Oh my goodness. Where on earth do I start with this wedding?! It’s such fun, and it’s just bursting at the seams with creative details that will make you squeal. Seriously – it’s that good!
There are gold pineapples, the most exquisitely branded stationery (all designed by the bride), an enchanting alternative to a guest book, bridesmaids in the most epic shade of coral, a personalised head-in-hole board (a must-have when your wedding is by the English seaside!) and beautifully designed welcome bag totes (again designed by bride) filled with Brighton Rock, fish & chips shaped crackers, and all sorts of other seaside-themed treats.
It’s clear from looking at all of the delicious details in this big day that Danielle poured her heart and soul into all of the planning. Everything was evidently created with the greatest care and love, and, not surprisingly, her wedding features some of my much-loved Smashing Suppliers doing an AMAZING job.
I’m talking about Jonny Mosesson (their incredible chazan under the chuppah –who also was the chazan at my wedding!) and Stephanie Allin, Danielle’s sensational wedding dress designer, who bizarrely enough, designed my wedding dress too! Danielle says, “I hope that anyone reading this who likes the sound of anything we did gets in touch with our vendors because they made our day so incredible – they were absolutely brilliant.”
This wedding is literally the perfect mix of Jewish tradition and super cool creativity and I think you’re going to love it. I certainly did!
Oh, and their ‘How We Met’ story is beyond… their mums set them up!!
All of the laughter was captured by one of my favourite photographers, Kristian Leven, making a very welcome debut on STG today.
Take it away Danielle!
how we met
Our mums set us up. Yes, it’s true!
They knew each other when they were kids growing up in Leeds and then happened to be seated together at a wedding two years ago. They figured out that they both had kids the same age. Who were single. My mum had had a few too many cocktails and so Gideon’s mum, someone who will never take no for an answer, ended up going home with my phone number! When I spoke to my mum about the wedding the next day, she never mentioned it because she never thought he would call. And he didn’t. But he texted! And the rest is history!
Choosing to get married near the seafront in Brighton
The shul is nearly 200 years old, situated down an unassuming alleyway off the Brighton seafront. It is only opened for the Brighton Festival, special events and the occasional wedding, but when I was at school, I did an art project on the building and its beauty and fading grandeur really stuck with me. Gideon was adamant that a chuppah should be in the same venue as the party, but the moment he saw the shul, he was insistent that we have our chuppah there.
Our reception and dinner were at The Grand, a 5 minute stroll along the seafront from the shul. Whilst my family is from Brighton, most of our guests were coming from London because we live in London and Gideon is from London, so it was convenient for our guests to be able to head straight to bed at the end of the night. The Grand is so quintessentially Brighton in its regency styling and its location on the seafront, so it was the obvious choice for us. Our wedding coordinator at The Grand Emma Jeffs was brilliant to deal with. She was professional, efficient and calm. They also had a massive separate kitchen, which was ideal for our Kosher caterers.
colour pops and black tie
We both love colour! That was our starting point, but we also wanted our wedding to be black tie, so we tried out various colour combinations to find something fun, but not tacky!
By googling bright bridesmaid dresses, I stumbled across my bridesmaids neon coral Whistles dresses. Our stunning bridesmaids and glorious flowers were the colour pop to our wedding.
Gideon wanted a midnight blue tuxedo and we decided to match his 11 ushers to his look with black and midnight blue patterned bow ties and navy raw silk kippot and to the bridesmaids with bright dahlia buttonholes.
We found the perfect bow ties from Swagger & Swoon, with a subtle wave design, fitting for a seaside wedding. We wanted to find something that the ushers could wear again.
Welcome bags for guests
With friends and family coming in from out of town, to show our appreciation, we prepared goody bags that we delivered to the hotels.
With our pineapple theme and in a similar style to our invitation, I doodled a design that we had printed onto eco-friendly cotton tote bags in neon coral. Amongst our goodies were Brighton Rock, fish & chips shaped crackers in newspaper packaging and Jo&Seph sea-salted caramel and black pepper popcorn, which went down a treat!!
We wanted our guests to be on the dance floor all night, so we bought 100 pairs of flip flops from Old Navy in various bright colours, that my US family brought over in batches! We put the flip flops in individual organza bags, that our guests could put their shoes in when they went home.
We also provided glow stick necklaces for later on in the night!
Playful, but ‘formal’ stationery designed by the bride
We wanted something playful, but in keeping with our historic venue styles and timeless black tie dress code.
