That was our first reaction when we clapped eyes on this ridiculous stunner of a Jewish wedding. It remained our reaction throughout every moment of gazing at, editing and reading all of the fabulous details of Michal and Sam’s quirky and incredible Big Day. Every single second produced a fresh ‘wow’ and we’re pretty sure you guys are going to agree.
Where to start? We’re crazy about the adorable story of how Michal and Sam met and kept coming back together over the years. We can’t stress how much we rate beautiful bride Michal’s eye-popping, jaw-dropping wedding ensemble (including her ludicrously flattering blush Watters gown), in which she looked so ethereal and gorgeous, that we can’t imagine anyone in attendance could take their eyes off her for a second.
Attention also needs to be paid to the super cute, vintage-inspired aesthetic, and springtime color scheme, embellished with fabulous floral designs from none other than our ridiculously talented and much-loved Recommended Vendor, Liz at Blue Sky Flowers.
Every last divine detail wast captured by fabulous photographer, and frequent STG photographer, Marianne Chua, and the goosebump-inducing video below was created by Uri v’Tamar. We adore Michal’s fantastic writeup, and hope you enjoy this visual and emotional treat as much as we did.
How we met
Michal, the bride: We met when we were 17 on a trip to Europe with our Jewish youth movements. We sat next to each other on the coach and got on well enough that Sam invited me to his school prom.
After a few years as friends, and a false start on our gap year, we finally got together at Limmud on New Years, and got engaged on our anniversary seven years later.
A bright, historic venue
We got married at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria. Several of our guests had interesting links to the venue – it was where our DJ completed his accountancy exams and where one of my bridesmaids heard President Obama speak to Democrats Abroad!
For us, it was simply a beautiful, historic, bright, blank space, with a gorgeous glass ceiling – somewhere we could feel a link to the outdoors, while being in the centre of London, and not worry about getting rained on by any April showers!
A springtime color scheme
Getting married in spring, I wanted wild, springtime flowers and colors to be our theme. I couldn’t really get my head around an official color scheme, but once I’d found my dress, complimentary colours started to emerge.
We planned a lot of the wedding ourselves, with lots of support from our families, bridesmaids and best people. The organizing part was pretty overwhelming at times, but it was also amazing how generous friends and family were with helping make everything happen – like spending hours on the Friday afternoon before the wedding threading and hanging up hundreds of origami tulips from the venue ceiling!
Our venue was lovely to work with, and provided a planner to help liaise with suppliers, create a floor plan, and talk about space requirements. I also enlisted the help of events planner Jessie Schlagman to liaise with suppliers in the run up, and coordinate the day itself. Her support was invaluable in helping me relinquish control on the day, so I could focus on the really important business of enjoying the wedding!
Invitations designed by an illustrator
I really wanted our invitation design to be personal and unique, and had an idea of what I wanted for the invitation, based around mine and Sam’s similarly curly hair.
Sadly, I lack any artistic talent, so I sought help from a good friend Amber Donovan, who is an illustrator. Her lovely artwork formed the basis of our invitations, booklets, benchers, place names and thank-you cards, while my bridesmaid Amelia did an epic job doing all the formatting on inDesign.
DIY hair and fabulous makeup
I am able to admit that I have some trust issues with my hair, so I knew pretty early on I was going to do that myself. I scheduled a trim a few weeks before the wedding with my regular, brilliant hairdresser Aisleen at The Witches Hut in Clapham, then pinned it the night before, and luckily it dried naturally exactly as I wanted it.
I organised my makeup at the last minute, but was incredibly lucky that my bridesmaid Alma Reisel and friend Debbie Danon recommended I contact Maegan from Maegan’s Makeup. She was talented, patient and hilarious (a great combination for someone you end up spending lots of time with on your trial and wedding morning!) and I was really happy with the look she created on the day.
A unique, classic blush gown
Choosing a dress was a challenge – the amount of beautiful wedding dresses out there felt overwhelming at times.
After visiting a few sample sales, I ended up in London Bride Couture, the shop where my sister Joanna had found her wedding dress. In fact, she picked out the Watters Edlin design I ended up wearing! I had wanted something that was both unique and classic – with its warm, blush color and geometric lace details, it fitted the bill, and I absolutely loved wearing it on the day.
A full-length veil and fresh flower headpiece
I went for a full-length veil in the same colour as my dress, mostly because when else in my life am I going to get to wear a veil?!
