Leah and Dave are just the cutest. They met on JDate and quickly discovered they already had mutual connections and were absolutely meant to be.
We LOVE how much of a family affair their wedding was: Leah’s father built the chuppah under which the gorgeous couple conducted their ceremony, while Dave’s mom crocheted kippot for everyone in their wedding colors – so adorbs! Each had a different design and a tag on the inside with the bride and groom’s names and the wedding date. The project took an entire year and we love the bride’s mom so much for it!
Beautiful bride, Leah, chose to pair her elegant glasses with a stunning Pronovias gown and looks beyond gorgeous.
The sweet-toothed couple, who both work with food, decided against a tiered cake, and opted, instead, for a sweet buffet complete with a heart-shaped donut wall. Yes please!
Oh… and wait until you set eyes upon their guest book / one-of-a-kind artwork – an absolute must-steal!
All of the joy, love and laughter was captured by Ayres Photography, and the wonderful writeup was provided by Leah. We’re sure you’ll love reading every moment of her and Dave’s big day.
How we met
Leah, the bride: We met on JDate. Dave had messaged me, but I ignored it because he had a girl in his profile picture with him! Eventually I caved and accepted the message and we wrote back and forth for a few days before meeting. We met and had a great time, but I had a date planned with another guy a few nights later so I was keeping an open mind. Fortunately, the date ended up being horrible, and I called Dave as soon as I left and met him out. We’ve pretty much been together ever since. As we got to know each other, we found out that even with him being from Long Island and me from Buffalo, we had some crazy connections…
When I moved to Florida at 21, I became friends with a girl from Long Island and had since stayed in touch with her. It turns out Dave’s sister worked at Red Lobster with her in high school, and at the time his best friend was valet parking at the same restaurant she was working at! Dave had also done an internship with someone on Long Island who is an aunt to one of my friend’s husbands – a bit of a reach, but still a connection! It always seemed like we were met to be together right from the start.
A versatile venue
They had 12 differently designed guest rooms for us and our wedding party and families to all stay and get ready together. They also had tables, chairs, tabletop china, glassware and silverware so we didn’t have to pay for additional rentals!
We are both in the food service and catering industry so we have seen a lot of the same things over the years and wanted to do something different. We didn’t want people thinking “ugh,we have to go to another wedding”.
Instead of a guest book, we had a local artist paint the courtyard of The Foundry in black outline and it was set on an easel for everyone to paint and fill in. People worked on it all night and and it turned out to be an amazing piece of one-of-a-kind artwork!
We also have quite the sweet tooth, and worked with Marisa from B Sweet Designs to create a stunning dessert display of all of our favorite things, including glitter donuts!
Invitations designed by the bride
I designed our invitations. I love branding weddings and couldn’t wait to do ours. Our colors were navy and gold so I used that as the base with a simple floral design.
A MAC makeup artist
I chose my makeup artist on a whim at the MAC counter at Macy’s. I’ve always loved MAC makeup and thought it was really fun to have a professional do our makeup. My sister and bridesmaid are also big MAC lovers, so I knew everyone would enjoy the pampering.
Even though it was a quick decision, Emily was so wonderful and lovely. She moved to New York City a few months before our wedding, and called me to let me know she was moving but would still come home to do our wedding – she was letting her brides know before she made it public on social media. I thought that was such a professional and kind gesture and really loved working with her.
A dream wedding dress
My dress was from Silk in Rochester, NY and the designer was Pronovias. My mom really wanted it to be just us looking for my dress and I was happy she suggested that. I think it would’ve been too overwhelming with other people there.
I researched dresses in the style I liked, and found that Silk carried many of the dresses I was gravitating towards. When my mom and I were driving to the store, she asked me what I was looking for, and I said I wanted a straight-down sheath dress without any tulle underneath. It had to have straps because I wasn’t going to futz with pulling my dress up all night, and I wanted something that was more floral than sequin and beading.
The dress I wore to our wedding was literally all of those things, and it was the first one I tried on. It almost fit perfectly, checked all my boxes, had a removable train (no bustle needed!) and the girls said they’d give me a discount if I bought the floor model. Done and done! We went back three times over the course of the year for fittings, and each time the girls were so lovely and so welcoming. Fatima, the owner and master seamstress, was so genuine and talented – she made me feel at ease about my dress, how it fit, how I looked and tailored it perfectly for me!
‘Something borrowed’ accessories
I wore a pair of pearl earrings that are my mom’s. I didn’t wear a veil or a tiara because I wear glasses, and was definitely going to wear them for the wedding too.
Betsey Johnson sparkling heels
My sister bought me an amazing pair of Betsey Johnson champagne pink heels to wear. I loved how much they sparkled and how cute and delicate they were. They were very high, so I only wore them for the pictures and the ceremony. For the reception, I changed into a pair of bright blue flats!
The handsome groom
Dave wore a stunning custom-made navy suit that he got made with his dad. He even had our initials and wedding date embroidered in the inside of the jacket as a surprise!
Bridesmaids in navy blue
I had my sister as my maid of honor and my very best friend Shayna as my bridesmaid. They are truly the two people I am closest to, aside from Dave, and I couldn’t imagine getting married without them by my side.
I wanted them to feel beautiful and confident in what they wore, so I had them pick their own dresses. My requirements were that they had to be navy and had to be long. Both girls chose stunning dresses that complemented them and fit their budget. We all got a pedicure the day before and had matching toes!
