As soon as I opened Erica and Olivier’s Jewish wedding submission with their gorgeous branded elements I thought this is going to be EPIC and full of fabulous details and styling and I most certainly was not disappointed.
I love the rustic elements and ‘Happily Ever Adler’ slogan. The little match boxes in particular are super cute! And then there’s the array of personal touches, the gorgeous colour palette of mustard and grey, the festoon lighting, a Manhattan Bar, and THAT chuppah (wait till you see it.. so different).
I also love that they chose four of their closest single male friends to stand by each of the four chuppah poles. Erica explains that she believes it’s considered good luck to find a life partner, for the single men to be at the chuppah with the bride and groom.. I’m eagerly awaiting to blog those four weddings, Erica!
Thank you to Marissa Joy Photography for the perfectly captured images, and to her Erica for her wonder ful wedding report below.
How we met
Erica, the bride: Olivier and I both attended the University of Pennsylvania 2 years apart but didn’t meet one another until we moved to San Francisco (independently) in 2010 and were casually introduced by a mutual college friend in 2011! Serendipity.
Choosing to get married at the Holly Farm in Carmel, California
We chose The Holly Farm in Carmel, California. I never had visions of my “dream wedding.” In fact, Olivier had the stronger opinions! The devil is in the details – it didn’t matter to be where we were married as long as we could celebrate with close family and friends.
As Olivier and I met in San Francisco and lived here together, we wanted our wedding to be in the San Francisco Bay Area. My family is from the East Coast (Philadelphia area) and his family is from Belgium, our family could make a vacation around our wedding. Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Carmel/Monterey, and wine country were all within an easy driving distance from our venue. We were lucky enough to have The Holly Farm to ourselves for 4 days – the whole weekend was magical!
An amazing wedding planner
We met Michelle Lee of Simply Events (before we knew she was a wedding planner) through her husband, who went to college with Olivier, and were friends through living in San Francisco. As soon as we were engaged, we knew we had to hire Michelle as our planner – she was meticulous, trustworthy, and an overall pleasure to work with (in addition to being a friend!). The greatest gift of the wedding came from Michelle, who granted us a totally stress-free, fully enchanting wedding weekend. As soon as I stepped onto the property, nothing else mattered to me besides enjoying the company of our closest friends and family.
Mustard and grey invitation
We ordered all of our paper elements through Minted and the colour palette of “Mustard and Warm Grey” looked best with our letter-pressed invitation design. So, we went with yellow and grey themed accents for the rest of the wedding items.
Hair + Make-Up
Megan Schohr has been doing my haircut, colour, and style for years since I moved to San Francisco and I absolutely wanted her to do my wedding hair. I knew it would be warm/hot on the wedding day so my hair needed to be up and off my neck. I have naturally curly hair which I wanted to keep for my updo. She nailed it perfectly during the trial and replicated the same ‘do for the wedding day. It had a hidden braid up the back of my head by my neck which was a lovely touch.
Stefany Martinez of Make-up by Stefany was recommended to me by my Clinique representative, Tiffany, at Bloomingdale’s (who usually did my make-up for special occasions but was unavailable for my wedding). Stefany did the wedding make-up for Tiffany at her own wedding, so I knew she would be fantastic.
We had a daytime wedding so I wanted a fresh, natural look and she delivered (also nailed it on the trial).
A Nicole Miller dress
On multiple formal occasions, I have worn Nicole Miller dresses, but I had no idea she designed wedding gowns until I saw her at one of the last bridal stores I visited! Of course her “Poppy Gown” was love-at-first-fitting. It was a perfect match to my body type, style, and fit the rustic elegance of a summertime wedding.
Veil from the bride’s mum
The florist, Amanda from Laughin’ Gal Floral , surprised me with a beautiful white flower hair accessory which I wore for the pre-ceremony photographs (first look, family photos).
For the badeken and chuppah, I wore the cathedral-length veil my mum wore 35 years ago for her wedding to my father. The intricate lace/bead detail on the headpiece perfectly framed my face and complemented my dress. I loved having a piece of her with me under the chuppah while she was standing with my father alongside us.
I wore Jimmy Choo, Baxen Metallic Wedge Sandals in Gold (8.5cm). I absolutely wanted to wear a wedge heel as the majority of the wedding venue was grass and cobblestones (stiletto nightmare!). I also wanted to buy a shoe that I could wear with a variety of outfits after the wedding. My Jimmy Choos were SO COMFORTABLE and I’ve worn them on multiple occasions with jeans for a night out or other cocktail-attire events.
The handsome groom
For our daytime ceremony, Olivier wore a wool-silk-linen gray suit from Suitsupply, a white dress shirt, a yellow-gray striped bowtie and yellow socks to match the wedding colour scheme.
He wore my favourite cufflinks of his, an angel monkey and a devil monkey. I think they’re so hilarious!
Our wedding party consisted of our parents, my brother, and his sister. No additional bridesmaids or groomsmen. We wanted to keep it simple and intimate.
For our fathers, my grandfather, and my brother, we coordinated yellow-gray striped neckties (Olivier wore a bowtie of the same pattern), matching yellow socks, and boutonnieres.
For our mothers, my grandmother, and his sister, we had the florist design wrist corsages.
We also had 4 of our closest “single” male friends standing by each of the 4 chuppah poles. It’s considered good luck (to find a life partner) for the single men to be at the chuppah with the bride and groom!
