A Jewish Scandi-Danish wedding, with Israeli influences, at Calhoun Beach Club, Minnesota , Minneapolis, USA

This is the love-filled, creative Jewish wedding of Talia and Yoni. Talia’s wedding report is fabulous, as are her artistic talents – she designed all the wedding stationery and each and every painting that graced the reception tables.

There is so much meaning and symbolism to this wedding to reflect the couple and their loves ( and when I say ‘loves’ I mean in the sense of what they adore, and their nearest and dearest).

So for instance, they had originally dreamt of a small, casual, wedding in Israel, but being surrounded by family and community trumped this desire. So whilst they chose to have a wedding on their home turf of Minnesota, they channeled an ‘Israeli style’ by having their guests standing around them informally during their ceremony, open seating during the meal, a buffet lunch filled with fruits, veggies, fresh breads and pastries, and  plenty of Israeli music on their playlist.

Absolutely every detail was thought through and beautifully styled, but I must just take a moment to single out Talia’s bouquet, flower crown, and the chuppah. They really are to die for – just so gorgeous, natural-looking, colourful and creative.

The love and happiness radiates from every single image by Lauren Renee Designs, and it’s a joy to see and hear about so many orthodox Jewish wedding traditions embraced by a very modern couple. An (abridged) example, in Talia’s words, is as follows:

Yoni and I choose to partake in the Jewish wedding tradition of not seeing each other for one week before our wedding. This was absolutely worth navigating some tricky logistics for, as the build up allowed so much raw emotion and excitement to show in ways we could never have anticipated.”

Do take a moment to read through Talia’s beautifully written account of her planning, prep, and what the traditions meant to her and Yoni. There are some really useful tips and a big dose of super advice all the way through.

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How we met

Talia, the Bride: We met a Hebrew speaking, hummus tasting event that I had organised with my roommates called “Hebrew Shmebrew.”  I was initially intimidated by his fluent Hebrew, so we hung out a couple more times with friends before he called to ask me out. We happened to live three blocks away from each other, so the rest is history!

Jewish Wedding at Calhoun Beach Club

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A Carolina Herrera bride for a destination Jewish Wedding in a castle at Castello di Vincigliata, Florence, Italy.

Today’s gorgeous bride first made contact with me back in 2014, when she was looking for supplier recommendations for her destination wedding in Florence. I immediately noticed that her email signature read ‘Head Scientist at playdohlab.tumblr.com‘ and I thought, WOW, I really do have the coolest readers in the universe!

And her wedding does not disappoint. Whilst it isn’t play doh-themed (which I was secretly hoping for!) it’s a delicious destination set in an astonishing castle in Florence, and the crazy thing is, I attended a wedding in the very same venue last summer!

Anna and Chaim enlisted the help of SposiamoVi (one of my much-loved Smashing Suppliers) to plan their big day, and what a great choice they made. Their fabulous wedding included two bridal gowns (a Carolina Herrera andMaxMara Bridal), lace-adorned Jimmy Choo’s, exquisite Louis Purple tailoring (with some wonderful embroidered personalisation), Chaim’s father officiating the wedding, a brilliant band that included the bride’s uncle, as well as some glorious Tuscan candle favours (Anna says she wanted to create a memory of the wedding through smell), and an unplugged chuppah ceremony – something that I’m a really big fan of. Anna said:

We requested no cameras, smartphones, or iPad use by any of the guest during the chuppah – we wanted everyone to be in the moment. The only people taking pictures and videos were our photographer and videographer.

And what a fabulous pair they were: Edoardo Agresti captured all the stills, and Marco Caputo‘s film is simply a must-see at the end of the post.

A gorgeous couple in fabulous attire having their day their way. Perfect.

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An orthodox Jewish wedding in Florence

Anna, the Bride: My parents actually met in Florence and live there part of the year. I also have a large extended family that lives in Europe, so Florence was convenient destination for many guests. For those that would have to travel, I knew that a long weekend in Florence would be the most irresistible magical getaway.

Originally, I wanted to get married in the Great Synagogue of Florence, as it just takes your breath away, but then we saw Castello di Vincigliata, a castle in the Tuscan hills- how could we not pick it? We contemplated having the chuppah in the synagogue and then transporting guests to the castle, but ultimately we thought the schlep to and from would disrupt the atmosphere. Chaim had his Shabbat Chatan at the synagogue so guests that attended were able to experience the beautiful Sephardi service and architecture.

