A Boho, nature-inspired DIY Jewish wedding at Estates of Sunnybrook, Toronto, Canada

I’m so thrilled to be bringing you today’s thoroughly gorgeous DIY Jewish wedding. Not only are the creative details ALL lovingly crafted by the bride, groom, their friends and family, but Shannie’s write up of her and Steve’s day really comes from the heart; as did Shannie’s efforts for her entire wedding.

All of the DIY details are divine… the centrepieces, the table numbers, the sweet treats, the astonishingly beautiful ketubah made by Shannie, and how can I forget the creative guest book alternative? Plus I’m sure you’ll notice so much more, it’s one of those weddings I think you’ll need to view multiple of times to take it all in!

Oh, and the dog. Don’t even get me started… Storm played a huge part in originally getting Steve and Shannie together (see their ‘How We Met’ story below), so much so in fact, that Shannie even incorporated an illustration of their beloved hound into her ketubah design!

And on a totally separate note, let’s not forget Steve who looks super dapper in his jeans – yes he totally rocked the laid-back look!

Shannie’s boho head piece and an Indian-inspired hand piece (both made by her very talented mama!) are to-die-for and her Catherine Langlois gown is just a dream. She bought her dress at The Brides’ Project  in Toronto, a bridal boutique where all the proceeds go to cancer charities. There’s another branch of The Brides’ Project in America, but as yet, one doesn’t exist in the UK. I would love to help set up a branch in the UK (potentially London) and if anyone reading this can help me kickstart this idea, please do get in touch. I would love to donate my Stephanie Allin wedding dress in the first instance.

But I digress… Please do take a moment to read through Shannie’s account of her planning and creative ideas – there are some really lovely DIY projects and a generous helping of brilliant advice at the end – plus you’re going to swoon over Niv Shimshon‘s phenomenal photography.

All of this awesomeness was planned in just four and a half months…

Happy Tuesday folks!

DIY Jewish wedding
how we met

Shannie, the Bride: I will try to keep this story as simple as possible, but it may be tough a job! Steve and I had known each other for almost seven years prior to the first time we actually ever said a sentence to each other. My parents own a jewellery shop in the same plaza mall that Steve opened his restaurant. My mum (being the yenta that she is) did try to introduce us when he first opened his restaurant, but I was very shy, I thought he was very handsome. Apparently he was just as awkward and couldn’t find the words to say to me. For years we would eye each other. I would often help my parents at their store and see Steve. He would see me, but we never actually spoke.

Years later it was my moving day, the day and I was packing and moving from my condo in Toronto. I remember walking down the street, towards my building, carrying boxes that towered over my 5”1 frame, that I suddenly felt a push and something knocked down my boxes out of my hands. It was Steve’s dog, Storm. She must have escaped from underneath her fence, ran towards me, and Steve right behind her chasing her to grab her. We realised that we had been neighbours for the last three years without even knowing it. It took us seven years and a dog to finally give us the courage to actually start a conversation with each other. The rest, as they say, is history!

DIY Jewish wedding
A DIY wedding with lots of creative and personal details

Most of our wedding was pretty much projects that I assigned for myself to do as well as my mother and Steve. Being an artist, I specialise in doing everything last minute! So the week before the wedding I was hit hard with how much work I set aside for myself.

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“My best Jewish wedding photo” by Daniel López Pérez Photography

A weekly series where I ask some of the world’s best wedding photographers to pick out their favourite shot from their Jewish wedding portfolio. This week it’s the turn of Daniel from Daniel López Pérez Photography.


‘Vows’ by Daniel López Pérez Photography

This is an image of a recent wedding that we shot in Winter Park, Colorado, a beautiful Jewish ceremony in the mountains. The groom is actually a really good friend of mine, so this wedding has an extra special meaning for me. My friend is not Jewish, but his wife is, so they decided to make their own chuppah for their DIY wedding in the mountains.  Anyway, his vows were so beautifully written and heart-felt, as you can see by his face in the photo. Literally after he finished his vows, his future-wife said ‘I should have gone first, that was hard to follow.”

