With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, we thought it was the perfect time to share this beautiful Jewish wedding with a very special love story behind it.
Just after they got engaged, Deborah and Adam found their commitment put to the ultimate test when Deborah was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.
For four years, Deborah endured surgeries, chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant — all with Adam by her side. And when the couple got the amazing news that Deb was cancer-free in July 2018, they knew it was time for the wedding of their dreams.
Believe it or not, they planned this beautiful, meaningful wedding in just three months! We’re in love with the quintessentially California vibes, from the enchanted garden beachside setting to the Spanish Colonial architecture, all captured so beautifully by photographer This Modern Romance.
And we are totally and completely obsessed with the couple’s low-key yet elegant chuppah, which they designed themselves with some inspo from Smashing The Glass! With dark wood, simple lines, sheer fabric, and some asymmetrical pops of color courtesy of florals, it’s effortless yet totally memorable.
Now over to Deborah, who looked epically elegant in BHLDN…
How We Met
Deborah, the bride: We’d been looking for each other our whole lives… we just didn’t know it. We’d kissed our share of frogs, but none were our prince or princess. On our first date, in a beautiful sandy-beached cove, as the setting sunlight sparkled on the water while dolphins splashed just offshore, we thought “Oh! Well this is definitely a sign…”
So much so, that when the time was right (and Adam could turn it into a big surprise!) we went back and got engaged there on “our” beach!
By the way, we met on JDate.com.
A Capistrano Beach Wedding
We got married at a private estate in Capistrano Beach, California called The Folly. The owner lives in the estate and really doesn’t do weddings there. However, he heard our story and invited us to view the property.
We knew from the moment we walked in the door it was perfect. The home is historic with Spanish Colonial architecture. The dà©cor eclectic. The property was one of the first homes built in Capistrano Beach, and the outdoor area feels like an enchanted garden. I could picture where I wanted to put the chuppah and dinner would be dining alfresco with four long tables adorned with huge candelabras and gorgeous flowers. There were secret nooks and spaces throughout the garden area. It was romantic and unique.
It was also intimate. We wanted a wedding where we could hang out with our guests, many who travelled a great distance to be with us. And most importantly exchange our vows with those who have supported and loved us throughout our journey.
After our ketubah ceremony the Folly doors were opened and Adam and I greeted our guests for cocktail hour. The weather was spectacular. We got lucky with an Indian Summer in October. The skies were clear as guests enjoying our signature cocktails and appetizers.
Then Adam and I slipped away and I changed my outfit for the ceremony. After the ceremony, we slipped away for time together. I changed again for our grand entrance. We dined under the stars, surrounded by glowing candles, and close family and friends. There were 3 heartfelt speeches by the mother of the bride, matron of honor, and best man. The evening was magical.
Planning in 3 Months!
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and had a bone marrow transplant in 2016. In the summer of 2018 the FDA approved a new test to detect whether the type of cancer I had (multiple myeloma) was still present. I was one of the first individuals to get this test. On July 3, 2018, we received the incredible news that I was cancer free. Adam looked at me and said, “So now what are we waiting for?” I said “OK, let’s do it!”
I was a former news anchor for CBS for 14 years, then transitioned into a second career serving as president/CEO for several large non-profit organizations. Throwing parties and big fundraising events was something I could do in my sleep, but I was terrified to plan my own wedding.
Additionally, both of our brother in laws are cantors at separate temples in Southern California. They both had the date of October 20th available. Oh my, that left only 3 months to plan our big day!!!
I scoured the internet looking for pictures that inspired me and kept coming across the same name, Stacie Truett of Antiballroom Bride. She became our wedding stylist and now close friend.
Elegant. Sophisticated. Intimate. These were the three words that I used to describe what I wanted. We came up with a color palate of navy, blush, gold, and vibrant merlot.
What ‘Smashing The Glass’ Did For Us
We used Smashing The Glass regularly. Loved seeing all of the unique ideas that couples had from all over the world.
I found the invitation on Etsy and picked a beautiful design that didn’t break our budget. I was able to utilize the design to create signage and seating chart.
My mom and I also adapted the design to create custom welcome boxes filled with Perrier, apples, chocolates, and various snacks as a special touch for out of town guests and guests who would be staying in the hotel.
Hair + Makeup
KC Witcamp did our hair and makeup. She was amazing. My hair had grown since chemo but it was still short. KC did a great job helping me feel beautiful.
