A Monsoon bride for a super fun destination Jewish Wedding on the Greek island of Paros, Greece

If the image above doesn’t draw you right in to this Greek / Jewish  (or Grewish!) wedding, I don’t know what will! I’m obsessed with the energy and aesthetic of it… and the talents of the man behind the lens, Ronen Boidek, whose work I’m honoured to have featured before on Smashing The Glass.

Courtesy of Ronen’s photography, and a very entertaining wedding report by Tamar the bride, not to mention an incredible film by Nikos Vamvakidis at the end of the post, we’re being whisked off to the gorgeous Greek island of Paros today. Blue skies, smiles for miles, sandy beaches, a bride and groom jointly smashing the glass, broken plates, smashed pomegranates, Jewish wedding traditions, Greek wedding treaditions, the sparkliest of azure seas, Greek music, Jewish tunes, a first dance tango to Por Una Cabeza (one of my favourite pieces of music)…. wow! As the bride puts it, this wedding is literally a mesh of joyous inclusion.

And not only did bride Tamar rock a gorgeous Grecian-style dress from High Street label Monsoon but she switched into ANOTHER gorgeous frock before the bash was over too! And Vasilis played his part of the snazzy groom splendidly in his linen suit and trilby… totally dashing!

There are many humorous moments (as could only be found at a big fat Greek Jewish wedding) brilliantly told by Tamar, including a very funny proposal story, the groom’s getting ready story (I have genuinely NEVER heard anything like it!) and tales aplenty about Tamar’s mother’s insane dancing…

Just a word of caution – you may well be booking a little trip to Greece by the time you’ve finished this post…. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Jewish Wedding on the Greek island of Paros, Greece
how we met and the groom’s (five!) proposals

Tamar, the Bride: Vasilis and I met in a boho tea room on Brick Lane in London in November what feels like 100 years ago. Five years after that he proposed five times! He had intended to propose on the anniversary of our first meeting. We had planned to go to Budapest that November and he wanted to get on one knee in the middle of the bridge between Buda and Pest. But he couldn’t wait. So the first time he proposed I was in my pyjamas the night before we flew and was so shocked and a bit sad: I wanted to have at least been wearing a bra!

The second time was only two minutes later with bra on and shock not over. The ring was a bit big so we planned to resize it after our anniversary holiday. The third time was that weekend on a bridge between Buda and Pest and the fourth time was a few minutes later on an even better bridge that he liked even more. Then, when we returned to London we had to get the ring resized and after picking it up he presented it to me again on the balcony of the Royal Opera House. He says that he loves proposing to me and that every time I say yes his heart leaps, so although the count is at five proposals, they may not be the last! [Read more…]

A Ritva Westenius bride for a city-chic Interfaith Jewish Wedding at One Marylebone, Central London, UK

Today’s wedding from One Marylebone in the heart of London, is a masterclass in how to ensure your guests enjoy your big day. In particular, it’s an absolute must-read for anyone planning a mixed faith wedding. Lucy’s report is long – there’s no denying it – but it’s brilliantly written and very much worth scrutinising, particularly the section on how she and Matt developed and personalised their ceremony. It’s clear that Lucy’s Jewish faith is culturally and religiously of deep significance to her, and she and Matt (who’s taken to her Jewish-ness like a duck to water!) incorporated so many symbolic and personal details into their celebration.

And I love this…Six weeks before the big day they invited all of Matt’s friends over to their flat, and hosted a small Israeli dancing lesson as many of Matt’s friends had never attended a Jewish wedding before. Such a brilliant and fun idea!  As Lucy says, “while there is nothing that can prepare you for the sheer madness of running in circles and being thrown up in the air – it was great that the boys had a vague idea of what was going on so that on the day they knew how to get stuck in!”

The attention to their guests enjoyment didn’t stop there… Lucy and Matt really wanted to let their guests know how happy they were that they were there to share their big day with them. So they hand-wrote 200 (yes 200!) individual cards so that each guest had a personal note waiting for them on their place at the table.

