Let’s back up a little. Like with so many couples, COVID got in the way of the pair’s initial plans to wed in September 2020. Nevertheless, they decided to make it official on their original date with just immediate family present – and a gorgeous colorful ketubah by Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Nava Shoham – 1800ketubah. Melanie and Keith adored their design so much that when the time came to plan their big celebration in June 2021, they decided to get a second lovely ketubah from Nava to mark the occasion! Don’t miss ketubah #2 in Anthony Ziccardi Studios’ wonderful photos!
And while that’s got to be our favorite story about this awesome Jewish wedding, it’s not the only unique touch. We love that Melanie and Keith wrote and read their own personal vows – heartfelt, but with a touch of humor – and we’re also crazy about their doughnut board exit station! Instead of traditional favors, guests could choose a donut from the wall on their way out, placed in personalized bags as a sweet treat for the trip home. How fun is that?
There’s so much more we could say, but we’ll leave the rest to Melanie, who looked so elegant in Pronovias…
How we Met
Melanie, the bride: We met on a dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, in September of 2016. At the time, we were both in graduate school in New York City. We now live in Central New York, in the Syracuse area, where we moved for a great opportunity for Keith. Keith is a Podiatric Surgeon and he works in a group practice and I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and I work at a middle school.
An Outdoor Venue
We got married at Bear Brook Valley in Fredon, New Jersey. We found the venue on Instagram and LOVED it, but we originally weren’t planning to look at it because we felt like it was a little too far. After seeing a few venues we didn’t love, we decided to look at it “just in case” and from the moment we got out of the car we knew it was where we were getting married. We loved the sprawling grounds, the outdoor ceremony space, and the rustic, yet at the same time, chic and elevated feel of the ballroom. We felt like it was very unique and very “us” and we were so happy with the decision!
Invitations + stationery
Our invitations were custom from My Paper Capers in Livingston, NJ. We worked with the owner, Debbie, to create something we felt was unique and fun. My aunt, who was my matron of honor, is super creative and a graphic designer, so she helped us make all of the decisions and come up with something really cool. Our invitations were black with white writing and I feel like we made them the perfect mix of funky/different and classic/timeless.
A Pronovias Dress
My dress was Pronovias from Seng Couture. Before I went dress shopping, I had spotted some Pronovias dresses on Instagram that I loved, so I was already interested in the designer, but I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted. I tried on tons of different dresses from all different designers at a few different stores, but ultimately, I loved the lace, the neckline, and the elegance of my dress!
My veil was from Seng Couture, the same place I got my dress. It was cathedral length, which was important to me, because I cut the train off my dress, but I still wanted that kind of look for coming down the aisle. Other than that, it was pretty simple and just had a little beading on the edges because I really wanted to be able to see the gorgeous lace of my dress through the veil.
My only other accessories were earrings that I got from Bloomingdales and a diamond bracelet that I borrowed from my Grandma as my “something borrowed”. The neckline of my dress was so dramatic and the lace on my dress was so incredible that I didn’t want to take away from any of that too much with too many accessories.
My shoes were silver/sparkly low chunky heels from Blue by Betsey Johnson. I didn’t want my feet to kill and I didn’t want to be taller than Keith, who is only a few inches taller than me. I also wore Keds x Kate Spade silver/sparkly sneakers for most of the night, after all of our pictures.
The handsome groom
Keith’s tux was custom from Enzo Custom in New York City. We picked everything out with their assistance so that was a fun process and it was nice because it was exactly what Keith wanted and it fit him perfectly. It also had some fun special touches like our wedding date under his collar, our initials inside the jacket, and his initials on the sleeve of his shirt.
My bridesmaids chose their own dresses – the only guideline I gave was black and floor length. It was important to me that everyone felt comfortable, confident, and happy in what they were wearing, so I didn’t want to choose a specific dress, designer, or material. I feel like everyone looks great in black and it looked so chic and classic in all of our pictures with the guys in black tuxes also.
We wrote and read our own vows, which I think is somewhat unique for a Jewish wedding. I think it was really special and meaningful not just for us, but also for our guests. Both of us wrote our vows in a way that they were sincere and heartfelt, but also kind of funny, so I think that was fun for everyone and that was definitely our favorite part of the ceremony.
Nava Shoham – 1800ketubah did 2 ketubahs for us actually! They were both so unique and special. We love all of the colors she uses and her amazingly creative designs. We postponed our September 2020 wedding to June 2021, but we still got married on our original date with just our families, so we got our first ketubah for that wedding, and then we loved it so much that we decided to get a second one for our “big wedding”.
Our Music Choice
Keith and his parents – ‘Marry Me’ by Train
Wedding Party – ‘Make you Feel my Love’ by Adele
Mel and her parents – ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri
Recessional – ‘You Make my Dreams’ by Hall & Oates
First Dance – ‘The Best’ by Tina Turner
Mel and her dad – ‘I Loved her First’ by Heartland
Keith and his mom – ‘Say a Little Prayer’ by Aretha Franklin
Kim from Pink Dahlia Floral Design was amazing! I went to her with almost no vision aside from white and greenery and she brought it all to life and made everything so unique and special. She is so much fun to work with, so creative, and she has the best and freshest flowers.
Photographer and videographer
We used Anthony Ziccardi Studios for both photo and video. They were the only photo team we even considered and we booked them on the spot at our initial meeting. They are at our venue pretty much weekly so we knew they knew all the best spots, which was important to us because our venue has incredible grounds. We knew we wanted amazing pictures but we also knew we didn’t want to miss any of our cocktail hour or party to get them, so it was perfect that Anthony and his team knew where to go for everything and didn’t have to spend time figuring out the best spots. They were so much fun to work with, their style is so us, and we are obsessed with how all of our photos and our video came out!
Food and Cake
Our venue did all of our catering. One thing we loved about our venue was the amazing cocktail hour options. We had tons of different stations as well as fun different passed apps and people are still telling us how great our cocktail hour food was!
Marcus Reid Band is truly amazing. I saw them at a friend’s wedding years ago, before I even met Keith, and I knew they had to be my wedding band one day. When we started planning we looked at all different Hank Lane Music bands, but we quickly decided it just had to be Marcus. His band is so much fun, so lively, and really gets everyone dancing from start to finish. He was totally our vibe and we had the best time!
Instead of traditional favors we did a Donut Board Exit Station. Guests chose donuts on their way out and put them into personalized to go bags as a sweet treat for the way home. We felt like people often get rid of favors anyway and this was something a little more fun and different.
MELANIE & KEITH’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography & Videography – Anthony Ziccardi Studios
Ketubah – Nava Shoham – 1800ketubah
Band – Marcus Reid Band via Hank Lane Music
Venue – Bear Brook Valley
Bride’s dress – Pronovias from Seng Couture
Bride’s shoes – Blue by Betsey Johnson
Bride’s accessories – Veil from Seng Couture, earrings from Bloomingdales, diamond bracelet was “something borrowed” from my Grandma
Groom’s attire – Enzo Custom
Hair + Makeup – makeup: Ashley Landry hair: Christina Munoz
Flowers – Pink Dahlia Floral Design
Cake – Palermo Custom Cakes
Stationery/Invitation – My Paper Capers
Officiant – Adam Baranker, one of our best friends who runs a Hebrew High School program officiated