For years, we’ve been dreaming of blogging a Jewish wedding at one of the most spectacular venues in all of London: the majestic Natural History Museum in lovely South Kensington. An absolute masterpiece of Victorian architecture, it doesn’t get much more iconic than this.
And today, our wedding blogger dreams are coming true with the epic wedding of Orly and Zak! Following a ceremony at the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater — no slouch in the architecture department itself — the pair and their guests decamped to the museum’s stunning Hintze Hall — if you’ve been, or seen it in pictures, it’s the main space with the whale skeleton overhanging! HOW awesome is that?! And how cool are the epic action shots from Pascale at Reportage Gallery?
Orly, an OB/GYN, and Zak, who works in property development, rounded out their marvellous day with kosher catering from fabulous STG Recommended Vendor Food Story (the pair are STILL getting compliments on their unique canapà©s, cocktails, and everything else by the amazing Food Story team), and they also benefitted from the ultimate day-of coordination (plus a little assistance wrapping up the last few weeks of planning) from the amazing Georgia of Moriarty Events.
If that’s not enough to catch your attention, there’s also a super sweet story about the couple’s history with the venue, plus a dramatic Hora incident (don’t worry, though, it all ended well!).
We’ll hand you over to the bride in a moment, but first a quick reminder that our FREE online event, ‘The secrets to an unforgettable Jewish wedding’ with our founder and editor, Karen, is happening next Monday November 12 and spots are filling up FAST! Grab your place now to ensure that your Jewish or Jew-ish wedding is as unforgettable as Orly and Zak’s…
An Iconic Venue
Orly, the bride: We got married at the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater and had our reception in Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. The synagogue is really one of the most beautiful in London with such magnificent architecture and such a warm, welcoming community.
The Natural History Museum has always been a really special place for us as a couple — on our very first date I told Zak about a little mistake I had noticed on a poster in the dinosaur exhibition. A few weeks later, unbeknownst to me, Zak had already decided we were going to get engaged and started trying to convince them to give him the poster for when he proposed.
It took him a few years, but eventually the NHM gave him the poster and he surprised me with it during his speech on our wedding day! Now it’s up in our hallway! Hintze Hall is such a stunning space and it was such a privilege to party under Hope the whale in such an iconic London venue!
A Fab Planner
Having our wedding at the Natural History Museum was already really personal and special for us as a couple. We chose all the dà©cor to complement the beautiful Hintze Hall and used pinks, purples, golds, and ivory to make it really summery and bright.
We planned everything ourselves and then used Moriarty Events in the last few weeks to pull it all together and manage everything on the day — they were amazing and really took the stress off in the busy lead up! We didn’t need to worry about anything on the day, they took care of everything so we could just enjoy ourselves.
We chose a traditional style but added our own twist by having a good friend design our logo based on the wisteria trees we used as table centers. The invitations were pale rose card with gold edges and gold embossed text — really simple and elegant and tied in with the themes of the wedding. Invitation London were really professional and did all of our stationery — they were really reliable and did a beautiful job.
Hair + Makeup
Gosia, Inga and Megan from Gosia Peruzynska Makeup did all the hair and makeup for me, my family, and my bridesmaids. I chose them on a recommendation from my sister-in-law, who had used them for her civil ceremony, and they were so talented and professional.
I had two trials — one seven months before and another the week of my wedding. I would highly recommend a second trial right before the big day — we were able to finalize all the colors and styles and because it was fresh in our minds, the girls knew exactly what we were doing and how long it would take on the big day! It really put my mind at ease.
I’m pretty fussy with my hair, so Inga was incredible at making me feel comfortable and listening to my endless requests to make it bigger! I was in such good hands! On the day, the girls kept to time and my family and the bridesmaids loved their hair and makeup, too.
A Monique Lhuillier dress
I always knew I wanted a dramatic dress so I went for a big, princess-style organza gown by Bliss by Monique Lhuillier — my mum and I immediately loved it! We kept shopping for a few days but found ourselves comparing every other dress to it so we knew it was “the one.”
I bought it from The Wedding Club, South Kensington, who were fantastic — their alterations team designed and fitted beautiful lace straps to cover my shoulders for the ceremony, which fit the dress perfectly and were easy to take off for the party. I was lucky — it really was my dream dress.
My veil was from The Wedding Club, South Kensington, and I ordered my hair piece from Laurel Lime. I knew I wanted my hair half up, half down with big curls, so I chose a lightweight, delicate hair piece that would be comfortable and feminine.
My engagement ring is white gold with diamonds, so I chose my jewelry to match that. I wore diamond and pearl droplet earrings that I had specially made using family diamonds — they were a present from my mum and best friends for my 30th birthday! They were designed and made by Jewellery Cave, Finchley. I also wore my grandmother’s diamond ring as something old and my mother’s diamond bracelet as something borrowed!
Badgley Mischka Shoes
I’m 5’10, so I was never going to choose sky scraper heels! I wore ivory kitten heels with jewelled detail from Badgley Mischka, a present from my stepmum! They were comfortable and really delicate and pretty.
The handsome groom
His appointment there was organised by White Dossier wedding concierge service, who were just incredible and guided him through the whole process. He got the full personal shopping experience, prosecco and all, which was really lovely to make him feel pampered too!
