We’re so in love with today’s couple’s ultra-personal chuppah. Lennie and Mark combined ten (yes TEN!) family tallits (prayer shawls), from both sides, to make their fantastic canopy — literally weaving together their two families into a new one! Isn’t that beautiful?
And for the poles, the couple used Aspen branches, in a nod to the natural flora of their destination location, the stunning mountain retreat of Park City, Utah. Check out Pepper Nix‘s gorgeous photos of the ceremony — not to mention the fab party, before and after!
Yep, another thing we adore about Lennie and Mark’s Jewish wedding is their pre-chuppah cocktail hour. The pair made a point of attending and enjoying it fully, and clever bride Lennie even took the smart step of sourcing a special cocktail dress (purchased from BCBG on the sale rack for $100!) so she wouldn’t have to worry about anything spilling on her gown. The cocktail dress came in handy again when the bustle on Lennie’s modern, chic Martina Liana gown broke during a very energetic hora!
Oh, and one last detail we can’t get enough of: this pair seriously mixed up the standard hotel welcome bag formula, injecting some serious personality into your regular selection of snacks and water bottles: since Lennie is a dentist and Mark is a gastroenterologist, the goodies they handed out included monogrammed toothbrushes and reflux meds! Now over to Lennie…
How we met
Lennie, the bride: We met on a blind date! One of my friends was out with her husband and another couple, and the guy happened to be one of Mark’s co-workers. Mark was talking about moving, and his coworker was trying to set him up so he wouldn’t move! He’s now stuck in Tampa (where I grew up 🙂
What’s ironic is that I had messaged Mark on Jswipe a year before we met, and he responded once and then never again. So when my friend called me telling me she was setting me up and describing him I said “oh, he didn’t message me back.” This time, he called me, we made plans, and that was that. (I later found out he was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend at the time when he didn’t message me back.)
A Barn Wedding
We got married at Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship (Park City) Utah. We picked Park City as a destination wedding as we had so many guests having to travel no matter where it was, and my parents have a house in Park City and it’s my happy place.
We were between a beautiful hotel, and the barn that we did pick, and we’re happy we picked the more unusual venue. I knew it would make for a special, beautiful wedding for us, and it did not disappoint.
The barn has a large outdoor patio, and as it was late October and we were unsure of what the weather would be we had a large clear tent placed on the patio, and got married as the sun was setting.
We wanted our wedding to feel like us and not a cookie cutter wedding. We wanted it to be a relaxed event with great food, and above all else a party feel with everyone on the dance floor all night. We did a cocktail hour first (which we attended), then the chuppah/ceremony, followed by dinner, first dance, etc. to get all that out of the way to allow for a party/dancing vibe the entire rest of the night!
I hate going to weddings where we eat dinner at 11PM, so we made sure to avoid that. We also wanted good food, and all night long – and our amazing caterers delivered. Our guests were raving about how great the food was, and it didn’t taste like typical “wedding food.” We started with cocktail hour, 1-1.5 hours later was dinner, 1.5 hours later was dessert, followed by late night snacks passed on the dance floor.
I am also not a flower lover, so we focused on greenery/trees which complemented the natural setting of the barn set in the beautiful Wasatch mountains of Park City, Utah.
We did use a wedding planner, Michelle Cousins of Michelle Leo Events, and she helped to create the feel we wanted, and added in some beautiful touches I would’ve never thought of myself. The colors ended up being navy and copper – which is never something I envisioned. But Michelle assured us it would be beautiful… and it was!
Our invitation was very traditional. That was important to my mom, and I like traditional invitations more than trendy ones, so that was an easy thing for us. She picked it 🙂 We did have custom stamps made of Aspen trees to help set the scenery and the mood for our guests.
Hair + Makeup
I wanted to look and feel like myself, and that was most important to me. My husband had always said he likes braids, so for my trial I did a half up braided wavy look, and he hated it. I have very straight hair which I wear down normally, and don’t wear much makeup, so while I did tone it up for the wedding and pictures, the goal was to look as natural, but wedding beautiful, as I could. I wanted to look like the natural girl my husband fell in love with. Kali Chris did my hair, and makeup was by Kristen Packard.
A Martina Liana Dress
My dress was made by Martina Liana, and I bought it at Malindy Elene, a bridal boutique in Tampa, Florida, where we live. I went in saying I didn’t want lace or beading/sparkles, and this was the first dress I tried on at that boutique. I had to try it on 2 more times to know it was “the one,” but it had the right classy/chic/modern feel I wanted. I think it highlighted my body well and I loved it after tailoring and getting it just right.
We did cocktail hour first, and I wanted to be there and not worry about being spilled on or getting dirty, so I actually found my cocktail hour dress from BCBG on the sale rack for $100!!! It could’ve passed as a very non-traditional wedding dress, and so many guests were shocked when they saw me at cocktail hour, and then I walked down the aisle in a different dress! My bustle broke during our crazy/long hora, and after trying to pin it a few times I decided to change back into my cocktail hour dress, and ended up wearing that one most of the night.
I got earrings I love from Dana Rebecca Designs. They were a design she made about 5 years ago and didn’t sell anymore, but made them custom for my wedding. I LOVE them. I also got married in the wedding band my mom got married in, so that was special. My seamstress made my veil, which had a little lace at the end, and complemented my dress so well.
