All that glitters… is, in fact, gold, but only at this very special super-luxe Jew-ish wedding.
Nina and Matt’s wedding took place at top London hotel St Ermin’s and was, simply put, chic beyond words. The couple’s champagne gold and ivory colour scheme perfectly complemented the breathtaking venue with its high ceilings and opulent chandeliers.
Every detail was captured by exceptional photographer, Nadine Van Biljon, including the epic moment the bride and groom were showered with colour-coordinated champagne gold confetti – every glitter lover’s dream, and that moment when BOTH the bride and groom smashed the glass – we simply adore this! Nina told us:
Both of us broke a glass to say goodbye to the past and hello to a future together. We will be bringing the two glasses together to make one as an ornament.”
We love all of the little stories that paint a picture of the perfect day, from the wonderful tale about Anthropologie customer service that makes us want to drop everything and head to the nearest store, to the best man singing his speech.
We also love the beautiful ways in which Nina honoured her late grandmother, showing that the ones we love never truly leave us.
Over to Nina with the full story about her and Matt’s decadent and dreamy wedding day.
How we met
Nina, the bride: We met on Plenty of Fish! Though if you ask Matt, he would say Vegas! We knew very quickly that we were perfect for each other.
Finally finding the perfect venue: St Ermin’s in London
After dragging Matt around 18 venue visits across London, we knew that we wanted something different, somewhere no one had been or expected. We finally found that at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster. It’s a true hidden gem of London. The staff were incredibly friendly, the history is amazing and we instantly felt comfortable and knew it was special. We love going back there now and it holds a very special place in our hearts.
A sophisticated champagne gold and ivory wedding
Our wedding was about us by having lots of personal details, some on show and some hidden. The colour and theme was champagne gold and ivory and sophisticated so I suppose that does sum us up actually! Everything was simple, classic and elegant. We didn’t use a wedding planner as I have my own event business, Occasion Queens. We specialise in on the day set-up and coordination as well as support with styling so I was pretty clear on what I wanted!
Pretty and informative stationery
Our stationery was in our gold and ivory colour scheme with a bit of sparkle.
We had infographics printed and placed on the seats for during the ceremony as well for those more distant relatives who may not have known too much about the other half.
Glamorous hair and makeup
My hair and makeup artist was Sarah Varney. I explained to her all of my fears and the look I was going for. She saw me with my normal make up on first, so wasn’t afraid of using a bit of eyeliner. I wasn’t going for the natural look! Unfortunately, being so ill on the day, a lot was needed. She did an amazing job considering the canvas she started with.
A last-minute change of dress
Hah! So… I originally had a beautiful intricate beaded bodice gown with a full skirt. However, the more it got altered the more I realised the dress no longer suited me. You needed big boobs for it to fit, which wasn’t something that was going to happen without plastic surgery (much to the disappointment of the seamstress who asked if there was room in my wedding budget for a boob job!).
So, two months before the wedding I plucked up the courage to tell Matt that I needed a new dress and off I went in secret with my best friend to Wed2B. I got a beautiful ‘Viva Bride’ dress that very day. It was exactly what I should have gone for in the first place – simple and elegant just like everything else!
No big designer dress from a beautiful boutique that costs thousands, but the right dress for me that needed no alterations. The only addition I made was having the date sewn on the inside in blue as my something blue (by a different seamstress!). There were a few confused faces when I walked down the aisle in a dress different to the one I had shown many of my family and friends.
Family heirloom jewellery and two unexpected gifts
I had a bracelet made out of the diamond pendant that was given to me by my grandmother before she died. This was my something old. I wasn’t going to wear a necklace, but the night before the wedding I received a present from Matt which was the most perfect diamond necklace, so simple and fitted perfectly.
I have alopecia areata and therefore never wear my hair up. I was completely dreading this part of the whole thing but with the help of my brilliant hair and makeup artist, I felt that I could do it. I had seen this hair piece for ages in Anthropologie that I really liked but didn’t buy it due to putting off the inevitable!
Eventually, I realised it was the right hair piece and went to buy it… it wasn’t there! I contacted Anthropologie via Facebook and explained I wanted it for my wedding (luckily I had taken a photo of it previously) and although they confirmed that they were completely out of stock everywhere, they still had the buyers sample which they would gladly give me. A few days later it was couriered to me free of charge with a lovely note wishing me well for my big day.
