Why hello, floral chuppah of our dreams. It was absolutely roses for daaaaays at the Florida-perfect destination Jewish wedding of Sara, a real estate broker (and Smashing The Glass Brides Club member!), and Eric, an immigration attorney – is it just us, or are those blooms a perfect match for Boca Raton Resort and Club’s trademark pink building?
We’re pretty sure you’ll agree that STGd Vendor Carlos Marquez of Boca by Design really outdid himself on this one (not to mention the cascading florals from the chandelier in the reception space!).
Photographer Susan Shek captured the day SO perfectly, from all the gorgeous details (and there are lots) to the ultra-emotional chuppah – seriously, this is one sequence you don’t want to miss. Sara raves that Susan “knows how to get the right photos, the right angles, and more than that, she became a friend in the process” – pretty much all you could ever ask for, right?!
Props to Sara’s mom for a cool, totally unexpected favor idea: she brought challah covers back from Israel for all the guests! We’re not surprised to hear that people loved them – and it’s a great reminder that the sky’s the limit when it comes to favors; it’s fine (actually, awesome!) to go off the beaten path with something unique.
Now over to the bride herself, who looked simply smashing in her gorgeous beaded dress from super cool Israeli designer Lee Petra Grebenau…
A Wedding in Boca
Sara, the bride: We got married at Boca Raton Resort and Club. We wanted to get married somewhere that was relatively easy for everyone to get to (Texas, Paris, Israel, NYC, Costa Rica etc) and warm. I wasn’t, and still am not, too familiar with Boca, but when I went to visit the venue with my mom and sister, we all fell in love with the pink building, the outdoor space, and the cathedral ballroom.
An Emotional Wedding
We didn’t start with the intent to make the wedding about us. I would’ve loved to get married in Caesarea on the beach, but since that wasn’t available to us, we really aimed for that relaxed vibe. Our wedding came together very organically. We flirted with the idea of using a wedding planner, but my step-father was negotiating better deals left and right than she was, so we skipped that part. it wasn’t that difficult to make it our wedding.
Eric’s priority was an Orthodox wedding with his 3 favorite rabbis under the chuppah each giving a blessing or doing something meaningful. I wanted to make sure everyone would be dancing. It really comes down to trusting who you choose as some of your vendors. At the end of the day, I trusted the vendors that mattered.
I was very fortunate to know Susan Shek of Susan Shek Photography from my mom’s wedding in 2017 and she guided me a lot. I knew Susan Shek would do an amazing job. ☺
Carlos, our florist, is such a sweetheart and I knew he would bring my vision to life. I loved his music from Eric’s sister’s wedding so we hired them without bothering to listen to anyone else.
Lastly, having Goga (not a vendor, but an amazing singer) sing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen for Eric and Boi Khallah in the Bocelli melody for me, was beautiful.
Everyone was crying and emotional. I’ve never been able to put a finger on what I’d consider to be the wedding of my dreams, but this was it for both of us. We were crying so much walking down the aisle.
I was set on gold and black with a heavy card stock. Eric cared about the invites being engraved. I don’t think they were unique per say, but they came out beautifully. We used Designs by Ellen and I found something I loved on Pinterest and she tweaked it perfectly to mix both our styles. We didn’t stress too much about our invitations, but ended up loving them more than we realized.
A Lee Petra Grebenau Dress
Lee Petra Grebenau – whimsical. My sister was walking by MacDougal street and told me that I needed to go into that store. I had made appointments everywhere and finally found this dress.
I knew it was the one because of the flowers and just the energy. I love beading and embellishment and this dress had it all. Not to mention Giselle from Spina is the sweetest ever. They made the experience fun and so relaxed. The seamstress who altered it was also heavenly. I didn’t have enough time for multiple fittings and she made sure I was going to love it and be able to dance in it.
A Veil and a Tiara
The veil came from Lee Petra Grebenau in Tel Aviv (my mom went there to see how my dress was doing). I don’t like veils, but I needed one for under the chuppah. The tiara was a last minute detail – my first and last fitting was 1 week before the wedding. When I was there, I was goofing off with my sister and tried on a tiara and decided I needed to wear one.
My jeweler was generous enough to lend me a lot of jewelry, but it was a bit much considering how intricate my dress was and the tiara, so I only wore a triple-row bezel diamond bracelet.
Sophia Webster Shoes
I wore 3 inch Sophia Webster blush sandals with crystals on the heels. I went with Susan Shek to Bloomingdales to pick something and these were super comfortable and pretty. (When I say she is the best, I mean it.)
Hair + Makeup
Beautini are the best for hair and makeup. Couldn’t trust anyone else!
The Handsome Groom
The groom wore a dark navy blue Ferragamo tux with a classic black bow tie. The groom did not need many details to make me swoon!
