Today’s super cool couple dreamed of a destination Jewish wedding at a winery in South Africa. When logistics got in the way, Lori, a medical student, and Josh, an accountant, found the next best thing: a venue in their home country of Australia that feels a world away from bustling Melbourne.
Lori and Josh knew from the beginning that they wanted a pared-down day with the focus on only the things that mattered most to them: a fun, chill day with the people they love the most, great food and drinks to keep the party flowing, and, above all, the ceremony.
Fun as the reception was, there’s no question that the highlight of the couple’s day was looking out from under their chuppah and seeing all the people they love supporting them in their marriage. As Lori says, “It’s the people that make the wedding, not the things.”
That’s not to say the duo skimped on the details. In honor of their love of Japanese and Mediterranean food, their day boasted sushi and sashimi stations, plus a souvlaki bar – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of their foodie fantasy!
Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Jeremy Blode Photography did such a fabulous job capturing the raw emotion of the day. He made Lori and Josh feel totally comfortable, both in the lead-up to the wedding and on the day itself, and they’re in awe of not only his passion for his work and uncanny ability to capture authentic moments but also his people-wrangling skills!
He’s just one of many handpicked vendors offering discounts or free gifts to members of our Club (who also receive around-the-clock support and advice from my team and me, plus all kinds of cool bridal extras and goodies.) If you haven’t joined yet, don’t delay as we’ll be closing membership for this quarter shortly!
Beautiful bride Lori claims to have hated wedding dress shopping, but it’s hard to believe given how effortlessly lovely she looks in her Grace Loves Lace gown, don’t you think?! Now over to her…
How we met
Lori, the bride: We met through a mutual friend at a nightclub in Melbourne six years ago.
A Rustic Winery Venue
We initially wanted to do a destination wedding at a winery in Cape Town, South Africa. Josh’s whole family still lives in South Africa and my family are from South Africa originally. The logistics and timing just never worked out, but we were still set on doing something out of Melbourne and on a winery.
Acacia Ridge Winery in Yarra Glen ticked all the boxes. Acacia Ridge is a small family-run vineyard in the Yarra Valley. Set on a winery with a view of mountain ranges in the distance, it made us feel like we had been transported to a different country. We loved the rustic charm. The natural beauty of the place and its surroundings meant not much decoration or flowers were needed, and not many, if any, of our guests had been there before, so it was unique experience for all.
A Foodie Wedding
We always wanted to have a destination wedding with a cocktail vibe – something a little more relaxed and different from the traditional sit-down weddings we had been to. We wanted it to be an outdoors-style wedding, more of party, more of a celebration.
We focused our energy on having great food, plenty of drinks, and incredible music. We had pretty specific requests in relation to food and music. If we could choose any two cuisines they would definitely be Japanese and Mediterranean. So we decided to have pre-dinner canapés, paired with a delicious sushi and sashimi station.
Later in the evening, an abundance of roving hot and cold canapés and more substantial bowl foods were paired with our souvlaki bar, where the chef was carving lamb off the spit in front of our guests. To top it all off, we had midnight canapés for any guests that were still hungry (not many).
We also ensured our wedding day was over a long weekend, so people didn’t have to worry about going to work the next day.
A Natural Look
My hair and makeup were done by Debbie Gordon and Rebecca Brown, respectively. I decided to go for the natural look and both of them absolutely nailed it.
Grace Loves Lace
To be honest, I hated wedding dress shopping and struggled to find “the one.” I didn’t want anything over the top, with too much beading or lace. So I decided to do more research via wedding blogs in the lead-up to the wedding and fell in love with the unique and free-spirited Holly gown by Grace Loves Lace.
Unfortunately, Grace Loves Lace is an exclusively online brand, so in my desperate attempts to try on the gown, I called Grace Loves Lace and it just so happened that they had a pop-up showroom in Perth CBD which was closing down the day that I called.
