the place where I’d find my gown, and as it turned out the second wedding dress I tried at Berta turned out to be the one. I felt that the dress was made especially for me, and it made me feel like a real princess. The color of the dress was cream – vintage pink, and each movement of mine made it glow, shine, and sparkle.
It was also crucial for me to wear a dress that would be comfortable to dance in throughout the wedding.
As I’ve already mentioned, comfort is important to me, but obviously I wanted to have high heels, so I chose shoes that I designed myself according to the look and level of comfort I was looking for, and that matched my dress.
I also ordered a hanger with my new surname and our marriage date for my getting ready. To that I added décor signs for my dressing room, and pink customized robes.
At the beginning of the evening, I chose a loose hair style with a tiara of silver plated flowers. After the chuppah ceremony, my hair stylist tied my hair into a low ponytail with a brooch with silver flowers and white pearls.
I wore delicate silver jewelry: diamond earrings and a tennis bracelet I received from my parents for my engagement.
The handsome groom
Shai wore a black suit and white button-down shirt with silver cuff links, a black bow tie (which we both loved), and Hugo Boss shoes.
Coincidentally Matched Bridesmaids
I had two special and dear bridesmaids – my cousin Joya and my best friend, Dana. I only asked them to wear light-colored dresses, with no other specifications. Amazingly, and only by coincidence, they both wore the same color and shape of dress (long skirt, two pieces). There’s no doubt that the similarity between the two dresses made our pictures from the preparations look outstanding.
A Forest-themed Chuppah
With my amazing event planners, Naama Raicher and Yael Kfir Frumkes, and my fabulous designer, Hilit Gordon, we decided that the chuppah‘s design would match the concept of the event itself – natural forest with lots of white flowers. It was important for us that the chuppah would be impressive, and big enough to contain our families. When we arrived at the venue and saw the chuppah, I felt that all my dreams had come true in the most perfect manner.
A Ceremony Filled with Family
It was important that our parents, siblings and my grandmother were part of the ceremony and stood under the chuppah with us.
We choose Rabbi Bar-On, who was recommended by our event planners, and we connected to him right from the start, on both a spiritual and a personal level.
Young and Beautiful
Our entrance song to the chuppah was River Water by Idan Raichel. For our first dance, we had Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray. We started our first dance alone as a married couple and in the middle of the song our parents joined us. By the end of the song most of the guests had joined us, and we felt so much love in the air around us.
A Forest of Flowers
Hilit Gordon, my talented designer, and her amazing team decorated the entire venue with a lot of white flowers and greenery. It was important to us to keep a natural look to the venue. We had different arrangements on the tables – some with large bouquets and some with massive greenery, some with lots of candles and some with a combination of both flowers and candles. We had strands of greenery hanging down from the ceiling, which completed the forest look we were going for. My bouquet was made according to an inspiration that I had, and it matched the general vibe of the design.
Our fabulous photographers
Our photographers Love Marriage were chosen, after lots of research, for their outstanding work and their gentle touch. They were extremely nice and helpful throughout the day and made us feel at ease and joyful.
Since the venue design was so breathtaking, our event planners brought a special photographer, Liat Federman, whose expertise, apart of being a gifted photographer generally, is design work. It was totally worth it and the pictures came out spectacularly.
We also had a magnet photographer, Roy Bar, who made souvenirs for our guests.
The Life of the Party
Our band was Glory Band. They had 5 singers and 5 musicians who performed music in different styles and made our guests totally excited. Glory played till midnight and then we had DJ Gil fux and his live musicians, who did fantastic work and add more fun vibe to the wedding .
We weren’t sure that the party would go on after the band left, but Gil Fux has a magic touch. Our guests couldn’t resist and ended up staying way after midnight . His contribution to the event was enormous.
We also had the Shmulikim, a group of professional dancers that blended with our guests and made sure that our dance floor was the life of the party. They also assisted guests who had no partners or needed some moral assistance reaching the dance floor.
Color-changing LED Bracelets
We had kippot for the men and white hand-held fans for the women.
We made a special canvas with two kissing figures holding a bouquet of balloons – but with the balloons missing – and our names and the date of our wedding, so that our guests could use their fingerprints to create our balloon bouquet. At the end of the event we had a beautiful memory on our canvas.
As the party went on we handed LED bracelets to our guests that changed color according to the rhythm of the music and added so much energy to the party.
We also had white flip-flops in several sizes for guests with tired feet to help keep the party going.
At the end of the evening each guest received a blue or red magnet prepared by Alut – a voluntary association of people with special needs. It was important for us to make this donation to Alut. Inside the gift box there was also was a ‘thank you’ note, graphically designed according to our style and with our initials, to everyone that participated in our wedding.
360° of Forest
Going with out nature theme, a very gifted VJ, Gil Valdman, screened a custom-made picture of a forest on the venue’s 360° video mapping. It was a gift from our event planners and truly created a “wow” impact as the guests entered the hall after the ceremony. It was breathtaking!
After our slow dance, the pictures on the screens changed according to the party and the vibe as the evening went on.
Another important part of the decoration of the venue was the lay out which was interesting and made of few levels and seating areas that were built in a manner that there was no similarity between one area to the other and the whole venue looked magnificent.