Gold, sparkly kitten heels
I had skyscraper Oscar de la Renta heels at first. I loved them so much, the perfect gold sparkly shoes that would turn heads for the rest of my life. They had three buckles going up the front and a cut out side. But then I went and changed my dress and the shoes were too high for the new dress. So, after trying to get hold of a gorgeous pair of gold sparkly kitten heels from Kate Spade in my size and failing, I had to get my hands on something and quick – Debenhams it was! Gold but not as sparkly. However, I did last all day in them which I probably wouldn’t have in the original pair!
The handsome groom in a Moss Bros suit
Matt wore a bespoke navy suit from Moss Bros. It also had the date of the wedding embroidered on the inside and a horseshoe charm that my grandmother gave him before she died as good luck.
The day before the wedding, he had gone for the full works at The Refinery, Harrods. His shoes were beautiful oxblood Barkers with a matching belt. I had sixpence cufflinks made that went well with his other wedding present – a long-awaited and desired Breitling watch. He looked extremely dapper!
Bridesmaids in chiffon and sequins
I had three bridesmaids (would have been four, but my best friend was being induced the next day). They wore a Little Mistress dress which had a cream chiffon skirt and gold sequin top, Dune gold shoes and a delicate gold bracelet from Etsy.
Our Jewish blessing
A Jewish blessing was really important to me to honour my heritage and acknowledge the importance of Judaism to my family (my uncle is chair of Liberal Judaism so a big part of our lives) even though Matt isn’t Jewish.
We met many times with Rabbi Jacobi (Woodford Liberal Synagogue) which was fantastic for making sure the ceremony was personal to us and gave the families more opportunities to understand and participate. It gave the concept of marriage more meaning and depth and enabled us to talk through our aspirations as a couple.
This followed through with several parts of the ceremony: for example, exchanging rings in the Jewish blessing, not the civil ceremony, along with writing our own vows. Both of us broke a glass to say goodbye to the past and hello to a future together. We will be bringing the two glasses together to make one as an ornament.
My grandfather, who has just relinquished his post as a registrar (overseeing 60 weddings for Woodford Liberal Synagogue) said the bracha for the wine. My grandma, who was blind, practiced the Dodi Li ready for the day months beforehand.
We had the vows printed onto our version of a Ketubah that everyone signed on the way out of the ceremony. We wanted to remember all those that were there to witness something so special and ask for their support as husband and wife going forward.
Simple and elegant flowers
We used The Orchid Room. Although flowers were an important part of our day, I didn’t want them to be a big feature, just simple, elegant and done well. The venue was just so stunning I didn’t need to detract from that or make it look better, it already looked so pretty.
In my bouquet, I had ivory peonies (my favourite) with a few amber David Austin roses and gypsophila. My bridesmaids had gypsophila bouquets and Matt had a closed peony head for his button hole, while the groomsmen also had gypsophila..
The table centrepieces were clear crystal candelabras that had gypsophila going up the centre of them except the top table which replicated my bouquet so included peonies and roses.
We also had two clear plinths with large gold vases on top filled with gypsophila during the ceremony.
Our fabulous photographer
Our photographer was Nadine Van Biljon and she was perfect!
Both Matt and I feel very uncomfortable having our photo taken and will never be happy with it, but we knew that Nadine understood what we were after. We wanted some styled shots that would take our breath away as well as paying attention to the detail I had designed.
Not only that, but we wanted our photographer to fit in with our day. She was so professional and got on with everyone so well that by the end of the night, when she was planning on leaving, the groomsmen were begging her not to go!
She became an instant friend and we have gone on to use her since for other occasions. One of the photos has won the Wedisson Photography Award for Best Wedding Photo 2016.
A four-tier, flavour-filled sponge
Our cake was done by Pretty Gorgeous Cake Company. It was four tiers and included Victoria sponge, white chocolate mud cake and Oreo. It was finished in gold lustre and had peony flowers on the top and a small delicate cake stand to separate the top tier from the rest of the cake.
Keeping the music in the family
Our first dance was to When The Right One Comes Along from the TV series, Nashville. It was sung by my two cousins who have the most amazing voices.