I had unearthed two ten-year-old accessorize hair clips, which miraculously matched my dress, and was determined to find a few more and create a beautiful budget hairpiece. After several fruitless shopping trips and hours spent online, I finally realised that this was not going to happen and asked my florist, Liz, to create a hair clip for me using flowers that matched the bouquet. I’m so glad I did as what she made for me was perfect!
Don’t you step on my raspberry suede shoes
It took me quite a while to find the right shoes. I bought, and returned, about twelve pairs before I finally found the gorgeous, raspberry-suede L.K. Bennett Ellena heels I wore on the day.
When I saw the dress and shoes together, the shapes and details made me think of the gothic Dome in Florence, and they somehow seemed a perfect match! As I’m not really a heel wearer, by the end of the night, my feet were pretty much destroyed, but it was worth it!
The handsome groom
Sam wore a charcoal three-piece suit and oxblood red shoes from Reiss, with a matching dark red tie and braces.
We decided to buy each other presents to wear on the day, so he bought me some real pearl earrings and a brilliantly budget fake pearl necklace, and I found him some wood and gold cufflinks in a great little shop called Turpentine in Brixton.
Bridesmaids in glamorous gold
I gave my bridesmaids and best people free reign over their outfits. In the end, my bridesmaids, Alma and Amelia, chose glamorous, gold, floor length Bravissimo dresses.
Our flower girls looked adorable in floaty, gold Monsoon dresses and Sam’s best man and ushers had matching deep red bow ties. All our best people and family members wore beautiful, unique buttonholes, by our florist Liz.
A blossom-tree chuppah
Ideally, I would have wanted to get married outside, somewhere rural, under blossom trees. Failing that, I decided I’d like to bring the trees indoors!
Liz constructed four blossom ‘trees’ out of real and fake blooms as the chuppah poles, and hung an array of fresh flowers from a lighting rig above the chuppah.
We stood under my Sabba’s tallit, and one of my clearest memories from the day was how beautiful it was to look out at our guests from under the chuppah.
Two tisches and a musical Jewish ceremony
We both had tisches before the ceremony, with some moving and some ridiculous speeches, and lots of singing! These were also interrupted by an unexpected roller disco outside the windows which was a brilliantly bizarre moment.
Sam was danced to my tisch in the Royal Horticultural Hall’s beautiful wood-panelled council room, and, to my surprise, entered a la Reservoir Dogs, wearing sunglasses and accompanied by inflatable boomboxes – this had not been part of the plan!
After a private badeken with our family and witnesses, our parents accompanied us to the chuppah. I had spent some time searching for a tune to Ma Yedidot that I liked, and our pianist Joseph Finlay helped me track down a little-known Lewandowski setting that definitely ripped off Brahms, and was sung exquisitely by a friend as our flower girls walked down the aisle.
Another family friend sang our Sheva Brachot gorgeously, and I definitely felt the music during the ceremony helped me to refocus and connect with what was happening in the moment amidst the chaos of the day.
We were inspired by the wedding of our friends, Richard and Rachel, to have seven additional blessings written by friends and family, and hearing these under the chuppah was a real highlight of the ceremony.
Our wedding was co-officiated by our childhood rabbis Danny Smith and Margaret Jacobi which was incredibly meaningful, as was being surrounded by our parents and siblings under the chuppah.
A custom-made ketubah
We had planned for a friend to illustrate the ketubah, but ran out of time before the wedding to organise this, so it’s something we’ll hopefully have finished in time for our first anniversary!
We first heard our band, Tantz, at Limmud, and after a sweaty hour of jumping about gleefully, we both said we would like them to play at our wedding, not that we were engaged at the time!
They are an incredible group of musicians, and got some serious Israeli dancing going, which was an absolute highlight of the day, as well as playing their own set of klezmer/Balkan/dub beats after dinner.
DJ Fav, accountant by day and DJ by night, was a delight to work with, really receptive to my rather specific ideas about our setlist, and, most importantly, he got everyone on the dancefloor toward the end of the evening.
We decided we didn’t want to have a first dance, but we knew we wanted to end the night with Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay. It was amazing to look around and be surrounded by a circle of our friends and family as the night drew to a close.
Perfect spring flowers
I ended up making three trips to New Covent Garden flower market with her to help me realise what I was looking for and talk through ideas.
When I saw the bouquet on the morning of the wedding, I really was taken aback by how perfect it was, accentuated with wild daffodils taken from Liz’s own garden.
