Susie & Jon | ‘upcycled chic’ Garden Party Jewish wedding at Micklefield Hall, Hertfordshire, UK

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Today’s Jewish wedding will be in my top 10 faves of 2015, I can guarantee it now. It’s the ridiculously gorgeous wedding of Susie and Jon and I have literally struggled to keep my chin off the floor whilst putting this post together as their wedding exudes so much creativity, personality and style. From the incredible home-made decor to the wedding cake lovingly made by Susie’s sister to reflect the couple’s personalities, it’s clear that everything was a labour of love for this gorgeous couple and their wonderful friends and family.

I love that Susie and Jon tried to involve as many people as they could in their day and gave everyone some sort of role, whether it was a speech or an usher duty, ring holder, gift collector, or polaroid photographer at the escort card stand ( yes, the couple had the brilliant idea of asking guests to swap their escort cards with polaroid photos of themselves to create a terrific memento of their day).

Susie is spot-on when she says, “By giving someone a task, role or responsibility it allows them to feel part of your special day which will make it even more enjoyable for all.  No task is too big to fulfil for the bride and groom.”

As you can tell by now, I adore pretty much EVERYTHING about this wonderful ‘I do’ all the way from the all-cheering-all-whistling-all-singing-all-dancing chuppah ceremony  through to the epic entertainment by Sensation Band (thank you Richard from Sensation for alerting me to this wedding in the first place!). And you need to check out the champagne bottle centre pieces filled with dripping candles. These were bottles brought to Susie and Jon on the day that Jon proposed (2.5 years earlier). Such a lovely idea.

And I haven’t even mentioned Susie’s personalised pre-wedding onesie or her stunning Rue De Seine dress, which somehow manages to be both sexy and oh so bridal.

Amy Shore has captured each and every moment and detail to sheer perfection – her pictures have a nostalgic and dreamy quality to them, yet still manage to be stylish and contemporary. Susie and Jon’s wedding is definitely one to be bookmarked so you can enjoy swooning over it time and time again. I know I will be!

Micklefield Hall wedding
how we met

Susie, the Bride: Jon and I were told about one another running the marathon and so we thought it would be a good idea to become running partners.  We ran 3-4 times a week, for 10 months, 2 hours at a time without music and simply enjoyed each others company getting to know one another.  A month before the marathon the romance began and Jon asked me to marry him five years later. In case you are wondering, I beat him by 30 minutes!

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An English country garden wedding with a twist

We originally wanted to get married abroad and have an outdoor wedding but for various reasons we were unable to.  We therefore decided to go all out on an English wedding with a twist.  Living in NYC we missed everything English so it only seamed right to go for a venue that was typically English, that had a beautiful outdoor setting if the weather behaved. Micklefield Hall has the most beautiful gardens with the most romantic settings that make you feel you are the furthest away from London and any sort of reality.  The rose gardens, the pond, the lawn and the hedged gardens were all breathtaking and perfect for all parts of the day.

Jamie and Anna, the owners of Micklefield Hall, were very accommodating.  They opened their door to us for every occasion we needed to visit which was at least 5 or 6 times prior to the big day.  Jamie was also on hand 24/7 for anything we needed.

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an ‘upcycled chic’ theme

The theme was ‘upcycled chic’ and we wanted to be as resourceful as possible and so started collecting mason jars, pretty tomato tins and huge pickle tins that a deli near my mother in laws’ office kindly put to one side for us.  My brother and father are in the construction business and so always came across materials that could be used for decorations like old wooden floor boards used to make the direction signs, pallets for the flower decorations and picture collages, old doors to hang the escort cards and windows and old toilet to plant flowers and other decorations. Mandy Rolnick our stylist worked tirelessly to create and perfect said ideas.  She oozed ‘upcycled chic’ and could not have translated our vision more precisely. From the photos you can see the extent of her and her florist brother Steven’s extraordinary talent.

As well as ‘upcycled chic’ we were aiming for a more relaxed, laid back approach.  We were very conscious of any format or structure but completely understood the need for some in order for the day to run smoothly.

We had a wedding co-ordinator, Claire Mitchell, who tied up all the loose ends for us in the month leading to the wedding and also managed all logistics on the day. Being based in New York whilst organising a wedding in the UK was always going to be a tough process but we had the help of our experienced party thrower and party goer parents along with siblings and close friends.

I must also mention  MTS who made my dream of filling the room with lanterns come true!

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champagne bottle centrepieces

For our centre pieces we used the champagne bottle with dripping candles stuck in them.  They were bottles brought to us on the day that Jon proposed (2.5 years earlier).  I had kept these bottle for simple keepsake and fit in perfectly with the theme of the day.

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wedding stationery

Our invitation design was very unique as we had it made to suit the style of the wedding.  We found the illustrator on Etsy.  However our thank you cards were even more special as they are stamped with our portrait, just our faces! (Etsy too!)

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hair + make up

Gemma Harris did my hair and I was so lucky to have her as she gets booked up years in advance, she is that good!  I had a trial the week before and she interpreted and perfected my ideas exactly, on the day she did the unimaginable by making it look even better than the trial.

Nicole Springer did my make up, she created the natural, soft look I was going for.  Not only did she translate my vision instantly, she also made me feel so calm and relaxed on the day.

My cousin, sister, mum and two best friends were all there to help me get ready.  They made sure everything was perfect from bringing my favourite homemade sandwiches to dressing me in my personalised onesie for the journey to the venue. They were the best and more!

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the dress

My dress was from a bridal boutique in NYC called Lovely Bride, the designer is Rue De Seine.  I had always imagined myself in this dress but struggled to find something that resembled it.  It was after 30-something dresses and even coming close to putting down a deposit for something else that I had heard about the designer debuting at their one and only NY stockist and I just had to try before I went with the then first option – even if I only had 5 months to go!

Out of the five Rue De Seine dresses I tried, I knew that the one I went for was ‘the one’, low back and floaty has my name written all over it and so did this dress.  I went alone to the store for the trial and so had to rely on my gut instinct which was ‘BINGO!’.

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the veil, the jewellery… and other accessories

The veil was from Lovely Bride also but I really didn’t mind which one I had as I knew it would only be on for the ceremony.

I had sent my mum a bunch of beautiful mini roses in the days leading up to the wedding and we actually used a few buds in my hair on the day.

My closest friend and chuppah witness lent me her beautiful pearl drop earrings that her parents bought for her to wear on her wedding day.  My sister in law lent me her pearl bracelet to match a handmade pearl bracelet with turqoise stone that my cousin lent me (her mother had made it for her).

My father lent me my late brother’s army pin to pin to the underneath of my dress, which only I knew was there.

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silver shoes

I actually wore my 5 year old pair of Zara silver straight platforms that guaranteed unlimited hours of comfort and partying.

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The handsome groom

My handsome groom was kitted out by Suit Supply from head to toe.  He wore a very lightweight, fitted elegant blue suit, with a pale blue shirt, brown pocket square and brown tassel shoes with no socks.  He looked very dapper yet relaxed – perfection!

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bridesmaids… and man of honour

My two bridesmaids wore their own chosen dress which tied in to the garden party relaxed theme of pale colours. I had sent them a card in the months leading up to the big day with an indication of what colours would be suitable by enclosing various paint swatches from the local hardware store.

My brother was also my man of honour.  He is always and was especially in the lead up to the wedding my right hand man for everything!

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the ceremony

My two brothers, Jon’s brother and brother in law all held the chuppah.  They are the immediate men in our family and it was important for us to have them close during the ceremony.

I wanted an Israeli hebrew-speaking chazan for the chuppah as it was important for me to have some familiarity in acknowledging my Israeli heritage.  Guy from Sensation Band went above and beyond to do just that.

I also really wanted a loud and vibrant chuppah with people able to freely clap, whistle, shout, comment as and when they felt necessary.  They all cheered, whistled, sang and danced Jon to the chuppah . When he broke the glass we immediately broke into dance and started the celebrations as we meant to go on.

Rabbi Jeremy lead the chuppah with such spirit and soul, he really personalised the ceremony to make both families feel so involved.  It really was perfect.

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chuppah design

We wanted a simple chuppah design without the frills of flowers whilst emphasising more on it’s simple beauty which consisted of a borrowed talit and four custom-sourced birch poles that were held up by our brothers.

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music for the ceremony

We played music by The Turbans during the pre-reception chuppah.  They are an international musical collective bringing together exciting traditional near-eastern and eastern-European styles and original compositions, to create a modern and energetic performance with reverence for its ancient roots.  Their music enabled us to start the day with a lively energetic sound that would dictate the rest of the day.

Jon walked in to The Turbans too.

We then switched to Louis Armstrong’s version of La Vie en Rose for the procession of page boy, flower girls, bridesmaids and bride.  I’m not usually such a romantic but this song just pulls at my heartstrings every time and it was perfect for me to walk down the aisle to.

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reception and party music with a sensational first dance song

During the reception we played some lively jazz which could be heard in the gardens whilst our guests were eating and drinking.