We also made menus, seating cards, and table numbers with a unique graphic design- again, matching our concept.
What is, hands down, the most fun and exciting part of any Jewish wedding? In the immortal words of Anthony from Sex and the City, the answer is: “the hora! THE HORA!”
The hora (sometimes called Jewish Dancing or Israeli Dancing) is a highly energetic Israeli circle dance, and guests are supposed to put as much vigor and enthusiasm into it as they would on their own wedding day. Danced to klezmer music, it’s usually the part of the wedding where you’ll see the happy couple lifted on chairs (equal parts exhilarating and terrifying), or being thrown about on a sheet!
At religious, Orthodox Jewish weddings, men and women dance the hora separately, with a dividing wall, while Reform, Liberal and Jew-ish weddings tend to keep the party in one place.
It’s an amazing challenge for any photographer, to capture the mayhem, and frankly, at this point, brides can forget about their hair and makeup, because things are going to get sweaty!
So, given how integral the hora is to a real Jewish knees up, how do you make it happen? Here are some tips to getting everybody at your wedding involved in this boisterous and brilliant tradition.
If your budget can stretch to it we highly recommend a live band. Whether it’s a live band who can play some klezmer classics, or a traditional klezmer band, it’s all in the music. If live entertainment is a little out of budget, we advise putting together a klezmer playlist or asking your DJ to dedicate a special portion of the evening to it.
There are many traditional melodies to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, YouTube is a great source of inspiration for hora songs. This video alone is a medley of some of the most popular songs to dance the hora to, to get your playlist going.
Image: York Place Studios ( Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor)
Learn some basic hora steps
Chances are, if you’re having a Jewish or Jew-ish wedding, that you’re probably already a somewhat accomplished hora dancer. However, if you’re a little unsure of what happens when you dance the hora, why not brush up before the big day?
Whether you find a local Israeli dance class or teacher to help you out, or you use one of the many YouTube tutorials available, make sure you’re confident enough to whip up enthusiasm among your guests. They will, after all, be following your lead.
Some klezmer bands have somebody specifically designated to get into the fray, encourage your guests to join in and show everybody what to do. This is a really great investment for creating an amazing atmosphere. However, if that stretches the purse strings a little too much, try appointing some more experienced friends and family members to lead the hora dancing when the time comes.
There’s no right or wrong time to dance the hora. Some couples choose to do so before dinner is served, others to kick off the dancing, while some wait until later in the evening.
There are advantages and disadvantages to all. The hora is a great way to get everyone up and dancing, because it’s so easy and accessible, so earlier in the evening has its benefits. Having said that, a pre-dinner hora can lack energy and a post-meal hora… well… it’s a lot of moving around after a big meal.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and what is most important to you, as well as the unique flow of your day. For example, it might be a shame to get everyone out of their seats for the hora, only to seat them again for the meal and lose momentum. Personally, we feel the hora is best danced when guests are really ready to let loose, after all the photos and moments are captured, and when you’re ready for that energy to continue throughout the evening.
On the other hand (sorry to sound like Tevye), it might be wise to be lifted in your chairs earlier, rather than later, for more safe, sober pairs of hands.
If you’re not sure, chat to your band or DJ and perhaps ask them to use their best judgement where the Israeli dancing is concerned.
Generally, the hora is danced for anything from five to twenty minutes. It really depends on the demographic of your guests, how much they enjoy the dancing and how soon they start flagging.
The best thing to do is to have your band or DJ judge the lay of the land on the night, as people might be totally up for a bit more of a dance than you realise, or might tire quicker than you anticipated.
If you have a medley of songs you simply love, and want included, allocating more time to the hora is a good idea.
We love love LOVE the Jewish dancing and our top tip? Have your face glisten with glee (and sweat) during the Hora – totally and utterly go for it – do not worry about your make up or your dress – this is SUCH a joyous moment – be sure to let go!
Sex and the City - Anthony's Wedding Advice (Season 6 Clip) - YouTube
Good morning, lovelies! Today we have an absolute stunner of a Jewish wedding to share with you, and also a special treat for you US brides and grooms: the fab photography and videography studio behind today’s super-glam shots, NYC-based Fred Marcus Studio, is offering members of our VIB Club a free engagement shoot (just click here to become a VIB [Very Important Bride] and enjoy ALL the benefits!)
Fred Marcus Studio is just one of hundreds of vendors, handpicked by me, who offer VIB’s a 10% discount or special gift. There’s also a wonderful private VIB Facebook community, too, where me and my team are on hand to advise you with your wedding plans, day or night – however and whenever you need assistance, along with SO much more goodness – it’s a hive of activity! If you haven’t joined yet, don’t delay as we’ll be closing membership for this quarter shortly.
So now, onto today’s EPIC wedding. This ultra-chic Jewish W Day is basically a big fat love letter to one of the greatest cities in the world: New York. Having spent their entire relationship in the city, there was no question that Kira, a grad student, and Mark, who works in finance, would wed anywhere else.
The pair got married at Liberty Warehouse in super cool Redhook, Brooklyn, with an outdoor ceremony looking out on the water—and onto the Statue of Liberty! How much more quintessentially NYC can it get?
Well, let’s see… Kira found her gown, a show-stopping custom Pnina Tornai, at Kleinfeld, the ultimate New York wedding dress shopping destination—just like on Say Yes to the Dress.
And the couple had a six-layer cake from NYC cult favorite Momofuku Milkbar, which you may know for such iconic creations as Crack Pie and Cereal Milk Soft Serve.
Even their invitations got in on the act, with a map of NYC lining the envelopes and the city skyline adorning their rehearsal dinner invite.
The couple wanted a party where no one sat down, and thanks to Smashing the Glass Recommended Vendor Hank Lane they found their fab wedding band, led by Bobby Attiko, who kept their guests dancing all night—it is the city that never sleeps, after all! Now I’ll turn you over to bride Kira for all the details…
An NYC Wedding
Kira, the bride: we got married at Liberty Warehouse in Redhook, Brooklyn. We really wanted a New York wedding since our whole relationship has taken place in NYC, and we also wanted somewhere on the water since water is always our happy place. When we found out the only date left at LW for a June 2017 wedding was our 5th anniversary of meeting, we knew it was meant to be!
A Rustic Garden Theme
We loved that Liberty Warehouse offered such a beautiful rustic space, but that we could make it our own with how we chose to decorate. Our vision was to have a very romantic, rustic, almost mystical garden feel. We knew we wanted lots of candles, whites and greenery for flowers, and antique mirrored tabletops. We used an amazing wedding planner, Dominique Bell.
Our invite suite was something that was unique to us because we added some custom touches to it – the lining of the envelope was a map of New York City, we tied in lavender to the floral detailing because it was my grandmother’s favorite color and has become my favorite color, and we had the New York skyline on the rehearsal dinner invite since it was in Tribeca.
A Trusted Stylist
My hairstylist was Joseph Maine – he has been doing my hair for years and is the only person I trust with it! My makeup was done by Christiane Gendry – she is incredible.
A Pnina Tornai Dress
My dress was from Kleinfeld and was custom designed by Pnina Tornai, an amazing Israeli designer. There were a few Israeli designers I was interested in, but once I met with Pnina and she was able to sketch me the dress I was describing (a combination of three of her dresses I found at Kleinfeld), I knew it was the dress I wanted.
I borrowed gorgeous hanging diamond earrings from our jeweler, Suzy B, and I wore a hair clip for the ceremony only made by Lelet NY. My veil was from Kleinfeld as well.
A Last-Minute Change of Shoes
I originally was wearing 4-inch Jimmy Choo heels for my wedding in a champagne color, but shortly before the wedding I ended up fracturing my foot and needed to change my footwear last-minute. I took a few pictures in the Jimmy Choos and then changed into a pair of Miu Miu heels that had a platform and a block heel, and my doctor was able to put an insert in under my break. I felt no pain on my wedding day!
The handsome groom
Mark wore a dark navy blue suit by Lanvin – we picked it out together, but seeing him in it for the first time on our wedding day brought instant tears to my eyes. There was so much going on that day and so much excitement, but when we did our first look it was just the two of us and was a moment I will never forget.
Bridesmaids in Black
I had 7 bridesmaids and they all wore black gowns of their choice as well as heels of their choice. I loved the way it looked with chic black dresses against the rustic/whimsical theme we had created for the reception.
A Minimalist Floral Chuppah
We wanted it to be minimalist on the poles and then lots of greenery and white flowers hanging down from the top. We felt that against the backdrop of the water, this would look really cool. We did a white calla lily-themed cocktail hour that turned out really beautiful.
A Personalized Ketubah
We were married by a rabbi who means a lot to my family – my grandparents listened to his talk show every Sunday for years, and he did both of their funerals and unveilings – he is an incredibly special person and took the time to really get to know us as a couple. Aside from the traditional Jewish ceremony, we chose 7 people to come under the chuppah and give us their own blessing, and then we both recited vows that we had written.
We are really close to our families and friends and wanted to make sure everyone felt included. The Seven Blessings during the ceremony allowed another 7 people to be involved, we each had a friend sign our ketubah, and then another two friends signed our marriage license.
Our ketubah is very special to us because it was custom-designed by an artist in Chicago and has elements of our relationship embedded in it. The bottom of the ketubah is the Amalfi Coast (one of our favorite places in the world); the top is the mountains of Killington, Vermont, where my family has a house; there is an eagle on one tree for my husband’s serious love of the Philadelphia Eagles and an owl on another tree for my grandfather who collected owls; and a lavender hamsa for my grandmother’s favorite color.
Matthew Kolins at Atlas Florist was the fabulous florist who really brought my vision to life. My bridesmaids all held white calla lilys with long green stems, and I held a mix of white calla lilys, purple ones, and some white roses as well. We had two different looks for the table set-ups since some of our tables were round and others were rectangular. On the rounds we had these gorgeous white orchid arrangements in crystal vases surrounded by candles, and on the long tables we had lots of different beautiful white and cream flowers and candles.
