What you need to know about getting married within the United Synagogue

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It’s all well and good to put all of your time and attention into flowers and party favours but the most important part of your wedding is your ceremony. The ceremony has had VIP status for both Elliot and I since we started planning because it’s a massive moment in our lives, and we want to take as much from it as we can.

We have organised our music choices, selected our rings and met with my Rabbi from Dublin, Rabbi Lent who I’ve known for many years, to discuss the ceremony. He has been very accommodating to our questions and requests about the ceremony and followed up with us on a wedding What’s App thread! All of this sounds lovely but there were some important things to organise, which, if you choose to get married within the United Synagogue*, you’ll also need to know…

I didn’t know much about Jewish marriage laws until I started “marriage lessons”, which I was encouraged to take from my Rabbi. These sessions are organised by the United Synagogue and their co-ordinator connects you with one of their tutors who relates to your level of observation, to explain the marriage laws to you. The boys need to do them too, and you don’t have to go to classes together.

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My married friends have all been to these classes and while you might say that “it’s not for you”, I found the information given to me about the laws of Niddah (purity) and its purpose (to help a couple to focus on their marriage) to be enlightening and stringent but not as awkward as I had anticipated.

Maybe it was my lovely tutor, a lady a few years older than I, who with seven children had time to organise baking parties and sit with me for an hour a week (I had six lessons, but you can have less if you want), without a wrinkle in sight! For some, this may seem like a waste of time as it’s something you’ll never abide by, but the customs and symbolic references will excite every bride-to-be (for example, white is worn because you are like an angel on your wedding day and given a sin-free state…result!)

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Basic Invite – Pushing the Envelope on Wedding Stationery

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My former life as a graphic designer – pre STG – was awash with Pantone references, fonts, typefaces and paper stock. A love you can’t take out of the girl it seems. So when it comes to wedding invitations, I’m the first in line to coo over a sassy design, a bold choice of colour, thoughtful monogramming, the texture of the invite and the weight of an envelope.   And believe me attention, individuality and quality never go unnoticed.

It’s important to set the tone for your big day and nothing builds anticipation better than the invitation.  It’s the movie trailer, the pre-promote and the amuse bouche to tantalise your guests.

Just as e-commerce for luxury fashion goods has developed over the last decade – think Net a Porter – so too have online destinations for luxury, customised, wedding stationery.

And Basic Invite is one of the best I’ve seen.

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Every paper product you could possibly need

It’s an elegant, online hub for all things printed and wedding – save the date, invitations, RSVP cards, menus, programs, and thank you cards. And I love that it covers the whole gamut because it’s so important to pull all the threads of your wedding together and coordinate your paper products into one look – it is your brand after all.  But it’s also an incredibly efficient way of organising such an important aspect of the big day, without compromising on style.  Quite honestly, it sometimes feels as though you could make a full time job out of wedding preparation, that is on top of your actual job, so at STG we welcome style-conscious efficiency whole–heartedly.

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STG Recommends: Soraya Photography

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I am thrilled to welcome Soraya Photography to our Smashing Suppliers, Smashing The Glass’s handpicked selection of the best brands and services the wedding industry has to offer.

Smashing The Glass hand selects and verifies each Smashing Supplier, and can personally vouch for the fact that every one of them has the ability to turn your wedding day into something truly special.

You can find Soraya Photography in the Wedding Photographers category in the UK Smashing Suppliers.

Soraya Photography

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I’m a VIP Expert at ‘Brides The Show’ and to celebrate I’m giving away a pair of VIP tickets (worth £100) and 10 pairs of regular tickets!

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Attention lovely brides-to-be! I’m super excited to let you know that I’ve been invited by Brides The Show to be one of their VIP Experts next Saturday 1st October. I’m one of several ‘wedding experts’ available in the VIP Lounge to answer any wedding related questions that VIP guests may have and I can’t wait to help.

To celebrate, I’m hosting a contest to give away a pair of VIP tickets (worth £100) and 10 pairs of regular tickets. I hope any UK-based brides will enter as I really would love to meet you at the show. Keep reading until the end to find out how to win (it’s super easy!).

I’m a big fan of Brides The Show as everything is so carefully curated under one roof to help you plan your dream wedding in style. A trip to the show brings you exclusive access to the very best in bridal, from dresses to diamonds, flowers and cakes, as the event brings together top wedding experts and over 150 luxury suppliers.

Expect the freshest ideas, the highest quality craftsmanship and the very latest trends. With hundreds of luxury exhibitors – including STG-faves, PrezolaPotcakes Wedding PlannersStephanie Allin, The Wedding Shop, and Wedding Smashers, you can tick every item off your wedding to-do list in style.

As well as sourcing top notch suppliers, you’ll also be able to take part in DIY masterclasses in the Imagination Room and enjoy a mesmerising catwalk show featuring all the latest looks and hottest designers including Monique Lhuillier, Halfpenny London, Stephanie Allin (my wedding dress designer!), Ian Stuart and Suzanne Neville.

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A Ritva Westenius bride for an Italian Garden-themed wedding at Home in London, UK

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Today’s bride, Katie, is just the cutest, and what amazing fashion choices – a W-day gown from Ritva Westenius (she chose it as she was after something pure,  spiritual and simple to reflect the chuppah), dusty pink Manolo Blahnik‘s, and then fired up her look with a sparkly belt, headpiece and earrings for the evening party. So so chic!

The venue is very special too. It’s Katie’s childhood home and it set the scene for a truly intimate and meaningful day. The symbolism of their Jewish wedding was so important to these two, and they honoured a traditional Jewish wedding ritual that I’ve seen only a few times on the pages of Smashing The Glass: they spent the entire week before the wedding apart. They didn’t speak, they didn’t even text! In Katie’s words, this made the day so much more special, and it really did remind them of what the day is all about. Katie’s brother, Ben, spoke under the chuppah, and I love what Katie says about their chuppah design too:

We felt the beauty of the chuppah should come from what is happening underneath rather than what it looks like. We wanted it to be pure and spiritual allowing our guests to focus on the ceremony rather than the chuppah structure itself.

Another detail that was evidently very important to these two was their Italian garden theme. They both spend a lot of time in Tuscany and love that part of the world and they wanted to bring Italiana into every corner of their wedding! They brought their ideas to life with the help of Ben Krieger from Outrage Events, and an incredible Italian feast by Food Story including spaghetti meatballs, tiramisu, and of limoncello! The beautiful themed stationery, designed by one of our much-loved Smashing Suppliers,  Emily & Jo, was even printed in Italian, and home-made olive oil favours alongside oodles of fresh herbs and lemons were placed on every table. You could literally see, touch, taste and smell Italy!

The stunning photography is by another of our hugely talented Smashing Suppliers, David Pullum Photography. And there’s also a fabulous film by Atmotion right at the end.

So all that leaves me to say is… Cin Cin. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

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How we met

Katie, the Bride: We met through a friend and started talking on Facebook in that classic way 😉

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