A whimsical woodland Jewish wedding with a Jenny Packham gown at South Farm, Royston, UK

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Pull on those wellies, we’re taking another trip to whimsical Hertfordshire venue, South Farm, for Clare and Toby’s magical, woodland-themed wedding. This country-inspired Jewish big day had everything from berries in the bouquet to a spot of light duck herding at the drinks reception – as you do!

There are so many divine details to drool over, from the beautiful moss, foliage and rose-heavy floral arrangements to the sublime scented candles, provided by the bride’s sister.

Fortunately, every last detail was perfectly captured in a collection of stunning images by much-loved sponsor and incredibly talented photographer Ria Mishaal.

We’re also totally head-over-heels in love with beautiful bride Clare’s drop-dead-gorgeous wintry and etherial Jenny Packham gown, paired with sparkly Jenny Packham headpieces.

Oh, and we’ve already mentioned the duck herding, but seriously, how cute are those ducks? It’s enough to make us think that every wedding should have a cheeky pen-full of feathered friends handy.

We’ll leave you with Clare now for the full report. Take it away, Clare!

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How we met

Clare, the bride: We met at work. Toby was a bit hesitant about dating someone at work so we ‘courted’ for about a year before we finally became official.

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A laid-back, intimate venue at South Farm, Royston 

We got married at South Farm in Royston. I thought it was such a beautiful, laid back and intimate venue. Plus, I love animals so the animal enclosure sold it to me. On a more practical level it had everything we needed: rooms for the night, indoor and outdoor ceremony options and a separate room for tea and coffee. 

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A spectacular Jewish destination wedding with a bride in a Howard Green dress at Villefrenche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur, France

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There are destination weddings and then there are destination weddings, and Justine & Barry’s dreamy South of France outdoor W Day definitely falls into the latter category.

The couple, whose international background (Justine grew up in South Africa, while Barry is originally from Zimbabwe and has lived all over the world) meant they had their pick of stunning destinations, chose the idyllic Villefrenche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur – a private chateau on the mountains above Nice overlooking the coastline.

This discerning couple put so much careful thought into each and every detail. There is so much to talk about – from the beautiful way Justine describes her connection to the religious ceremony and its traditions to both family’s own respective sentimental customs, including a ring that has been passed down through generations of the family and used in over 100 weddings.

The couple kept their series of events exciting by including a series of surprises, including an epic first dance that the couple still sneakily re-lives to this day and drip-feeding their guests details about the astounding destination. They also showered their lucky guests with lovely and thoughtful gifts, favours and special treats including luxuriously tempting macarons, a drinks trolley with fine liquors, pashminas, flip flops and kippot. It makes us wish that we’d been invited!

We could go on forever about the amazing attention to detail and the heart and soul that the couple poured into planning their big day, but we think that Justine does such a wonderful job of describing the events that it’s time to hand over to her. Take it away, Justine.

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Stunning views at Villefrenche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur

We were married at the Domaine du Montleuze in Villefranche-sur-Mer. It’s a private chateau at the top of mountains above Nice, overlooking the entire coastline.

We got engaged in late March 2016 in the Swiss Alps and wanted to contrast our winter engagement with a summer wedding.

It is worth mentioning at this point that I grew up and lived in South Africa before moving to London five years ago. Barry, originally from Zimbabwe, has lived in multiple countries including South Africa, before moving to London eight years ago.

A summer wedding in South Africa was naturally expected. However, we wanted to be different and have something unique, something wildly romantic and intimate, but also a crazy party. Plus, it had to be easily accessible. Europe it was.

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A Hayley Paige bride for a ‘seashore & sequins’ Jewish wedding on the beach at Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA

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Think coastal, think sparkly, think utterly gorgeous.

That’s Amanda and David’s day. These two wanted a casual beach look and a formal black-tie feel so they mixed the two together, and you know what? It just works! When you’re contemplating a theme for your wedding you should never feel restricted by the ‘should’s or what’s perceived to be the done thing. Anything goes as long as it’s 100% you…

Amanda grew up in a small beach town and had always dreamed of a wedding on the seafront, but once she’d set her sights upon a statement wedding gown (and when I say ‘statement’ I mean a vision of sophisticated sparkle with a generous dose of modern frou frou) she took that dream, added in sequins and a ball gown, and turned a casual beach wedding into a super chic formal beach affair.

It’s all just so fabulous and full of shimmery, sparkly fun – there are golden flamingoes, a chuppah at sunset, sparkly Kate Spade KEDS, glittery tablecloths and a gourmet popcorn bar!

And if you’re looking for sparkly bridesmaid’s dress inspiration then Amanda’s choice of gown for her girls will definitely give you a touch of the green eyed monster…

On a different note, I must also mention that Amanda carried the most beautiful memory locket in her bouquet to honour her father who tragically passed away in 2013. This is the most touching and creative idea for carrying the memory of a loved one down the aisle – you must take a look.

Finally, don’t miss Amanda’s ‘How We Met’ story below. Her and David met online on JDate and she describes it all so wonderfully. Amanda and David are one of several JDate couples I’ve had the pleasure of featuring on the blog (I love hearing the myriad of different ways of how couples meet so I always ask them!)

Stay tuned to view all the fabulous images by Donna Von Bruening and the oh so romantic video by Rad Red Creative. You’re going to go crazy for it all.

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How we met

David’s dad had first created his JDate account in hope that he would meet a nice Jewish girl. After comical dates on other dating sites, he gave JDate a shot and sent me a brief message. My mum was very convincing of the fact that I should try online dating, and even bought me a few books about the subject that she had pre-read, highlighted and sticky tabbed. I created a profile on JDate (while living in Alabama) since I was in the process of moving back to Florida and knew quite a few sorority sisters that met their husbands on the site.

Little did I know that I would be living less than a mile away from my future husband, and we didn’t even know it. On October 3, 2014 we met in person and had our first real date. A date that started as a quick lunch while my car was in the shop, turned into an all day adventure on the lake and lasting until dinner.  After our lunch at Panera discussing our education and work history, we went out on a nearby lake on David’s jet-ski. When David was pulling the ski back on the trailer, I caught a glance of him in the rear-view mirror, at that moment I knew that I could see myself marrying David. I also believe in signs and how the universe communicates its message to you. When we were in David’s car I glanced at the Jeep dashboard and it said “Since 1941,” this struck me as such a coincidence- my dad was born in 1941 and had an antique car with the license plate “It’s a 41.” My dad had passed away in 2013 from a quick diagnosis of cancer. I knew this was his way of telling me, he’s something special. We instantly clicked and knew that this was the real deal. I called my mum early the next morning and told her “he’s perfect, I know I’m going to marry him.” Little did I know, David had called his parents and told them the same thing.

Our connection grew quickly and easily turning into love. JDate connected two people that were meant to be together when they otherwise never would have crossed paths. On February 15, 2015 David planned a brunch to gather our families together. After brunch on a clear blue sky day, David proposed with a gorgeous ring inside a box of chocolates. He even made sure my nails were painted that day, an important detail that he took note of.

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A Lazaro bride for a Hollywood-glam Jewish wedding at a private residence in Los Angeles, California, USA

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Every inch of this Los Angeles wedding is oozing old Hollywood style glamour from the private residence near Malibu where it was held (that only hosts one wedding per year!) to the bride’s incredible one-of-a-kind Lazaro gown.

Positioned on a top of a cliff, with breathtaking views across the beach and the Pacific Ocean, the residence is normally used for filming and photo shoots (I’m talking Rihanna’s cover shoot for Vogue no less) and it’s impossible to imagine a more beautiful or romantic setting for a wedding. The ceremony took place on the beach right by the shore, under a stunning chuppah and one thing’s for sure, if you’re planning a romantic, dreamy beach-y wedding, this post will be taking over your entire Pinterest planning board!

Unusually for a Jewish wedding, the whole event took place on a Saturday, so the ceremony had to take place after sunset. This meant for a an unconventional order of events, with the cocktail reception happening prior to the ceremony. As I always say on Smashing The Glass, it’s your wedding, do it your way – Ali and Duncan certainly did…

Everything about this W Day brings a modern twist to old Hollywood glamour and Marianne Taylor‘s photography captures it all brilliantly – some of these shots could be taken from a glossy magazine! I know you’re going to adore the decor with an abundance of candles everywhere and pretty accents of soft whites, metallics and copper thrown in for good measure…

Without further ado, I give you Ali and Duncan.

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Choosing to get married in Los Angeles by the ocean…

Ali, the Bride: We chose to get married in a private home in the Huntington Palisades in Santa Monica because what is a California wedding if you are not near the ocean! We chose this house because we felt it was the quintessential Los Angeles wedding venue. We wanted to be married on or over looking the ocean and this house gave us that old Hollywood feel while also being on the water.

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

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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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