Our fabulous Photographers and videographer
After a lot of research we ended up meeting with Brian Marcus from Fred Marcus Studio, and we KNEW he was the person we wanted to photograph our wedding. Brian had such great energy and everything he showed us we loved. We ended up have 3 photographers from Fred Marcus – Brian Marcus, Leslie Farinacci, and Anton Martynov – as well as a videographer. We can’t thank Brian and his team enough – we LOVE the pictures and really feel that they captured everything.
A Momofuku Milkbar Cake
Our cake was from Momofuku Milkbar because it’s one of our favorites – we did six layers, alternating from our favorite confetti cake to the delicious German chocolate. Liberty Warehouse has its own in-house catering and it was AMAZING.
Music to Party By
We had Bobby Attiko and his band from Hank Lane – when we initially met with Kim Kaufman, a producer at Hank Lane, we told her we wanted a party where NO ONE sat down at all and boy did Bobby and his team deliver. The music was absolutely incredible and really made the party. My husband even got to play on the drums with them for a few songs!
A Pretzel Truck
At the end of the night we had a Sigmund’s Pretzels food trunk giving out delicious pretzels in custom bags that had our initials on them. It was the perfect touch while people were getting on the buses.
A Shot Ski for the Speeches
Speeches were done by both sets of parents, the MOH, and best man, as well as the bride’s brother.
The bride’s father brought out a shot ski that lives in their ski house and is a tradition in their family – at the end of his speech he did a shot ski with the new bride and groom and the room went wild. Our bridal party members all wanted to speak at the rehearsal dinner which made for a really fun kickoff to the weekend.
What an INCREDIBLE Facebook Live we have coming up for you tomorrow, Wednesday 14th March – live from London’s most exclusive retail district, Knightsbridge!
Yes we’ll be live streaming from Caroline Castigliano‘s London flagship store in the heart of the Capital, talking to the designer herself, and showcasing her latest gowns that we are totally and utterly OBSESSED with. What a treat!
This will also be your chance to ask Caroline all your wedding dress questions, as well as talking all things bridal trends and fashion. Nothing is off the table so ask away!
THREE FACTS: (1) Mel and Mitch met online on JDate (2) Their Jewish wedding will be classy and traditional with plenty of modern touches (3) Mel is a member of Smashing The Glass’s private members club VIB Club. Not yet a member? Come join us here!
The final countdown
As I write this it is two weeks until the big day. 2 weeks! 73 weeks ago we got engaged and now there’s just a fortnight until I’m married. Cannot. Believe. It.
Everyone said to me when we set the date that time would go quickly. It was well over a year away so felt like plenty of time. They were right. Time has disappeared. Brides – cherish your planning time; it will be over in a flash.
How am I feeling?
For the last few months everyone has asked me the same question; “Not long now until the big day. How are you feeling?”
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked this. And every time I say the same thing; I get flutters of excitement, anticipation, nerves and fear. It hasn’t quite dawned on me yet that I’m getting married. I’m not sure when it will feel real – I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Organising a wedding is a huge task. Planning an occasion of this scale and importance comes with some pressure. There are so many questions before even starting – how do we select a date? Do we get a wedding planner? How do we chose the right suppliers?
I think unless you’re an event manager or wedding planner, you can never quite prepare yourself for planning a wedding. I’ve just winged it. So here are some of my top tips based on my experience.
1. Carefully chose your date
It sounds pretty obvious but there’s not much you can do before you’ve set a date. Of course you can research suppliers and meet with them but until you know when you need them, you’re a little stuck.
Think about how long of an engagement you want. Mitch and I knew we didn’t want to get married too quick and wanted at least a year to plan. You then need to consider what dates you can get married. There are a number of dates throughout the year when you cannot get married because of various Jewish festivals. Have a look at websites like www.Chabad.org to see what dates the festivals fall on and determine what dates you can marry. Smashing the Glass also has a good post which tells you which dates to avoid in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Also consider the time of year; if you’ve got your heart set on a Saturday wedding, choose a date in the winter months when Shabbat goes out earlier.
Once you’ve secured your date with your venue and Rabbi, let people know as soon as possible. Especially if you choose a bank holiday weekend or school holidays.
If you’re on a budget, you need to be smart with the way you allocate your money. Even if you’re not limited to a budget, it is still a good idea to track your spend. Prioritise what is most important and work back from there – it would be crazy to book a photo booth or buy wedding favours before you’ve booked your florist and photographer for example. Last thing you would want is to find you can’t afford to have the photographer you want because you spent £500 on a photo booth.
Set a rough budget for your ‘high priority’ suppliers; for us these were the venue and catering, band, photographer, videographer and florist. It’s difficult at first, but if you’re not sure how much things will cost contact a few suppliers to ask for their price list to get an idea. Once you’ve worked on your budget for the main suppliers, then set your budget for everything else.
You should always include a contingency budget (I’m a Project Manager so working within a budget is my job!). Things will crop up that you haven’t accounted for or you may go slightly over budget on your dream dress for example. Do not rely on prices coming in lower than you estimated – if you overestimate anything then that’s a bonus. We hadn’t even thought about feeding our suppliers. It was only when we read the contract for our photographer that said we will need to provide food. Thinking about it, the band, photographer, videographer, and toastmaster will be with us for 8+ hours, so they will need something to eat. For us, we need to feed 21 additional people. So speak to your caterer and ask what they can offer for your suppliers. Our venue offers a special meal for suppliers that is different (and cheaper!) than the meal for guests.
