Jewish rustic barn wedding with a Fairy Gothmother Dress and fresh wildflowers at Colville Hall, Essex, UK

Happy Friday everyone! To celebrate the imminent arrival of the weekend, sit back and enjoy this real wedding, which had such a fantastic party atmosphere that it spilled over into a second party the day after the big day.

Cool and quirky bride, Hannah, looked like a stunning artistic vision with wildflowers in her hair, in her tea-length Fairy Gothmother dress and wow-factor sparkly green Irregular Choice heels. 

We love all of the unique ideas that express the couple’s life together, with their many in jokes, including stick-figure illustrated invitations and some special, limited edition, Hannah and Peter Sauce. 

A personalised chuppah is always a winner and, in this case, the couple asked their loved ones to contribute a square each to a homemade patchwork chuppah, with their friends and family’s heartfelt wishes watching over them during the ceremony.

The whole story of the day and all of its detail and emotion was expertly captured by photographer Marianne Chau. We’ll hand over to Hannah now for the full report on her and Peter’s rustic barn wedding. Take it away, Hannah! 

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How we met

Hannah, the bride: We met on Jdate, much to our surprise and shock!

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A venue with character at an old converted Tudor barn in Essex

We got married at Colville Hall which is an old converted Tudor barn near Hatfield Heath in Essex, UK. There were two barns on the site and we used one for the ceremony and dancing and the other one for dinner. We chose the venue partly because we needed somewhere big enough to fit all of our guests (!) but mainly because we wanted somewhere with character and outdoor space as we were having a summer wedding.

We added a lot of personal touches throughout right from our hand drawn invites to the ceremony to the drinks at the bar which we think gave our wedding a unique ‘Hannah and Peter’ laid-back feel.

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A Rustic Chic Jewish barn wedding at Heaton House Farm in the Cheshire countryside, UK

Meredith & David have got the balance of rustic AND glamorous just right. The combination of gorgeous wild flowers, pastel tones and personal touches, alongside the beautiful barn setting of Heaton House Farm in the Cheshire countryside is utterly perfect.

Meredith is American, and David is British but they both live in NYC now, so this is actually a Jewish destination wedding in the UK! Their W Day is bursting at the seams with thoughtful details, elegance and fun, like the bride’s sky high pink Prada heels, a beautiful lopsided wedding cake (read on to hear the story behind that!), a meaningful ceremony, and girls on roller skates giving out shots at the after party! F-U-N !

Something that really touched me was hearing about a keychain made by the bridesmaids for Meredith depicting her beloved brother and stepfather who had tragically passed away some years before the wedding. Meredith attached the keychain to her bouquet for the wedding day itself, and to this day, carries it on her keys for a beautiful daily reminder of her wedding and her brother and stepdad.

Enjoy this sweet treat of a wedding – it’s romantic and whimsical but also sleek and stylish. And looks effortlessly so at that. All of the fabulousness was captured by STG regulars, Reportage Gallery, with the most gorgeous film by Minty Slippers at the end.

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How we met

Meredith, the Bride: Dave is British (he’s from Manchester) and I’m American (born and raised in New York) and we met though a mutual friend. My brother’s friend introduced me to his wife, who is from Manchester. We became friendly and she set me up with dave.  This is really meaningful to us, as Dave never got to meet my brother Gregg, who passed away in 2008. In a way, it feels like Gregg brought Dave into my life. Dave reminds me a lot of my brother and having this connection to my brother is very special.

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A travel-themed Jewish wedding at Olympia’s Valley Estate, Petaluma, California, USA

There isn’t a single thing I don’t love about this wedding. And when I say love, I mean head over heels, squeal-worthy adoration. As I was putting the post together I was genuinely bursting with excitement at how gorgeous everything is, how adorable Jill’s report is, and how fabulous the photography by Chrisman Studios is too. Honestly, I really had to stop myself from including every. single. image. I’m a big fan of Chrisman Studio’s work (I love how they tell a story), and it’s no surprise that I’ve featured their Jewish weddings on the blog many times before.

Jill is a professional photographer herself, and her work played its part in the way she met Mark. It’s a wonderful story and Jill tells it brilliantly. I literally had goosebumps. Although they met in the ‘new way’ (by which I mean over the internet), to me it feels like a truly romantic old-fashioned love story! Have a read and see…

These two married at a gorgeous rustic barn in California, complete with all sorts of travel-related elements (to reflect Jill’s travel photography career) including personalised passports for each guest with all the wedding details and a Jill and Mark crossword puzzle. Fabulous!

I must also single out Jill’s astonishing Vera Wang frock, and a Pop Art ketubah I am literally obsessed with. Indeed I featured it in this round-up of my favourite ketubah designs last year!

This is SUCH a lovely one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Jewish rustic wedding at Olympia's Valley Estate in Petaluma, California. Jewish rustic wedding at Olympia's Valley Estate in Petaluma, California.
How we met

Jill, the Bride: In 2012, I received my first assignment from National Geographic. They sent me to Sydney, Australia for five weeks to photograph the National Geographic Traveler Guidebook: Sydney. When I got this amazing opportunity I had never been more excited about anything in my entire life.

About one week into my time in Sydney I got a message on OkCupid from Mark. Mark’s email made me laugh. He was thoughtful. His profile was witty and he looked very cute in his photos. He also took the time to find my photography website, stalk me, and tell me what he liked about my work. I appreciated that effort. Something just intrigued me about him.