After several drafts, we opted for a wave-y border, similar to a design used at The Grand, and a handwritten logo uniting our names. The gold foiling made the invitations feel opulent and the coral accents were our vibrant element.
We printed coordinating coral address stickers with whimsical pineapple corners and stuck them on envelopes, which was a lot cheaper than printing on envelopes and we think it resulted in a more interesting finish.
The advantages of using a wedding website
We created a wedding website with weddingwire.com for our guests to RSVP. This was a free and very easy site that I would highly recommend. I tried out a few, but this was by far the best! It had more aesthetic appeal than any of the free UK sites I tested and even though it was American, it was adaptable to an English wedding. For $1.99 we bought our personalised URL from GoDaddy.com, which was money well spent!
Having the website meant that we could save on RSVP cards and it also collated all of our replies for us in a nifty spreadsheet! We also used it to provide our guests with relevant information about the venue, local restaurants and parking etc without cluttering our invitations.
hair + make up
My long time friend, Sam Bloch, is a make up artist and so she was my first choice. She knows my whole family and all my bridesmaids so it was very special having her with us getting ready. I don’t wear much make up, so I wanted something quite simple and bridal, with a hint of sophistication. My bridesmaids chose their looks. They are beautiful and have great taste, so they all looked fab!
Sam recommended Hannah De Frateschi for my wedding hair. Hannah was so much fun and a joy to work with. I wanted a half up braided style, but with a difference, and we decided on inside out, flat Dutch braids, crossing over at the back. Hannah was very patient and really understood the look that I was going for and on the day she definitely achieved it!
Hannah’s colleague Sophie White did the bridesmaids hair in various side ‘do’s, following the preference of each bridesmaid. She was also very patient!
A Stephanie Allin dress and shrug
My dress was by Stephanie Allin and we bought it at The Bride in St Albans. I could not recommend Polly and her lovely team enough. They were a pleasure to visit and made the unique and special experience of buying a wedding dress very enjoyable.
I originally thought I would go for a tight fitting lacy fishtail dress, but when I tried on similar styles, I just didn’t feel bridal. Surprisingly, the clean lines and neat folds of my dress caught my eye in the shop and I loved its pure simplicity and sharp v-back. It felt fun, light, comfortable and so different to anything I’ve ever worn before. It had handy pockets, too!
I needed a shrug to cover my arms for the chuppah ceremony. I loved an embroidered polka dot silk that overlaid the skirt of another Stephanie Allin dress that I wanted to incorporate into my look, so I designed a shrug out of that spotted fabric. Stephanie was in the shop with me and she sketched my idea to ensure she understood my vision and then made it especially for me with an oversized bow tie at the back, which was pretty awesome!
The clean lines of my dress suited simple accessories. I wore my mum’s pearl drop trapeze diamond earrings and a delicate “Inch of Gold” bracelet Gideon bought me for our 6 month anniversary in the Bahamas!
In my hair I wore delicate fresh flowers – rose buds, seeded eucalyptus and crespedia.
My dress was the showstopper so it suited a neat, short veil and we choose a ruched veil that stopped at my waist, following the line of my dress. The puff of the bouffant veil lent to the fun feel of my look and also stopped the veil suffocating me during the chuppah!
Customising my wedding shoes… and Kate Spade Keds
My ivory silk taffeta dress called for fresh, ivory shoes and we searched high and low for the perfect pair. They had to be comfortable and I didn’t want to waste too much money on a pair of shoes I’d ruin on the pebbles and realistically never wear again.
I found the perfect pair in BHS with memory foam insoles to boot! A bargain at £30 and I doodled on the soles with a gold sharpie to jazz them up!
(I also used my metallic sharpies to doodle calligraphy inside the lids of cardboard suitcases, which held our kippot and our wedding presents and on a glass vase that held our glow sticks.)
We went to New York for Gid’s birthday in May and I discovered Kate Spade wedding Keds – ivory glitter with satin ribbon laces and gold accents. I love wearing Keds and I love everything Kate Spade – I had to have them! Gids scoured every Kate Spade shop in Manhattan with me, searching for a pair in my size! My wedding shoes were so comfy that I actually only wore my Keds for our quick photo session along the seafront and during the raucous Israeli dancing, but they are a wonderful memento and I love wearing them post-wedding!