He looked truly dapper, but it was the big, loving smile on his face as he came into the badeken room that made me swoon the most!
Bridesmaids in Navy
I had six bridesmaids and they wore Hayley Paige navy gowns. We had a navy and ivory color scheme for the synagogue and we matched them with navy kippahs and navy bow ties for the ushers. The girls looked stunning!
A Romantic Chuppah
I always knew I wanted a soft, feminine look so we went for ivory voile tied at the sides with ivory roses and green ivy which crept up the pillars — it was so romantic and really complemented the colors of the synagogue.
A Singer for the Chuppah
Our special touch was our singer — my husband’s friend JJ Hodari sang for our chuppah and it was so personal to have him there. He really paid attention to what we were looking for and his voice really took our breath away!
Traditional Meets Modern Music
Zak started the procession with Mehera and was followed in by our family and the bridesmaids, then my dad and I entered to Boi B’Shalom. We also had Im Eshkachek before smashing the glass, which was just stunning and so emotive. For our big entrance down the staircase of the Natural History Museum we played Finesse by Bruno Mars, which was so fun and full of energy and really got the party going before the hora!
Then for our first dance we started with The Lava Song which is a really sweet Disney song that Zak used to sing before he worked up the courage to tell me he loved me! We then went straight into All About You by Mc Fly so our friends could come and join us on the dancefloor — a song which I’ve absolutely loved since I was 16!
Veevers Carter was the wonderful florist who brought our wedding to life. My bouquet was ivory peonies and roses with loads of greenery to give it that wilder, romantic look. My bridesmaids had similar, smaller versions and the buttonholes also matched.
For our reception, we had dramatic, tall, white wisterias for some of the table centers and at the bottom of the staircase at the museum. On the other tables we had crystal candelabras and storm lanterns, all adorned with rose petals, greenery, and gold tealights to give a really lavish, romantic effect.
Event Concept was our production company – they are the sister company to Veevers Carter – and together they lit the room in pinks and golds to complement the florals. It looked really gorgeous!
We used Pascale at Reportage Gallery for our photos on recommendations from friends — he was such a professional! We had a meeting before the wedding where he planned all the photos and logistics and he took such gorgeous action shots throughout the day.
He stayed with us until the afterparty at our hotel and then stayed up all night to make a personalized magazine of highlights for us, which he brought to breakfast the next day! He made us feel so at ease and brought our wedding and the atmosphere to life through his stunning pictures.
We used Food Story kosher caterers, having loved their food at other weddings we’d been to. They were very professional; their flair for food is really evident. We’ve had a lot of compliments on their fabulous canapà©s and cocktails since the wedding! Their style of food is unique and fun, and their service is really en pointe.
A Live Band
Our band, the Soul Brothers, was absolutely exceptional! They have incredible energy, constantly dancing and getting the crowd going. The atmosphere on our dance floor was electric!
Zak had seen them at another wedding and loved them and when we went to see them perform at the Arts Club a few months before the wedding, I fell in love! They seemed to have endless energy which was contagious and the dance floor was full all night!
The highlight of our wedding was definitely Zak’s incredible speech where he surprised me with the poster from the NHM! It was such an amazing moment which we’ll never forget!
Not everything quite went to plan, though! During the hora when the boys sent Zak flying into the air, the sheet split on his way back down! He fell straight to the floor but was so incredible and got up right away despite the pain. The boys kept it all going and danced around him, the girls managed to make sure I didn’t see until after the horah, and luckily there were plenty of my doctor friends there to check he was ok!
After a shaky half hour or so, he bounced right back and didn’t let it affect the rest of the wedding. We made a little trip to A&E for a check up the next morning before our flight to Italy! Our advice — get a reinforced sheet, no matter how much weight you lose before the big day!
A Minimoon and a Honeymoon
We went to Italy for a minimoon the day after our wedding to relax and eat lots of gorgeous food! It definitely took a few days to come back down from the high, so it was lovely to have that time to rest and debrief together. We were off to India for a bigger, more active trip in October!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
My biggest piece of advice is to be organized and plan as much as you can before the wedding, but on the big day just RELAX and have fun. Both Zak and I were beaming all day and we danced all night and just had the time of our lives. I definitely think your guests bounce off that energy, which makes everyone else have the best time, too. There will always be something that goes wrong, but you only get one day so don’t worry about the small things and just relax and have the best day of your lives!
Orly & Zak’s little white book
Photography – Reportage Gallery
Catering – Food Story
Bride’s dress – Monique Lhuillier purchased at The Wedding Club
Groom’s attire – Duchamp, Gieves & Hawkes, Turnbull & Asser purchased at The Wedding Gallery
Wedding planner – Moriarty
Venues – New West End Synagogue and Natural History Museum
Bride’s accessories – The Wedding Club, Laurel Lime and Jewellery Cave
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaids – Hayley Paige
Hair + Makeup – Gosia Peruzynska Makeup
Flowers – Veevers Carter
Production – Event Concept
Chuppah singer – JJ Hodari
Band – Soul Brothers booked through I Can Create… Anything
Invitation – Invitation London
Wedding concierge – White Dossier