I raced into their showroom that afternoon, tried the dress on, and knew straight away that it was what I had been looking for. It was made with French lace and had gorgeous free-flowing silk panels.
A Jeweler in the Family
Jewellery was a pretty easy decision for me. My older and extremely talented and passionate sister is the owner of Nicole Fendel Jewellery, so our whole bridal party was covered in NFJ Jewels, including statement earrings, cuffs, and rings. My best friend, Laura, gave me her Jane Hill veil to wear on the weekend before the wedding, which was particularly special and looked absolutely perfect.
A Bevy of Bridesmaids
We had a rather large bridal party (eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen). All of my bridesmaids chose their own dresses in a white/pink and/or beige color scheme. The groomsmen all wore navy chinos and white shirts. Somehow, it all worked and looked really good.
A Rustic Chuppah
An Emotional Ceremony
We had a bedeken where we invited our close family and friends to witness the special moment.
The highlight of our wedding day was standing under the chuppah and looking out and seeing everyone from all our different worlds all together in one place, looking at us with such joy and love.
The ceremony makes you focus on the real and most important reason for the day, and the ancient traditions makes it a very emotional and powerful experience.
Our fabulous photographer
We used Jeremy Blode Photography to capture our wedding. Jeremy made us feel at ease with his professionalism and organization. He was kind enough to meet up with us in person and another time via video conference to discuss the logistics of the big day.
On the day he was great coordinating people to be in the right place at the right time, but he also had the uncanny ability to “not be seen” and just capture those real natural shots.
Jeremy is extremely passionate about photography and goes above and beyond. He has an amazing eye for detail and gets truly excited when he sees the possibility of the perfect shot. It’s a great feeling knowing your photographer is truly passionate about what he does and always striving for perfection.
No cake, we were too busy eating shwarma and falafel!
A Team Effort for the First dance
The first dance was choreographed by one of our friends over a few drinks, just a few weeks before the wedding. It included all 8 of Josh’s groomsmen, whose 10 minutes of practicing actually paid off. The crowd – and I – really enjoyed the dance! The song was My Girl, and then we went into our slow song, Stand By Me, without Josh’s groomsmen!
Focusing on the People
We didn’t have any special entertainment. We really believe it’s the people and not the things that make the wedding. We focused our energy on having great food, plenty of drinks, and incredible music.
We did our speech together, and Josh’s dad and my mum spoke. My twin sister and Josh’s brother also said a few words. We kept speeches to a minimum and just really used them as an opportunity to say our thanks to the special people in our lives and thank all those guests who travelled from South Africa and interstate to join us on our special day.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Try not to lose focus on the real meaning of the day. There is a big disassociation between the actual wedding ceremony and the party. The ceremony is all that matters; everything else is just a bonus!
Have a good think and discuss with your partner the type of wedding you want. Do you want sit down, formal, cocktail, the type of music, etc., etc.
Build relationships with your suppliers. It adds so much more energy to your special day.
Understandably there are lots of different stakeholders with different points of view and agendas, so it’s important that you are clear with what you want. You are not going to please everyone so just make sure you guys have fun!
Discuss your budget and be clear with the amount of money you want to spend. Remember, it’s the people that make the wedding, not the things.
Lori & Josh’s little white book
Photography – Jeremy Blode
Videography – Me & My Camera
Event Coordinator – Toko Events
Venue – Acacia Ridge Winery
Bride’s dress – Grace Loves Lace
Bride’s veil – Jane Hill
Bride’s jewellery – Nicole Fendel Jewellery
Groom’s attire – M.J. Bale and Jack London
Bridesmaids – Zimmermann, Bojena King, Aje, Shona Joy and Morrison
Groomsmen’s suits – Uniqlo
Makeup – Rebecca Brown
Flowers – Georgie Boy
Stationery – Paperless Post
Marquee Hire – Mr Party Hire
Bar Tables and Stool Hire – Place Settings
Website – Appy Couple
Gift Registry – Not Another Toaster