Tissues at the ready, folks, because if you don’t well up within the first 30 seconds of Sam and Jonny’s stunning wedding video (just below) then you’re made of stone!
Sam and Jonny met on the job as lawyers, and their meeting of minds blossomed into true love. Together, they planned every detail of their black-tie-meets-rustic wedding, and ensured every element, from the Masorti ceremony, where the couple circled each other and smashed the glass together, to the bride’s speech, and even this write up, was completely equality driven.
Sensational bride, Sam, looked every bit the A lister in her show-stopping Louise Marie gown – and she did an astounding job with her own makeup. What a beauty!
Sam and Jonny did a beautiful job describing their big day in detail, so we’ll pass you over to them now (note how well they talk about each other’s big day experience – a masterclass in marital listening).
How we met
Sam, the bride, and Jonny, the groom: Jonny and Sam first met briefly at a law firm, on a law summer placement scheme in 2009 (whilst actually competing for a job!). Jonny and Sam then became close friends whilst attending law school in London, but it wasn’t until they worked at the same firm, when they became more than just friends.
Jonny and Sam got engaged in April 2014. Jonny proposed in a photo booth, and the couple plans to return to the same photo booth annually to capture each year of marriage.
A charming Cheltenham venue
Jonny and Sam got married at Manor by the Lake. Having been to a dozen weddings in London hotels, and enjoyed several destination weddings, the couple wanted to find somewhere outside London, but with the feel of a destination wedding.
There was no real significance to the choice of venue, or Cheltenham in general, other than they wanted somewhere within two hours from London. However, when they visited Cheltenham, they fell in love with the town and the venue.
Black tie with a twist
Jonny: Our theme was ‘black tie with rustic touches’ to fit in with the country feel of the venue e.g. hessian bows, lots of decorative gypsophila.
We went rogue and didn’t use a wedding planner, although we had plenty of help from family and friends. For example, on the day, Sam’s father built the Chuppah and several ushers and friends helped him erect and deconstruct the Chuppah three times when it was unsure whether the weather would hold out! Sadly it did not…
Jonny: The invitation was created using Appy Couple. Sam loves stationery, and so it was a big decision to go digital and forgo hard-copy invitations. Despite a few issues with the invitations going into guests’ junk mail, it was a great idea and worked very well.
A Charlotte Tilbury binge
Jonny: Sam’s hair was by Gemma Kay at Beau Amis, Cheltenham. She was brilliant!
Sam did her own make-up using Charlotte Tilbury products. Sam had an awful makeup trial only six weeks before the big day, and couldn’t find anyone to do her makeup for the day of the wedding at such late notice.
Sam bit the bullet, had an hour-long makeup tutorial in preparation, and calmly applied her own makeup for the big day. Sam would highly recommend this, as she bought all the products ( £400) and therefore got to keep them, whilst learning make up skills that she had never learned before.
A Louise Marie dress
Sam: My dress and veil designer was Louise Marie, based in Radlett.
Jonny: Prior to popping into Louise’s store, Sam had found several potential options with her Master of Honor, Mike.
However, Jonny’s mother, Victoria, mentioned that there was a local designer in Radlett that Sam should take a look at. Sam was incredibly busy at the time preparing for an arbitration hearing, and so booked an evening slot to view the dresses with Mike and Victoria, not anticipating finding ‘The One’ that evening (especially because Sam’s mother was not there!).
Upon trying on the dress, Sam, Mike and Victoria instantly knew it was ‘The One’. While Sam had to return to work after buying the dress, and there were no bubbles to celebrate, it was a very special moment and, above all, the search was over!
Badgley Mischka dream shoes
The handsome groom in tuxedo shorts
Sam: Jonny wore a bespoke, midnight blue, shawl collared tuxedo with fold-back cuffs, made by Apsleys. The inspiration came from one of Sam’s favourite actors’, Michael Fassbender’s, outfits to the 2014 Oscars.
As Jonny is well known for his love of wearing shorts during all seasons, Jonny convinced Sam to allow him to wear tuxedo shorts for the wedding breakfast and wedding party.
