Indo-Italian-Jewish wedding at The Garden City Hotel, Long Island, New York, USA

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One of my main aims when I started Smashing The Glass was to ensure there would be an abundance of Jew-ish wedding inspiration, by which I mean interfaith wedding inspiration for readers who are marrying out, marrying in (or anywhere in between for that matter) – I call it Jew-ish!

Prior to starting the blog, I remember hearing the same complaint over and over again from friends who were marrying the love of their loves who were of another faith. They desperately wanted a ceremony that embraced both their and their partner’s religion / culture, but there was simply no inspiration, online or offline, for how to create a meaningful fusion Jew-ish wedding.

As a result the blog covers an array of topics from 5 ways to incorporate Jewish’ into a non-Jewish or Interfaith wedding to a diary of a Jewish bride who ‘married out‘, to spotlighting awesome Smashing Suppliers like Rabbi Paul Glantz who has lovingly officiated countless beautiful interfaith Jewish weddings.

It therefore goes without saying that I love blogging mixed faith Jew-ish weddings as part of this focus. I’ve showcased several Indian-Jewish weddings on the blog before, and they are often very colourful affairs, but today’s W Day takes brights and rainbow hues to another level and should definitely be viewed with your sunglasses on!

Ritu, of Indian heritage, and Greg, who’s Jewish, very much wanted a single ceremony versus two separate ones. They found that many of their individual traditions were able to be seamlessly intertwined eg. the chuppah / mandap structure is both a symbol of the home that they would build together (chuppah) and the universe (mandap) and the framework of each is very similar. This blending of both their cultures into one meaningful ceremony meant a lot to them (and by the way, I have a post going live this Friday on how to successfully mix two faiths into one beautiful ceremony… watch this space!).

This entire wedding is magnificent, and not only do we have the images from Priyanca Rao Photography, but also the wedding video from Unique Visions Studio. Ritu’s wedding report is super fun to read too. Don’t miss a beat!

Indo-Italian-Jewish wedding at The Garden City Hotel, Long Island, New York, USA Indo-Italian-Jewish wedding at The Garden City Hotel, Long Island, New York, USA
How we met

I am not sure this story makes me look all that good! My friend (and eventual bridesmaid) Claudia and I were at a party for The Brooklyn Rugby Club’s final game of the season. I was a little hesitant about going in the first place… I had been sorta casually spending time with one of the rugby players and that dalliance had recently ended in a full on crash and burn! But Claudia convinced me to accompany her. And then I met the new guy on the team – Greg Aguele. He followed us to another bar and struck up a conversation with me. I was definitely stand-offish – I didn’t want to be the Brooklyn Rugby Groupie! But I will never forget him saying “I get it. But listen, I am a nice guy, and I think we should get to know each other”. And so we did.

Indo-Italian-Jewish wedding at The Garden City Hotel, Long Island, New York, USA
The perfect  Venue

You know how often the first dress a bride tries on is  THE dress? Well that was the the case regarding our venue. The Garden City Hotel was actually recommended by my father. The second I met with the team there, led by Jerry Rizzo, I was in love. We wanted a place that was close to where we both grew up and where both our families could easily get to. And we loved that all of our events (an Indian wedding can have quite a few) could be in one central place where all guests could also stay.

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Real Jewish Brides: Introducing Lauren + John… how they met to the present day

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It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to go on a date with someone I met online. Whenever I did I just seemed to meet weird men who gave me flowers in a Sainsbury’s bag or people that thought they were far superior to me and acted as if I was lucky to be in their presence… I was fed up.

It was about this time that John and I started chatting on match.com. After a few weeks of message chat John asked me to go on a date during my school’s half term break (I’m a teacher, not a student!) John couldn’t seem to wait the 5 days and kept pushing for a Valentine’s Day date the next day. I was not impressed by his pushiness and was about to tell him where to go. But my best friend told me I had nothing to lose, so I went. I turned up VERY late to the pub that was just opposite where I lived (a sure sign that I was not keen) and we hit it off instantly, bonding over cookies, practical jokes and our love of Lego.

We spent the next three weeks together with very little time apart and when my 30th birthday arrived, he took me for a romantic trip to The Shard and then the next day I thought I’d test him and drag him along to my parent’s house for a birthday tea and meet my ENTIRE family in one go. I was so surprised by how well he coped with all my family and knew there was someone very special there.

