Today’s Jew-ish wedding features a wonderful blend of the couple’s Jewish and Scottish heritages, with so many heartfelt personal touches. Leigh (@Leighjshhh), a personal assistant and team secretary, and Steven (@Hunter941), an ammunition technician in the British Army, married at The Principal Hotel in Edinburgh.
Leigh, who is Jewish, and Steven, who is Scottish, crafted an ultra-personal day that combined their two cultures seamlessly. They paired their registrar-run legal ceremony with a Jewish blessing from a rabbi they worked with closely to create a very personal service.
We just love how this couple strove to run their day in a way that was true to who they are, individually and as a pair, and that would feel inclusive to all of their guests. They had an archway of flowers instead of a chuppah; they didn’t have a ketubah but did smash the glass — and to make sure everyone could follow along, Leigh made a program explaining the Jewish traditions. In a very cool nod to Steven’s Scottish heritage, the color scheme of teal and gold was taken from his family tartan.
But we think our favorite way Leigh and Steven blended their backgrounds is through music — and dance. Their DJ, Graeme Barrie Entertainment, not only played music for the Israeli dancing; he also served as ceilidh caller (instructor) for their Scottish dancing! Check out Cro+Kow Photography’s stunning shots of the couple and their guests in action.
Now over to Leigh, who looked beautiful in her strapless ivory Modeca gown…
How we met
Leigh, the bride: We met at a mutual friend’s wedding. We both knew the groom, and after both of us enquiring about the other we started chatting and knew almost instantly that this would be a conversation that would never end!
Nearly four and a half years later, after an entire long-distance relationship, we got married ourselves and now start our new journey together as husband and wife – and finally living together!
An Edinburgh Wedding
We got married at The Principal Hotel, George Street in Edinburgh. We chose to get married here as Steven (the groom) is originally from just outside of Edinburgh, in a little town called Kirknewton.
We also spent the first 18 months of our relationship in a long-distance relationship while Steve was based on an army base just outside of Edinburgh, which meant that one of us would travel to the other on weekends so that we could spend time together. It was during this period that Leigh had the opportunity to see Scotland and fall in love with Edinburgh.
Teal and Gold Tartan
We made the wedding a complete reflection of both of us. We had a legal registrar perform a legal ceremony and we followed this with a beautiful Jewish blessing from a fantastic Reform rabbi, Rabbi Mark Solomon, who worked with us to put together the exact service we wanted, where everyone was able to follow and feel included.
Our color scheme was teal and gold; we picked these colors as they are from Steven’s family tartan, so they ran throughout our wedding beautifully (especially when his family were wearing their kilts!). We even managed to have the colors reflected in the lighting too!
We had a fantastic wedding coordinator who works at the hotel. Working with Oskar Gilchrist-Grodniki was an absolute pleasure. His knowledge of suppliers was second to none, I wouldn’t have been able to put half of the wedding together if it weren’t for his help.
We had some beautiful hand-made invitations designed for us where we got to choose the font style, color, ribbon, and layout with help from Christine Murdoch at Elizabeth M Designs.
We managed to decide everything in a face to face meeting with Christine, who had some wonderful ideas to make our invitations everything we wanted and more. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Christine and have her expertise and advice.
Hair + Makeup
Makeup artist Lyn McKenzie helped me decide on a beautiful look and style for my hair – she was absolutely amazing and made me feel like a beautiful version of myself. I couldn’t have been happier with the way I looked on my special day.
A Modeca Dress
I bought my dress from The White Wardrobe – a little wedding dress shop in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Nicola Prebble, who owns the shop, was so helpful and helped me find the right dress for my body type.
In the end, after trying on almost every dress in the shop, I ended up going back to one of the first that I tried on, which was a beautiful strapless ivory dress with pewter embroidery, a beautiful sweetheart neckline, and a large train with many layers.
The dress was from an Amsterdam-based designer called Modeca, and the style of the dress was Sky. Apparently my dress was the last one to be made in that particular line.
Jewelry from Ivory & Co.
My shoes were skyscrapers! I bought these beautiful white satin stiletto heels from Pink by Paradox. The style was called “Indulgence.” I fell in love with these shoes as the embellishments and details around the back of the shoe were totally different from the norm.
The handsome groom
Steven wore fully Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) No1s dress uniform, as he is an ammunition technician within the British Army. This was supplied by Hanger 39 in Colchester.
The medals he wore were all earned in his operational tours in war zones within the Army; as this is one of the few times he gets the chance to wear his No1s, and as he wanted to look the smartest he could, he arranged to have a sword and forage cap along with white gloves. This made the day extra special for both of us, but especially for him to be able to represent his trade and be marrying the “woman of his dreams” (his words).
I had my sister as my maid-of-honor, my sister-in-law as a bridesmaid and my step-daughter as my flower girl. I wanted all the dresses to be the same color, so I found a company called Alexia that has a broad spectrum of bridesmaid and flower girl dresses.