3. Research, research, research
There are so many different vendors out there who are amazing it’s so hard to know who to choose. I spent hours trawling through supplier’s websites and social media. I spoke to friends and family and read through loads of blogs on Smashing the Glass.
I was able to create a shortlist of suppliers and arranged meetings. There’s only so much you can get from a website or Instagram page. I found personal recommendations have been the biggest help; we found our venue, band, photographer, florist and bridal salon from recommendations.
We opted to plan our wedding ourselves without recruiting a wedding planner. Planning can be very physically and emotionally draining. I got so caught up in everything at first. I wanted to organise everything at once. It wasn’t realistic.
Spread the load. Don’t try and book everything within a short period of time. Take time to find the right suppliers. It also means you can manage your budget by spreading out costs – remember you usually need to put down a deposit for each vendor. Can you afford to do that all at once?
Consider your priorities. Focus on trying to book what you consider the most important suppliers first.
Plan together. Mitch is so involved in planning. We have divided the suppliers between us so we each lead on different ones, e.g. he leads on speaking to our band and videographer and I lead on the photographer and florist. That way, neither of us take the full burden of trying to do everything ourselves. If you can get your partner involved then definitely do! I think us girls can be guilty of trying to do everything ourselves.
5. Trust your instincts
As I mentioned, there’s so many suppliers out there to choose from it’s so hard to know who to book. You can look at hundreds of websites and Instagram pages but you can only really get to know a supplier when you meet or talk to them.
For example we met some very experienced photographers who have been in the business for years and done hundreds of Jewish weddings but we got a good feel about Chiko. I don’t know what it was but he just seemed to get us as couple and our vision which was so important. Vendors are amazing at what they do; but that doesn’t mean you will connect with them on a personal level, which I think is important.
Equally, it’s impossible to meet with every photographer or band or florist for example. You have to be able to draw the line. If it feels right, then trust your instincts.
As I mentioned in my last post it’s the personal touches that make each wedding unique. Think of ways of injecting your personality into your wedding where you can. We created our own logo, designed our own stationary, created a hashtag – #LoveIslinTheAir (credit to my bridesmaid for coming up with it!), plus a few other surprises we have planned.
If you’re struggling, think about weddings you’ve been to before and what you liked about them. You can also speak to your suppliers, they will probably have a few ideas you may not have considered.
7. Enjoy it!
Planning the biggest day in your life should be an enjoyable experience. Looking back on planning, overall I’ve loved it. It’s been so much fun coming up with ideas and taking inspiration from other weddings. It’s also been really fun talking to friends and family about the wedding. I was always conscious about talking about the wedding too much but if people asked me about it I was more than happy to share!
I’ll be honest, there have been some stressful times – mainly about the guest list and table plan but I’ve tried to not it affect me too much.
During planning, I have found some amazing websites and apps (aside from Smashing The Glass of course!) that have made planning that bit easier and also saved us money! Here are my top three:
Wedding Wire – this is an app and a website. You can use it to track everything including suppliers, budget and guest list. You can even organise your table plan. It’s brilliant – definitely check it out. It was so useful having an app to track whether guests are coming or not. Whenever we got an RSVP I would simply open the app. Who needs a spreadsheet when you can use an app?!
Printed.com – we used Creative Invitations to print our invitation suite but when it came to the table plan and table numbers we wanted something a little different. Printed.com is amazing. You can do everything from printing your table plan on foam board to printing all of your invitations and RSVPs. You can even contact them for a bespoke print. For our table numbers we needed something that wasn’t available on their website so I contacted them and they were able to deliver a bespoke print. Their customer service is amazing. Also, if you know someone who has an account get them to refer you for 20%. We also went through topcashback.co.uk and got money back.
Canva – this is a free service where you can design anything you want. I used it to design our logo and it was so easy to use. Some people design their invitations using Canva then use printed.com for printing.
The time has come
So after months of planning, the time has come to see all our plans come together. It’s crazy to think so much time, money, effort and stress has gone into just one day; but it will be the most perfect day and the start of my new life with Mitch.
Oh my goodness, this is one elegant Jewish wedding. Lauren who works in public relations, and Ross, a chartered surveyor, wanted the day to reflect all the best elements of a classic English wedding with a contemporary twist.
The couple chose Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Jenna Keller as their wedding planner (who is offering an exclusive 10% discount to all our VIB Club members!) and she helped them bring their super glam vision to life at Capesthorne Hall, a beautiful stately home in Cheshire.
We just love a floral chuppah, and Jenna came up with just the chicest variation! Lauren wanted something unique but not over-the-top, and the refined white floral canopy atop translucent poles set against the all-white marquee fits the bill exactly. It’s contemporary while embracing tradition, sophisticated and refined, just like the rest of this wedding.
To make their ceremony even more special, Lauren and Ross booked much-loved STG Recommended Vendor Boutique Chupah Music, adding to the emotional and intimate atmosphere.
