Hand make your own Chuppah: DIY Tutorial

You all went crazy over on Instagram for real bride Lauren’s handmade chuppah in last week’s real Jew-ish wedding, so today she has kindly taken to the pages of Smashing The Glass with an easy-to-follow DIY tutorial on how to make one yourself. Please give Lauren Beadle, the craft blogger, a warm welcome!

I like to hand make things. So as you can imagine, my Jew-ish wedding was awash with loads of hand made touches.

I always make big plans to create all manner of complicated items for an event, but inevitably I will pare it back and choose a more simple design or technique. I definitely did this with a couple of ideas I had for the wedding. About a month before the wedding I realised I didn’t quite have enough time to make 140 candles and opted for a more crowd-pleasing miniature bottle of a favourite alcoholic drink, with a hand-lettered tag.

One element that I did actually plan well was our chuppah… I wanted it to it be personal, effective and simple to construct.

Handmade chuppah
There are many ideas and opinions about the origins and meaning of ‘The Chuppah’ (some of which can be found here) but for me a chuppah is a physical representation of a bride and groom’s first home together, one that is supported and surrounded by family and friends from two different families and I feel that it should be something that is built together by the bride and groom as a symbol of that first home.

The chuppah that we created for our wedding was designed to represent this and to be constructed easily the night before the wedding or even on the day. If we can do it, then anyone can! We were incredibly lucky to be able to get into our wedding venue and set up the night before.

DIY chuppah tutorial
I had originally planned the chuppah structure to be set up on the day by the groom and/ or the groomsmen alone, so it needed to be relatively simple (I am a teeny weeny bit of a control freak when it comes to making things). In fact many of the construction ideas came from my husband, going slightly against the grain for me. We really wanted this to be something we built together and use our different skill set to do it.

To make the chuppah you don’t really need any major technical skills. You do need some proficiency with an iron… hopefully you have that skill under your belt!

Build your own chuppah
It would be useful if you were able to use a sewing machine, but if you don’t mind a more rustic look, then you could easily get away with some raw edges on your canopy. In fact any part of this ‘how-to’ can be adapted to suit your own skills or style.

What you’ll need

For The Canopy:

  • A selection of images for the underside of your canopy
  • Inkjet printer
  • 2 meters of a close weave lightweight fabric in a colour of your choice (cotton or a lining fabric) – I got all my fabric from Dunelm
  • 2 meters of linen in a contrasting colour (or matching if you prefer) only required if you want to sew a backing to the canopy
  • Iron-on heat transfer paper for light fabrics – I used about 35 A4 sheets, but this would be dependant on the size and number of images you want to use – I used these from Crafty Computer Paper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pins and threads in matching or contrasting colours depending on preference
  • Fabric and Paper Scissors/ Pinking shears (if required)

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The Pros and Cons of using Pinterest to Plan Your Wedding

This week marks the two-digit countdown to our wedding and things are starting to get a bit scary real! Suddenly all those little things we thought we would leave for a while actually need doing and the dreaded bills are starting to fly in! My Pinterest dream is about to become a reality. But the question is will my wedding live up to the Pinterest dream I had hoped for, and is it possible for weddings to live up to the dream?

I’m not going to lie, I had a very full ‘wedding dreams’ Pinterest board way before I even had a ring on my finger and now as I sit scrolling through it I am curious to know how my ideas changed, if they changed and why they changed.

The ring

I always knew I wanted a ring that was a bit different. Those that know me know I don’t like to go with the trend and it was definitely the case with the ring. My pinned rings are very close to the truth of what I ended up with but that’s because Gideon and I played a lot of ‘let’s look in jewellery windows and pick rings we like’ so I am pretty sure he had a very good idea of what I wanted. That paired with me repeatedly telling my sister and mum what I wanted meant that my Pinterest ring dreams came true. Sapphire and diamond rings are all over my Pinterest board and it’s a Sapphire and Diamond stunner that lives on my hand.

The dress

As you know I have blogged about my wedding dress and shared with all of you the highs and lows of getting it. I think that one of the main problems with dress shopping is the Pinterest dream people are looking for.

As brides to be we all spend hours scouring the internet for the perfect dress and when reality sets in; my body (and I’m sure I am not the only one) did not fit the dress my Pinterest board had suggested and nor did my budget. The one down fall with Pinterest is that the wedding dresses don’t come with a price tag (maybe a new idea for the IT savvy out there!) so I might have been dreaming a bit out of my price range.