The handsome groom
Gids wanted to stand out and when he tried on a slim fit midnight blue tux by Hugo Boss with chevron lapels, we knew that was it! He wore black patent shoes by Calvin Klein, which were insanely comfy, a simple M&S dress shirt, button braces and personalised cufflinks that I bought him for our special day with the co-ordinates of Middle Street Shul on one and of The Grand on the other.
bridesmaids in coral
Our beautiful bridesmaids wore the brightest dresses, which were from Whistles. They were hung on white, engraved wooden hangers, which I bought from Etsy as a keepsake for my bridesmaids and my mum. My bridesmaid Tara fell pregnant and outgrew her dress, but luckily, only weeks before the wedding, we found a bigger size in clearance to accommodate her little bump! As little gifts for my special girls, I bought gold necklaces from Kate Spade engraved with their initials, which they also wore.
flower girl and page boy
For the chuppah, their shoulders were covered by champagne sequin shrugs. These tied in with our fabulous flower girl Libby’s dress, which was from Next and had a sequinned bodice and floaty ivory chiffon skirt.
We chose to have a public badeken.
A lot of our family and friends had travelled far to celebrate with us, so we wanted to include them in every aspect of our day.
We hadn’t seen each other for 5 days and thought it would be very emotional, but from the moment we caught each other’s eye as I walked into the shul, we were both beaming from ear to ear and we have been smiling ever since! It was a very happy day!
With the shul being so historic, we wanted our chuppah to be traditional, so we opted for a simple tallit canopy.
The shul has intricate stained glass windows and rich gold and burgundy accents, but with its age comes some wear and tear and we felt that bright blooms would breathe life back into the building.
Our main flowers were giant dahlias from a local Sussex supplier in a range of hues from pale peach to the deepest red. Their kaleidoscopic nature and gigantic size lent to the fantasy feel of bringing the old shul back to life. Our dahlias sat amongst seeded eucalyptus and dangling red amaranthus, which provided some drama and complemented the colours in the shul.
Our amazing chazan, Jonny Mossesson
Picking our chuppah music was one of our favourite wedding planning moments! We loved watching all the emotive chuppah clips on YouTube. There are clever versions of traditional songs with more modern tunes, but our favourites were Joseph Schwekey’s stunning take on traditional versions and our mesmerizing chazan Jonny Mosesson truly did them justice.
It was so weird to share such an intimate moment with a stranger, but the three of us were beaming at each other the whole way through. It was very strange but very amazing!
Gideon walked in to Mi Adir, followed by our procession. We picked Boee B’shalom for my entrance, my seven circles were accompanied by the resonant Eshet Chayil and Jonny nailed Im Eshkachech before the glass smash!
A vintage wedding car
Our wedding car was the Beauford from Falcon Wedding Cars. Paul was a breeze to deal with and even texted me the day before to let me know that if it rains, they’ll bring some ivory wedding umbrellas for us to use. I was really touched! He also gifted us some fizz and chocolates, which was a very sweet touch!
Our wonderful florist was Kate Langdale . With Kate, anything you want is possible and she will take time to understand your vision, listening to your ideas and always being aware of your budget, suggesting creative twists based on her knowledge and expertise.
I spent a LOT of time trawling through Pinterest and creating my own mood boards. I knew that I wanted the grey-blue greens of eucalyptus and succulents to match the Brighton sea and playful yellow crespedia amongst big blousy blooms. We wanted a look of bright abundance and Kate nailed it!
gold spray-painted pineapples for our table numbers
On my Pinterest hunt, gold spray painted pineapples caught my eye and I decided to use them as fun table number stands. Gids and my parents weren’t too convinced, but when I spray painted the first pineapple, they were surprisingly impressed! It wasn’t a small wedding, so my mum sourced 24 pineapples and helped me spray them. We bought gold glitter table numbers on sticks from Etsy. My mum then, getting into the swing of things, proceeded to coat nearly 100 tealight holders in gold glitter to coordinate the table decor!
Our amazing photographer
Our photographer was Kristian Leven. My friend’s wedding planner recommended a photographer who was unavailable and he suggested a list of photographers from his photographic collective. Kristian was the one whose work really attracted me. I was never going to be a demure bride in sultry wedding photographs. What I wanted was a photographer who could truly capture the joy of the day.
Kristian was so friendly and helpful and never showed any sign of agitation at our barrage of questions before the big day! Our family were very impressed with his demeanour and we loved how he actually participated in the Israeli dancing in order to get the best shots of the action (or maybe just because it looked so fun!) He was a great guy to hang out with on our wedding day and we wouldn’t have shared it with anyone else.
super creative catering by Zeitlin & Co
Our caterer was the amazing Adam Zeitlin. We cannot praise him highly enough. Incredibly competitively priced, impeccable food, outstanding attention to detail and a true devotion to his work. With a wife nine months pregnant, he assured us that he would be there, ‘unless she’s pushing’!