A BHLDN Dress
Wedding dress shopping was not one of my favorite things. I tried on many dresses at several designer boutiques. They were pretty but never felt like “the one.”
Finally, I found BHLDN online. They had a boutique in Newport Beach. I fell in love with my dress. In fact, I ended up creating 3 looks for our wedding.
We welcomed our guests as they arrived. I wore a top over the gown.
Then I slipped away before the ceremony to remove the top and added my veil and changed jewelry.
Finally, for our grand entrance I added a beautiful beaded cape, removed the veil, and changed into flip flops.
The handsome groom
Joe Hemrajani, my tailor, made a custom suit for Adam. Adam lost 50 pounds prior to the wedding. We were able to select all of the fabrics and Joe made sure it fit Adam perfectly. Even making adjustments just days before our big day as Adam lost more weight.
An Intimate Bridal Party
Deborah’s sister Lisa served as her matron of honor. Adam’s best friend Chris served as his best man. Our daughter Jadyn served as the flower girl. Both our fathers had passed away. Adam’s mom walked him to the chuppah. Deborah’s mom gave the bride away.
A Floral Chuppah
I scoured the internet for inspiration for the chuppah. Smashing the Glass definitely helped by providing unique ideas from couples around the world. The guests would be watching the sunset behind us during our ceremony.
We designed the chuppah ourselves. We selected very simple lines and a dark wood to create the look of a doorway, with romantic sheer fabric draping the top and around the sides looking effortless, while pops of color from our floral selection were placed asymmetrically.
Both my sisters were married with my grandfather’s tallis. It was over 100 years old by the time my wedding came around, and too fragile to use as a chuppah cover. Instead Adam, Jadyn, and I were wrapped in the tallis for part of the ceremony.
We wrote our own vows, which were so heartfelt. They brought everyone to tears. Our daughter Jadyn also wrote a special prayer.
All of Me
Cantors Jonathan Grant and Paul Buch take places
Song one – ‘All Of Me’ by John Legend (acoustic guitar played by Aragorn)
Groom Adam seats his mother Bobbi followed by best man, Chris
Matron of honor, Lisa
Kids carrying signs
Flower girl, Jadyn (daughter)
Song two – ‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Adele (acoustic guitar played by Aragorn)
Entrance of bride and mother of the bride – Joan
Recession: ‘Simen Tov! Mazel Tov!’ by Cantors Jonathan Grant and Paul Buch
We used Stephanie Williams from This Modern Romance. We loved her style. Ironically, we never met her until the day of our wedding.
Desserts and coffee were served in a separate area of the property. They included milk and cookies for the little people in the party.
We had a small vanilla cake with layers of whipped cream chocolate ganache-gold leaf placement on cake with florals styled on top and diagonally on front.
We opted for a fun dessert bar:
Macarons (ivory vanilla bean and blush strawberry)
S’mores on a stick
Mini carrot cupcakes
Lemon blueberry in shot glasses
Chocolate chunk cookies and milk
We have very eclectic taste in music. With our venue being outdoors in a residential neighborhood we had some limitations.
I think acoustic guitar is sexy, romantic, and cool. We found a couple, Olivia & Aragorn, by sheer chance playing at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. They agreed to do our wedding. Olivia has a soulful special voice and Aragorn is amazing on the guitar. They played during our cocktail hour and our processional.
We downloaded our own playlist of songs for dinner and dessert.
Hugs and Hershey’s
Cute little bags filled with Hershey’s chocolate kisses that said “Hugs and Kisses from the Mr. and Mrs.”
A Minimoon in Whistler
We went on a “minimoon” to Whistler, B.C. We got married on October 20th. Brunch for out of towners on October 21st at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. Then we took off. Deb had to be back for a 6,000 person charity event she was throwing on Saturday, October 26th back in California. That’s why we called it a mini-moon.
While it was short, we packed in zip lining, hiking, the sky tram, delicious romantic dinners every night… and of course a couple’s massage. It’s a very special place for Adam. He skis with his buddies there every year in March. It was Deb’s first time and she fell in love and can’t wait to go back.
Deborah & Adam’s little white book
Photography – This Modern Romance
Videography – Yours Truly Media
Wedding planner – Antiballroom Bride
Venue – The Folly
Bride’s dress – BHLDN
Hair + Makeup – KC Witcamp
Flowers – Little Hill Florals
Catering – Sundried Tomato
Desserts – Sweet & Saucy
Entertainment – Olivia & Aragorn
Invitation – Etsy