Not gonna lie, it never fails to give us the warm and fuzzies when a couple puts family at the center of their Jewish wedding. Cory, a second grade teacher, and Ben, Assistant Director of Academic Services for NYUSPS SCHACK Institute of Real Estate, did just that, filling their day with all kinds of beautiful touches large and small that focused their day on those nearest and dearest to them.
For starters, the Cory’s father designed and built the couple’s beautiful chuppah – and her sister was married under it 9 months before Cory and Ben smashed the glass! Even the canopy has a personal connection, being sewn by a beloved family friend.
We also love the special touches the bride brought to her bouquet: not only was it wrapped with the sleeve from her mother’s wedding dress (awwww!), Cory’s mom also attached an Elmo patch to it – a subtle nod to the bride’s love of the little red guy from Sesame Street.
Photographer Millie Batista and videographer Peter Stepien captured this beautiful day so perfectly, and Cory looked smashing in her Nicole Spose sweetheart drop waist A-line gown. She’ll fill you in on the
How We Met
Cory, the bride: Ben and I were set up between a mutual friend named Jenna. I had met Jenna through working with her as the motivational dancers at various bar and bat Mitzvah parties. One day Jenna told me she had a really great guy friend who had just gotten out of a relationship, and when he was ready to start dating again, she wanted to set us up.
Ben knew Jenna from a summer camp that we all attended as children and happened to work at during different summers. So when he was ready, Ben texted me to set up our first “date”. We met for coffee one day after I got out of work, then shortly after that initial coffee date, we made plans to go out for a proper date of dinner and bowling… and as they say, the rest is history.
Southern Charm Meets Modern Elegance
We chose the Ryland Inn because the venue combines Southern charm with modern elegance, which is what we fell in love with the moment we stepped onto the grounds. The ballroom is so breathtaking, Ben jokes that I cried more over the venue than I did when he proposed!
We did not use a wedding planner, Ben and I planned the entire wedding ourselves. Our style was rustic, simple and elegant.
We had a lot of items at our wedding that were handmade by my father over the months leading up to our big day. This included oversized picture frames to hold some of our favorite shots throughout our relationship, the cake/cupcake stand, and the most special item, our chuppah.
Our color was cornflower blue, which ended up being a beautiful summer color paired nicely with the grooms/groomsmen’s light grey suits.
What ‘Smashing The Glass’ Did For Us
I would visit Smashing The Glass while planning my wedding to get ideas, and look at pictures of other Jewish weddings. It was nice to see pictures and read the blogs of other weddings to help spark ideas for my own wedding. I hope to inspire other readers with the details of my day.
Our invitation was simple and elegant. We wanted it to match our cornflower blue color scheme along with the flowy font that was used throughout our wedding (even on our card box).
Hair + Makeup
For hair and makeup we went with the fabulous people at Facez Beauty Bar located in Pequannock, NJ. When I say fabulous I mean it! They were all so wonderful to work with and were able to “nail” every girl’s look that day.
Leah Diguilio did my hair and Jacqueline Catanese did my makeup. Since we had a July wedding I knew that I needed my hair to be up and off of my neck. Leah gave me a low bun with loose curl textures.
I don’t typically wear makeup on a daily basis, so I wanted a soft look, as Jackie called it, “soft glam”. One of my favorite features are my freckles and I wanted to make sure that you could still see my freckles through my wedding day makeup.
A Nicole Spose Dress
I bought my dress from Park Avenue Bridal in Cedar Grove, NJ, where my mom purchased her dress many, many years ago.
My dress was the from the Aurora Collection by Nicole Spose, a sweetheart neckline drop waist A-line. The dress has beautiful lace cascade down the bodice with subtle sequins that gave it that little extra sparkle I was looking for.
It was actually the first dress I tried on during this appointment. My mom, sister, and grandmother all lit up when I came out of the dressing room, but since it was the first dress I tried on, I insisted that I needed to try on more dresses. After trying on a few other dresses, I went back to the first one and knew it was “the one”. It reminded me of my venue in a way, simple yet elegant, and I could envision walking down the aisle wearing it.
Pearls and a Veil
I wore pearl earrings with a matching pearl necklace and bracelet that my parents gave me a few years ago for Hanukkah. (I think they secretly hoped it would be used for my wedding one day). I also wore my sister’s veil during the ceremony, which became my something borrowed.
Badgley Mischka Shoes
Let’s be honest, I am not a heels girl, so I immediately knew that I wanted to wear wedges. I figured they would give me the height I wanted, but would still be easy for me to walk in.
