We are totally and utterly obsessed with today’s air travel-themed Jew-ish wedding. It’s really like nothing we’ve ever seen before, from the departure board seating charts to the drag act dressed up as cabin crew! (Yes it’s THAT good!)
Unusual? Absolutely. But when you find out that Ewan and Greg were in a trans-Atlantic long-distance relationship for 7 (!) years, with all the shuttling back and forth between Ewan’s home in London and Greg’s in New York that entails, it all makes sense. (Greg, an HR manager for a public relations firm, eventually made the big move across the pond to be with Ewan, a solicitor who works in-house for a Hollywood studio.)
We love how much effort Ewan and Greg went to with all the details, from the place cards — folded paper airplanes made from New York and London street maps — to the monogrammed air sickness bags (in case the wedding speeches got too nauseating!), beautifully captured by Ross Willsher Photography.
But there’s no question that the piece de resistance was the elaborate in-flight safety video the duo filmed as a surprise for their guests during the reception — they even hired out a real plane for a few hours for the filming! Yes, it’s EXACTLY as hilarious as it sounds — make sure you check it out below!
There’s so much more to say about this awesome day, from the way the couple worked to combine Ewan’s Scottish and Greg’s Jewish heritage to the lovely (and STG-inspired!) chuppah, but the time has come for us to hand you over to the grooms to hear the rest!
Before we do, though… if you want some practical tips on crafting a wedding that is just as you as Ewan and Greg’s was them, make sure you sign up to our unmissable FREE online event: ‘The secrets to an unforgettable Jewish wedding with our founder and editor, Karen, happening on Monday November 12.
How We Met
Ewan and Greg, the grooms: We met at a Jewish-Episcopal, black-tie optional/fancy dress lesbian wedding in New York in 2007. The rest is history.
A Venue on Regents Canal
We got married in the Battlebridge room at Kings Place — located behind Kings Cross station, right on Regent’s Canal. It took us a while to decide on venue. We have some older family members who are sensitive to heat so we knew the venue needed to have air conditioning. Greg loved the venue right from the get-go — the all white walls, blank-canvas feel, combined with lots of windows that looked out onto a private terrace with Regents Canal just beyond.
Ewan, on the other hand, had been to this room for work events — he found it hard to imagine that the room could be transformed into the space where our wedding could take place. We continued our search and looked at so many venues, but in the end this location seemed to tick all the boxes.
In retrospect, we both felt it was a perfect location. Our relationship was a long distance one (London — New York) for seven years before Greg moved from New York City to London to live full-time with Ewan. During many visits to London over the years, we would take long walks along Regents Canal — so the location on the canal also made the space feel significant.
An Airline Theme
We kept saying there wasn’t a theme, but in the end there was a theme — as a nod to our 7 year trans-atlantic relationship we went with an airline travel theme. Ewan is from Glasgow and wore a kilt made from his family’s Napier tartan which is mainly blue and white, so we used those as the colors for the day.
As far as style, it was fairly laid back. We had a small wedding party and we didn’t obligate them to wear specific clothing or colors, and we set the dress code as “Summer Chic” so guests could use their imagination on that one. Many of Greg’s American friends jumped at the chance to wear a fascinator.
What ‘Smashing The Glass’ Did For Us
We weren’t regular visitors before stumbling upon the site during a Google search for chuppah designs. Greg found Charlotte and Ellie’s beautiful wedding profile that had elements that really resonated with him, so much so that he took screen shots of their chuppah pictures to give to the florist with the direction of “this is exactly what I want. Please recreate this exactly. This is what I want.” In the end, the site also connected us to our ketubah vendor so it was very fortuitous that we found it.
Boarding Pass Invitations
The travel theme started with the invitation. We wanted the invite to look like a flight boarding pass. You can find a thousand of these online, but a lot are very frilly and ornate. Ewan came across a great online invitation site based in the States that had an option that felt more simple and modern. The designer was super easy to work with via email and she ended up designing our menus and wedding ceremony order of service.
The handsome grooms
Ewan is from Glasgow and so opted for a kilt in his family’s tartan (Napier). He worked with a custom kilt maker for a bespoke kilt that looked amazing. He chose a diamond print for the back of the waistcoat — Greg’s last name is Diamond. Greg wore a navy, 3-piece suit and blue suede and leather shoes.
We went to Ewan’s barber for a hot shave the morning of the wedding.
A number of years ago, Greg attended a wedding of a friend who asked him to be a chuppah holder. That experience always stayed with him and he wanted to do the same for his own wedding. Ewan asked two of his friends, and Greg asked two of his friends, to lead the wedding procession by carrying the chuppah into the room, and then they held it throughout the ceremony.
Greg had an image in his mind of what he wanted for the chuppah, and then he found the exact chuppah on Smashing The Glass. Four birch poles, simply decorated at the top with ferns, ivy, and maybe a few flowers, each supporting his grandfather’s tallit.