Planner Jenna pointed the pair toward their wonderful photographer, Robert Shack. He did an amazing job of capturing their glamorous day, and videographer Rebecca Reville caught the festivities in live action.
Speaking of things that are glamorous, isn’t Lauren’s lace gown exquisite? It fits her like a glove, and that train! She found her Carolina Herrera stunner at yet another fabulous STG Recommended Vendor The Wedding Club in London—but she almost missed out on the dress of her dreams. At the end of a long day of shopping, Lauren was ready to call it quits after having found solid gown options at the first three of four appointments she had scheduled.
Her mum encouraged her not to cancel that final appointment, though, and luckily Lauren listened, because the very first dress her Wedding Club stylist brought out for her turned out to be the one. This goes to show that it’s always worth taking the time to check out that one last shop (or venue, or any vendor really), because you just never know where you’ll find the one! Now over to the bride herself . . .
How we met
Lauren, the bride: We first met at Habonim Dror Winter Camp in 2007 when we were both camp leaders. I remember getting on so well; however nothing romantic happened at the time!
We met again in 2011 at Birmingham City University. We were both in the same halls and decided to join forces for drinks one night during freshers’ week. We have been together ever since!
A Stately Home
We got married at Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire. When we first got engaged we talked about having the wedding in Israel, since we go a lot and my family has a holiday home there. But we decided that there are so many elements to an English wedding that we love, and I wanted the venue to reflect that. The grounds were huge, and our marquee where we had the chuppah looked out on a beautiful lake. We used the stately home for the reception.
Glamorous in Rose Gold
My sister got married last year and used Jenna Keller as her wedding planner. Jenna’s organization and attention to detail was incredible, so when we got engaged she was one of the first people we called! Jenna is a breath of fresh air. I told her certain visions that I had and she built on all those ideas, making it the most perfect day.
Our color was rose gold. This was reflected in our invitations, charger plates, tablecloths, and bridesmaid dresses.
The chuppah was both classic and contemporary, in a white marquee overlooking the lake, and the rest of the wedding had an amazing party atmosphere.
As the grounds were so large, we decided it would be a good idea to have golf carts to take guests around. The drivers all wore t-shirts and hats with our L&R initials on it – it was a lovely touch.
We had a bespoke Perspex bar and a matching DJ booth, inspired by a wedding we saw in LA. The bar had garlands of orchids hung above it, and we created a mirrored back bar shelf area housing all the spirits for the night. Lots of shelves, including the bar, were filled with candles and orchids.
We decided to have round tables and opted for a round dance floor with our initials foiled in the center. We had a giant central round chandelier and a large stage for the band with rounded steps coming into the dining room. All of the round elements made the large marquee feel soft and extremely elegant. Ross and I sat at a raised mirrored oval sweetheart table at the front of the dance floor. Our families were at the tables surrounding us, but it gave us an opportunity to share a few moments together and take in everything.
Laser Cut Invitations
I looked at a lot of different wedding invitations on Pinterest, as I wanted something that my guests may not have seen before. We decided on laser cut, which I thought was really elegant and beautiful, and we also added a small teardrop-shaped crystal on to the invitation.
Embedded in the laser cut was L&R: our initials were a theme throughout the night, and we had them on our dance floor, benchers, and all place cards.
The company that brought our stunning invitations to life was Design the Day, based in Northwich.
All the Hair Trials
I must have had about 10 different hair trials. I couldn’t decide if I wanted my hair down, half up and half down, or just up. On my final trial I left my hair in and saw Ross that evening for dinner. As soon as he saw me he said, “What have you done to your hair? I absolutely love it.” I told him I just threw it up after the shower and he believed me! He said “If you had your hair like that on the wedding day, you would make me the happiest groom in the world” – after that the decision was easy!
Sarra Slimane of Artiste did both my hair and makeup on the day. She is amazing and I wouldn’t have had anyone else!
A Carolina Herrera Gown
My dress was from The Wedding Club in London. It was a Carolina Herrera dress and it was honestly the dress of my dreams. It was everything I could have wanted in a wedding dress and more!
I had gone down to London to go dress shopping with my mum, and we had booked four appointments in different places. In both the second and third shops I found dresses that I really loved. I was absolutely exhausted by then and told my mum to cancel the final appointment. She said, “No way, we’re here and we may as well go,” so we did. I got to the shop and chatted to the lady in there for five minutes and she said, “I have the perfect dress for you.”
I tried it on, and there was absolutely no doubt that it was the one. I had never seen a dress like it before and knew that it would have to be the dress I married the love of my life in!
A Veil with Crystals
I had a veil to go with my dress. It was quite simple with some tiny crystals in. I decided not to use any hair accessories as the dress spoke for itself and didn’t need anything else!
I am a bit shoe-obsessed, so my wedding shoes had to be perfect! I don’t normally go for comfort when it comes to choosing a pair of heels but I knew that I had to be sensible with these shoes!
I bought a pair of bridal Jimmy Choos home and then took them to one of my fittings. They were pretty but didn’t have the wow factor and they weren’t very comfortable, so I took them back!