I wrote him back telling him I would be gone for the next month and that maybe if he was still single when I returned we could go on a date. He did not seem phased by me being gone at all. He said, “Why don’t we talk on Skype and see if we have anything in common and go from there?”

We decided to start off on Skype with no video, just our voices. Our first conversation lasted hours, as did our second and third. Then we turned on the video, which actually was not as awkward as you may think it could be. Our conversations were very easy. I felt like I was myself from the beginning, probably because I felt like I had nothing to lose.

He started serenading me early on, playing his guitar and singing for me. He would ask me what my favourite songs were and within 24-hours he had taught himself how to play and sing them to me over Skype. I became a Skype groupie. I would send him my best photos of the day and we would talk about my solo adventures. We talked everyday while I was away. I would catch myself on the phone just smiling the whole time, and daydreaming about this mysterious Internet man.

We really had a chance to get to know each other, and by the time we had our first real in-person date it felt like we had been dating for a month. We thought our mothers would be proud that we really took the time to get to know each other before jumping into a relationship.

I never would have admitted it out loud, because it sounds crazy, but there was a part of me that knew he would be my husband before we even met. He says the same thing about me.

The day after I returned home from Australia we had our first date. He came over to my apartment (probably not the smartest idea for a first date with someone you met online – but I felt like a murderer wouldn’t have put in so much time talking to me just to kill me). I was jet-lagged, exhausted and wanted a night at home. We went food shopping and Mark made me dinner. The date was so fun – it just felt right.

That night, he asked me if I would be his girlfriend. I was shocked. I was used to men waiting as long as possible to commit to anything solid, and here we were on our first real date and Mark wanted to be my boyfriend. He said, ‘Here is my rationale – we have been talking for a month and I don’t want to see anyone else. If this does not work out, we break up, if it does then great!’

That made perfect sense to me, and I said ok…

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Deborah & Hernán | ‘Intimate & international’ Jewish wedding on a farmhouse at South Farm, Cambridgeshire, UK

Farmhouse Jewish Wedding
Over the past few weeks we’ve shown you real Jewish weddings on South American lakesides, Italian cliff tops, and a myriad of coastlines – but how about we take it back to the land and look at Deborah and Hernán’s wedding on a glorious farm in Cambridgeshire, England.

With farmyard animals loitering outside the main reception, food and entertainment in the barn and painted gypsy caravans for the guests to sleep in – this was such an inspired choice of venue to share with their family and friends hailing from around the world.

Deborah and Argentinian-born Hernán settled on stunning South Farm for their big ‘I do’ as they wanted to veer away from the traditional Jewish wedding – they wanted an international party and they certainly accomplished that, and all with such a thoughtful eye to detail.

I’m totally drawn to Deborah and Hernán, not just because they’re regular visitors to Smashing The Glass or because they got married on my birthday (yay!) but because they seem such a happy, warm and inclusive couple…. And this spills out into their wedding. The love just radiates and the pictures and film by York Place Studios make me smile and well up in equal measure – everyone seems to be having the BEST time.

So how did they manage to be so inclusive for the whole international family? A few key things – as their speeches were in English and Spanish, they used a projector to translate, so all guests were in on all the jokes!

The order of service was in both English and Spanish and their Sheva Brachot were said in Hebrew, Spanish and English.

Their choice of band also showed such sensitivity to their guests needs – Storm played a mixture of Israeli, British and Argentinian music.

And even the chuppah had an international flavour – with materials bought in Argentina which were then taken back to the UK and the poles came from the North London Synagogue. I also love that the chuppah design incorporated handprints from both Deborah and Hernán’s families…

With hosts like this – no wonder everyone looks so darn happy!

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Naomi & Adam | country garden Jewish wedding in a tudor barn in Cheshire, North West England, UK

This wedding had me the moment I saw the chuppah. I just love the trickling white, yellow and orange Gerberas trailing down from the canopy. So very pretty, so very simple and so very effective.

It’s safe to say that Naomi and Adam’s wedding is also the first I’ve seen where the badeken takes place on a bridge in a Japanese garden.  A badeken is the ritual where the groom veils the bride, and is often the most emotional moment of a Jewish wedding. It’s where the bride and groom see each other for the first time, a few minutes before the main ceremony begins under the chuppah. Badeken ceremonies often take place in a nondescript room next door to where the chuppah is taking place, but again, this wedding shows that you can be really creative with where you choose to hold it, and a bridge in a Japanese garden is as good a place as any (in fact probably the most original badeken location I’ve ever seen!)

Essentially I love the informal vibe of this relaxed affair, sunshine, smiles and brightly coloured blooms provide the perfect backdrop for what looks like an amazing party (check out the very final shot at the end of the post to see what I’m talking about).

This gorgeous set of images, as spirited and dynamic as the big day, produced by STG regular Blake Ezra, will ensure that all those fantastic memories stay fresh and vibrant for many years to come.

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how we met

Naomi, the Bride: We actually met 10 years ago at a friend’s birthday party. I had always heard Adam’s name (through mutual friends) due to the fact we shared the same surname, but I had never met him. The night we first met, I told my friend ‘he will be mine one day’. We then became friends and I genuinely pursued him for 7 years! To make a very, very long story short, he finally asked me to be his girlfriend, and then he proposed on our 3 year anniversary!

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