The more we spent time together, the more I fell for him. We had both been through some tough times individually and we seemed to find each other at the exact moment when we were back on the rise and ready for this new stage in our lives. I used to daydream that I would find someone who would be generous with his time whilst making me feel completely loved and protected. I didn’t ever think I would actually find that person… then along came John! I can remember the moment I knew I was going to marry him. I was dropping him off at work on the morning I was going away with a friend for a week and I couldn’t stop crying. Even though I was so excited to go on holiday, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling devastated about not seeing him for a whole seven days. I had never felt this way before about anyone and I think I shocked myself a little bit with how strongly I felt.

Blogging Bride
John and I come from very different backgrounds. I’ve been brought up in North West London and have had a lot of involvement professionally and personally in the Jewish community. My Jewish identity has been very strong from quite a young age and I think many people who know me always assumed that I would end up marrying a ‘Nice Jewish Guy’. I however never put that assumption on myself and have always said I would marry the person I fall in love with no matter where they are from. Little did I know I would fall for a ‘Bermondsey South Londoner’!

We may both be from London, but the North/South divide is very strong when it comes to London, never mind the religion! We both quickly integrated ourselves into each other’s families. My family was particularly surprised when John turned up one Friday night having learnt the Shabbat Blessings… From that point on he was firmly embedded in my family.

From quite early on we had discussed marriage and had a rough idea of when we wanted to get married. Things took a quick turn when I gained a teaching job in West London and decided we would move in together. For a variety of reasons we ended up living in a tiny studio flat near Twickenham. We thought if we could make it living that close to each other every day, then anything else would be a doddle. We made it through and last summer John went to a football match with my Dad (typical!) and asked him if we could get married. Luckily the legend that is my Dad said yes and two weeks later John took me on a surprise trip to The Shard again and proposed (surprise, surprise-ish!)

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A Berta Bride for an interfaith Jewish wedding (with four guys smashing the glass!) at Riverbend, Kohler, Wisconsin USA

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I bet you’re intrigued by the idea of four men breaking the glass under the chuppah, right? Well let me explain…

The groom in today’s wedding has three wonderful boys from a previous marriage and all three were included in the vows (the Bride created a set that she recited just for them). Then when it came to the big moment, all the boys joined in with their father for the smashing of the glass. Um – how brilliant is that? I absolutely love how symbolic and meaningful that is, and Molly Michel from M Three Studio captures the moment perfectly in the image below.

But that’s just one of a ridiculous amount of reasons why I love today’s wedding.

Reason #2: I love that Leah and Phil only invited 20 guests. I’m a big advocator of not inviting too many people, as I highlight in my Top 5 Do’s and Don’t’s for the Perfect Jewish Wedding. Fewer and closely connected is far better than inviting a cast of unknowns, and makes for a much more meaningful, intimate atmosphere in my opinion.

Reason #3: Leah rocks a life-changingly gorgeous Berta gown. That plunging neckline! All that lace! It’s super sexy and daring, yet oh so feminine and elegant at the same time. And if that’s got you all green with envy just wait until you see reason #4, her snakeskin Jimmy Choo‘s!

OK, enough with my reasons, I’m going to hand you over to the Bride to hear the wedding story from her, but before I do, let’s hear from her wedding photographer, Molly Michel. She’s going to tell you a little bit about the ‘rai-ayy-ann on [their] wedding day’ as Alanis Morissette famously sang. And no, it’s not ironic, it’s really rather lucky, as Molly explains:

Rain was definitely not part of Leah & Phil’s plans as they created their wedding day. Watching the forecast that week, the rain stubbornly took hold on their day and refused to budge. By Saturday morning, there was no denying that buckets of rain (and all the luck that comes with it) was what would come to define their day. And then a funny thing happened. Their intimate wedding became more intimate. People huddled closer together to dodge the raindrops. They hugged to bring about warmth. They sat closer, shared stories, snuggled by the fireplace, stood arm in arm, swaying to the band, poured the wine a little more liberally. The intimate, close-knit wedding that Leah & Phil had hoped for was somehow even more so because of the rain. Lucky thing, those raindrops.”

breaking the glass Kohler Wisconsin wedding
How we met

Leah, the Bride: Phil and I met through a mutual friend in September 2010. He put his number in my phone with the name “Mr. Wonderful.” After our initial introduction, we made plans to meet for drinks at NoMI at the Park Hyatt the following week. Leading up to the date, I was really nervous so asked if we could reschedule. He wouldn’t. He replied with, “I don’t take rain checks.” And, the rest is history!