I found the perfect wedges by designer Badgley Mischka. The style is the Dara wedge sandal, a glamorous ivory satin wedge with an intricate scalloped detailing on the heel and a gorgeous crystal design right above the peep toe.
The handsome groom
Ben wore an Alfani Men’s stretch performance slim-fit suit, created for Macy’s in a medium gray color. He wore a while button down french cuff shirt, so he could wear his grandfather’s cuff links, who unfortunately passed away 4 years ago.
Ben worked very hard in designing a custom tie and pocket square to match the cornflower blue theme, using a website called Knotty Tie. They have tons of different patterns and customized options to choose from, and even sent us a fabric color chart so we were able to pick the best color to match the bridesmaid’s dresses.
Bridesmaids in Blue
All 5 of my bridesmaids wore the Bill Levkoff Chiffon style 1113 in Cornflower Blue. Their dresses had a sweetheart neckline that matched my dress with thin spaghetti straps and floor length A-line skirt. The bodice had gathered chiffon fabric that criss-crosses in the front to meet a dramatic pleated waistband that created a very flattering silhouette for all my girls.
A Family Chuppah
I am so proud to say that my father made our chuppah. He designed it himself and worked on it for months in his garage at home. He used cedar and pine wood to create the chuppah and stained it a dark coffee color. My sister and her husband were married under the same chuppah 9 months before my husband and I.
Not only was the chuppah structure made by my father, but the fabric that was draped on the top was sewn with love by a family friend. In Jewish wedding ceremonies, the chuppah is very symbolic, and this one in particular is extremely meaningful to my family.
Stained Glass Ketubah
A year before getting married I was helping my sister plan her wedding. At the time, she was researching ketubahs for herself, so I browsed Etsy for ideas. I came upon The Painted Ketubah shop, located in Atlanta, Georgia. I sent my sister a link for “Stained Glass Tree” because I fell in love with the Tree of Life design and the beautiful, blue and purple color palette.
Thank goodness she passed on using it because I saved it in my favorites and immediately contacted the artist Hadass Mor Gerson after Ben and I got engaged. Part of Ben’s family is from Atlanta, Georgia, where we visit regularly and I thought that it was even more special that our Ketubah came from a familiar place.
Our music choice
· Bridal Party Processional: ‘Black Bird’ by The Beatles
· Groom Processional: ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles
· Bride Processional: ‘Something’ by The Beatles
· Recessional: ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles
· First Dance: ‘Making Memories of Us’ by Keith Urban
As you can tell, Ben is a HUGE Beatles fan, so it was only right that all the music played at the ceremony was a Beatles’ song. We hired Steve and his wife, a guitar and violin duo, for the ceremony and cocktail hour. They played everything from The Beatles to the Game of Thrones theme song, which got a lot of the guests excited.
Ben and I hired a 7-piece band called Escapade through Craig Scott Entertainment. They played a mix of classic and contemporary hits, with a little bit of country thrown in at my request. They had our guests of all ages out on the dance floor the entire night – especially when they played, ‘Chicken Fried’ by Zac Brown Band.
White and Blush Flowers
I wanted to have a garden-style bouquet and Laurelwood Designs was able to bring my vision to life. I had a beautiful bouquet of O’Hara garden roses, Tibet, Vendella, white stock, white majolica and silver dollar eucalyptus. The flowers followed a white and blush color palette with some greenery thrown in.
My bouquet was wrapped with the sleeve from my mother’s wedding dress. We used that particular section because it had a beautiful line of button detail, it added elegance to the bouquet.
Fun Fact: I am a huge fan of Elmo (yes, from Sesame Street, have been since I was little) and it would not have been my wedding without having Elmo represented somewhere during the big day. So, my mother bought an Elmo patch that we attached to my bouquet, as playful nod to my childhood. I knew that it was there, but most guests had no idea!
Ben wore a white ranunculus with greenery. Ranunculus are beautiful for boutonnieres and held up really well through all the hugging and dancing.
For our table centerpieces we had a mix of high and low arrangements. The high centerpieces had glass pilsner-style vases with branches in water. The flowers we chose were white hydrangea, roses, stock, spray roses in a white, ivory, and blush color scheme. Our low arrangement were placed in 8×8 wooden square boxes to tie in the rustic feel.
Our chuppah was decorated with the same color palette in an asymmetrical design, and our florist added some greenery where flowers were not placed.
Cake AND Cupcakes
I am a huge cupcake fan and can never pass up on one, but the thought of not cutting into a cake (being that traditional bride) was really bothering me. I thought it would be so fun to have cupcakes for all of our guests. I worked with our bakery, La Bonbonniere, and presented the idea of a two tiered cake so we could have the opportunity to cut the cake (and save the top!) but then have cupcakes for our guests. They were more than happy to make that happen.