A Master of Honor and bridesmaids in black
Jonny: Sam had one Master of Honor, her best friend, Mike, who wore a rented tuxedo from Austin Reed.
Sam chose four stunning bridesmaids (Jessica, Leanne, Jote, Sophie). Sam always loved the idea of having bridesmaids in black. Elegant, and a color that suits everyone! The bridesmaids wore floor-length Ghost dresses (a style of their choice) with matching wraps.
A traditional Chuppah
Jonny: Sam was keen to have a traditional, natural, yet simple Chuppah using wood for the structure and a tallit draped over the top. Sam’s dad, a builder by trade, built the chuppah using birchwood, blood, sweat and tears!
Sam and Jonny had a Masorti wedding with a female Rabbi, Lee Wax of New North London Synagogue. Sam converted to Judaism in January 2014, after two years of studying. The special touches to the ceremony included:
· Sam circling Jonny three times, Jonny circling Sam three times and then a joint spin to make up the seven;
· Egalitarian vows;
· Sam and Jonny facing the guests during the ceremony and;
· both Sam and Jonny smashing a glass under the chuppah. Blake, the photographer, captured the moment beautifully!
The Ketubah contained egalitarian wording and was a stunning and very modern design by Ruth Mergi.
White floral arrangements
Our flowers were arranged by local florist, Alexandra Young, (owner of Ravenhurst B&B, where Jonny’s family stayed the night before the wedding). We had gypsophila and white roses with hessian bows.
Our fabulous photographer…
Sam: Blake Ezra was the photographer. He is a friend of Jonny’s, and also happens to be a phenomenal photographer! He has an incredible reputation for a reason, and it made such a difference having someone who knew us capturing the special moments.
We used Velvet Wedding Studio. This was his first Jewish wedding, but he did an incredible job capturing the day, as shown by in the short teaser of the wedding video.
Norbert, the chef at the venue was fantastic. He had never catered a Jewish wedding before, but the food he produced was utterly superb.
The main course of lamb two ways (first, succulent lamb loin and second, slow cooked braised lamb shoulder) is still talked about by all who attended.
He also expertly dealt with being placed outside his comfort zone, from the kitchens being koshered (under the Masorti Beth Din), to Jonny and Sam supplying him with the meat and other kosher products with which to prepare the meal. He couldn’t have been more accommodating to our needs whilst producing such a fantastic meal.
A cake designed by the bride
Jonny: The cake was made by Bonjour Bakery in Hendon and designed by Sam. It was three tiered, with two tiers of lemon sponge and one tier of fruitcake.
Getting the party started
All that was required for our entertainment was The Function Band! Utterly amazing. We had seen The Function Band at a friend’s wedding, and instantly knew they were right for us.
We have subsequently been entertained by them on three more occasions, and they have delivered an amazing performance each and every time.
The band was brilliant and their energy and passion were instrumental in making the atmosphere of the wedding day so special. The dance floor was packed at all times, especially during their ’90s garage remix!
They played at the reception, throughout dinner and kept the party going until the very end. The dance floor was packed throughout.
They also played beautifully for key moments throughout the celebration: we walked down the aisle to Your Song, by Elton Johnm played and sung acoustically by one of the female singers, the violinist and the guitarist.
Our favors were wooden scrabble tile place name keepsakes, made lovingly by Sam’s dad, and individual first aid/party/hangover kits for those heavy heads the next day!
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Don’t count on the weather! Something will go wrong, if and when it does, forget about it and enjoy yourself!
Sam & Jonny’s little white book
Photographer – Blake Ezra
Videographer – Velvet Wedding Studio
Venue – Manor by the Lake
Bride’s dress and veil – Louise Marie
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Groom’s attire – Apsleys
Bridesmaids – Ghost
Master of Honour – Austin Reed
Hair – Beau Amis
Make-up – Charlotte Tilbury
Band – The Function Band
Cake – Bonjour Bakery
Invitation – Appy Couple
Ketubah – Ruth Mergi
Night before – Ravenhurst B&B