An Interfaith Ceremony
From the get-go, Greg wanted the seating for the ceremony to be ‘in the round.’ Rather than be against one wall, with all of our guests seated in rows facing us, we wanted to be in the middle of the room, with all of our friends and family surrounding us on all sides.
We wanted our wedding to be a mix of traditions and customs from both of our backgrounds. Greg is Jewish and Ewan is not Jewish and not religious. It was important to Greg to include Jewish wedding traditions so we discussed how we could compromise and incorporate elements of a Jewish ceremony, together with typical UK traditions.
To help us with the Jewish elements we called upon our mutual friend Heather. We actually first met at Heather’s wedding to Jocelyn in New York in 2007. Heather is a fabulous Jewess and she is great at bringing together all of her family and friends (both Jewish and non-Jewish) to celebrate Jewish festivals and events. She also has a fantastic manner and ability to translate the traditions in a way that explains them for people who may be experiencing them for the first time, but she also puts her own modern interpretation and spin on things. We therefore asked Heather to marry us.
We also hired a UK celebrant who could bring all of the proper tradition and language necessary for a wedding in the UK. We found Julie from Bespoke Ceremonies online and she was perfect and more than happy to work with Heather and share the responsibility of conducting the wedding ceremony. Julie held the reigns and, over the course of about three months, led the four of us through the process of planning a perfect ceremony.
For the two kiddushim in the ceremony, we replaced the wine with Scotch whisky. It seemed like another perfect opportunity to combine Jewish wedding traditions with Ewan’s Scottish heritage. In 2017 we took Greg’s brother, Bruce, on a whisky tour of Speyside and as a “thank you” Bruce bought us a bottle of Scotch from the Aberlour distillery. We had decided to save the bottle for a special occasion and so it seemed fitting to open it for the kiddushim. It was definitely a highlight having our best men, including Bruce, share the whisky with us during the ceremony.
We ordered extra tartan material from the kilt maker to turn into bespoke yarmulkes for Jewish guests to wear.
We had a bagpiper who played outside of the venue for an hour as guests arrived. Then for the procession he piped in our nieces and nephew (flower girl, ring bearer and maid of honor) to a traditional Scottish tune. For our portion of the procession he played I’m Gonna Be, by the Proclaimers. (“I would walk 500 mile” seemed appropriate given our 7 years of London-New York “commuting”).
Flowers that Pop
Our venue recommended our florist — Wichit from Aflorum near Kings Cross. He knew the venue well and had a real vision, so we put a lot of trust in him to decide on what he felt was best. We were not disappointed. The button holes were a mix of thistle and other highland flowers. The table centers were very colorful, low to the table arrangements filled with a mix of hydrangea, delphiniums, thistle, ferns, alchemilla, astrantia, craspedia, dahlias, lisianthus, mint, and naranga rose. Wichit said the flowers would ‘pop’ and they certainly did.
We started with an online search for gay wedding photographers, and came across Ross Willsher Photography. Ross was great — for starters he was a nice guy and very personable. He traveled into London to meet and show us his work. He has a great eye for capturing all of the right moments in a wedding. We were really pleased with the results.
We decided against having a traditional wedding cake. Who really remembers the slick of cake that comes to the table? Instead we sourced several British and French cheese from our local cheese purveyor and with his help designed a cheese tower. Our florist decorated each level with edible flowers and fruit.
After the wedding toasts at the end of the meal, we ‘cut the cheese’ and then later in the evening during the party the venue served the tower with an assortment of biscuits, crackers, and chutneys. We thought a good savory snack midway through the party to cut the heavily flowing alcohol would be more memorable.
A Drag Act and a Ceilidh
To start the party off, we had a surprise 3-person drag act called The Vixens. We saw them a number of times – they sing covers. They always delivered a fun performance that got people singing and dancing. They loved our travel theme and showed up dressed as cabin crew and performed for 45 minutes before heading off to another gig.
We then had The Sassenachs, a great Ceilidh band. Scottish Highland dancing would be a new experience for most of Greg’s family and guests, and even a few Brits — and band leader Laurie Don had a lot of people out on the dance floor, teaching everyone a number of dances.
After an hour of ceilidh, the band broke down and then we switched over to a DJ and disco for the remainder of the night. On the invite RSVP cards we asked for our guests favorite dance floor tunes, so we compiled that list and let the DJ do her thing.
We also had a Magic Mirror that was part of the DJ dancefloor bundle — it’s like a photo booth, but it’s not enclosed — so larger groups of friends can all pose in front of the mirror to take pictures.
Rather than a standard sign-in book, we found a canvas world map that guests could write on with silver pens. We’ll hang it in a room in our home so we can be easily reminded of the fun day we spent with our family and friends.
