Rachel and Stephen won their wedding photography through a competition on this very wedding blog, and when their fabulous photographer, Kate Nielen, excitedly emailed me with the resulting gorgeous photos, I couldn’t wait to post them! Part of what Kate Nielen and I loved about Rachel’s winning entry was what she wrote below:
A Jewish wedding ceremony is steeped in tradition, ritual and spirituality. These are the elements I want to capture at the beginning of the ceremony whilst RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) is a classy and classic venue. We also have a New Orleans jazz band who will be playing klezmer.”
To me, this epitomises a Smashing The Glass couple. The desire to blend wonderful ancient Jewish wedding rituals with twists like a New Orleans jazz band playing traditional Jewish klezmer. I just wish I could have been a guest at the wedding myself!
There were so many lovely personal touches, like the mother of the bride creating a beautiful painting that was incorporated on all the stationery and was also displayed on a screen at the entrance of their gorgeous reception venue, RIBA, in the heart of central London. She also made their very arty three-tier wedding cake – what a talented mama!
One of the best things about this job is how uplifting it is to look at images of people in love. And I think it’s fair to say that Rachel and Stephen are insanely, crazily, and meant-to-be-together-forever in love. That besottedness radiates from every image captured by Kate Nielen. Enjoy this one folks!
Choosing to get married at the New London Synagogue and the Royal Institute of British Architects
Rachel, the Bride: We got married in New London Synagogue and the reception was at the Royal Institute of British Architects. We are both members of the shul and Stephen grew up there. We had visited RIBA to go to an exhibition and immediately loved the art deco architecture and the light which flooded the building. We really liked the way there were a range of different types of rooms and outside space.
We wanted our wedding to be classy but low key, we purposefullly stayed away from any colour scheme or theme. The only thing we knew is that we wanted mustard kippot and spring flowers so those two elements had to work well together.
The invitation was my a painting by my mother Effie Romain and we knew that we wanted this image on the Save the Date, the invites and the benchers. We also had it on the screen at the entrance of RIBA – the continuity was good.
I had my hair done by Sara at Holistic Hair & Beauty in Belsize Village, she was so relaxed and friendly and added a lot to the day. I decided to have my hair up because I wanted to dance non-stop!
A 50’s style LouLou wedding dress
With regards to the dress, I knew I wanted to dance a lot and I thought mid calf 50’s style was the most flattering. I also had a small outfit change as I couldn’t decide. I wanted to be a bit more formal for the ceremony. Both my dress and all accessories were by LouLou from Bridal Rogue Boutique on Chiltern Street who are fabulous and unpretentious. I wore small heels so I could dance all night but get a bit of height, they were 50s style and went really well with the dress.
The handsome groom
Stephen wore an excellent two-tone blue suit which was a bit dressier than a regular suit but suited the dress code as we didn’t want black tie. He looked dreamy.
We wanted our chuppah to be simple and light and classy, the carpet was a last minute decision that I went for when I thought I wanted the chuppah to seem more framed and set apart. Phillippa at The London Chuppah House was so good to work with and extremely professional.
The ceremony at New London Synagogue
The orders of service were personal and served to guide the people who were not familiar with Jewish weddings. The guide included translations and an explanation of some of the most special traditions.
The flowers were amazing! I was worried that given the brief that there’d be mustard kippot we would be overwhelmed by daffodils but there wasn’t a daf in sight. They were gentle and spring like but fun and bright. Peonies, sweet peas, arunculas. The button holes were enormous and so beautiful and really stood out. Gayle at Bloomingayles – she was fabulous. We also named our tables after someone on the table (e.g. ‘Pamela’s Table’) and tied a note around the flowers which told the table host that the flowers were a gift for them.
A wedding cake made by the bride’s mother
My mum made a beautiful three tier fruit cake with marzipan spring flowers. It was great and very satisfying to assemble.
Our fabulous photographer…
Kate Nielen, our photographer, was of course, brilliant, and the most fantastic part was that we won her services from a competition on Smashing The Glass! We couldn’t have asked for a better photographer.
We chose last minute to get a videographer – mostly because I couldn’t miss the processions. She was a friend who’s a film maker and she was completely brilliant.
The band we had were called The Dixie Ticklers – a New Orleans jazz band – we found them online then went to track them down performing live in West London and later at the Royal Albert Hall. On approaching them, we found they’d played at weddings and amazing, one had been Jewish and another had been at RIBA! For Jewish weddings they brought in a professionally trained barrister – cum – chazzan who was fabulous. The energy and pace of the Israeli dancing was remarkable and having a seven piece jazz band at the wedding was special.
Rachel & Stephen’s little white book
Photography — Kate Nielen Photography
Ceremony Venue — New London Synagogue
Reception Venue — Royal Institute of British Architects
Flowers — Bloomingayles
Bride’s Dress and Accessories —LouLou bought from Bridal Rogue Boutique
Hair stylist — Holistic Hair and Beauty
Jazz Band — The Dixie Ticklers
Cake and stationery – the bride’s mother Effie Romain
Chuppah — The London Chuppah House