Rachel and Alex’s Jew-ish wedding took place on a very, very rainy September day – but this fun-loving couple embraced the weather wholeheartedly, and unreservedly had the best day of their lives.
This gorgeous wedding was all about making much-loved guests, who had come for a full weekend in the countryside, feel special and appreciated. Considerate couple, Rachel and Alex, went above and beyond with caring, personalized touches, providing a plethora of fabulous favors, handwritten notes and even hangover kits.
We LOVE the oh-so-Israeli story of how beautiful bride Rachel found her dream Galia Lahav dress (we won’t ruin it for you, it’s too funny), and the celebration of divine Israeli designers – we’re with you, Rachel!
Not one, but two of our fabulous Recommended Vendors were involved with this gorgeous big day, including incredible florist, Mary Jane Vaughan and videographer, HD Moments, who shot the stunning, cinematic wedding video below and submitted this amazing W-Day to us.
The details and emotion of the day were captured by the talented photographer, Aga Tomaszek, and the witty writeup below was by Rachel, the bride. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.
How we met
Rachel, the bride: We met at Movida nightclub. A not-so-classy establishment, but we instantly clicked. While I don’t believe you can ‘love’ someone at first sight, we both just knew that we would have a future together of some kind, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it to be as fairytale-like as it is!
A magical countryside venue
We only saw a handful of venues, but we knew immediately that The Lost Orangery at Euridge Manor was the venue for us, as everything about it was wild and magical.
The owners only recently opened up their home to the wedding circuit, and so our wedding was the first of a few there, which meant a lot to us. We wanted a venue that was truly unique, that none of our friends and family had ever been before, or would ever go again.
As we live in London, and regularly go to the top London hotels for work conferences, we wanted somewhere that felt like a completely different setting for us, and always love getting out of London for long weekends in the countryside. By getting married there, we could also extend our special day into a weekend away for our guests.
Getting married in a non-corporate venue also meant that we had the freedom to choose all our suppliers, and we could choose people we genuinely liked.
We didn’t really have a theme, but rather just paid immaculate attention to detail.
We just wanted to make our day as enjoyable as possible for everyone else, particularly as it meant them spending the weekend with us, which costs precious time and money.
We also really wanted to show how much we cared about every one of our guests with handwritten, personal welcome notes and little truffles in each of their rooms, and hangover kits at the end of the night with vitamin C sachets, paracetamol and energy bars.
We also left handwritten place names and little vodka shots for the younger crowd, and plants to take home for the adults.
We had a wedding planner, Cranberry Blue, and Melanie was absolutely amazing. I really struggled with the idea of having someone help us, as I really wanted the day to reflect who we were, rather than having something that felt manufactured, but Melanie did a really good job at executing our ideas and bringing our vision to life.
She organized all the logistics for the day, which was particularly challenging with our venue, as we had to bring in kitchens, toilets, lighting, a power generator and even flooring and carpets (we got married in their indoor swimming pool room!).
An arty auntie
We designed our stationery motif ourselves, along with the color scheme, and asked Alex’s aunt, who is an artist, to draw a map of the wedding venue, Friday night location and various hotels that people were staying in. I think she loved contributing to the day.
We also had it in concertina design to make it a little unique.
A Hollywood blow dry
I used a woman recommended by a friend. She was amazing and able to do both my hair and makeup, which meant fewer vendors on the day.
I had my hair down with a Hollywood blow dry and extensions for added glamor. There was never a question as to whether I would have my hair done traditionally in a classic up ‘do.
My makeup was relatively natural rather than caked on, but with eyelash extensions and lots of gold shimmer.
A Galia Lahav wedding dress
Soon after I got engaged, I already coincidentally had a trip planned to Israel with my maid of honor, and immediately booked several fittings with the designers there, as they are just incredible.
I saw so many I loved, but each was just not quite right, and knew I would ultimately only decide with my mum, so I booked another trip to Israel with her.
We spent hours with the different designers, and on the second-to-last day, I was getting stressed wondering whether I would ever find something like what I had in my head.