Sensation Band then took over from the minute we entered the dinner and dancing part of the day.  There was not an empty moment on the dance floor and that was all thanks to their outstanding performance. Jason, Richard and the rest of the many talents at Sensation created the most insane party and really catered to all our requests.  They even sang our first dance song live which was Sam Smith version of Latch which transitioned into the Disclosure remix of Latch.  We got two verses and a chorus of slow romance and then broke into crazy dance the minute they played the Disclosure beat – absolute perfection and quite possibly even better than the real thing!

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creative catering

We chose Kalm Kitchen for their exquisite presentation. They served canapés in birdcages and on boards filled with flowers.  Their attention to detail on the day was immaculate and they made every effort in providing us with tastiest vegetarian meal.

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Stunning flowers

Scarlet and Violet put together my bouquet, the flower crowns for my bridesmaids and flower girls and the button holes.

Mandy Rolnick sourced the rest of the flowers for decorating the venue and centrepieces with.

Gypsophylia was the main flower of the day, along with lots of greenery and fresh herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary.

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our fantastic reportage photographer

Amy Shore was our photographer.  Her website depicted the look we were going for which was classic but yet relaxed and reportage.  She specializes in photographing weddings and cars but we were her first Jewish wedding.  This didn’t bother us as we were fully confident in her ability to capture all the right moments.  Not only was she great in the lead up to the wedding with numerous FaceTime calls and emails but she made sure she didn’t miss one minute of the action, she was the last person standing on the day!  What I love most about Amy was that she delivered the best possible job with the biggest smile and I felt as if she wasn’t just on the job as she also seemed to enjoy herself too.

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cake

My sister made our wedding cake. She tailor made it to reflect our personalities, a naked cake with two layers and two flavours.  Vanilla with vanilla frosting filling and red velvet with white chocolate frosted filling.  She also used flowers to decorate the cake itself.  It was spectacular and so delicious.

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“Music was the most important component of the day.”

We love a good party and wanted to provide an even better one for our friends and family.  We really didn’t want any of the bands we had seen before as we insisted on a little difference here and there. Sensation Band were new for us, their sound is perfection and their range of repertoire was like for like in comparison to our favourite songs. Live instrumentals were a huge priority for us and we knew that we would have to stretch our budget to accommodate this.

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Hand-delivered England-themed gift boxes for guests from abroad

Jon put together a gift for all those that travelled far to be with us on our big day. He bought each of them a box of England’s finest shortbread biscuits that came in an English post box shaped tin.  He hand delivered each one together with a thank you card, this was a good way for him to see them before the big day.

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polaroids to replace escort cards

For our escort cards we asked people to take theirs and then swap it with a polaroid photo of themselves.  It was a great way for us to capture the moment instantly and see all the beautiful photos in the days after the wedding.  They are currently hung on our wall in our apartment allowing us to smile every time we walk by.

We tried to involve as many people as we could in the day and gave everyone some sort of role, whether it was a speech or an usher duty, ring holder, gift collector, poloaroid photographer at the escort card stand.

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advice to other brides and grooms

Make sure you take a step back more than once during the day to take it all in.  I always wished to be a guest at my own wedding in order to see and feel what our guests did.  By taking a step back I took in all the emotion, the love, the smiles, the surroundings that were created with such effort especially for us.  It’s a priceless vision and a memory I will cherish forever. The day goes by too quickly otherwise.

If your budget will allow, make sure you get a videographer for the day.  We nearly didn’t have one and I’m so pleased we decided to go for it because it allows me to relive the most special day every time.  What swayed our decision to have one was during a 50th wedding anniversary we had attended, they played their wedding video in the background and we just thought it was so special they could relive those memories after such a long time.

Try to involve as many people as you can on the day. By giving someone a task, role or responsibility it allows them to feel part of your special day which will make it even more enjoyable for all.  No task is too big to fulfil for the bride and groom.

Remember this is a day of happiness, love and laughter.  Let the insignificant negativities come and go without even a thought.  There will be disagreements along the way but remember that this is a happy occasion and the little things are so immaterial in the grand scheme of life.

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Susie & Jon’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK

Photography – Amy Shore
Second shooter – Liam Keown
Venue – Micklefield Hall
Caterer – Kalm Kitchen
Stylist – Mandy Rolnick
Entertainment – Sensation Band
Bride’s dress – Rue De Seine from Lovely Bride
Bride’s shoes – Zara
Groom’s attire – Suit Supply 
Flowers – Scarlet and Violet
Hair – Gemma Harris
Make up – Nicole Springer
Lighting – MTS
Wedding stationery – Etsy
Rabbi – Rabbi Jeremy 
Wedding co-ordinator – Claire Mitchell

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