Our bride and groom look impeccable stylish – Lucy in a beautifully cut Ritva Westenius gown, and Matt in a three piece suit by Hackett. And whilst we’re talking fashion can I just be frivolous and say that I am loving the gals’ personalised sports bras!

Photography is by Jez Dickson whose work I’m delighted to be featuring on the blog today.

One Marylebone Wedding
how we met

Lucy, the Bride: Matt and I met in the summer of 2010, at a club in Putney. We both had other plans, and as two staunch North Londoners neither of us were particularly enamoured with the idea of an evening so far from home! I spotted Matt on the dancefloor and danced near him, within a matter of minutes he had offered to buy me a drink – we sat in the corner nursing a single drink for the next three hours and had our first official date the next day.

On the Sunday he rang his mother and told her that he had met the woman he wanted to marry – she politely reminded him that I may not necessarily feel the same way after one short meeting. Nonetheless, 6 dates and 10 days later he asked me if I would be his girlfriend, after 4 years of dating he asked me to marry him and then 15 months after that we walked down the aisle!

We have never stopped talking or loving spending time with each other – and going south of the river that one night could not have been more worthwhile! Both of us are complete chatterboxes and one of the questions that everyone always asks us is who speaks when we get home? How do either of us get a word in edgeways? But somehow we’ve managed to find the one person that we can sit in silence with.

One Marylebone Wedding
[Read more…]

Sani & Mike | Chinese-Jewish Wedding with an ‘Adventure Through London’ theme at Ranger’s House and RSA House, London, UK

Wow. Like… WOW.

That’s pretty much all I said for five minutes when Sani & Mike’s Chinese / Jewish (can I say ‘Chewish’?!) wedding landed in my inbox. It’s the perfect first real wedding to kick off 2016 with as it epitomises the STG mantra of your Jewish wedding day, your way. So for Sani & Mike that meant peking duck, Jewish wedding traditions, a Taiwanese tea ceremony, honey cake, table tennis, street feast food stalls, table tennis, a boat trip down the Thames, and so many more ideas that reflected them both.

This is a particularly inspiring post for couples planning a wedding that combines two different cultures – it’ll give you the confidence to plan exactly the kind of wedding that feels right for you. On a frivolous note, Sani and Mike totally nailed their red colour scheme (red is the traditional colour of good luck in Taiwanese weddings) so if you’re looking to thread a specific colour through your big day, you’ll be inspired by lots of their ideas.

I also absolutely LOVE that they  devised an ‘adventure through London’ for their wedding guests (read the bride’s wedding report below for more on that!). After the ‘London escapade’ part to their day, Sani and Mike chose the vaults at central London’s RSA House for their party venue. I’m a huge fan of RSA House as it has a plethora of beautiful traditional spaces, but you can get entirely creative with their ‘underground chamber’ vaults too. Sani, the Bride, explains:

We wanted to have a bit of festival feel across the vault spaces… so the guests could pick and choose what they wanted to do, be it playing table tennis, singing karaoke with the Rockaoke live band, dancing, or watching England vs. Wales rugby on an iPad by the bar.”

Let me hand you over to Sani now for her full report, exquisitely documented by the hugely talented Andrew Billington, and wish מזל טוב and 恭喜 to the Bride and Groom!

Jewish Wedding RSA House
how we met

Sani, the Bride: Mike and I have been friends for years, having been introduced by mutual friends, just after university about eight years ago. We got to know each other through parties and mutual friends, but gradually got closer over the years, and then played in a band together which resulted in spending even more time in each others company.

It definitely was not love at first sight and we used to genuinely annoy the hell out of each other and have massive shouting matches, storming out of rooms, slamming doors and calling each other all sorts of names! In fact, if you had told either of us four years ago that we’d end up marrying each other, you would have been declared mad and laughed out of the room.

Mike and I both had different partners throughout our friendship but I guess all that bickering, winding each other up and arguing, spending so much time together, living on top of each other in the lead up to gigs and band recordings, resulted in a closeness which we then finally and very reluctantly realised was love. Needless to say, most of our close friends were not that surprised and if anything, relieved that all the public shouting matches have stopped since we got together!

[Read more…]

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!

[Read more…]

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. 
[Read more…]