The Holly Farm already had a woven wood canopy under the Oak Tree, so we simply added temporary poles to the 4 corners, and our florist decorated the canopy and poles with a stunning arrangement.
Favourite parts of our ceremony
It’s so difficult to chose just one part! I have two:
1) After my processional, I continued straight into the Hakofot (circling) in which I circled Olivier 7 times. I took special attention to absorbing every little detail about those circles and surrounding environment – my handsome husband, our friends and family with us, the gorgeous venue and weather, and all of the love with us in that moment.
2) Per tradition, my veil was covering my face the entire ceremony, and I was joyous at the end of the ceremony when Olivier lifted my veil for our first kiss. The photo Marissa took of this moment is also my favorite photo of the entire weekend (and has been my phone background for our first year of marriage).
We found our ketubah online and bought it straight from the artist himself, Izzy Pludwinski.
The ketubah text is written in traditional orthodox Aramaic surrounded by a circular script design of the phrase “Ani L’Dodi, v’Dodi Li” (I am My Beloved’s, and My Beloved is Mine) from Shir HaShirim (“Song of Songs”) written by King Solomon.
The design is printed but Izzy added real gold filigree accents for some dimension.We framed the ketubah in a black frame, off-white matt with a sliver of gold mat to complement.
Amanda from Laughin’ Gal Floral designed all of our wedding florals: my wedding bouquet, our chuppah, the men’s boutonnieres and women’s wrist corsages, and our table arrangements – I couldn’t have been happier! My single request was to include my favourite flower, the calla lily, wherever possible, and Amanda delivered creative, stunning arrangements.
Our fabulous Photographer
Olivier knew Marissa Kaplan of Marissa Joy Photography “way back when” before she was a photographer. Through college, Olivier is close friends with Marissa’s older brother. Not only is Marissa a fabulous photographer, but she was a close friend, now even closer! She did several of our friends’ weddings, each unique. We love her personality, photography style, and are so lucky to have her in our lives. Marissa did our engagement session and wedding – and I can’t wait to have her photograph all of our life milestones.
A ‘Scotch and Cigars’ alcove
My favourite cocktail is a bourbon Manhattan, and Olivier’s favourite drink is Scotch (neat), so we setup a Manhattan Bar during the cocktail hour and designed a “Scotch and Cigars” alcove with custom labeled cigar wraps and matchboxes. What a hit! We were out of bourbon, scotch, and cigars by the end of the night.
Our wedding was Glatt Kosher and we hired the premier kosher caterer of the San Francisco Bay Area, Wendy Kelckner of Too Caterer, to cater our cocktail hour hor d’oeuvres and dinner buffet. My single request was table-carved beef… yum!
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE!
We had a small wedding cake made by Have Your Cake to “cut the cake” that was dense chocolate with white fondant icing decorated to match our yellow-gray colour scheme and included a floral design (with calla lily – my favourite flower).
Instead of sheet cake for the guests, we selected a variety of small desserts including lemon squares, walnut squares, coffee almond cake petit fours, and chocolate glazed brownie squares. This way there was something for everyone!
Our music choice and First dance
We chose a reggae version of I’m Yours and took several dance lessons beforehand so we didn’t dance with two left feet. Olivier protested the dance lessons, but it payed off in the end for coordination – our dance wasn’t complex, but it was very sweet with a few twirls and dips.
A Jewish wedding isn’t complete without the Hora! We had separate dancing circles for women and men which combined at the end for the chair-lifting tradition, which was hilarious. My dad is an identical twin and our friends lifted my uncle up in the chair, instead of my father, as a joke 😛
We were going with a DJ for the reception and wanted a touch of live music at some point in the day, so we chose the string quartet Outlook String Quartet for guest arrival, ceremony, and cocktail hour. They were local, highly recommended by venue, and had a wide song list to choose from. We had the quartet play contemporary music (think songs everyone would know the lyrics too) to keep the atmosphere light and peppy.
DJ Antonio of Soundshine Entertainment had done many weddings at the Holly Farm and also came highly recommended. He MC’d the dinner/reception, accommodated all of our song requests (including a strict do-not-play list of corny songs).
Photos as favours
We had a photobooth from 143 Photobooth with fun props for guests to take photos as favours and for our guestbook. Each photostrip was printed twice (one copy for the guests and one copy for our photobook). We have the guestbook in our living room and I always love to peek at the silly photos and relive the day.
Chalkboard wine-charms instead of place cards
Instead of place cards at each seat, we used chalkboard wine-charms. I recruited a friend with calligraphy skills to handwrite each guest’s first name on a charm. The charms were such a fun, personal addition to the dinner tables.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Every time I meet a new bride-to-be, I always remind her that the wedding is truly all about her and her partner, regardless of whatever anyone else thinks. As long as you’re honest with yourself (and vocal), the rest of the details will fall into place. Most of all: HAVE FUN!
Erica & Olivier’s little white book
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo
Groom’s attire – Suitsupply
Make-up – Make-up by Stefany
Flowers – Laughin’ Gal Floral
Stationery – Minted
String Quartet – Outlook String Quartet
DJ – DJ Antonio of Soundshine Entertainment
Kosher Caterer – Too Caterer
Catering – La Creme
Cake – Have Your Cake
Ketubah – Izzy Pludwinski
Beverages – Mills Wine Group
Photobooth – 143 Photobooth
Rabbi — Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi, Congregation Chevra Thilim