A Boho bride for a rustic ‘beer garden’ Jewish wedding at Houston Hall, New York City, USA

Apologies for the late posting of this morning’s real Jewish wedding – I’m still recovering from last night’s dazzling Brides Magazine Bloggers Dinner. And when I say recovering, it may just have something to do with the fact that Brides had the genius idea of serving a series of cocktails to accompany every course! The whole do was utterly magical from beginning to end – great company, great food, and an exquisite atmosphere in the private dining room at central London’s Haymarket Hotel.

I snapchatted and Instagram-storied live from the dinner so hurry on over and take a look if you want to see what the wedding bloggerati got up to as all the stories will be wiped after 24 hours!

So on to today’s very special real Jewish wedding… Well, where do I even start? Rachel & Robert somehow managed to incorporate a whole host of personal ideas into their Big Day whilst keeping it chic, stylish and super pretty.

There are so many gorgeous touches that I don’t know what to pick out first; there’s Rachel’s special maid of honour – her 91-year old Grandma Betty, the coolest polaroid picture escort cards (you’ll all be wanting to steal that idea!), oh so pretty floral crowns, Louboutins, personalised Converse, a beautifully flowy Nicole Miller beaded wedding dress (this bride has serious style), and a naked red velvet cake.

And instead of just eating leftover wedding cake on their year anniversary; Rachel and Robert have been eating a piece every month, thereby celebrating their anniversary every four weeks… DEFINITELY my kind of couple

Enjoy this one peeps – the day was captured perfectly by The Markows Photography with a glorious film at the end by NST Pictures.

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How we met

Rachel, the Bride: We met on Match.com. What makes it a good story is that Rob emailed me on Match in September 2012 and I waited two months to write him back! I received his email and I was interested but just not ready to meet someone at the time. It was a good thing he was still single and interested in meeting me two months later…

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Choosing to get married in a rustic beer garden

We got married at Houston Hall in New York City, a rustic beer garden in an old Police station garage. We searched for a venue for about a month throughout NYC and once we stepped inside Houston Hall, we knew it was perfect for us. It provided exactly the rustic chic atmosphere we were looking for.

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A rustic style

We didn’t really have a theme but since the wedding took place at a rustic beer garden, we went with that theme! We wanted everyone to feel that it was a casual fun wedding.

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Jewish Wedding Houston Hall NYC_0033 Hair+Make-up

I wanted my hair and makeup to be very natural and make me look like “me.” I had a few trials with different stylists and finally found my artist, Margie Brescani of Margie Makeup on Weddingwire.com. In addition to doing amazing work, Margie was such a sweetheart and she kept me calm on the morning of the wedding.

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A Nicole Miller dress

My dress was from Nicole Miller Bridal. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to simple sheath dress and it was the first dress I tried on in their showroom. I didn’t want to go to one of the large dress stores and get overwhelmed and Nicole Miller’s boutique was super easy to work with.

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A flower crown and grandmother’s earrings

I didn’t want to wear a traditional veil so I wore a flower crown instead. I told my florist my vision for the day of and trusted that she would make the crown perfect. She even exceeded my expectations.

As of the week before the wedding, I didn’t have jewellery to wear or anything old, borrowed or blue. I told this to my mother-in-law and she offered to lend me a pair of her own Grandmother’s earrings that were gold with blue stones. They were perfect! It was such an honour to wear something that belonged to my husband’s great grandmother.

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Christian Louboutin shoes

I love my nude Christian Louboutin pumps that I’ve had for years so instead of buying something new that I’d never wear again, I wore my good ole’ Loubies! It was nice to wear shoes that I knew were comfortable and that were special to me. Right before the reception, my husband and I both changed into Converse sneakers (mine were a wedge)! It was so much better for all of the dancing we did!

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The handsome groom

Since our wedding was more on the casual side, Rob knew he wasn’t going to wear a tuxedo but he wanted something special and not just a standard suit. He decided to get a custom made 3 piece grey suit at Enzo Custom. We decided that I wouldn’t see it before the wedding (similar to how he wouldn’t see my dress before the wedding) and I was so in love with how he looked at our first look. He definitely made the right choice and I’m glad he didn’t need my help picking it out!

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A special maid of honour – 91-year old Grandma Betty

We didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen… We have a lot of friends and family so it would have been hard to pick who we would have wanted in a wedding party.

