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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A Vera Wang bride for a spectacular rustic-glam Jew-ish destination wedding at a private villa in Phuket, Thailand

From the introductory image above, it’s fair to say that Melissa and Ishay’s Jew-ish wedding is going to be seriously swoon-inducing… and it doesn’t stop with that extraordinary ceremony setting either. Their entire W Day is dazzling from start to finish with a beautiful back story of love crossing continents and eclipsing expectations.

Thai-American Melissa, and Israeli-born Ishay met in an Irish pub in Uganda (yes, really!) and everyone told them they were crazy to think their relationship could last.

As Melissa says, “After our time in Africa, and a year and a half of Skype video chats and international flights around the world, to and from Uganda, Israel, Thailand, and San Francisco, we embarked on a new adventure together – The East Coast. Then one evening when I was on call, Ishay decided to surprise me in my new apartment in New York City with over 400 candles. Who knew Ishay could be so romantic? Of course, I said yes.”

Oh I do love a good international love story (did you know that both my parents’ and my brother’s marriage are the culminations of long-distance relationships?) and the incredible story behind their relationship is told in their own words in one of the most moving wedding films I’ve ever watched – tears in my eyes. You absolutely have to see it – it’s just below.

Super stunning Melissa married the love of her life in a breathtaking Vera Wang gown, and if there is one word to describe this gorgeous couple’s big day then it’s WOW. From the show-stopping fireworks to those beautifully decorated long tables at dinner, to the exquisite displays of flowers and that chuppah on the infinity pool set against the backdrop of the Indian ocean, it all looks spectacular.

But that carefree shot at the end of both of them jumping into the swimming pool in their half-dressed wedding attire? That’s my favourite.

Enjoy this Tuesday treat of a wedding with words by the bride, images by Julian Abram Wainwright and the must-watch film below by David Pritchard from Imageforge Asia

Destination wedding Thailand
how we met

Melissa, the Bride: It started in an Irish pub in the middle of Uganda. I know, right? Ishay moved from Israel to Uganda to pursue a new life adventure. I took a year off from medical school to engage in medical research in Uganda. True to ex-pat living in East Africa, all good things came out of the regular go-to hang out place, the “local” Irish pub known as “Bubbles.”

It would be nice to say that it was love at first sight for both of us. If you asked Ishay, he would probably say that Melissa just never met anyone like him before. If you asked me, I would probably say that I initially was just not that impressed. Luckily, Ishay is persistent or, at the very least, stubborn. On the second meeting I became intrigued. By our first date, we were both hooked. We just couldn’t get enough of each other. Six months after spending time together in East Africa, what appeared to be the most unexpected love story was expected, by everyone, to end.

I moved back to San Francisco to finish medical school. Ishay stayed in Uganda to continue working. In less than a year, Ishay moved back to Israel to finish college. After a year and a half of Skype video chats and international flights around the world, to and from Uganda, Israel, Thailand, and San Francisco, we embarked on a new adventure together – The East Coast.  And then on one fall evening when I was on call (shocking for some but, dermatology residents do take call), Ishay decided to surprise me in my new apartment in New York City with over 400 candles. Who knew Ishay could be so romantic? Of course, I said yes.  Over the next two years, we had a civil ceremony in New York City at City Hall, had a traditional Buddhist ceremony in Bangkok, and finally, we had our wedding in Phuket. 
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Juliette & Nick | Interfaith Jewish Christian wedding at The Brewery, East London, UK

Some of you may be aware that at traditional Jewish weddings, the couple enter the reception under an archway of hoops to the sound of raucous clapping and cheering. Juliette and Nick chose to enter their party with that tradition but they added their own personal twist: Nick was a university fencer so they alternated the hoops with fencing swords. Brilliant! I love it when couples take age-old Jewish wedding traditions and make them their own and these are exactly the kind of personal details that ‘grab’ me when I look through a submission.

Juliette and Nick’s ceremony embraced both their faiths (Christian and Jewish) in a truly beautiful way, and it made me smile from ear to ear when Juliette told me that in the run-up to her big day, she loved seeing the range of mixed faith weddings on the blog. She was inspired by how other couples had worked out ways to incorporate two faiths into their day in their own unique way. Helping interfaith couples plan a meaningful Jew-ish wedding was one of the big aspirations I’d had for STG when I originally set it up so I’m one very happy blogger!