An Unexpected Chuppah
That was tricky. I had a few ideas in mind, and I actually thought it was going to be a completely different shape from what it ended up as. But I think Carlos just took my vision and ran with it. As beautiful as it was on the outside, standing under felt so magical. It was an amazing chuppah.
I didn’t understand the significance of the chuppah until I was standing under it with Eric, his parents, my mom, my step-father, and the rabbis.
My favorite part was when one of the rabbis (we had 3) started using a Sephardic melody in one of the brachot. My mother is a French Algerian Jew and I feel very connected to that.
A Papercut Ketubah
Our ketubah was very special. We were trying to decide on a style of square vs round and we found a papercut one from Danny Azoulay that really spoke to us. The design was called Dancing Waves and I loved the description:
“The lines of each layer converge and intersect forming a pattern united by the harmony inherent in their sequential movement. It is a true visual metaphor for the coming together of the bride and groom: each enter the union with their own qualities and together they will form a bond which enhances one another beyond the individual.”
I’ve always loved Boi Khallah, Bocelli edition, and I was on Youtube 2 weeks before the wedding finding versions of it that I liked for my band and I fell in love with this one singer’s voice. I cried the first time I heard it. Later that evening, I showed it to Eric and he said that he knew him – that his mother hired him for all their family events. So she hired him for ours, it was such a sweet gift.
Carlos Marquez of Boca by Design was the florist who was able to make all my ideas materialize. I would send him photos and he’d tell me “I got it, don’t worry.” Carlos was so dedicated, he rearranged the bridal bouquet 3 or 4 times at the last minute to make me happy.
At one point, he called me and told me we had a bit extra in our budget and if I wanted flowers cascading from the chandelier, he could do that. Obviously I said yes. The sweetheart table was so lush too. But we barely sat down.
Susan Shek – she did videography too. Susan is amazing. I keep using that word but I don’t know what else to say… She knows how to get the right photos, the right angles, and more than that, she became a friend in the process. She did more than anyone else when it came to putting the wedding together.
We bonded during our engagement photos when I asked her if I should use glitter on my eyes and she said “Yassss, I love glitter.” I replied, “No, I love glitter – look at my dress.”
I sent her a photo of my dress and she said, I can one up you- and sent me a photo of herself in her dress, standing next to Lee Grebenau. At that moment, I realized Shek has great taste, she was my style twin, and I was very fortunate to have her on my team. She would be my sounding board.
We tried to keep decision-making as simple as possible. I based the design off the naked Momofuko cake. As far as flavor, I asked the caterer what the yummiest flavor was and he said funfetti. Fortunately, most wedding cake is dry and bland, so we were working with a very low bar. I’m glad I went with his suggestion because the guests loved the novelty and it was surprisingly good.
Manolo Puerto – Eric’s family is from Costa Rica and I love Latin music, so it made sense to have a band that specialized in that type of music. They played at Eric’s sister’s wedding so I booked them right away. Manolo is very good at figuring out what the crowd wants without a set playlist. Everyone was still dancing when the lights went on – that’s how good they were.
Challah Cover Favors
My mom wanted to have challah covers as favors. She was in Israel and felt inspired to bring something back that would be meaningful for the couples and families there. I would never have thought to make those the party favors, but people loved them.
A Welcome Party
We wanted our wedding to be fun. Eric and I are traditional in some ways, and untraditional in many others. No one wanted a rehearsal dinner. Eric’s mother called it a ‘Welcome Party’ so that people would know it was a party and not to expect speeches.
Both our mothers speak English with a very heavy accent, so neither of them wanted to talk. Also, whenever we’ve gone to weddings, the speeches have been the most boring part. So Eric’s dad and our siblings gave 90 second speeches at the welcome party and my mother gave a 1-minute speech at the wedding.
We basically wanted to maximize the best parts of weddings and avoid the parts people dislike. We did have Eric’s 8-year-old cousin Max sing Feeling Good by Michael Buble, which was amazing. The kids thought American Idol was going on.
The most special parts of the wedding were under the chuppa and then getting on the dance floor with everyone.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Decide what matters and ignore the rest. No one cares about monogrammed napkins.
Sara & Eric’s little white book
Photography – Susan Shek
Videographer – The Artistry Films
Venue – Boca Raton Resort and Club
Bride’s dress – Lee Petra Grebenau found and fitted at Spina Bride
Bride’s jewelry – Louis Newman & Co.
Bride’s shoes – Sophia Webster purchased at Bloomingdales
Groom’s attire – Ferragamo
Hair + Makeup – Beautini
Flowers – Boca by Design
Catering – Executive Caterers
Band – Manolo Puerto Productions
Singer – Goga Denisov
Ketubah – Danny Azoulay
Stationery – Designs by Ellen
Photobooth – Boca Event Photo Booth