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An Ossie Clark Bride for a Super Cool Afternoon Tea Interfaith Jew-ish wedding at Home House, London, UK

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I am whole-heartedly in love with this super sassy, achingly chic wedding set in the magnificent Home House, one of my favourite places in London (and the place I chose to get ready for my wedding and spend the first night of married life!).

Think sophisticated fashion and an abundance of green and white blooms mixed in with some brilliant creative details, a vintage Rolls Royce, so much love and warmth, and a wonderfully intimate Jew-ish wedding ceremony, complete with a beautiful chuppah and of course the smashing of the glass!

I first heard from the bride two years ago when she emailed me looking for ideas for her interfaith ceremony, and I was so flattered to hear how the blog had helped her in the planning of her Jewish-Catholic wedding.

I just wanted to say thank you for Smashing The Glass – I’ve found it massively helpful! I am Catholic and my fiancé is Jewish, so we really want to combine the best of both religions, and as the planning has fallen to me I’ve found it a really helpful resource to refer to.”

These kind of emails are the sort of thing that I thrive on so thank you so much Jess!

And isn’t she just the most stunning Bride? She has that natural, thrown together look we all long for, but somehow never achieve (or maybe that’s just me). She wears the most astonishing vintage Ossie Clark dress paired with Bionda Castana courts. Simply divine.

And the groom rocks the fashion stakes too with a very sharp suit, and you won’t want to miss the brilliant message sewn on the inside of his collar which is revealed right at the bottom of the post. It’s a MUST SEE – it will definitely make you chuckle!

I want to also single out the couple’s exquisite stationery designed by the super lovely and talented Ruth Kaye Design and calligraphed by the ludicrously talented Paul Antonio Scribe. I know these suppliers very well and it’s so good to see their work at the epicentre of this wedding.

Of course it’s not just the decor and creative details that make a wedding awesome, it’s how much of a good time everyone is having and this lot are having A REALLY GOOD time, all captured by the wonderfully talented Rebecca Goddard whose work I’m thrilled to be featuring on the blog today. Enjoy this one folks…

Home House London Wedding

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A Halfpenny London Bride for an interfaith Mexican-Jewish wedding at Searcys at 30 Pavilion Road, Knightsbridge, London, UK

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The last few weeks have been filled to the brim with all sorts of events and meetings… all in the name of work! From admiring the 2017 bridal collections at White Gallery London to a meeting with the Vivienne Westwood couture team in central London to the fabulous Not On The High Street press event where I got to meet the wonderful Kate Halfpenny and see her phenomenal wedding dress designs firsthand. Having been a fan of Kate’s for a long time (since I first heard her speak  at Paperfest in 2014) I’m delighted to be finally featuring a bride wearing one of her vintage-inspired Halfpenny London gowns in today’s interfaith (let’s call it Mexi-Jew!) fusion Jew-ish wedding.

Yes, today’s wedding features a surprise Mexican mariachi band singing Hava Nagila and Siman Tov… Epic, right?

And when it’s all captured by Matt Parry, you know it’s going to be utterly superb. Matt is one of those photographers whose work makes me do a little dance whenever I see it – there is something so very creative and fresh about his style – and I’m so happy to be able to say that today’s couple booked him after discovering his work on Smashing The Glass (which definitely elicits another happy dance from me!).

Mexican Jewish Wedding Searcys at 30 Pavilion Road
how we met

Liz, the Bride: Freddie and I met six years ago whilst I was living in London with friends.  We met at a club and exchanged phone numbers. We went on a date and I spent the rest of my time in London with him.

When I returned to Mexico we assumed that that was the end of our whirlwind romance, however two years later I came back to London for the Olympics and I met up with Freddie and we ended spending the entire summer together. The following summer I was back in London for work and after spending yet another summer together we finally decided to give it a go. I moved to London and the rest as they say is history…

We chose this venue as Freddie and his family used to live less than 100 yards away. As Freddie’s mum mentioned in her speech it felt like coming home…

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