Instead, we decided to give our friends and family a break and not have a wedding party at all, except for the Maid of Honoor, my 91-year old Grandma Betty and two adorable flower girls a handsome ring bearer.

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Chuppah design

To go with the rustic theme of Houston Hall, we wanted to have a simple chuppah with birch poles and an ivory overlay. It was important to me to also incorporate the talit of my late Grandfather Lloyd who I was very close with. I also really wanted to incorporate something original and personalised into our chuppah and looked all over for the perfect item. I eventually found the perfect touch—a needlepoint design that said “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” in Hebrew.

My mother-in-law Candy did the needlepoint for us and we had it hang from the front of our chuppah. We hope that our own children may some day want to incorporate it into their chuppah as well.

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Music choices

Rob and his parents walked into In My Life from the Beatles and I walked in with my parents to Make You Feel My Love. Our recessional was Firework by Katy Perry.

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A special officiant

During my Grandma Sylvia’s battle with cancer, she spent time with Cantor Jennifer Duretz-Peled of her local temple in Florida and her husband Matan Peled.

After my Grandma passed away, Matan entered Rabbinical school in Philadelphia and Jennifer became the Cantor of a temple closer to us in Allentown, PA. When it was time to pick our officiant, we knew we wanted Jennifer to perform our wedding and she suggested that Matan could assist as it would be his first wedding officiating as a Rabbi! We couldn’t have been happier to have them officiate our wedding as they had a special bond with my Grandmother. They did an amazing job officiating and it was so special having two officiants that were so in love themselves.

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Wild flower style

My florist was Sonja at Black Dahlia. As soon as I met Sonja I knew that she would be fun and easy to work with and she understood my vision for my wedding. My bouquet was natural, free-style flowers with a mix of white ranuculus, chamomile, succulents, sliver brunia, seeded eucalyptus, snowberry, and misty limonium. Our centrepieces were a mix of vintage colored glass vases that our florist found at various yard sales and Goodwill stores. Those were filed with flowers in a “wild flower” style with colours in the white, green or coral families.

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Our fabulous photographers…

Our photographers were an amazing husband and wife team, Julianne and Steve Markow of The Markows Photography. They were actually first booked by Rob’s step brother for their August 2015 wedding and we loved their style so much that we booked them as well!

In total, they did four weddings in our family in one year. Even though each wedding varied in style, they did an amazing job of capturing the love and emotion of each of the married couples. We love our photos so much and were so happy that we chose them. They are basically like family after being at all of our important moments in the last year!

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…and videographer

We weren’t sure we were going to book a videographer but as soon as we saw a highlights reel from NST Pictures, we knew we had to book them. We really felt that our videographer Isaac captured all of the important moments of the day and provided us with an amazing highlights reel only weeks after the wedding.

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A naked cake

I love red velvet cake so it was a must! Our cake was a simple “naked” cake (no frosting on the outside) to go along with our rustic theme. We actually had so much leftover from the wedding that instead of just eating it on our year anniversary; we’ve been eating a piece each month on our month anniversary.

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Music is VERY important to both of us so we knew we had to find the perfect band. We chose Red Hook Orchestra because they were different from the average wedding band and had a classic rock vibe. They had so much energy (it was obvious they loved being musicians) and made our wedding so much fun that our guests were talking about them long after our wedding day.

Our first dance was That’s How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding

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Polaroid pictures as escort cards

I wanted to do something creative for our place settings instead of just normal escort cards. I found an idea on Pinterest that I decided to bring to life: Polaroid pictures of all the guests. This was extremely time consuming but worth it in the end because people were so excited to find their faces in our display. I tried to find the funniest picture of each person/couple so that they would laugh when they saw their escort card. I got so many compliments on the idea but the biggest compliment was when my sister-in-law did the same thing for her wedding the next year!

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Advice for brides and grooms currently planning their wedding

Don’t worry about what everyone else wants in your wedding—make sure your wedding is what YOU want. We did everything how we wanted it and don’t regret any choices we made.

Rachel & Robert’s little white book

Photography –  The Markows Photography
Videography – NST Pictures
Hotel –  Courtyard New York Manhattan Soho
Reception Venue –  Houston Hall
Wedding Coordinator – Once Upon an Event
Floral – Black Dahlia
Bride’s dress –  Nicole Miller Bridal
Bride’s shoes –  Christian Louboutin and Converse
Groom’s attire –  Enzo Custom
Make up –  Margie Makeup
Music – Red Hook Orchestra
Ketubah – Jennifer Raichman