Mr & Mr
We attended a gay wedding show in Camden over the winter and there was a vendor for these large, white letters filled with light bulbs. There was a Mr & Mr on display and we were sold. We put them on the terrace outside of the ceremony space for guests to see as they arrived, and then they were moved and set against one of the walls behind the dance floor for the party.
Our wedding coincidentally took place over London’s Gay Pride festival weekend, so we used uplighters on the wall behind the letters to display the rainbow flag colors. It was very dramatic and became a focal point for a lot of pictures.
In keeping with the travel theme, we found small white plastic carry-on suitcases with clear plastic lids. We filled them with customized M&Ms and placed them at each place setting. The M&Ms were printed with our names, the wedding date, and a photo of the pair of us.
Involving family and friends
We involved a number of friends and family in the day. As mentioned, our friend Heather was one of our celebrants. Four friends served as chuppah holders. Ewan’s brother and a friend of Greg’s each read a selected reading.
We included the seven blessings in the ceremony, but we did a modern interpretation of each blessing. We found inspiration for it online here, and Ewan and Greg each invited three friends (or pairs of friends) or family members to stand and read one of the blessings. We printed the seventh blessing in our order of service and all of our guests read the blessing to us. Greg’s two brothers each filled the glass used for the kiddush and Greg’s nephew was the ring bearer. We also asked two different friends to serve as witnesses to sign our ketubah.
One long wall of the venue had four flat-panel TVs on it. After the cocktail hour, the curtains were opened and guests were welcomed into the room. We turned the TVs into departure boards, like you would find in an airport terminal. Everyone had to go up to the TVs to watch the scrolling flight information to find their table. Each name was assigned to an actual flight number of one of our trans-Atlantic flights that we had taken over the years. Each flight was assigned to a gate number, and the tables were the gates.
After everyone found their way to their seats, Ewan’s best man Gerry made an announcement to direct everyone’s attention to the four TVs, which then switched from departure boards and were used to air our in-flight safety video. A friend of ours who works in TV and film production helped us write, film, edit, and produce the video. It opens with a welcome message from one of Ewan’s cousins who is a real pilot, speaking from the cockpit.
It then transitioned to a cameo.com greeting from Pam Ann, an Australian comedian whose routine involves dressing as a flight attendant and finding the humour in the airline industry. We were able to convince Brooklands Flight Museum in Surrey to allow us to hire a plane for a couple of hours to film ourselves delivering all of the flight safety information. It was a fun project, and the final video really set the tone for the party. After it aired we entered the room together to cheers, shouting, and standing applause. It’s a feeling and memory we’ll never forget.
At the table, we had white monogrammed air-sick bags that were referenced in the video (in case the wedding speeches were too nauseating!). The name cards were folded paper airplanes, made from the pages of London and New York City street map books. And as mentioned, we also had the suitcase favors at each place setting.
An hour prior to the start of the ceremony, we took our family photographs with our photographer, to save time and not have to try and do those during the cocktail hour. We were posed in front of Regents Canal at a spot where there wasn’t a guard-rail — and Greg’s older brother accidentally slipped and fell back into the canal!
Everyone turned to face the canal, and all we could see was the surface of the water. After what felt like an eternity, he resurfaced, covered with algae. Greg’s other brother Brian reached down and pulled Bruce from the water.
After about 20 shock, concern and, ultimately laughter filled minutes, we proceeded with the photographs. It was such a hot day that Bruce almost immediately started to dry and he was a real trooper — he was dry by the time the ceremony started and he stayed in his suit and clothes for the remainder of the day!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Before you sign the contract with your venue, think of everything and negotiate it up front. We felt we had done a good job with this, but probably could have done better. And if you have a vision for something, and the venue or vendor tries to steer you away from it, stick to your guns. Your day should be how you want it.
Listen to one another. Some things were easy, while other decisions required negotiation. Hear what the other person is thinking about each element, compromise, and don’t sweat the small stuff. On the day, a lot goes unnoticed — your family and friends are there to celebrate you and that’s what they’ll remember the most.
Ewan & Greg’s little white book
Photography – Ross Willsher Photography
Venue – Kings Place
Greg’s suit – Hackett
Ewan’s kilt – The English Kilt Company Ltd
Flowers – Aflorum
Cheese cake – Provisions
Bagpiper — Matthew McRae
Ceilidh Band – The Sassenachs
DJ and Magic Mirror – Marvel Booths
Drag Act – The Vixens
Light-up letters – Light Couture
Favours – M&Ms and Gifts 24/7
Guest Book – Etsy
Ketubah – Jennifer Raichman
Celebrant – Bespoke Ceremonies for Every Occasion
Stationery – Pixie
Rings – Queensmith Master Jewelers
Wine – Majestic Wine Calais
Giftlist – John Lewis
Dance lessons – Captiv8 Dance
Wedding Website – Square Space
Rehearsal Dinner – St John’s Tavern
Hotel and Sunday brunch after wedding – Crown Plaza