So what else do I love about this wedding? Well for one, there are some AWESOME musical choices – make sure you listen to those YouTube links further down the post. There’s also a groovy gin cocktail bar by those cool dudes, the Travelling Gin Company  and there’s beer imported from Brussels, as that’s where Nick used to live. And there’s an alternative to the traditional wedding cake made out of 20 kilos of cheese. That would have gone down VERY well in my house.

The venue is The Brewery and it gives this wedding an urban East London vibe that’s the perfect backdrop for a city-chic W day.

Photography today is by a much-loved STG-recommended supplier, Blake Ezra Photography. You can view more of Blake’s work and all his other STG weddings in his listing in my hand picked supplier directory, Smashing Suppliers.

interfaith Jewish-Christian wedding KEEP-CALM-mother-of-the-bride interfaith Jewish-Christian wedding
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A Carolina Herrera bride and an Alexander McQueen groom for a Jewish Irish wedding at the Senate House Library, London, UK

From the moment I started reading Francesca’s wedding report, it took all of five seconds for me to warm to this beautiful, sassy, witty woman. This really is one of the loveliest, and most entertaining, wedding reports I’ve read to date, so if you can spare five minutes to sit and read Francesca’s words as well as look at the stunning photography by Christian and Erica Ward I promise you, you’ll be inspired.

I can’t resist giving you a little snippet… Here’s how Francesca broke the news to her Jewish mother that she was dating Andrew, a non-Jewish guy:

When I told my mother that I was dating someone non-Jewish (the first time it had happened) and that it was serious, I softened her up first: “he’s not Jewish… but he is a tall, handsome trilingual rocket scientist!”. She agreed that my cost/benefit analysis was sound.”

Yes, what you’re about to see and read is truly special. This is how to do a super cool, super chic, interfaith wedding that blends traditions to perfection and oozes personality by the bucketload.

There are so many things I love about this wedding that I’d be here until midnight listing them all, but I will say that the table numbers and signs are old law reports that Francesca hand-painted (she’s a barrister), the confetti cones are made out of the Financial Times (Andrew works in finance), there’s an ‘Alhambra disco’ (Francesca will explain that later), an Irish harpist, and a traditional hora, personalised iced biscuits for each guest, and the most incredible invitations that perfectly symbolise the fusion of Francesca and Andrew through the art of paper-cut!

On the fashion front, there are the most exquisite pair of Harriet Wilde shoes, a Carolina Herrera dress (with a story and half to it), and a groom in an Alexander McQueen blue velvet tux… Need I say anymore? Over to the gorgeous Francesca.

Jewish Irish Wedding
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Yana & Archita | Jewish-Hindu-Indian-Russian multicultural lesbian wedding at Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Now this wedding is not just special, stylish or merely a good day out – it’s a totally spectacular cocktail of uber-chic modernism, elegant traditionalism, multi-cultural funkiness and fun, all blended and shaken to perfection.

For any of you who are wondering how to mix two completely different backgrounds into one smooth and stylish day – get ready for some serious pinning action.

Yana and Archita seamlessly melded their loves, tastes and cultures together to create a unique day at Trust – a neoclassical styled art and event space gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

An art event in itself, our two gorgeous brides amalgamated a colourful and awesome blend of Russian, Jewish, Hindu and Indian traditions against the ridiculously gorgeous, all white, architectural splendour of a soaring 10,000 square foot, turn of the century building.  Simple.  Ahem.

What could have been contrived or clunky – trying to shoe horn different traditions and styles together – is instead thoughtful and elegant.

But the simplicity really lies in their motivation – to unite two families into one, representing both cultures.  Even more, what underlined and defined the wedding was FUN. They wanted a huge, huge party and they got it, right down to the last few bars of Bohemian Rhapsody.

I’m still grinning from ear to ear at the image of the couple being raised high on chairs by friends and family, old and young – all partying together with the help of some homemade “traditional” vodka – to the Black Eyed Peas’ I Got a Feeling!

Even their choice of traditional wedding dresses had a twist… Archita wore a sari, whilst Yana wore a white wedding gown but with a sash around her waist made from the same material as Archita’s sari – a beautiful and subtle symbol to truly demonstrate the bond between the two.

All of the fantastic photography is by Michael and Melissa at M2 Photography. Now over to our beautiful brides…

How we met

Yana & Archita, the Brides: We met in undergrad at Penn at the largest party of the year called “Spring Fling”. To this day we debate about who made the first move. Chita’s friends were having a small party in a dorm room, and Yana crashed it. It was only three weeks before summer break began, so this was supposed to be just a fling… but we fell in love before the summer.

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