We’ve got two words for you: Ikea. Wedding.
Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating just a tad. Today’s couple didn’t literally hold their Jewish wedding inside the Swedish furniture giant. They did that at Alma, a beautiful venue set amidst a lush garden (where they held their fab outdoor chuppah, natch).
But bride Carmel, a computer science student, and groom Etai, an education and political science student, did do their photos amidst the Billy bookshelves and Malm beds. They went for Ikea Israel due to its abundant A/C on an unexpectedly hot day, but the photos Flea Studio shot there turned out just wonderfully — such an unexpected and cool (in all senses!) location, and we love that this pair wasn’t afraid to have fun with their wedding pics.
The Ikea photoshoot wasn’t Carmel and Etai’s only cool idea. This wedding is chock full of heartfelt DIY touches, our favorite being their DIY patchwork chuppah canopy, assembled from squares inscribed with messages, quotations, and drawings by their family and friends.
Oh, and did we mention that this duo has a super touching how we met story? We’ll leave it to Carmel, who looked so stunning in her off-shoulder Limor Rosen gown, to fill you in on the rest…
How we met
Carmel, the bride: We first met in the army, and we were good friends but not a couple. We served together on the same base, when we came home only once every two weeks. After a year in the Israeli army I transferred to another base and a month after that Etai discovered that he was sick with leukemia.
Since I was in a closer base I had a chance to visit him a lot, and during this time I saw him every night, took care of him, and tried to make him happy. We fell in love at the hospital, and after a few month Etai got a bone marrow transplant, which luckily was successful. After he beat the cancer it was clear to us that we were in love and we decided to be a couple. 7 years later we got married <3
We got married on 4.5.18 in Alma, which is a beautiful place with a garden for the chuppah and a hall for lunch and dancing. We chose the venue because it was a good combination of a garden and a hall, and it was very beautiful even without any decoration.
A DIY wedding
We had a pastel color scheme (green, blue, and white), and we used the same design for a lot of things in the wedding – our invitation, kippot, “take me home” notes that we put on the flowers, and soap bubbles. All the designs were DIY.
We had some DIY favors, too. It was a very hot day, so we brought white hand fans that were useful to the guests and also decorative. We made t-shirts with a painting of us, so our friends who got sweaty during the dancing could change. We made soap bubbles and wedding ribbon sticks for the chuppah. We made hangover kits containing a band-aid, chocolate bar, a fresh-one, an advil pill, and a coffee. Lastly, we gave our guests a sweet challah for Shabbat when they left at the end of the wedding!
In addition, I dance in an Israeli dance group, and we have a tradition to all dance in the wedding when anyone from the group gets married. In my wedding we danced a dance called Lechaim – To Life, which is Hasidic Jewish dance. It was very special and unique, and the guests – some of whom were shocked from the surprise – told us after that they were very excited to see me dance.
A Unique Invitation
We wanted a meaningful invitation that would let our guests get to know us better. Etai designed our invitation, and it was very special – it was folded like a book. Or the front was a painting of the two of us riding bikes toward each other, and inside was the story of how we met, how we became a couple, and how Etai proposed. It was funny and emotional.
The reaction that we got from most of our guests was amazing – they said that they had never seen such an invitation, and that it was unique.
Hair + Makeup
I used Ayala Haimov for both hair and makeup. I have natural curls, and it was clear to me that on my wedding day I would keep my curls! Ayala styled my hair in a half-up do, with a braid and a hair accessory. My makeup was quite natural, and made me feel like myself. The hair and makeup were great and lasted until the end of the wedding.
A Limor Rosen Dress
I wanted an off-shoulder dress, since I think it’s a very flattering style for my body. I collected some images of dresses I liked in this style and went to see the first designer, Limor Rosen, in Tel Aviv. They were so kind in the studio, and when I tried my dress on I felt princess, and yet not too fancy.
During the dancing, I wanted to wear something easier, so I bought a 2-piece dress online from Lulus (a long skirt and a crop top). It was great to change so I could dance freely.
My earrings and bracelet were from my sister’s personal collection. I had a hair accessory that I bought online from Ali Express.
My shoes were high-heeled sandals in a beautiful shiny rose gold color, from Asos.
The handsome groom
A Patchwork Chuppah
We cut the chuppah canopy into pieces and gave it to our closest family and friends, and tasked each one of them with designing a little part. Most of them wrote a song, a sentence from the Bible, or painted something, and before the wedding, we sewed all the pieces together. It was very nice that our closest people took part in designing our “first home.”
A Meaningful Ceremony
We tried to make the ceremony as equitable as possible, and as “us” as possible. We wrote some words to each other, in which we said how meaningful it was for us to stand under the chuppah together, and promised to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives. We asked our parents, brothers, and sisters to bless us in the seven blessings (Sheva Brachot).
To top things off, the groom decided to go for the photo op and he really jumped on the glass when it was time to smash it. Unfortunately, it did not end very well: glass got stuck in his leg. But it didn’t interrupt the wedding, and one of the guests was a doctor and bandaged Etai’s leg, so he could keep dancing through the wedding.
Our music choice
We designed and assembled the table centerpieces by ourselves – we cut wood into pieces of 30 cm height, made a hole in the top, and planted succulents. There were also herbs on the tables and our guests were invited to take all the decor with them. In addition, we had Or Flowers on hand – they weave flowers to allow guests to decorate themselves.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
Our photographer and videographer was the great Flea Studio. We were looking for a photographer who could make us look good and capture the right moments (even though we are not very photogenic) and be as creative and professional as possible, and they did exactly that. We had great chemistry and we felt like their friends during the whole day.
Since it was a very hot day we decided to do photos where there is air-conditioning, so we had the idea to do it at Ikea Israel. The photos were amazingly creative and unique, with cool scenery.
We had magnet photographer Omega Magnets, who took pictures of all the guests and printed them on magnets that the guests could take with them. People love it when they have a picture of themselves that they can take home.
A Great DJ
Advice to couples currently planning their planning
We have two little pieces of advice:
Make the wedding as you as possible. You can make others feel involved while still having a wedding that represents exactly who you are.
Choose small projects to DIY. It was very fun for us to create something of our for the wedding (and it also saves money).
Carmel & Etai’s little white book
Photography and Videography – Flea Studio
Venue – Alma
Bride’s dresses – Limor Rosen and Lulus
Bride’s hair accessory – Ali Express
Bride’s shoes – Asos
Groom’s attire – Doron Ashkenazi and Aldo
Hair + Makeup – Ayala Haimov
Flowers – Or Flowers
Favours – Omega Magnets
DJ – Eitay Sadeh