I think dress shopping on Pinterest does need to come with a warning. You can look and enjoy, peruse at your leisure but be realistic. Be true to yourself and remember the line that every bride says: ‘you never end up with the dress you think you will end up with.’ Bare all that in mind and you can pin those dresses to your heart’s content.

wedding moodboard

I went a little bit pin heavy here. My dream has always been to have this whimsical, barn wedding where everyone is happy and merry and is transported to a world away from London. I have pretty much stuck to it. We are getting married in a barn with fairy lights (despite Gideon’s loud protests) and we are creating a relaxed wedding with as much dancing and fun as we can feasibly fit into the day.

What I would say is that once again Pinterest’s lack of a price tag meant I had no idea how much my vision was going to cost me. I thought hay bales and signs would be cheap but actually when you start adding up all the little things that you think would make it a perfect day suddenly the cost starts creeping up and Gideon is shouting at me that we are over budget again!

Niki & Will’s Jewish wedding in a barn (image: onelove)

Pinterest allows you to create a wedding where every single small detail is taken care of but actually in reality nobody would know if the small detail was there or not. Of course it would be lovely to have an entire sofa area made out of hay bales with cushions and rugs but actually people will be fine just sitting on chairs. And yes it would be lovely to have our guests sign 500 different pieces of wood and printing their finger on a poster that we might put up in our house one day. But actually, the reality is that people rarely write on those things because they are too drunk or they didn’t see it (speaking from experience at our engagement party). So it won’t be missed. So slowly I learnt that although the small details and decorations of my dream Pinterest wedding would be lovely they aren’t worth pushing the budget for (did you hear that Gideon? I really am trying!).

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Real Jewish Brides: Being Engaged to Your Fiancé vs. Being Engaged With Your Fiancé

Don’t get me wrong, I love planning our wedding. I happily spend lunch breaks reading Wedding Wire, Smashing The Glass and The Knot for vendor reviews (and searching for the perfect flower girl dress!), but I can’t help but realize there is a huge difference between being engaged to your significant other and being engaged WITH your significant other, which many people (and internet search engines) seem to ignore.

When searching “being engaged with your partner,” one of the first articles that popped up was a lengthy list of things to do after getting engaged featuring steps like “tell your parents,” “get a manicure,” and “perfect your proposal story.” While I admit to fulfilling most of the suggestions on the list, I wish it included topics like know each other’s love language or schedule pre-marital counseling. Maybe this thought process is influenced by my counseling education/background or my fear of divorce, but I think emotional engagement is something that needs to be fostered and protected at all stages of a relationship to avoid taking each other for granted and focusing on the unimportant.

All that being said, here is my advice for being engaged WITH your significant other while planning your wedding:

Continue date nights and non-wedding related activities.

When we first got engaged, all I could talk about was getting married and how great our wedding is going to be. While I still believe it’s going to be the best day ever, it can’t be the only thing Harley and I talk about for 16-month engagement period.

I think it’s extremely important to remember what you love about each other and your relationship by continuing to enjoy one another’s company through date nights and shared hobbies even when your wedding is not the topic. For Harley and I, this means we still cheer for our hockey team at least once a week, tease each other over our Fantasy Hockey League standings, and take advantage of our Disney Annual Passes as often as possible. Even if it’s a busy time and we’re just chatting about our day while cooking dinner, the time we spend together is always important and a nice break from work and wedding planning activities.


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Real Jewish Brides: Introducing Francesca + Ziek… how they met to the present day

Today on the blog I have the pleasure of introducing a brand new real Jewish bride – Francesca! Three of our resident real Jewish blogging brides (Lauren, Karen and Dara) are now married (woop woop!) so time to make way for a newbie… Please give a warm welcome ro Francesca from London. 

Ziek and I met through a friend… pretty much a blind date. We arranged to meet outside Covent Garden station and I was 15 minutes late. I then stepped on his foot (five times throughout the date so Ziek likes to remind me!….his feet are pretty big!), but four or five pubs/ restaurants/ coffee shops later, I had missed my last train and had to get the night bus back.

It was my 3rd year studying musical theatre at drama school and so having had a pathetic two or three drinks throughout the night, it was the most I had drunk in a long time, and being the good Jewish girl I am, getting night buses home when I had to be up for ballet classes early in the morning meant I had broken all the rules (which I liked!)

It was clear from the beginning that Ziek and I were total opposites in so many ways. I was a good Jewish girl from Gants Hill. He was a hippie with a pony tail from a Kibbutz in Israel. I was a little uptight and he liked to be spontaneous and go with the flow. Despite us being from different planets, we both found each others lives totally interesting. I LOVED hearing all about Ziek’s travelling adventures and life on Kibbutz, and he equally enjoyed hearing about my singing and dancing antics.