The table flowers, alternating between clusters of small cut-glass vases and slightly larger arrangements, were similarly stunning, and I was delighted that they were all taken home by guests at the end of the night.
Our fabulous photographer…
After a brief Skype call, it was clear she was just the right sort of quirky, yet chilled, creative we’d like to have behind the camera for our wedding.
When we first got the link to our photos, we were totally overwhelmed with the sheer number of amazing shots, and still haven’t quite got round to picking our favorites!
Our Israeli videographer Uri, from Uri v’Tamar, had taken a unique stop-motion video for a friend’s wedding in Israel. We were drawn to the dreamy aesthetic of his footage, and thought it would contrast nicely with Marianne’s documentary-style photography, so we’d have two different perspectives for our day. He came over from Israel just for the day, and we couldn’t be happier with the results!
Our cake was made for us as a gift by a close friend who fashioned a three-tier masterpiece, covered in white chocolate icing, white chocolate cigarette rolls, and flowers.
As we had quite a lot of guests with special dietary requirements she also made another cake free from gluten, dairy, soya and egg, which was quite a feat!
We are both vegetarian, and decided early on we wanted a vegetarian-catered wedding. We were over the moon when we first found Cashew Catering who specialise in vegan and vegetarian catering.
John was relaxed and flexible throughout the planning process, endlessly adjusting the menus to suit our whims and our guests’ dietary needs. We wanted family dining, where large dishes were delivered to tables and then shared by the guests, because it feels less formal, but ended up with table service for certain dishes, because otherwise there wouldn’t have been room for all the food!
We were advised by friends to get canapés delivered to our Yichud room just after the ceremony, as we wouldn’t have time to eat them otherwise, which was a stroke of genius! I’m still getting comments from guests about how much they enjoyed the food, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!
We ordered the drinks ourselves, and one of my best people, Yon, designed the menu, including St Clement’s and Earl Grey T&G cocktails.
A permanent favor
We didn’t have party favors, but our kippot were made of seeds. Sam ordered them from Circes of Life, a company based in the States.
Guests could take them home to plant after the day, we loved the idea that something beautiful and green would grow from our wedding.
The bride’s speech
Along with our parents, best man and bridesmaids, Sam and I both made speeches.
While I’d been a bit terrified about this and was up until 2.30 the night before finishing mine (which I would not recommend!), giving my speech was one of the highlights of my day, along with listening to Sam’s!
It was the one moment when I could publicly share my appreciation of all the people who helped make my relationship with Sam and our wedding day possible, which felt awesome.
Retro place names
There were a few design elements that helped make the day look extra special.
Sam and I both love playing games, and we referenced this by having place names printed on a pack of cards personalised with our invitation design.
My bridesmaid, Amelia, had helped source retro pictures of places of significance to Sam and me which we then printed as table names, and I ordered some miniature retro Monopoly pieces to stick on their wooden holders.
My bridesmaid, Alma, meanwhile, made 300 origami tulips in the weeks leading up to the wedding, and I found an Etsy seller to supplement these with about 600 more, which I planned to hang down from a suspension wire to help divide the ceremony and dinner space.
Threading the tulips and then hanging them was quite a logistical challenge, considering that we only had an afternoon to do it all, and we ended up with only about 500 tulips up, but they still looked stunning, and I still have about 300 in a box for a rainy day!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
You only get one wedding timeline, and there isn’t time to experience everything, so prioritise what matters most to you on the day.
I didn’t quite believe this, and ended up shocked that I hadn’t had time to speak to everyone at the wedding – but I’d have had to make that my priority over other things in order to make it happen!
Michal & wedding little white book
Photographer – Marianne Chua
Videographer – Uri v’Tamar
Venue – Royal Horticultural Halls
Bride’s dress – Watters purchased at London Bride Couture
Bride’s shoes – L.K. Bennett
Groom’s attire – Reiss and Turpentine
Bridesmaids – Bravissimo
Flowergirls – Monsoon
Hair – The Witches Hut
Makeup – Maegan’s Makeup
Flowers – Blue Sky Flowers
Catering – Cashew Catering
Band – Tantz
DJ – DJ Fav
Photo Booth – The Photobooth Guys
Origami tulips – Etsy
Signs – Lizzie Barton
Kippot – Circes of Life
Ketubah – Lechaim Ketubot
Production – Ash Event Productions
Drinks – Majestic Wine and 31Dover
Chairs – Chair Hire
Printing – Kelmatt