Once that was finalized, my father started working on our cake/cupcake stand which beautifully displayed our wedding cake on the top and our cupcakes around the edges surrounding.
Photographer and videographer
We worked with Millie Batista for our photography. We chose Millie because her pictures speak volumes, we loved her fine art and candid style. While looking at other pictures on her website, there was something that caught our eyes. You would never know Millie works alone, because she captures so many beautiful shots.
Our videographer was Peter Stepien. Ben and I have watched our highlight video over and over again, and every single time we both get those same day feels that we felt on July 1st.
We did not have any additional entertainment other than the band. We did, however, have a s’mores station outside by the fire pits, which was a huge hit with our guests. We even made individual s’more kits for our guests that were gluten-free and dairy-free, so that everyone at the wedding were able to enjoy this fun and delicious moment.
We wanted to have something unique and different than your typical wedding favor. I am a big tea lover and started to get Ben into tea as well. Our wedding favor was a glass tube with loose leaf Earl Gray tea. We chose the Earl Gray tea because it had blue leaves in it, that tied into our color scheme. The glass tubes were closed with a cork stopper, and we used twine, and a craft paper tag to tie around the top. Included was a heart tea infuser, so our guests could enjoy a cup or two of tea.
The hottest day
Our wedding day was the hottest day of the year. A glaring 96° with a real feel well into the 100s. I had envisioned an outdoor ceremony from the moment we booked our venue, but on our wedding day, I knew that just wouldn’t be possible. We made the decision to move our ceremony indoors, for the relief of our guests (and for myself not wanting to sweat off all that makeup!)
As disappointed as I initially was, it was in that moment that I remembered what the day is really all about. It doesn’t matter if the plans need to change or the weather doesn’t cooperate. What matters is that we were surrounded by the love of family. From my father’s hand-made décor pieces, including our gorgeous chuppah, the cupcake/cake display and various photo wall props around the room, to our siblings truly memorable speeches. We laughed, we cried and we danced our hearts out!
My mother also made all of the special baskets that were around the ceremony to hold the kippahs, and tissues (for your happy tears) during the wedding. She even decorated the amenity baskets that went into the bathrooms. Since Ben is a big golfer, she hot glued golf tee’s around the edge of the basket while using burlap to still give it that rustic feel. My mother had our kiddush cup hand blown to match out color scheme as well as the glass that Ben stepped on after we said sealed the deal with a kiss.
Honeymoon in Hawaii
We left for our honeymoon 4 days after our wedding, we had a lot of family in from out of state, so we wanted to be able to enjoy time with them after our wedding. Also I wanted to be home to celebrate the 4th of July with our families.
We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon, we wanted to go somewhere that we both had never been before and we wanted a place that was the perfect mix of relaxing and adventure. We spent most of our days in Hawaii finding a new hiking trail or exploring the local towns and ended up relaxing pool or beach-side in the afternoons.
We worked with Harlan from The Travel Siblings to plan the perfect honeymoon for us. We started on the island of Kauai, where we stayed at the St. Regis (now called Princeville Resort). After 4 nights in Kauai we flew over to Maui, where we stayed for 8 nights at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Worth a trip for their signature lavender lemonade alone!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I was surprised I wasn’t as stressed the day of the wedding as I thought I would be. My greatest advice is: you think you will remember everything but some things happen in a blink of an eye. Stop every so often during cocktail hour/reception and look around. Take in that moment, as those are the moments you will truly remember. Also,one my greatest feeling from our wedding was looking around and thinking, “wow, all these people came from near and far to celebrate us.” What a special feeling that is, when you are surrounded by family and friends you truly can feel all the love around you.
Cory & Benjamin’s little white book
Photography – Millie Batista
Videography – Peter Stepien
Venue – Ryland Inn
Bride’s dress – Nicole Spose found and fitted at Park Avenue Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Groom’s attire – Macy’s and Knotty Tie
Bridesmaids – Bill Levkoff
Hair + Makeup – Facez Beauty
Flowers – Laurelwood Designs
Cake – La Bonbonniere
Music – Royal Strings and Craig Scott Entertainment
Ketubah – The Painted Ketubah
Kiddish cup – Hot Glass Alley
Glass – Rosetree Gallery
Kippahs – Skull Cap
Invitation – Lauren Crove Creative
Honeymoon – organised by The Travel Siblings, stayed at Princeville Resort and Wailea Resort