Three Pairs of Shoes!
I actually bought 3 pairs of shoes to wear throughout the night, 1 for cocktail hour, 1 for the ceremony, and 1 for the party when my feet were killing. I didn’t care much about the shoes, as you couldn’t see them in my dress, so I got a pair of Nina heels for the ceremony, which were just the right height.
The handsome groom
My husband looked very handsome in a classic black Calvin Klein tuxedo, with velvet Ferragamo shoes! We both don’t like patent leather tuxedo shoes, and he was very happy to get these shoes for his special day.
A Canopy of Family Tallises
I’ve always liked chuppahs with tree branches rather than florals, and have always wanted to get married under my grandfather’s/family’s tallises. For the poles, we used Aspen tree branches, and then our seamstress combined 10 of our family tallises to get married under. It was so meaningful and special, and Mark’s 4 closest friends held the poles for us.
A Badeken in the Aisle
I have always loved the badeken tradition, and we did our spin on it by me walking down the aisle unveiled, and when I met my husband at the end he veiled me before we went under the chuppah together. My favorite part of the ceremony was looking out and seeing everyone who loved and supported us.
When I was doing the seven circles around my groom, he was counting with his fingers so all the guests could see, and everyone was laughing. We were talking the whole time and just being ourselves – and I think it added a very real, natural element to our ceremony and our relationship.
A Cool Ketubah
We signed our ketubah under the chuppah so that everyone who traveled to be a part of our wedding could be a part of our entire ceremony.
We had a hard time agreeing on a ketubah, and ended up picking a very non-traditional one from Cool Ketubah made by a graphic designer. It now hangs on our wall, and I love that it’s not a traditional looking chuppah.
You’re the Inspiration
Greenery and Trees
I wanted greenery and trees instead of traditional flowers, and our florist, Amanda of Decoration Inc, nailed it. We had long farmhouse and round tables. The round tables had trees in glass vases, and the long tables had smaller arrangements with succulents and other greenery in a variety of pots. She got the eclectic but gorgeous look just right! She made me a little bouquet made of succulents for pictures, but I didn’t want to use it during the ceremony.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
Our photographer was Pepper Nix and we loved her! She had great energy, and I knew she would add a special dimension to the wedding. Our guests loved her as well!
I wasn’t going to have a videographer, and when my caterer heard this she recommended one she uses for corporate events. He did a great job! While not as focused on cinematography as many wedding videographers are, he captured our day beautifully, and I love watching it!
Gelato 3 Ways
Ice cream is my absolute favorite food. I’m obsessed!!! We had 3 homemade gelato flavors by our amazing caterer, Culinary Crafts, which was served 3 ways – in a homemade sugar cone, as an ice cream sandwich with homemade chocolate chip cookies, and as a smores-inspired dessert – chocolate ice cream on a graham cracker with torched marshmallow (I also LOVE smores!).
A Live Band
We had an AMAZING band – the Party Crashers – who travel worldwide doing weddings, parties, and corporate events. They were amazing and had our guests dancing all night! We all felt like we were at a concert, they were so entertaining to watch, and they played such a range of music – from Backstreet Boys to Bon Jovi to Whitney Houston and everything in between.
My parents and I went to a wedding in Texas where the Party Crashers were playing one month after Mark and I had met, and at that wedding my parents said they would play at my wedding… and about 1.5 years later they did!
A wedding about us
We wanted our wedding to be as much about us as possible. My husband is a gastroenterologist, and I’m a dentist – so in the hotel welcome bags each guest received upon check-in we placed monogrammed toothbrushes and acid reflux medication, and had lactaid pills next to the ice cream at our wedding (most of the guests were Jewish afterall 🙂
The food reflected us as well – appetizers were comfort food such as fried macaroni and cheese balls, and mini grilled cheese and tomato soup sips. For late-night snacks we had french fries, black and white cookies (my husband is from New York), and mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (those are his favorite foods) passed on the dance floor. We wanted the wedding to reflect us wherever we could, from the food to the welcome baskets, and the aesthetic – classy, beautiful, and not over the top.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Everyone says this – but things will go wrong. Due to scheduling conflicts, Mark ended up doing his aufruf the morning of our wedding. It went much much longer than we anticipated, and he was over an hour late to pictures. Needless to say, I was a wreck, and it took me until basically the ceremony to be able to let it go and enjoy our day. Mark was trying to make me laugh and forget about everything during our pictures.
The rabbi counted 7 circles, when I really did 6, and also put our families on the wrong side of the chuppah, though beforehand we had all talked about where to stand… but… we are married, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
Lennie & Mark’s little white book
Photography + Videography – Pepper Nix
Wedding planner – Michelle Leo Events
Venue – Blue Sky Ranch
Bride’s dress – Martina Liana purchased at Malindy Elene
Bride’s accessories – Dana Rebecca Designs
Bride’s shoes – Nina
The groom’s attire – Calvin Klein and Ferragamo
Hair + Makeup – Kali Chris and Kristen Packard
Flowers – Decoration Inc
Band – Party Crashers
Catering – Culinary Crafts
Ketubah – Cool Ketubah
Hotel – St Regis Deer Valley