Jewish Wedding Florence

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Sarah & Dan | Rustic Jewish wedding held at their own farmhouse in Connecticut, USA

Sarah and Dan purchased a Connecticut farmhouse during their engagement – their first home together – with the dream of getting married on the property. They made it happen with their wonderfully intimate orthodox Jewish wedding on December 6th 2015, the first night of Chanuakah! Sixty of their closest friends and family joined them to celebrate the happiest days of their lives. I certainly can’t think of a better way to  commemorate owning your first joint home!

This informal yet elegant affair just goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to incorporate a rainbow of colour or an abundance of details to have the wedding of your dreams. Mazal Tov Sarah and Dan!

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Choosing to get married in our new home

Sarah, the Bride: After having both lived in studio apartments in New York City our dream was to live on a quiet retreat within arms reach to the city. We found a farmhouse dating back to 1790  in Connecticut, that we purchased during our engagement ,with the dream of being married on the property.

Farmhouse Rustic Jewish wedding

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A Mira Zwillinger bride for a super luxe ‘ethereal black tie’ Destination Jewish Wedding in Marbella, Spain

There is so much luxe and personality in today’s delicious destination from Spain I don’t quite know where to begin, but I guess I should start with the Mira Zwillinger wedding dress because it’s quite literally a gown of dreams. A vision of delicate dazzling detail with a generous dose of modern-day princess, and there’s quite a story behind it too – read Emily’s report below to discover exactly what I’m talking about…

And what shoes might one choose to compliment such splendour? Well Swarovski encrusted Miu Miu’s of course, but an additional pair of  customised Nike trainers emblazoned with the bride’s new surname are required too, right? And that’s exactly why I adore today’s Jewish wedding. It has it all. The glamour, the pretty, the chic and most definitely the unique.

There are so many things I love about this wedding weekend – from their very special ‘all-white’ Friday night dinner to their beautifully spiritual Jewish wedding ceremony full of emotion, to the wonderfully personalised welcome bags with individual notes for every guest, through to thoughtful touches like ballet slippers on the dance floor for guests to change into. Every decision is quite literally the ultimate in sophisticated elegance topped off with symbolism as well as lots of fun for good measure. See this excerpt from Emily’s report as an example!

Because we got married outdoors, we provided “fancy” portable toilets for everyone just next to the dance floor. Our mum’s surprised us and hung photos of us as babies “using the potty.” The photo of David hung outside the men’s room and mine hung outside the ladies.”

I adore this idea – so creative and fun! Enjoy all the fabulousness and get those pinning fingers ready – you’re in for such a treat with Jeremy Standley‘s breathtaking imagery and the entire event designed and planned to perfection by Caprichia. I’ve also got the wedding film full of heart and emotion for you too. As Aerosmith sang, you won’t want to miss a thing.

Mira Zwillinger bride for a destination Jewish Wedding from Marbella Spain

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Michaela & Zac | Destination Jewish Wedding at the Great Synagogue of Rome and the St Regis, Rome, Italy

Destination-Jewish-Wedding-at-the-Great-Synagogue-of-Rome-and-the-St-Regis Rome-Italy
The extraordinary city of Rome was the inspiration behind Michaela and Zac’s regal, yet oh-so-fun, destination wedding with guests flying in from the UK, USA, Israel, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, and France, to share in the love for this gorgeous American couple.

The magical city of Rome appealed to Michaela and Zac, not only because of the far-flung nature of their guest list, but also because they had their first official date in Rome in January 2010 – how wonderfully romantic!

There are some really gorgeous Italian accents punctuating this wedding. Take the epic wedding transport – a teeny tiny mint green Italian Fiat 500 – and the choice of the legendary St. Regis Rome for the reception (originally a grand Roman palace dating back to 1894). Then there’s the jaw-dropping Great Synagogue of Rome where Michaela and Zac chose to have their ceremony (which was officiated by none other than the Chief Rabbi of Rome). Michaela says:

Zac and I both grew up in families that engaged in what we jokingly call “synagogue tourism.” If there was an old or interesting synagogue in whatever town or city our family was visiting, we had to stop by—whether for Shabbat services or a tour. We have continued that habit as a couple (and expanded it to touring places of worship of many other faiths, too), so the idea of getting married in a historic synagogue was something that felt very well-suited.”

And I must just hero worship Michaela’s mum. She not only designed Michaela’s phenomenal gown, she also created the bridesmaids dresses AND an incredible surprise gift for Michaela – a custom made and beaded clutch that depicted the couple’s beagle, Loki. He’s a major part of their lives (he even has his own Facebook page) and they were so disappointed that he wasn’t able to be involved in their wedding, so this really was the perfect gift. What a mama!

Thank you David Bastianoni for submitting this very special Jewish wedding packed full of personality. Every picture looks as though it’s from a fairytale and pitter patter doesn’t even begin to explain what my heart is doing right now… I hope you enjoy this wedding as much as I did.


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