I tried on the Manolo Blahnik white satin Hangisi shoes and I knew they were the perfect pair – classic, timeless, and surprisingly comfy! I bought them with the intention that I would dye them a different color after the wedding so I could wear them again, but I love the white and now just want to buy more in every color!
The handsome groom
Ross wore a Hugo Boss black tuxedo with a shawl collar. Underneath he had a slim fit evening shirt from Eton along with a Hugo Boss silk bow-tie and some classic Mont Blanc cuff links. To finish off he wore shiny leather black brogues from Loake Shoemakers.
Bridesmaids in Rose Gold
I had four bridesmaids, one maid of honor, and a little flower girl. I wanted all of my bridesmaids to be comfortable in what they wore so decided as long as it was all the same fabric and color they could choose the style they wanted.
We went to Philip Armstrong in Liverpool and he made everything so easy. He understood what all the girls wanted and sketched everything out so we could see. The color of the dresses tied in with our color scheme.
A Floral Chuppah
I knew that I wanted the chuppah to be totally striking, yet not over the top. I wanted it to be something that people hadn’t seen before. Jenna, our wedding planner, totally got my vision. It was absolutely perfect!
A Bespoke Ketubah
We decided to have a bespoke ketubah made. A family friend recreated the look of our chuppah on parchment and the Hebrew writing sat inside. It is very beautiful and is hung up in our house to remind us of our special day!
You Make It Real
We had Boutique Chupah Music at our chuppah. I had wanted the Portnoy brothers to sing at our wedding ever since they started performing. Their voices are so unique, and they really set an incredible and emotional atmosphere.
Ross walked down the aisle to Mi Adir in the tune of Hallelujah as did the rest of the procession. Then I walked into Boi Veshalom; I swear that song makes me cry every time I listen to it! When I walked around Ross seven times they sung the song Birkat Chuppah to the tune of John Legend’s All of Me.
We wanted our first dance to be special and meaningful, not just some soppy gushing love song! It took us months and months to decide. One day I was listening to a random playlist and James Morrison’s You Make It Real came on. I knew straight away that it was the perfect song.
Verdure was the incredible florist that brought everything to life. We decided to keep all of the flowers white, since too much color isn’t really my thing!
Our fabulous Photographer
When my wedding planner sent me a list of photographers to look through, I just had to take one look at Robert Shack‘s website and Instagram page before getting him booked. Each wedding he had photographed had a completely different style, and he really injected the bride and groom’s personalities into the photos.
He was an absolute delight to be around on the day; he was so friendly and made me feel so calm and so at ease. Choosing our album was extremely difficult as we loved every single photo!
We used Rebecca Reville as the videographer. My sister had used her the year previously for her wedding, and I thought her work was flawless.
Cool Wedding Alert! Hannah, an urban planner who hails from Melbourne, Australia, and Eitan, a contractor and Tel Aviv native, told their wedding planner and designer, Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Bebke, that they wanted their Jewish wedding to feel like the best day at the beach you’ve ever had.
And Bebke really, really delivered. Their day, in a stunning beach venue just north of Caesaria, is truly the ultimate chilled-out seaside bash.
Ever felt like the standard formal event doesn’t quite mesh with your sensibilities? Hannah and Eitan did, and they opted to skip out on the sit-down meal and instead make their day a constant stream of food, drinks, and dancing. We love how they opted to have all different kinds of food stations, from deli to wood-fired pizza to fish shawarma! Way to keep all your guests happy.
Another thing we adore about this wedding is the ultra-personal alternative Jewish ceremony Hannah and Eitan crafted, combining tradition with their egalitarian values. They wrote their own ketubah, had their siblings read not only the traditional seven blessings but also blessings they wrote themselves for the couple, and exchanged rings with each other.
Hannah looked radiant in her green Reformation dress, proving that you don’t have to wear white to capture that bridal elegance.
Photographer Alexey Kudrik came recommended by planner Bebke, and we’re in love with his elegant documentary style. These photos look like they’ve been snatched from a super cool editorial, but at the same time Alexey could not have captured the emotion of the day more exquisitely—just take a look at the photos of Hannah and Eitan under the chuppah. We’ll leave it to Hannah to fill you in on the rest.
How we met
Hannah, the bride: We met through a mutual friend when I was in Tel Aviv visiting for another friend’s wedding in 2015 – we ended up in the same group of people hanging out on the beach one weekend – and what started as a holiday fling ended in marriage, and now a baby on the way!
A Seaside Venue
We got married at a tiny place, which is usually a fish restaurant run by a local fisherman but is essentially just a hut on the beach in a town just north of Caesarea. With a beachfront that is without doubt the most beautiful I have seen along the whole Israeli coastline, it’s protected and private, and the shore is dotted with local fishing boats.
A Laid-Back Day
Neither my husband nor I really like being the center of attention. We used a wedding planner and designer, Bebke, that specializes in creating unique weddings and told them that we wanted the wedding to feel like the best day at the beach you’ve ever had, but not focused solely around us.
The comment we got the most after the wedding was how much the wedding was a reflection of us… I think that’s because it was incredibly casual and laid back – no one had to be anywhere at any particular time; it was just one long afternoon and evening of never ending food, drinks, and dancing, without formal tables, or set meal times.
