Today’s gorgeous mountaintop Jewish real wedding is a testament to keeping it simple and letting your surroundings do the talking. This works particularly well when your surroundings happen to be the glorious mountains of Colorado!
With a little help from the Internet, and a lot of help from a rabbi with encyclopaedic local knowledge, Jordan and Josh made their dream day a reality, complete with a first look, a gondola ride to the top of the mountain and an epic hora dance – all in the same place that the Obamas stayed during their visit to Colorado!
Jordan and Josh are both lawyers, living in New York City, but had such a profound connection to Vail that they chose to have a destination wedding there, with 50+ friends and family flying out to celebrate with them.
Their intimate ceremony involved their close family, with all hands on deck for the music and blessings, which we definitely approve of!
We also ADORE the proposal story. Jordan and Josh met on a train platform when Jordan asked him for directions. The pair hit it off straight away, and Josh ended up riding the train to her destination with her. A few years later, Josh popped the question on the very same train platform. How adorable is that??
That’s enough from us – it’s now Jordan’s turn to take over Smashing The Glass to tell us all about her and Josh’s big day. Over to Jordan!
How we met
Jordan, the bride: We met when I was in law school (in Chicago) when Josh was visiting home for Yom Kippur from business school in New York. I was at the train station in Chicago going to my family’s house for breakfast and Josh was going to the suburbs for a Northwestern football game. I asked him for directions, and that’s how we met!
We ended up riding the train together that day and added each other on Facebook. He messaged me that night and said that, while he liked me, he lived in New York, and asked to set me up with his cousin. I said no, but to let me know the next time he was in town. We met up that night and have been together ever since (almost four years).
The magic of Vail
Josh and I got married in Vail, Colorado. I had a strong aversion to conventional weddings, particularly those in hotel banquet halls, but I knew I wanted a traditional Jewish ceremony. We knew we still wanted something small and unique, and the pictures were very important to mel.
First, we thought we might do a beach wedding over New Year’s in Miami, so we could get married sooner, but we kept going back to Vail. I grew up going to Vail my whole life because my grandparents had a house there, and Josh’s parents had a house nearby for some time as well. In fact, when they still had the house in the summer of 2014, we visited them and attended a synagogue service at the Vail Wedding Deck. I told Josh that if I ever had a wedding (which I was not always sure I would), it would be at the Vail Wedding Deck. And I did!
Letting the surroundings speak for themselves
I cannot think of one specific thing that made the wedding about us, but I like to think that generally the entire day was very “us.” It was small and simple, and it relied on the scenery rather than our own personal décor.
Generally speaking, Josh and I are simple. The day was about us because it was just the kind of wedding we would have, and without anything that detracted from it being an incredibly special day.
We used the “Adventure Awaits” pattern from Minted for our invitations. We custom designed our own save the dates, though, with pictures of Colorado taken by my grandfather (an amateur photographer).
For hair, I used Alex, the owner of Hairs 2 Vail. My hair looked BEAUTIFUL.
A dream dress at a dream price
I have never been a very big shopper. I found my dress at David’s Bridal – my first stop in the hopes to make up for bigger hits to my budget
They had exactly the dress I was looking for (on clearance!), and even better, I got to shop for the dress with my mom in my hometown (Miami), and have in-store tailoring done where I live (Manhattan).
The only issue I had was that I ended up losing a little bit too much weight right before the wedding, and the dress was a little large.
Keeping accessories simple
I decided a few months before the wedding to get a veil. I was not initially going to use one, but I thought it would look nice in the pictures.
Unfortunately, the wind was not really working for us that day, but everything else was beautiful so it wasn’t an issue. I used simple jewelry, that would not be a distraction in pictures.
Style AND comfort
I went with gold flats. I was going to be walking on a mountain, and heels would have been a bad idea. Although, I probably would have worn flats either way. It’s the best day of my life. Why should I be uncomfortable?
The handsome groom
Josh wore a custom blue suit. I initially disapproved of the color. I thought it was too bright, and that it would be out of style twenty years from now (the male equivalent of the puffy-sleeved wedding dress). But everyone LOVED his suit. He got more compliments than me! He looked great, and it was the perfect pick for an outdoor wedding. He definitely proved me wrong.
An alternative bridal party
I did not have bridesmaids. I’ve never enjoyed being one, and my close friends were the only ones coming to the wedding anyway. To anyone on the fence, I highly recommend this. My friends were grateful, and the day stayed completely about me and Josh.
We had our brothers carry and hold the chuppah, and Josh’s present and future sisters in law walked the “baby of honor” and ring bearer (Josh’s nephews) down the aisle. There’s always a way to honor family in a wedding in ways other than through a bridal party.
A family-oriented ceremony
Our ceremony was incredibly special. Besides the fact that it was on a mountain, we were able to incorporate our families, which was so important to us. Josh has three brothers, and I have one, and they held the chuppah during the ceremony.
One of Josh’s brothers and his girlfriend played our processional music on the violin as we walked down the aisle. He “tapped out” Josh’s cousin to join us after we were settled underneath the chuppah. Our rabbi lent us his chuppah for free, which was another welcome surprise!
Another one of Josh’s aunts and my uncle wrapped us in the tallit.
A personalized ketubah
Meaningful music choices
Josh’s brother and his girlfriend played our processional songs on the violin. The family and groom walked down the aisle to Bach’s Air in G Josh’s choice (as a violinist himself, he is a big fan of classical music).
We also danced to “Your Song” as our first dance. Our recessional song was Starlight by Muse, played by the DJ.
To be honest, it was a big step for me just to have flowers in the first place. I used the grocery store florist for my bouquet and the centerpieces. I spent $400 all in, and I have absolutely no regrets.
Our fabulous photographer
Our photographer was by far the best part of day. That morning was incredibly stressful because everyone was late, but Sharee Davenport had the biggest smile and made me feel so great.
Our ride up the gondola, just me, Josh, Sharee, and the assistant photographer was so calm after so much craziness, and it gave us a new start to the day and it stayed happy and peaceful after that.
I highly recommend that brides keep the photographer’s personality in mind when they are choosing, because you spend more time with him/her than anyone else besides your groom. Our pictures were also gorgeous!
A DJ and a deck with a view
We had a DJ, DJ Fred at Greatime. Our venue was also inside of Game Creek bowl and the deck had a beautiful view of the mountains. Most people spent the lion’s share of the reception on the deck. Our DJ was a consummate professional, and I cannot recommend him enough.
We handed out personalized sunglasses at the (daytime, outdoor) ceremony. We got the idea from our friends’ wedding.
A very helpful rabbi
If you get married in Vail, Rabbi Newman at B’Nai Vail knows everything there is to know about logistics and vendors. Hire him first, and get most of your referrals from him.
He encouraged us to do some modern takes on the ceremony as well, which I am so happy we did. We each circled around each other (rather than just me circling around him) and we also wrote our own vows. I’m so happy he helped us plan our day.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I think that stress is inevitable. I had an 85-person wedding, and I still had stressful points. I think that sharing the load can make a big difference.
Josh and I both have stressful jobs, so we would always look for something to do for the other person if they were having an especially busy week. It taught us a lot about how to handle big projects together in the future.
Remember that the wedding is about the two of you, not what your friends think, or who did more work. As long as you keep focused on what’s important, you’ll survive the planning and have the best day of your lives!
Jordan & Joshua’s little white book
Photographer – Sharee Davenport
Venue – Vail Wedding Deck
Day of Coordinator – Coordination Co
Invitations – Minted
Dress – David’s Bridal
Hair – Hairs 2 Vail
DJ – Greatime
Rabbi – Rabbi Newman at B’Nai Vail