Then, in Galia Lahav, my mum being a bit of a mad Israeli herself noticed a new delivery of dresses all wrapped up ready to be shipped straight to New York for the shows, and before she could be stopped went and opened up the first one she could get her hands on.
It was completely backless and low at the front, with a crystal belt and the most beautiful fishtail silhouette with delicate lace, and she just knew this was the one. I fell in love with it instantly too.
I wanted a dress that was a little sexy and not traditional, and I got it. Also by getting it in Israel, I was able to make all the alterations I wanted with Galia herself.
A vintage diamond necklace
I had a veil from the designer, extremely simple and short which we made in five minutes together.
The jeweller, who we got our bands and engagement ring from, let me borrow some diamond studs for the ceremony, and an incredible diamond vintage necklace that I put on afterwards as I wanted the focus to be on me, Alex and our vowels rather than the diamonds I had on! My hair was down, without any accessories.
These shoes were made for dancing
I wore bright white skyscraper heels from Charlotte Olympia. I’m a big fan of heels, and enjoy the feeling they give of being more sexy in them, plus I like adding a bit of height.
They were also the comfiest shoes in the world, and I had them on for 10 hours straight, dancing all night.
The handsome groom
Alex wore a bespoke Zegna suit with matching socks and shoes. The one thing he forgot to get was cufflinks, so I surprised him on the morning with Zegna (tie the) knot cufflinks, so he really was head to toe in Zegna. I think seeing him so relaxed and happy made me so happy to see him.
Bridesmaids in salmon pink
I had five bridesmaids, including maid of honor. I wanted them in the same dress, but having experienced my own bridesmaid dress fiasco, plus having heard other friends moaning about the dress they were forced to wear, it was so important to me that my closest friends would love what they were wearing, so I left it to them to decide.
I actually found the dress that they were most happy with (so they say!) which was a salmon pink, floor-length dress from AQ/AQ. It was strapless with a structured top, and I thought they all looked so beautiful in it.
A civil ceremony
As I’m Jewish and my husband is not, we had a civil wedding, and for us it was perfect.
Neither of us are religious, but are very family oriented, and respect all the morals that our religions teach, so for us, it was so nice just to have the ceremony centered around our love and happiness together, and having a lifetime together full of respect and honesty.
We actually wrote our vows too, so it was so nice to say words that we had written, and that meant something to us.
As it was a civil ceremony, we did the smashing of the glass before we cut the cake which was fun to do it then.
Our music choices
We had a string quartet during the ceremony playing modern pop songs, such as Get Lucky, which was a really fun twist on something so classic.
During the reception ,we had an acoustic band. Our first dance was Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran (slightly predictable but is lesser known song that we loved!).
During the party, we had a real mix, from Bob Marley to Drake. It was basically our own club, and even all the adults were standing on their chairs dancing. It was amazing to see them so involved and having as much fun as us!
Simple, romantic floristry
We used Mary Jane Vaughan for our floristry. We both instantly connected with Mary Jane, and were excited to work with her, as she was so creative and really understood our vision.
We kept the theme really simple, with white roses, hydrangeas and baby’s breath, with candles everywhere to make the room feel extra romantic.
Our amazing videographer…
We used HD Moments for our videography. There’s something in the way HD is able to capture the special moments and put the mini clips together that makes their work really stand out. Also, Justina and her other half were both just amazing to work with.
I’m not one for photos and hate seeing myself on video, and but I barely felt their presence on the day, which is what makes the video so special.
The video was one of the few things that scared me about the wedding, but I must have already watched it a thousand times.
Really, videos and photos are all you really have left of your wedding day, so to us, it is amazing having our special day brought back to life in the video; it really means so much to us!
… And photographer
We used Aga Tomaszek. Her work really stands out as being natural, capturing people mid-dance and laughter, rather than the staged, old-school group shots.
Aga really has a way of capturing your emotion and energy in her shots, and she also had a really great energy about her.
A fabulous cake — and creative catering
We had a naked tiered cake with lots of fruit. We found Georgia’s Cakes on social media and they just all looked incredible and so unique, rather than traditional cakes. Also, she was local to us, so that meant we had an excuse to eat lots of cake with her!