We chose one of the Vera Wang designs from Paperless Post – super simple, and we only printed very limited numbers to give to some of our parents’ friends. Everyone else was invited by email or Whatsapp!
Natural Hair and Makeup
I’m not a makeup wearer – I currently own one decade-old tube of dried mascara! Nevertheless, I organized to have someone come and do my (and my sister’s and mother’s) makeup and hair for the day of the wedding.
I asked our wedding planner to recommend someone who could do natural-looking makeup for me, and she recommended the woman who did her hair and makeup for her wedding, Adi Salomon. I did a trial with Adi before the wedding and liked the natural look so went with her.
I have a lot of curly hair and don’t usually like when people try and style it for me – I prefer the natural, slightly wild thing it does on its own, but Adi went over some of my curls with a super thin curling wand just to make it a bit neater, and that was it. It went up in a ponytail on top of my head at some point during the night… Israeli summers are too hot!
A Bride in Green
I wore a green dress that I ordered online for about $300 from the website The Reformation. It’s an online store that makes beautiful dresses and uses sustainable practices in their fabric production, shipping, etc.
I didn’t not wear white on purpose; I just remember seeing that dress online before I was even engaged and bookmarking it, thinking I would buy it when I had a wedding to go to or something. When we decided to get married I thought, why not wear it to my own wedding?!
I ordered it, and it arrived all scrunched up after an unceremonious wait at Israeli customs. I had it steamed and wore it as it came, off the virtual rack.
It was breezy and light and comfortable, and I was happy spending all day in it, sitting in the sand, etc.
Gold and Emeralds
I am not a jewellery wearer in general – but my parents bought me some beautiful gold and emerald drop earrings and a simple gold necklace to wear on my wedding day. No veil or hair accessories.
Barefoot on the Beach
I wore a pair of flat matte gold leather sandals, the simplest I could find, with one thin strap across the toes and one ankle strap.
They came off literally first thing after the ceremony and I was barefoot the rest of the wedding.
The handsome groom
My husband wore a light grey suit and white shirt from Hugo Boss and beautiful, simple brown leather shoes from Allen Edmonds in New York. He has black curly hair that comes halfway down his back, and he wore it out in all its curly glory for the wedding, which was beautiful – I love his hair.
An Heirloom Chuppah Cover
We used my mother’s wedding veil as the chuppah fabric, and then just four neutral poles.
A Personalized Ceremony
We did not actually get married by a rabbi but rather by a friend who is part of an organization called Havaya that facilitates alternative Jewish ceremonies.
Our ceremony included many traditional aspects of the Jewish wedding, but we wrote our own ketubah (marriage certificate) including what we promised each other over our lives together, and had our siblings read both the traditional seven blessings and their own blessings for us.
We also exchanged rings with each other rather than just the bride receiving a ring, and in general we made the ceremony meaningful for us while still having the look, feel, and significance of a Jewish wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony that felt really intimate and set the tone for the rest of the wedding.
Processional – Lovely Day by Bill Withers – both my husband and I are very emotional people, big cry babies, so we needed something fun and upbeat rather than a tearjerker for the entrance to the chuppah; otherwise we both would have bawled our eyes out even more than we did.
Recessional – we were incredibly chilled about all decisions relating to the wedding, and decided things with enormous ease, except for, strangely enough, the breaking the glass/recessional song, which we just couldn’t decide on! We told our DJ that he knew our taste in music, so we trusted him to surprise us on the day – he chose Friday I’m in Love by the Cure. I barely even remember hearing it, but it was a great choice!
We had a DJ for the whole wedding – he was really in tune with us and our style of music: lots of fun, old-school music that makes people want to dance, interspersed with some more world-music style stuff. It was great – people danced for hours. Omri Smadar from Libra Music was super receptive to our needs, and when we felt like the music needed a bit of a change or things were getting a bit quiet, he was totally on the ball. He created a serious party vibe that we loved.
Our wedding planners did design of the wedding too, including beautiful flowers. I didn’t hold a bouquet, and the flower arrangements were minimal, casual, wildflower-type arrangements.
Our fabulous photographer
Alexey Kudrik was the first photographer we met with (also recommended by our wedding planner Bebke). He showed us some of his work, which we really liked, and more importantly, we felt like we got on well with him as a person. Neither of us wanted a very obtrusive in-your-face formal photographer; we wanted someone who could blend into the party and feel like one of the guests and get great shots – Alexey was perfect for that. He also recommended Daria to us for a videographer, they worked brilliantly together and her work is really special. They both captured the feeling of the day beautifully.
A Fabulous Spread
No cake! Just lots and lots of amazing food.
We didn’t have a formal sit-down event. There were tables and chairs but no assigned seating, and just a constant spread of food for people to eat whenever they were hungry.
We started out with a delicatessen-style buffet with breads and cheeses and olives while people were arriving, then we had a number of “stalls” serving everything from fish shwarma to wood-fired pizza throughout the wedding.
Once the food stalls packed up and left, and after a massive dessert buffet, we also served shakshuka (Israeli spicy baked eggs) with challah bread at about 1am to help soak up the booze. Ma’asia did our catering superbly.
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