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8 must-have items for a memorable Jewish wedding ceremony

Jewish wedding ceremony
I started Smashing The Glass back in May 2013 because I wanted to create the blog I wish I’d had access to when I was planning my own Jewish wedding. When I was planning my big day, I felt that there was a total lack of Jewish wedding inspiration that wasn’t ‘old fashioned schmaltz’. And when it came to planning an individual and personal Jewish wedding ceremony, this was particularly relevant.

One of the most popular pages on the blog is my constantly updated chuppah ideas page with literally hundreds of cool, creative ideas for you to peruse through and be inspired by. Today I’ve gone a step further and picked out an edit of some of the most gorgeous products for under the chuppah in my quest to help you infuse your Jewish wedding ceremony with beauty, individuality and creativity. At the end of the post there are also several links to help you source some really fabulous music for your Jewish (or Jew-ish!) wedding ceremony too.

Hope you’re inspired. Happy Friday!


1. Smash Pouch (coming soon)

I named the blog Smashing The Glass because I absolutely adore the celebratory Jewish wedding tradition of the breaking the glass at the end of the ceremony so I just had to create this personalised bag to house the glass. And guess what?! I will very shortly be selling these personalised ‘smash pouches’ for you to break your glass in style, and have a beautiful keepsake from your ceremony! Sign up here to be the first to know when they go on sale.



2. Beloved Ceramic Wedding Kiddush Cup £40

I love the clean lines of this kiddush cup designed by Jennifer Raichman and the beautifully calligraphed Hebrew and English typography

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A Pronovias bride for a cool, whimsical Jew-ish wedding at The Amadeus Centre, Maida Vale, London, UK

Today’s gorgeous bride, Michelle, has some seriously talented friends. The super cool wedding stationery? Oh, just designed by a friend. That gorgeous ‘brownie tower’ wedding cake? Oh just made by ANOTHER amazing friend. That beautiful piece of music played during their Jew-ish wedding ceremony? Oh just lovingly composed by a super talented friend of Michelle’s mother. Michelle is a lucky girl! But  you can see that her and Ben have created all that love and given it back in bucketloads, not only from her report, but by the fact that almost 50% of their guests travelled from abroad, from countries including the USA, Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Russia, Germany, Iceland and many more – and this amazing detail is perfectly captured in their interactive ‘heart’ map that you just have to see…

I love how she and Ben have incorporated both Jewish and non-Jewish, and both British and Dutch themes into their day. They held their wonderfully inclusive wedding at the Amadeus Centre venue in Maida Vale which they chose as it’s by Regents Canal which also runs past their home in Camden. I’ll hand you over to Michelle now for the full report, exquisitely documented by the very talented Martin Beddall, and watch out for, amongst other things, the world’s cutest pageboy…

Amadeus Centre Wedding
how we met

Michelle, the Bride: We met in Edinburgh at a house party as we were both coming to the end of our masters degrees at the University of Edinburgh. Ben had a week left in Edinburgh before he was set to move back to Amsterdam, and I was heading to London at the end of the summer. After a summer of travelling back and forth between Amsterdam and Edinburgh, Ben decided to take the plunge and move to London, and we both didn’t look back!

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“My best Jewish wedding photo” by Michael Temchine

A weekly series where I ask some of the world’s best wedding photographers to pick out their favourite shot from their Jewish wedding portfolio. This week it’s the turn of Michael Temchine.


‘Eyes’ by Michael Temchine

Picking a favourite photo out of the tens of thousands that I have taken is not a simple task. On any given day it will likely change. But I always come back to this photo taken under the chuppah at Sarah and Meir’s wedding. It simply grabs you and holds you.

Like many orthodox, or frum, weddings the chuppah was packed with people and moving around was difficult at best. Finding an angle that would put Sarah and Meir’s faces both in the frame was nigh impossible. Being able to find those fleeting moments that tell the story and have them composed in a way that supported the meaning of the moment was like winning the lottery. It took a lot of small adjustments to get everything right on my end as I prayed Sarah would give him that little look.

I simply love that all of the elements in this photo return you to those eyes. It is simple, direct, and the perfect moment.

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