My dad and I did a mash up for the father of the bride dance which was brilliantly choreographed by a family friend of ours, Pamela Freedman of Pam Freedman School of Dance.
We had a fantastic harpist, Fausta Canals, during the drinks reception that I had previously heard at the hotel when visiting for afternoon tea. In the evening we had a band ReCover. Matt adores his music so making sure we had a live band was a must from the very start – they certainly kept the party going to the very end.
We had clear champagne-flavoured lollies containing gold leaf by the Little Lollipop Shop. Having got samples from all over, these were by far the best and the quality was absolutely amazing. Lorynne was so helpful as well giving me guidance as to how to make them look the best. To these, I attached the name cards lovingly made by my business partner.
Honouring my late grandmother
One person that we made sure was with us all day was my late grandmother, Ma, who brought me up from a young age and was my best friend. She sadly died two weeks after I was proposed to, otherwise she would have definitely been my maid of honour!
Her picture was with me while we were getting ready, I had the necklace that she left me made into a bracelet as my something old, the flower girls, her great granddaughters, held signs up the aisle that said ‘Matt, this is your last chance to run, Ma xx’ and ‘I’m just here for the cake’ which was something she a) always said and b) was infamous for giving our family whenever we were there to the point where my little cousin first thought her name was ‘Cake’.
Her photo was on my bouquet and Matt had a horseshoe charm sewn onto the inside of his suit that she gave him once we got engaged – as she thought he would need the luck!
Getting by with a little help from my friends
Unfortunately, four days before the wedding, I ended up in A&E with a burst cyst, so I was very lucky to have amazing friends and colleagues pull together to get the final touches finished.
This included the hangover kits for everyone staying at the hotel that included a personalised ‘do not disturb’ sign, water, plasters, paracetamol, sweets and mints. They tied the wax seal name tags around the gold glitter lollipop favours and wrote ‘pimp your champagne’ on a mirror for the fruit and cordial station during the drinks reception.
Our sweets table masterpiece
Our sweets table was something of a masterpiece. I had our initials made our of white chocolate with gold leaf truffles surrounding it by the brilliant guys at Cocoa Cream and every other sweet/chocolate was either cream or gold including gold ‘just married’ rock.
We also had a cigar bar as these are a particular favourite of Matt. I made sure there were chocolate cigars as well for those that weren’t that keen and we had personalised matches for people to take away.
A unique take on the best man speech
A big well done to the best man for singing his best man speech. I have never heard a best man’s speech like it, it was absolutely epic! The best bit: it really picked me up.
I was feeling so ill up until that point, but the amount of laughter in the room completely made me realise what the day was all about it and I had to put the pain to one side and decided to deal with it tomorrow so with a few more antibiotics and Shloer, I was back on top! (That’s right, no champagne for me at my own wedding!)
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Your day is stressful, even if you have tried your hardest to make it not so. On the day, make sure there is one person you know has a handle on everything, other than you and your husband to be.
Whether that is a professional or a friend, give yourself the opportunity to relax and enjoy your day with your friends and family, being truly in the moment without having to worry about anything else. It will never happen again, so why miss a moment because you are fretting about whether the napkins are exactly laid out how you wanted? Let someone else do this.
Making your wedding personal doesn’t mean it all has to be on show. The smaller details that you know are there can mean the most and have the most sentimental value.
Nina & Matt’s little white book
Photographer – Nadine Van Biljon
Wedding planner – Occasion Queens
Venue – St Ermin’s Hotel
Bride’s dress and veil – Wed2B
Bride’s headpiece – Anthropologie
Bride’s shoes – Kate Spade purchased from Debenhams
Groom’s attire – Moss Bros, Barkers and Breitling
Bridesmaids – Little Mistress, Dune and Etsy
Hair + Makeup – Sarah Varney and The Refinery, Harrods
Flowers – The Orchid Room
Harpist – Fausta Canals
Band – ReCover
Dance lessons – Pam Freedman School of Dance
Cake – Pretty Gorgeous Cake Company
Cheese stack cake – Paxton & Whitfield
Gold leaf truffles – Cocoa Cream
Favours – Little Lollipop Shop
Chairs and linen hire – Complete Event Hire
Guestbook – Kate Spade purchased from Quill London
Rabbi – Jacobi of Woodford Liberal Synagogue