With the playful theme of the day, we wanted to serve fun food. Our reception station was a Mexican fiesta, with deconstructed fish tacos, tortilla wraps, a giant guacamole bowl and tequila shots to get the party started!
Gids and I loved Adam’s ceviche, which was out of this world, but in an effort to cater to most of our guests we opted for a salmon trio starter. But this salmon trio was anything but ordinary, with vodka & beetroot cured salmon, citrus cured salmon and a salmon and dill rilette with julienne cucumbers.
Gids favourite cuisine is Chinese and Adam had a creative idea for a main course. I worried that it sounded like a ready meal banquet for one, but when we went to the tasting, I was proved wrong. We had a tournados of sticky beef and a seared chicken teriyaki lollipop, with oriental fried rice topped with crispy seaweed and a vegetable tempura tower.
Our dessert was a classic favourite – 240 perfectly executed chocolate fondants, served with vanilla ice cream and an exotic fruit salad.
Later on, chocolate churros and frozen alcoholic shots were served to the dance floor!
Adam also provided frozen towels on the dance floor after the Israeli dancing, which everyone appreciated!
Live music and our first dance song
Our band were Creation Show Band and they were fantastic. We are a high energy couple and wanted a band that could match us and they certainly did! Our first dance was Hallelujah, I Love Her So! by Ray Charles.
Shortly after getting engaged in Rome, we went on an incredible driving holiday in Iceland with our good friends Tammy and Rich, who brought CD’s for the car, one being a wedding mix that Rich had made for Tammy. On that mix was this song. We knew the moment we heard it that it would be our first dance. Gideon loves to fling me around the dance floor and I love the live band sound. That song will now evoke two memories – our first dance on our wedding day and driving our Skoda through a blizzard after a glacier hike, Gideon attempting to thaw out my toes in the back seat!
A fingerprint tree alternative to a guest book
We chose not to have a guest book, but instead opted for a fingerprint tree, which we ordered through Fingerprint Tree. We sent them a photo of both of us and they sent us a cartoon image of us holding a bunch of strings on a large piece of card with colourful ink pads. Our guests fingerprints made up the bunch of balloons on top of those strings! It is bright and fun and we cannot wait to frame it and put it up at home!
a personalised head-in-hole board!
With the wedding being at a seaside resort, I really wanted a head-in-hole board for our guests to play with during our reception. With no time to make one myself, my school friend and old art room bestie Rosie, who is a fantastic illustrator based in Brighton, created the most incredible personalised board, with Gideon in his tux and a hankie on his head to protect his bald spot(!) holding me as a mermaid with a gold glitter tail, munching on a smoked salmon bagel!
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
As you can probably tell, I had a vision and I just had to execute it! I guess I am a control freak! But so is my mum, who was my super star wedding planner. The night before, we promised each other that on the day, we will just let it go. We agreed that we had done all we could to plan the day, but all that hard work was to make it the best day possible and that day had arrived and we didn’t want it to go by without enjoying every second of it!
Perhaps it was because I planned every detail, but on the day I didn’t feel dazed and overwhelmed like so many brides do. I absorbed every single second and Gids and I had so much fun! And that is thanks to our incredible guests and everyone that I have mentioned, making our dream day a reality.
Watch Danielle & Gideon’s wedding film
Danielle & Gideon’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Kristian Leven Photography
Videography – AtMotion
Ceremony Venue – Middle Street Synagogue
Reception Venue – The Grand Brighton
Caterer – Zeitlin & Co
Bride’s dress – Stephanie Allin from The Bride
Bride’s shoes – BHS, glittery Keds by Kate Spade and Converse
Groom’s suit – Hugo Boss
Groom’s shoes – Calvin Klein
Flowers and chuppah – Kate Langdale
Make up – Sam Bloch
Hair – Hannah De Frateschi (with Sophie White)
Bridal Party – Whistles
Entertainment – Creation
Chazan – Jonny Mosesson
Stationery – designed by the Bride, executed by Ever After Press, and printed by the Print House
Goody bags – Bidbi
Popcorn – Joe & Seph’s
Bow ties – Swagger & Swoon
Cufflinks – Personalised Jewellery
Wedding car – The Beauford from Falcon Wedding Cars
Guestbook alternative – Fingerprint Tree
Table numbers – Etsy