Caper and Berry provided our food. They actually catered my husband’s brother’s wedding, and we were blown away with their execution on the day, the professionalism and charm of their staff, and, of course, their restaurant-quality food.
It was great that they also gave us a lot of creative freedom with the menu; for example, creating a hot superfood salad for the vegetarian meal, rather than standard carb-heavy options. We also created the most delicious dessert with figs, my favourite fruit, which, again, was a little unusual.
An energetic atmosphere
Our entertainment was The Function Band – they really made our night! While Alex was set on having a more traditional schedule for the day, I wanted our evening to turn into a more raucous club.
While it took a little convincing to bring Alex round to it, as he was most conscious that this might not quite be what his family and parents expected and didn’t want to lose the element of sophistication on the day, The Function Band got everyone up on their feet and dancing on their chairs before our starters made it to the table.
Their energy didn’t stop through the night, and it was amazing to see and hear everyone just having fun.
For our favors, we made little bags of truffles tied up with ribbon, with our wedding hashtag and with personalized, handwritten notes delivered to each guest’s hotel room.
It was so important to us to show our appreciation that our guests made it all the way to the countryside to spend the weekend celebrating our special day, so this was a nice touch for them on arrival.
We had mini vodka and lime shots on the table, as I am known to only drink vodka on the rocks with fresh lime and was a way to get everyone in the party mood.
Recognizing the older guests may not appreciate these, we had little succulents planted in antique tea lights for them to take home.
Then, at the end of the night, we brought out hangover kits tied to Evian bottles, packed with paracetamol, vitamin C sachets, rehydration tablets, chocolate and a Trek bar (you name it) to help get people back in shape for the drive home on Sunday.
As my father passed away when I was younger, it was so special to have my mum walk me down the aisle, my brother give the father of the bride’s speech, and my uncle, who was also a big part of my upbringing, say a few words at the ceremony.
Alex’s older brother also delivered the most beautiful reading at our wedding, which he actually also read out at Alex’s younger brother’s wedding. We were both just so incredibly touched, and it meant so much to us to hear the words on the day.
We had a welcome BBQ dinner the night before the wedding at the Lucknam Park Hotel, where most of us were staying and I gave a little impromptu speech which, although it was a little nerve-wracking beforehand, was actually so much fun to deliver!
The best speech was, of course, my husband’s, which had us all laughing and crying, and it was so impressive to see him deliver it without notes, so it felt a lot more natural.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I think it’s important to choose suppliers based on who you connect with, as ultimately you will spend so much time working with them, so it’s important that you warm to their energy.
Also, even if you have the very best vendors, just remember things may not always go to plan. We got married beginning of September, and while every other day was filled with sunshine, of course we had to have torrential rain on our wedding day, and we chose to get married in a countryside Manor House with beautiful gardens and views we couldn’t really enjoy.
Also, as we had to walk trough the grounds to get to the indoor ceremony and function rooms, it was a nightmare for our guests (thank goodness for Amazon Prime delivery as we bought a lot of umbrellas last minute) and it was ridiculous trying to get me to the altar in one dry piece!
But these things are outside your control and you can either sulk about it on the day, or giggle about it with your other half and friends and enjoy the day however it pans out!
With the planning, find your venue first, then pick a date and then confirm the band, who can really make or break the day. Everything else will follow.
If you don’t have the budget for a wedding planner, or, like me, are a control freak, then at least have a partial wedding planner who can coordinate all the suppliers on the day and ensure everything is running smoothly.
Trust me, after all the time, energy and money you spend, you don’t want to be dealing with the logistics of the day, as every second is so precious.
Rachel & Alex’s little white book
Videographer – HD Moments
Photographer – Aga Tomaszek
Flowers – Mary Jane Vaughan
Wedding planner – Cranberry Blue
Venue – The Lost Orangery
Catering – Caper and Berry
Cake – Georgia’s Cakes
Bride’s dress and veil – Galia Lahav
Bride’s shoes – Charlotte Olympia
The handsome groom – Ermenegildo Zegna
Bridesmaids – AQ/AQ
Band – The Function Band
Dinner the night before – Lucknam Park Hotel