Getting to know each other during our first few dates was really fun. I learnt that Ziek was incredibly kind, thoughtful and caring after I broke my foot very early on in our relationship. He travelled an hour to see me nearly every day to help carry me around my flat and to cook me dinner (he’s a chef and so this was amazing!).

Just over six years later, Ziek and I had just moved into our first home together and a few weeks later he FINALLY popped the question in the most amazing way.

After I “subtly’ hinted months earlier that I happened to have walked past and fell into a ring shop in Oxford Street, that I had seen THE ring that I absolutely loved, Ziek (and my Jewish mother of course) took it upon themselves to seek out this ring.

After months of planning, Ziek left me stranded outside Selfridges in Oxford Street, whilst a ‘busker’ happened to be playing some super cheesy and romantic songs. Ziek finally appeared then the ‘busker’ started walking towards us and literally serenaded us whilst Ziek got down on one knee and popped the question. The engagement weekend was full of surprises and fun activities and I will never ever forget how much we laughed and how much I appreciated the effort he had gone to make me so happy.

Organising our wedding is an interesting one! As both of our jobs are within the wedding industry we both feel a huge amount of pressure to plan the ultimate perfect wedding!! So far we have booked a venue (Stock Brook Country Club) and set the date for August 13th 2017. YAYYY. We will be using my band, XS Showband and have started planning some super exciting music shenanigans!

Other than that, all we have done is booked our toast master and bought THE DRESS! I’ve been so busy planning everyone else’s wedding that I’ve had no time to plan my own! But I’m really excited to get down to all the details and get all the other elements sorted.

More than anything else I am most excited about us making the commitment and becoming Mr & Mrs Gelkoff and entering the next chapter in our lives.

Francesca will be marrying Ziek on 13th August 2017 at Stock Brook Country Club in Essex.


Real Jewish Brides: Fran… My Perfect Groomzilla!

Disclaimer: I have used the term ‘Bridezilla’ and ‘Groomzilla’ throughout this blog. I as a bride-to-be have chosen to use these terms in a positive and humorous way. The wedding industry has taken these terms and turned them into something negative. I hope that this blog shows that owning the terms and showing the positives of being a bride and groom who know what they want is not something to fear or shy away from.

Last weekend marked one year since Gideon and I got engaged. It is also 5 years since the start of our relationship. A special time for us both and one which has led me to reflect on Gideon’s role in our wedding process and the role of men in weddings in general.

When most people think of men and weddings they see disinterest or allowing the bride to just get on with things. In one Facebook group that I am a member of, future brides are constantly posting about how they feel lonely in the process or that their other halves aren’t really interested in florists or food or themes. However, for me I have the total opposite. I have a groom who wants our wedding to be the most perfect day. He thinks about every small detail and is just as much involved in the wedding process as I am. Of course I am very much the project manager but he makes a remarkable second in command! We are on this continuous journey together and I love that we are learning things about one another as well as supporting and guiding each other.

As I reflect on our wedding planning so far I can see that I am definitely a slight Bridezilla but Gideon is also a slight Groomzilla – we really are the perfect match! In a recent Brides Magazine article ‘5 Signs you are dealing with a Groomzilla’ it talks about this new phenomena sweeping the wedding world. A groom who cares as much, if not more, about creating the perfect wedding for him and his wife to be. I am going to use four of their signs to illustrate why Gideon is not only the perfect Groomzilla but why that makes him the perfect soon to be husband. For some Groomzilla might sound like a nightmare, but teamed with my Bridezilla it’s a match made in heaven, sprinkled with the odd argument and tense moment of course (we are human after all!).

1. He won’t budge

Gideon has got his ideas and is quite set on them. I too have my ideas and am quite set on them. I tend to think his ideas are wrong unless they completely follow my ideas or merely add to them. However, he is quite the same. This has led to some interesting conversations such as: serving Pizza at the wedding. Gideon loves pizza. I like pizza. Gideon feels his wedding would not be his wedding unless Pizza featured somewhere. Once he learnt he wasn’t really going to be featuring at the Reception part of the wedding he turned down the option of having it then. After further consultation regarding a main course of pizza, and finally deciding that creating the whole table out of pizza was completely unrealistic!? We have settled on some sort of Pizza at the hotel for those guests still hungry. (This is a Jewish wedding after all!) I love that he is so passionate about our wedding and making sure that it is completely ‘us’ as I think most of our guests would agree it couldn’t be a Fran and Gid wedding without Pizza and I am really glad he didn’t give up on the dream and Groomzillad his way to getting it!

Luckily on most other things he has pretty much allowed me to have free reign and if I put up enough of an argument supported by clear evidence (Pinterest photos) explaining why I think it is a good idea and why his isn’t, I on the whole win!Continue Reading