A family-made chuppah
My dad designed and built our chuppah. He is a phenomenal wood worker and I knew from the beginning I wanted him to build one for us.
We used tallit from both of our grandfathers for the roof. Both of our grandfathers have passed away so it felt as though they were looking down on us from above as we were getting married. I also loved that my dad and Dave’s dad assembled it together Sunday morning. They had babka and coffee and built a chuppah! The chuppah has since been used at two other weddings and is going to end up in my parents’ garden next summer.
Dancing the hora
I walked down the aisle to a classical version of Marry You by Bruno Mars, and our processional song was Here Comes the Sun. We wanted our reception to feel like a big party and have everyone on the dance floor the whole time, so our introduction was to James Brown’s I Feel Good, which had everyone out of their seats in seconds.
Dave and I chose Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic for our first dance. It’s a favorite for both of us, timeless, but not clichéd. Of course we also did the hora, which lasted almost 15 minutes as well as the mezinka! Most of our friends had not been to a Jewish wedding before, so everyone was so excited to be a part of the hora that it just kept going and going.
A bespoke Jewish ceremony
We decided not to have any readings at our ceremony. We didn’t want to have to pick and choose who was “important enough to us” to get a reading, and felt that once we invited one person to read, the floodgates would be open and we’d have to have a part for everyone.
We also met each other at the staircase where I circled Dave seven times and we then walked up the stairs, past our wedding party and parents and into the chuppah ourselves. I love that we took that last bit of the walk together and entered the chuppah on our own.
Dave’s witness was his mom’s cousin, Paul, who is a survivor, and mine was my dad’s cousin, Socki, who is the matriarch of our family. Both people are incredibly meaningful to us and have exemplary marriages that we could only one day hope to emulate.
Dave’s mom crocheted kippot for everyone in our wedding colors and each one had a different design. She worked on them all year and even sewed tags in the inside with our names and date.
A spicy ketubah
Our ketubah design was called ‘Seven Species’, which we felt was very fitting as Dave has a degree in Culinary Arts and we both love to cook and eat!
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
Jenn Ayres of Ayres Photography was the only photographer we met with, and we loved her from the start (and I’m obsessed with her branding).
She is a pro at shooting awkward couples who hate the prom pose and feel uncomfortable with a camera in their faces! She and her husband work together as a team and we loved that aspect of it too, as we have worked together in the past and know how both difficult and rewarding it can be.
Jenn actually hooked us up with a videographer, Ryan Palm, who was just getting into the business and looking for weddings to do for FREE! We hadn’t planned on having one, so this was an added bonus.
A few weeks before the wedding, we had Jenn, Ben, and Ryan over for dinner to break the ice and hang out with each other before the 12 hours we would spend together on wedding day. It was so relieving on wedding day to feel comfortable and at ease with both teams as opposed to strangers meeting for the first time on the most important day of our lives.
A delicious donut wall
We didn’t have a wedding cake. Again, working in the industry we were tired of wedding cakes and wanted to do something completely different and unique. We hired B Sweet Designs to curate an amazing dessert display, complete with a heart shaped donut wall.
We had a band called Joyryde that was AMAZING! Dave’s one requirement for the wedding was to have a band instead of a DJ. It was definitely one of the best decisions we made.
The band was incredible and such a blast. I’m not sure who had more fun – us or them. We’ve since become groupies, and have seen them out where they play our wedding song and make us come on the dance floor and dance.
A father-daughter dance
For the father-daughter dance my dad and I did a six-minute choreographed dance medley. We hired a dance teacher and spent 10 weeks rehearsing for our big moment. The lessons were hysterical, and the time we spent together was priceless.
When it came time for the show, we forgot one whole part of the dance and had to ad-lib. Everyone loved it, though, and thought it was a riot. We ended with Celebration and had everyone in a conga line.
Bourbon and cigars
At the end of the night, after the reception, we changed and sat with our friends outside with a bottle of nice bourbon and cigars, and just hung out and relaxed. Many of Dave’s friends are from Long Island where he grew up, and it was nice to spend some bonus time with such an amazing group of friends that have been so welcoming to me.
My dad built us a carb box using the cover of an old safety deposit box from a bank. He got them in the scrap when we were kids and built us all piggy banks with the plates but never used the dual combination door, so we used it for our wedding! It even has our wedding date on it… but with the wrong year! Oops!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
No one told me how sweaty I’d be! Definitely be prepared for that, and invest in a nice handkerchief for yourself.
I sent our schedule for the day, menu, and any other pertinent details out in an email to both sets of parents and the wedding party.
To avoid stress and people coming at me with a million questions, I gave everyone the same amount of information that I had. Then when they asked me something, I could politely say “please refer to your email.”
I would also say don’t plan your wedding for your guests, plan it for you and your fiancé. The people who love and support you will come to your wedding and share in your joy no matter what.
Leah & Dave’s little white book
Photographer – Ayres Photography
Videographer – Ryan Palm Films
Venue – The Foundry
Bride’s dress – Pronovias purchased at Silk Bridal Boutique
Bride’s shoes – Betsey Johnston
Groom’s attire – Men’s Warehouse
Bridesmaids – Adrianna Papell
Hair +Makeup – i Du Pretty and Emily Perez
Flowers – Costamagna Design
Band – Joyryde
Sweet table – B Sweet Designs
Linens – McCarthy Tents & Events
Ketubah – Ketubah.com