My sister and sister-in-law both wore the same style floor-length dress with a Grecian cowl at the back, and my flower girl had exactly the same color, floor length with some lovely spaghetti straps.
A Floral Archway
We didn’t have a chuppah; we had an archway of flowers that we were married under instead. We felt that this tied in with the legal registrar’s service and with our Jewish blessing.
A Jewish Blessing
Our rabbi took a lot of time meeting with us and getting to know us. He made our blessing very special and personal, with a lot of the information he extracted from us. We didn’t have a ketubah as we only had a Jewish blessing. We still included the other traditions (such as me walking around Steven seven times and him smashing the glass at the end of the ceremony).
For the Jewish ceremony I made little scrolls that were placed on everybody’s chairs along with the order of service, which explained every detail of the Jewish ceremony so that everyone could follow what was happening and would understand the significance.
You’re My Best Friend
We had the wonderful Korda String Quartet play at our wedding. I had my mum and granddad, bridesmaids, and flower girl walk into the room while Handel’s Aria was played, and then I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D. This was all for the first part of the ceremony.
Then after the registrar left, Steven and I left the room and walked back in while our rabbi sang Hari’u. Our first dance was You’re My Best Friend by Queen, which was played by our DJ, Graeme Barrie.
We had beautiful white roses, white calla lilies, white hydrangea, and gypsophila. The company we used was recommended by Oskar, called Save the Date Collective.
Sophie Herriot and Julie Lockhart brought everything we wanted to life. They have experience working alongside Oskar and his team at the hotel, so it made sense for us to use them, and their work is absolutely beautiful.
Our fabulous photographer
We used Simon Croft and Sylwia Kowalczyk from Cro+Kow Photography. We found them online and fell in love with their style of photos. We also had them do the videography.
They managed to capture all the most amazing moments of our special day, and we couldn’t be happier with the photos and videos they produced. We also have to make a special mention to Sejin Moon for co-shooting our wedding, as we had so much going on, and taking some fabulous pictures!
A Four-Tier Cake
We used Sophie Herriot and Julie Lockhart from Save the Date Collective to do our cake. We had a four-tier cake, with vanilla sponge on the bottom, followed by lemon, then toffee, and red velvet was on top.
The cake topper was amazing, Sophie and Julie managed to recreate exactly what we wanted with our outfits and our love for fitness. The rest of our catering was done by the hotel, and I must say that the food was incredible.
Israeli Dancing and Ceilidh
We had a DJ (Graeme Barrie Entertainment) who provided music during the meal. He also played music for the Israeli dancing, and he is a ceilidh caller and managed to provide us with some ceilidh dancing too – we loved the fact that we could show a reflection of both of our backgrounds through dance.
We also had Waterfront Showband perform a two and a half hour set for us with live music. They were absolutely incredible and added so much atmosphere and enjoyment for us!
We had a Magic Mirror Photo Booth that we placed next to the bar; it was a great way to have everyone mingle – and to have a lot of photobombing, which brought lots of giggles and fun to the day. We also rented a gorgeous white LED dance, floor which finished off the room and enhanced our photos amazingly!
We had a family friend of my in-laws make homemade tablet (a Scottish sweet) for the women, and for the men we had little personalized whiskey bottles. We thought we would make it a nice Scottish theme, as we were having a Scottish wedding!
We also requested that when everyone RSVP’d they would let us know what food they wanted, so I managed to arrange with Oskar to have on every table a list of what everyone had chosen, in case they couldn’t remember.
We involved our family in many ways, my sister was my Maid-of-Honour, Steven’s brother was an Usher/Best-Man, Steven’s sister was my Bridesmaid and Steven’s daughter was my flower girl. We had my sister’s fiancà© (now husband) read a religious passage in our Jewish blessing and we also presented both sets of parents with thank you gifts during Steven’s speech.
Advice to couple currently planning their wedding
It’s very overwhelming to think that everyone has made the effort to travel to the other end of the UK to come and celebrate and watch you get married. I was told that not only it would be the best day of your life it will also be the fastest day of your life.
The best thing we would definitely recommend is to take a step back from the day. There is nothing more rewarding than watching everyone enjoying a day that you have put together, which is a complete reflection on what you both call “the best day of your life.”
I would also recommend that all future brides start wearing their wedding heels at least two months prior to the wedding. I wore mine while watching TV, doing household chores, even just walking around the house – the more you wear them in, the more comfortable they will become!
Leigh & Steven’s little white book
Photography – Cro+Kow Photography and Sejin Moon
Venue – The Principal Hotel
Bride’s dress – Modeca purchased at The White Wardrobe
Bride’s shoes – Pink by Paradox
Bride’s accessories – Ivory & Co
Groom’s attire – Hanger 39
Hair + Makeup – Lyn McKenzie
Cake + Flowers – Save The Date Collective
DJ – Graeme Barrie Entertainment
Invitation – Elizabeth M Designs