Valeria & Orrie | Spring Theme Jewish Wedding at Lafayette Club, Lake Minnetonka, USA

Spring theme wedding 15 Well I don’t know about you but I’m already getting a little weary of winter and looking forward to sunnier days and warmer weddings. Here’s a cute, gem of a wedding with a strong spring theme to get us in the mood.

As you’d expect from a spring theme wedding, the florals are gorgeous, but what’s more, the creative bride put feathers in her bouquet (LOVE!). We’ve also got birdcages, a big band orchestra, rain boots and paint brushes in the mix! Let’s hand over to our lovely bride, Valeria for all the details.
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Valeria, the Bride: We got married on a beautiful May day in Minnesota, at the Lafayette Club by Lake Minnetonka. Where to get married was the first decision we made. Our families are split between Israel and Minnesota, and we ourselves currently reside in Portland, Maine. We considered Israel, Maine, or a neutral destination wedding, but we chose Minnesota as our location because our immediate families live there, and this made some of the transportation aspect more convenient.

We did not have the time to fly to Minnesota and physically look at venues, but we were familiar with the Lake Minnetonka area and knew that we can’t go wrong with a pick around this location. Our only “must have” requirements were that there will be room for both ceremony and reception at the same place, and that there will be a view of the lake. Many couples would think it is risky, but we actually chose our venue based on online photos and reviews! When I saw a photo of the high vaulted ceiling, the wooden floors and the long chandeliers, I fell in love with this place and could really imagine our wedding happening there. I contacted the event manager at the location, Brenda, to make sure that there is someone who I can work with from a long distance, and she was wonderful in her responsiveness.

We sent our parents to check the venue out and when they told us it was like in the photos, our decision was final. When we actually saw the Lafayette Club for the first time, thankfully it was exactly as we imagined it!
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Minnesota is one of the coldest states, and it was still snowing a week before our wedding! In Portland, nature was already blooming, so I wanted to bring a true spring atmosphere with us to the wedding night. Spring time was the overall theme and included birds and early blossoming. I wanted to enhance the already existing colours of the location by the lake, so I went with light green, ivory and light gold (some sunshine!).

The design of the venue itself was also major in setting the tone of our theme. The venue has golden curtains, mirror doors and heavy wooden furniture. It is very vintage looking and has some interesting paintings on the walls. We love art, so the combination of it all inspired me to use golden picture frames as decorations that would add to the already existing setting, and will bring in another artistic theme. This theme also inspired us to get some of our photo shoots done at Orrie’s grandmother’s studio as she is a painter.
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I had an Oleg Cassini, beaded lace trumpet style dress from David’s Bridal. Dress shopping was fun because it was short and fast. I went to 3 or 4 different stores, but because I was not particular about a specific designer I limited my search to the one store with locations in both Portland and Minneapolis. I did not want to carry the dress with me on a flight, so I went to the Portland location to look at dresses, and then in Minneapolis I took my mum with me to choose among few favourites. I knew that I want a lace dress that will be easy to move with, so this dress was exactly right. It was originally strapless, but I added to it the short lace sleeves.
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My jewellery was very special to me because I used a pearl necklace that my grandmother gave me a few years before the wedding. It is a beautiful family piece, and the only thing I purchased was matching earnings. I created my own veil with fabric I purchased, and I added beads to its edges that match my dress. I also created my own bead work pearl brooch and added it to the top of the veil.

Finding the right shoes wasn’t as easy as I thought, because most wedding shoes that I tried on were extremely uncomfortable. After unsuccessfully trying to find ivory colour shoes, I went with smoky golden ones which I just loved! Comfort and good support was the most important factor, and I think I knew I made the right choice when in spite of the high hill I was able to dance with them all night. I am happy I did not get traditional wedding shoes, because I can use the golden shoes for other events now as they match many outfits.

Another pair of shoes that I happened to have with me was rain boots! I took them just in case because it was raining overnight and I did not want to walk on the wet grass. The weather was perfectly nice all morning and afternoon as we were getting ready and doing some photo shots, but right before we left to the venue it started raining again. As I put on the rain boots to get into the car, our photographer took a few shots with these boots and the umbrella!
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Because my dress had many beads and sparkles, I did not want to over complicate my hair do and my makeup. I have a naturally curly hair, so I decided to have an up do, what my family called “an organised mess” with my curls. Zilya Tres did my hair and makeup, and I loved what she did. I added a few pins with a pearl at their end for a little accent. I did not have bridesmaids, but my amazing friend Mila was by my side during all the preparation process and all rest of the night, assisting me every time I needed to correct my hair or makeup, and really making me feel beautiful throughout the whole day.

Everything about our ceremony was very special and personal. We wanted to include all our family in some way, so before we approached the Chuppah ourselves, we started the ceremony part by letting our siblings and grandparents walk first before us. Our Rabbi, Yitzi Steiner, was the University of Minnesota’s Chabad Rabbi at whose house we met. We were also very honoured to be the first couple whose wedding he officiated!
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Our Ketubah was personally designed by my grandfather who lives in Israel, and he brought it all the way with him to Minnesota. Orrie’s father, who sings in a choir, was singing our Sheva Brahot, and this was a very touching moment for us and for our guests.
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My favourite part of the ceremony was when Orrie broke the glass, which was wrapped in a silk bag I made the night before the wedding. We told our musicians to play hora music at this moment, so as Orrie broke the glass they started with the melody of “Siman Tov and Mazal Tov“. The very best part was when all our guests got off their seats and started dancing right there by the Chuppah! It was amazing and set the evening to such a wonderful start!

