Today on the blog we’re introducing our 8th gorgeous bride from our crop of 2020 Real Jewish Brides! Please give a warm welcome to Jocelyn, who will be marrying Stuart on 20th February 2021 at Barbican Conservatory, in London, UK.
THREE FACTS: (1) Jocelyn met her fiance Stuart at university – they came together over a shared love of the band Busted, and it’s their dream to have Busted play at their wedding! (2) Jocelyn is Jewish; Stuart is not – and midway through planning the two abandoned their plan for a civil ceremony and are now working out how to pull off the interfaith Jewish celebration of their dreams. (3) Jocelyn is a member of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club!
How you met
On 19th September 2010 my parents were driving me from my family home in rural Essex across the Dartford Bridge to the next stage of my life: halls of residence in Twickenham. It was my first day of university and I distinctly remember being in the car and receiving a text from my friend Joe that facetiously said, “You might meet your future husband today!” Joe was wrong. I met my future husband the following day.
Stuart and I became friends early on, but the first memory I have of us properly bonding was when, a couple of months in, we realised that we both loved Busted and Westlife. We would sit up all night listening to Foo Fighters and Green Day and My Chemical Romance (and Busted and Westlife, no shame) and sing the harmonies together (not necessarily well, I might add) and get excited about the fact that we both knew all the parts.
We never really did ‘dating’, we just sort of gravitated together over a period of time. We decided that we were definitely a couple on February 21st 2011, but as we lived in halls and all our friends there were mutual we didn’t actually have a day out just the two of us till quite a few weeks later.
During that inaugural outing we slipped in a particularly swampy area of Primrose Hill and both quite literally ROLLED to the bottom. That was an interesting journey back to uni, covered head to toe in mud, but I digress.
Fast forward a very very long time (nearly 9 years, good grief) and we have travelled a pretty sizeable chunk of the world together, own a home, have adopted a dog and are, of course, planning our wedding.
We don’t have a dramatic, romantic proposal story like most people seem to. We got engaged in November 2018 whilst watching TV and eating chilli on a Wednesday night. I had designed my own ring in the months prior and knew it was sitting in the wardrobe upstairs.
Stuart had wanted to surprise me, but for a couple of reasons (one being I suffer from anxiety and don’t do well with surprises, the other being I generally just roll my eyes at anything cheesy) I wasn’t enjoying the anticipation of wondering when it was going to happen.
So I told Stuart this, at which point he went upstairs, got the ring and and proposed. Then we carried on eating our chilli. I know for many people this wouldn’t have been the proposal they wanted, but for me it was perfect.
As there was no surprise element for me, I was adamant from the start of the ring-designing process that it would be a surprise for my family. We drove to my parents’ house on the Thursday evening with a wonderful plan.
They were out of the country and wouldn’t be home till very late, so they would walk in, we would pop out, they would think WE were the surprise, and just as my mum had started to recover from the shock I would show her my ring. And then she would squeeze our faces, cry, and ring everyone she knew.
Except scrap that, because it turns out my dad had got a bloody Ring Doorbell fitted and a notification popped up on his phone as soon as we pulled into the driveway.
But as much as our presence wasn’t a surprise, the moment wasn’t ruined because when my mum declared how happy she was to see us, I said, “Would you like to be even happier?” and I showed her my ring. As anticipated, face squeezing, crying, and ringing the entire phonebook promptly commenced.
Our wedding planning so far
In terms of wedding planning, we wanted to take our time. I love planning events and I hate rushing, so I wanted to be able to actually enjoy it. The timeline fell into place after we picked our venue (the Barbican Conservatory), because we knew we didn’t want it during the spring or summer due to the humidity of the tropical environment.
The following winter was cutting it a bit too fine, so by waiting till the one after that we were able to book it for the weekend of our 10 year anniversary. 20th February 2021.
The hardest decision so far has been choosing our photographer. I am a keen amateur photographer and have shot a couple of weddings for friends and family, and my dad is semi-pro.
So unsurprisingly, we were prohibitively fussy for quite a while. In the end we booked Micaela Karina Photography. I discovered Micaela via a promoted Facebook post, in which she declared herself a Gilmore Girls-loving Hufflepuff who believes in natural, candid wedding photography and doesn’t ever put couples in an awkward pose.
After looking through her work and chatting on the phone with her, I was sold. I am an inordinately awkward human, and never more so than when I’m in formalwear in front of a camera. So it was crucial to us that we clicked (pardon the pun) with our photographer. We know that as well as taking beautiful photos, Micaela will be a lovely person to spend big chunks of our wedding day with.
A family friend is doing our flowers. My mum has adored Karen’s flowers for years, and has been saying that she will ask her to do my wedding flowers one day since long before Stuart and I got engaged (#JewishMother).
Karen is fully onboard with our vision of loads of fuchsia tropical flowers, which is possibly an unusual choice for a winter wedding in England, but we know it’s going to look amazing in the Barbican Conservatory amongst all the greenery.
We are on the brink of booking the band, celebrant and hair, and I THINK I have found my dress. So hopefully I will have all of that to report on in my next post!
What Marriage Means To Us
Stuart and I don’t think marriage is going to change how we feel, and we don’t think a piece of paper will intrinsically alter our relationship. But to us, it’s about togetherness. And I don’t just mean between us two. It’s having everyone we love in one room.
It’s showing off my culture and heritage; I’m secular and grew up in a non-Jewish area with very few Jewish friends, but being a Jew is hugely important to me and I can’t wait to give our friends the big fat Jewish wedding experience that they’ve badgered us about for years.
It will be the glee in my dad’s voice when he tells Stuart he’s his son now (he’ll say it in a jokey way, but really he’ll mean it and he’ll be thrilled to his core). It will be my nana telling the ladies at her bridge club all about her granddaughter’s wedding.
It will be watching Stuart stamp on the glass (probably in a slightly perplexed manner as he’s not Jewish) and knowing we have done this Important Traditional Thing together. Watch this space…
Click here to read all Jocelyn’ s planning posts to date.
Jocelyn and Stuart’s Wedding Vendors booked so far: