This Jewish wedding is just SO wonderfully chic. It also happens to be 100% vegan. Sara and Ronen, animal lovers and ethical vegans, planned the whole affair with zero animal products in sight. Everything from the menu to the attire was plant-based through and through.
That’s no easy feat – especially when it comes to finding a fab gown with no silk. But Sara pulled it off and then some. We absolutely adore her sexy, ultra-feminine dress from Berta Bridal (the eponymous designer of which just so happens to be Israeli!). Ronen looks pretty snazzy in his wool-free suit, himself.
Despite the marked absence of meat from the festive meal, venue Mamilla Hotel’s plant-based food service got rave reviews from nearly all the guests – many told the couple afterward it was the best wedding food they’d ever had!
We love that Sara and Ronen weren’t afraid to stay true to themselves and their values on their big day – and love even more that it paid off!
The other awesome thing about this wedding? The view. The rooftop of the stunning Mamilla Hotel, where the couple held their breathtaking ceremony, just happens to overlook Jerusalem’s fabled Old City, and the skyline is just BEYOND.
It doesn’t get much better than this – and the setting was extra meaningful to the couple, since Ronen grew up in Jerusalem. You’ve GOT to check out Ori Carmi‘s dazzling photos and Idan Hershko’s outstanding video of the day.
Now over to Sara…
A Jerusalem Wedding
Sara, the bride: My husband, Ronen, and I got engaged in Tel Aviv, Israel, in May of 2017, but his original plan was to propose at the rooftop restaurant of the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem. That plan was foiled by the US president’s visit, and we all had to leave Jerusalem. But once we were engaged, we decided to be married there.
Ronen grew up in Jerusalem and felt it was like coming full circle to be born and then married with the Old City as the backdrop. I had only been to the venue once, in the winter when the roof was enclosed. I did all the planning off of a few photos and a FaceTime walk-through with my boss, who was visiting the winter before our date.
A Vegan Wedding
Ronen and I are vegan so the theme was plant-based from start to finish – invitations, decor, food. We wanted tons of greenery everywhere, which Mamilla already has, so we just added a lot to it, which was so much fun! As for the mood/style, we live in America but absolutely love Mediterranean and Latin cultures. Our music was very much Arabian and Latin in style.
Hair + Makeup
One of my closest friends of 11 years, Mordechai Alvow, was independently close to my husband prior to us dating, and happens to be a celebrity stylist. He’s styled and done hair for some of the most televised events in the last 2 years. He is also Israeli and owns a vegan hair product line called Yarok (Yarok means green in Hebrew). Lucky me that he did my hair and kept me calm and laughing all day.
He recommended his cousin Sivan Shriki for makeup, who did an outstanding job! I asked her for an airbrushed version of myself – which meant no “cake face,” which most brides go for. I wanted to look like me.
A Berta Bridal Dress
I was not your typical bride and had never been involved in a wedding party, so I had no idea what the dress-buying process was like. Luckily one of my best friends told me that I NEEDED to start looking… mind you this was November for a MAY wedding.
I thought I was being ULTRA responsible in shopping “early” for my dress and did what most girls do: I went to Kleinfeld. They were lovely and so helpful and basically told me that I needed to order a dress within 4-5 days to avoid a rush fee. I looked feverishly at every bridal boutique around the city, and was super close to something at Pronovias. It was gorgeous, but felt very “bridal” to me.
Thinking about it over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was looking on Pinterest for ideas and fell in LOVE with a dress. When I saw the designer – Berta – I looked to see where I could find her dresses.
I called a Madison Avenue boutique and they told me the starting prices were $8,000-$12,000… a decent amount more than my budget. When the sales woman heard my playful reaction, she paused and asked me my size; I told her 2 and she enthusiastically told me that I could go to the Berta Bridal sample showroom in SoHo.
I made an appointment and knew the minute I walked into the massive SoHo loft that I was going to buy something there. A 1-hour appointment by myself in that showroom with the most friendly and helpful sales associate, Lindsey, narrowed 20 dresses to 4. It took us 3 appointments for me to find “the” dress. It was elegant, chic, sexy, and I could easily take it on the plane with me to Israel.
I was so sad paying for the dress because it meant that the process was over – I loved that part the most, because every Berta dress is more beautiful than the next! Anyone who knows her design knows that she’s known for her sexy feminine design, and most meaningful of all, she’s Israeli! That said, we had some covering up to do in the front and after much searching, I found the BEST tailor who kept me calm and at ease the entire time we spent altering it. Go nowhere else than L&S Tailors, and ask for Carl!
I had a blast trying on veils and consulted with my hair stylist to see what kind of veil to do. He said that the dress should be the focal point and to get a nice poofy fingertip veil. He was so right! I had it made in a few days at Kleinfeld Bridal. Jewelry was simple – the dress was the piece I wanted to showcase, so I did simple teardrop dangling studs and my engagement ring.
As a vegan, try finding the right shoe that is both comfortable and beautiful. I bought YSL patent leather tributes but they did not work. My sister found me a pair of Jimmy Choos that were 85 mm and the MOST comfortable shoes I now own. They are silver so I can wear them forever, and worth the money.
The handsome groom
We went to Italy for the winter holidays, and one of our favorite stops was Florence. I asked Ronen to go into Gucci because I wanted to show him how cool and edgy they have become. Talk about love at first sight. Again, being vegan, it was tough finding a man’s suit without wool. We found the exact color and fit for him and bought it. He ended up with a Gucci tie and pocket square with a crisp white Prada shirt, and vegan leather shoes by Brave Gentleman, all things he will wear forever.
No Bridal Party
We opted against a bridal party other than family because it was a more intimate wedding and I just wanted everyone to show up as guests and not have to work, only enjoy!
A Joyful Ceremony
The ceremony was done on the rooftop of the Mamilla Hotel. We paid a little extra to be on the rooftop, overlooking the old city. The music was upbeat and cool, not tear-jerking. It was a celebration and everyone was in that spirit. My favorite part was coming out of the stairwell to the roof and walking toward the sundeck and everyone was cheering and clapping – it was a moment I will never forget and started the evening off with PURE joy!
Green and White Flowers
Frid Designs did our florals and decor. The room was exquisite and completely exceeded my expectations. They have a very cool style and every idea I gave them, they turned into reality.
I wanted crystal candelabras and long thin florals running across the tables. All I told the florist was that we wanted greens and whites. I sent her some ideas, and she made it come to life. She did not do every table with candelabras so they would not block the view of the Old City. It was truly exquisite.
Sky Full of Stars
I was riding in a taxi home one day and a remix of Bittersweet Symphony came on – I flipped and knew that would be a part of the processional; the prefect mix of emotions and upbeat drama. We used that for our family, ring bearers, flower girl, and Ronen and his parents to walk to.
For my song with my mom and uncle, we found something incredible. The two of us love Coldplay and saw them live last summer… our favorite song was Sky Full of Star so I found a softer instrumental version that was INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t contain myself walking around him 7 times, so I started jumping and dancing and everyone went nuts cheering and moving with me.
Our first dance was a fun one – we also love Gipsy Kings, so we picked Hotel California. Not your typical first dance – ethnic, dramatic, and then fun and upbeat. We took 5 dance lessons and learned VERY complex partnering and practiced maybe 6 times before Ronen left for Israel 10 days before the wedding. We decided not to do it (was planned right after my speech)… but forgot to tell the DJ that! So when the song came on, we did it and pulled it off, mostly 😉
Most of the music was Israeli, Arabic, Latin, and popular fun music. It was non stop dancing the entire night thanks to our DJ Uri Bronfman!
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
After literally googling the top 10 Israeli photographers, Ori Carmi‘s photos were so outstanding that I really looked no further. The minute we spoke, I knew he was the person for me. I loved his demeanor and he ultimately recommended the videographer and designer. I knew he got my aesthetic and his was mine as well. The day of the wedding, he came into my room with a fruit bowl and we were instant friends.
Same with Idan Hershko. I watched his videos online and felt lucky to work with someone so talented. When we met, I saw he was equally as sweet!
We didn’t do a cake. Instead, we put out a big assortment of desserts and kept the party going. All my husband told me that he wanted was a fine dining experience with great music, I could decide the rest. DEAL! 🙂
Ronen is a well known vegan restauranteur in Manhattan of the well known Blossom, the gold standard of fine vegan dining, and recently published a cookbook
The Mamilla restaurant did a fabulous job, and their expert chef Cobi put together a fine-dining menu that we did not need to change a thing. Other than the heavy meat cravers, everyone told us that it was the best food they had had at any wedding they had been to.
A DJ and a Psychic
We are both music lovers so we went big on our DJ. I had spoken to a few planners and friends of friends who had gotten married in Israel and Uri Bronfman’s name came up a few times. In fact, one big planner said she would not work with anyone else. Again, I looked no further and was in the best hands.
His attention to detail, cool and calm manner, as well as talent made it the best time. I hadn’t met him until the wedding but we Facetimed twice and I felt like we knew each other forever. It was such a fun moment standing at the chuppah and blowing him a kiss from across the deck. I knew I was in the best hands, and everyone said they never danced so much at a wedding and asked me for his set list!
We also hired an Israeli Arabic trio that I found on YouTube for mood music for when our guests walked into the restaurant with candles lit everywhere, the sun setting, and the Old City as the backdrop. The perfect dining music too!
My husband’s sister suggested an amazing psychic who apparently was really spot on and moved our guests who spoke to her. It was so fun to have for those who did not want to dance or simply wanted to hear about their future.
Coasters and Kippot
Having gone to a few weddings of handful of friends of ours, we took good mental notes. I wanted people to have something personal and something they could use. I had to keep in mind that this was a destination wedding so it could not be liquid or cumbersome. Having had a blast on Etsy, I found marble coasters that I could personalize. Try lugging 120 marble coasters in your carry on luggage! So well worth it. I see it on my CEO’s desk as a paperweight, on Instagram on my friend’s dining table in Thailand. So nice. I also had custom kippot made – but took forever to find ones that are not huge and old-school. David’s Kippot is the best site for customization.
A Relaxing Honeymoon
We went to the South of France and Portugal for our honeymoon. We had no idea where to go, but my husband loves great hotels. He found an amazing chateau in France and that is how we decide to go there. I always joke around with my boss because he knows everyone and I call him “two degrees of Richard Grossman.” Of course he knew someone who managed the hotel we stayed in, and they did a major upgrade and got us a private cabana at the well known Hotel Du Cap! Portugal was so wonderful and we really relaxed at L’AND Vineyards Hotel as well as the Four Seasons in Lisbon.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Here are the must-dos:
ENJOY the process, have fun with it, and do not talk to ANYONE who you think will stress you out or offer an unwelcome bits of “advice,” and work with people who put you at EASE. I distinctly remember hanging up the phone with some planners and vendors feeling super anxious – that is clue number 1 that they are not for you.
Try to focus on the marriage more than the wedding. It’s so much fun and it gets very consuming in a fun way – but try to focus on the joy of marrying your favorite person in the world.
I planned the wedding start to finish on my own BUT I hired someone to help me day-of. That was the best money spent. I could not have enjoyed the day of if it were not for Vanessa Ohayon. I have worked with many party planners and they can be VERY neurotic and borderline crazy. Do not work with them. You can tell by the questions they ask if they know what they are doing or if they are trying to upsell your event.
Do a makeup test. I didn’t want to because it was a hassle time-wise but thank goodness I did because we were time crunched that day and I did not like my test look at all.
Be sure to surround yourself with people who put you at ease around the date and be sure to take time to yourself. I loved that Ronen and I didn’t see each other a week before the wedding. It built the anticipation up and I was most excited to see him over anything that day. One thing that I did was write a list of things that I did and did not want to bring to our union. I also wrote down all that he has brought to the union already. It gave me so much appreciation for the person I was about to marry.
Sara & Ronen’s little white book
Venue – Mamilla Hotel
Bride’s dress – Berta Bridal
Bride’s veil – purchased at Kleinfeld Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo
Groom’s attire – Gucci, Prada and Brave Gentleman
Hair + Makeup – Mordechai Alvow and Sivan Shriki
Flowers – Frid Designs
Sound – Symphonia
DJ – DJ Uri Bronfman of Shablul DJs
Band – Bella Gershon
Kippot – David’s Kippot
Tailor – L&S Tailors
Honeymoon – Hotel Du Cap, L’AND Vineyards Hotel and Four Seasons