My mother, who is very creative and did many of the decorations for the evening, was the person behind the chuppah design. She came up with the idea of having the fabric wide open to the sides to make more room inside. After few initial drafts we came up with the final version that turned out just fabulous.

My dad is very handy and he put the foundations and the pools together, and my mum sewed the fabric. In the morning of the wedding they came to the venue with several friends and relatives and constructed the chuppah along with all the other decorations on the spot. We used ivory and light green colours for the fabric, and wrapped white roses on the edges. We also had two big bouquets with white and green roses on each side of the chuppah that we later moved into the reception room.
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Orrie and I LOVE dancing, and we often dance together at home, so great music selection was of top importance. Because our families are of a Russian-Iraqi-Israeli-American-Jewish background, we combined all the possible styles of music so that everybody and from all ages will be able to enjoy. The music turned out to be phenomenal!

During the Kabalat Panim part, two musicians played on a saxophone and an accordion a combination of jazz and klezmer music, and an amazing vocalist was singing.

When we walked to the Chuppah we chose soft traditional Jewish melodies, and of course a lot of hora songs right after the ceremony to start the night with a great atmosphere!

For our first dance, it was clear to us that we will be dancing a waltz, and we picked Dmitri Shostakovich’s Waltz number 2. During dinner we were playing jazz again, and then the dancing parts were a combination of modern Israeli music, Russian songs, current popular songs and also some rock n’ roll! We were very happy with the musical choices that we made because our guests were dancing all night long!
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My bouquet was made out of white and light pink roses and some greens. I added few pearl bids in between the flowers and on the stem, and also a few white feathers on the bottom.

My mother came up with the centrepieces design and they were made out of white and green roses, with lots of greens to add to the volume. We worked with Elen from Margarita Flowers, a small local flowers boutique. We went together with her to the flower market, and she beautifully executed our ideas. The flower arrangements were a hit and many guests went back home with a beautiful bouquet!
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We were lucky to have Kim Veldhuizen from Bellagalla to be our photographer. We decided to go with an agency, so in just one visit we could compare between multiple portfolios. Kim was really fun to work with and we were happy with how she captured the special moments of the day for a lasting memory.

We were lucky to have at our wedding very talented musicians, led by Vasili Kasatkin, who played just fabulously. They were recommended to us by many people, and hiring them was the best decision we could possibly make. We had a four piece band with an MC that played and led the evening all night long, which consisted of two female vocalist and two virtuous musicians.

Vasili is also a member at a larger jazz orchestra, Just Friends Big Band, so he arranged all members of the orchestra to come and play for a part of the evening during dinner and dancing. The sound of all the instruments together producing live music was unbelievable. It truly made the night!
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For wedding favours we had small boxes filled with chocolate candy, and a fun magnet saying “Don’t forget to wish us a Happy Anniversary!” We originally wanted to write something along “Thank you for coming” but thought that it is too standardized and boring. Our guests were pretty entertained by the unusual message! The favour boxes were mostly golden and white, but one guest at each table received a bride and groom shaped favour box. We made another fun accessory for our guests- wooden sticks with colorful ribbons tied to their top, so they could waive and have fun with them during toasts and dancing. In addition, men received ivory kippot.
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We started with browsing different websites and magazines for ideas and DIY tips. We then ordered many materials online, like ribbons and fabric. My grandmother is an art collector so she happened to have many golden frames that we used as part of the décor to enhance the artistic theme. We glued fabric with ribbons to some frames to put seating cards on it. We used other frames for signs and table numbers, and in some we just inserted flowers to create an interesting decor.

Going to the flower market for flowers was also a great idea, because we got to choose the freshest flowers among a large selection. For the spring theme, we visited several antique and art stores to find metal bird cages, which we decorated with flowers and used as centrepieces for half of the tables.

Instead of a guest book, we cut bird shaped cards out of a paper. We decorated the cards with some gold sparkles, and had our guests literally put the birds in the cage after writing their notes. It was a great way to incorporate a “guest book” with our theme.
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Don’t be afraid to get your family members and friends involved. If you have talented people around you who are willing to help, it will bring a wonderful personal touch and memories to the wedding night.

Also, remember that the wedding itself is just one day, but the process before it is much longer and can be either really stressful or very pleasant, so try to make it the latter option. If you make the process enjoyable, it actually can turn into a great bonding time that strengthens your ties with family and friends.

Also, remember that no matter how much you plan, something can always get off schedule, and you just can’t be in complete control all the time. Rather, focus on the bigger goal that is celebrating the creation of a new family. It is ok to compromise on things that are less important, because at the end of the day your guests will not remember the napkins you used, but whether they had a good time.

Venue – Lafayette Club
Photography – Bellagala
Bride’s dress – Oleg Cassini from David’s Bridal
Hair + Make Up- Zilya Salon
Music- Vasili Kasatkin
Flowers – Margarita Flowers

Some great advice at the end there from Valeria. I always love to read our brides’ words of wisdom. In fact I often find myself nodding along in agreement like one of those dogs you find on the back shelf of a car staring at you as you wait in traffic! Anyway I digress, I hope you loved reading Valeria’s beautifully detailed account of her wedding to Orrie – it sounds like she had great fun planning her day and made some big, bold decisions  planning it from afar without allowing the process to be stressful. Wonderfully inspirational!  Thank you Valeria and Orrie for sharing your big day with Smashing The Glass.