Today’s Jew-ish wedding takes the term ‘White Wedding’ to a whole new level! Phoebe & Ben were married in December 2015 and love winter, the festive season, and the way it brings the whole family together, so wanted their wedding to capture that sparkly, wintery, celebratory feeling.
They picked their stunning venue, The Underglobe (the museum beneath Shakespeare’s world-famous Globe Theatre in London) because of their love of theatre, and Wildabout Flowers expertly decorated the space to look like a dramatic Winter Wonderland straight out of Narnia.
Some of my favourite details include Phoebe’s sublime Rosa Clara gown, a colour scheme that included silver, purple and all out sparkles, live cabaret by a Drag Queen in leather shorts and knee high boots, and a first dance to I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore (genius!). Then there’s the off-the-scale Abigail Bloom cake, a show-stopping speech by the bride, an unplanned (unrehearsed) rendition of Bohemian Rapsody by the couple’s friends, a hugely meaningful Humanist-Jewish wedding ceremony, movie-themed icebreakers on the tables… Phew, what a wonderful glorious mix!
How we met
Phoebe, the bride: Ben and I meet at University, he was on the Kent Falcons American football team, and I was a first year who had just joined the Kent Falconette cheerleading team. We be came friendly on the team tour to Prague, and eventually Ben asked me out.
Choosing to get married at The Underglobe, South Bank, London
We got married at The Underglobe. It’s an amazing museum space under the Globe Theatre on the South Bank in London. I love the theatre and performing and the space was so versatile, when we first walked in their where children being given a sword fighting demonstration, but that was what I loved I knew we could completely transform it.
Winter Wonderland and a Movie theme
I love winter, and the festive season, it’s a reasons to bring the whole family together, and I wanted our wedding to have that same feeling, of the family coming home for the holidays. Our ‘main’ theme was winter wonderland, our colours where white and silver, with a splash of purple (we both have the same favourite colour, and it was the colour of our uniforms when we played sport at uni) we have a second theme to help tie things together, movies.
We picked our favourite films for the table names and used movie soundtracks for some of the key songs throughout the evening — we even had movie themed Icebreakers on the tables and movie themed props for the photo booth. It’s was subtle but helped to bring out our personalities.
We found the venue and the majority of the suppliers on our own, but a few months before the wedding, I ended up changing jobs and we where moving house, and it all become a little too much, so I enlisted the help of the fantastic Zouch & Lamare. Liesl and Mimi were brilliant and had some fantastic ideas, were so passionate, and like me, really paid attention to the details of the day.
I wanted our invitations to be an extension of the day, as they are the first thing people see. We worked with Intricate Creations — I couldn’t and see them in person but we spent hours on the phone exchanging ideas and thoughts and the end results where perfect. They also made our table name signs from mirrored Perspex, they looked amazing.
Hair + Make-up
The lovely Kristina Gaspera did my make up, I wanted to look like me only a little more sparkly. I went for a make up lesson with Kristina before choosing to book her for my wedding as I wanted to check we would be on the same page, and she was just fantastic. I learnt so much from her in the lesson. And on the day she did everyone’s make up exactly as I had envisioned, but better!
Imran Chowdhary of Michael John in Knightsbridge did our hair, I thought I had always known how I wanted my hair, but when we tried it, it looked too old fashioned. Imran played around a little during the trial, and on the day, with the diamond head band and veil, it all fell into place.
A Rosa Clara dress from Paris
I really wanted something timeless, Audrey Hepburn has always been a style icon of mine, I didn’t wanted something too of-the-moment as I’ve never been one to followed trends. I was really struggling to find something that ticked all the boxes, I didn’t want lace, or beading, I didn’t want ruffles or something too patterned…
One afternoon flipping through one of the 100 bridal magazines I had bought, I saw a interview for Rosa Clara, and feel in love with the shapes of her dresses, and the texture of the fabrics… Only problem… nowhere in London seemed to sell them. My nearest store according to their locator was in Paris. As I was going to be in the city of romance for work only a few weeks later, I booked an appointment. My mother came out to join me, and after trying on only three dresses, I walked out the changing room, and my mother started crying. That was it, we paid the deposit, and booked in my first fitting for 12 months later, and headed into Paris for a celebratory glass of champagne.
A very special gift from my father
I picked a stunning little jacket to go with the dress, as the wedding was in December, I needed something to keep me warm. It really helped give the overall look that slight vintage feel I wanted, and it totally helped make my waist look tiny.
My veil was also from Rosa Clara, it was very simple but very long. My jewellery was all from David Morris, as my father owns the company and I had worked there for five years. I knew exactly wanted I wanted to wear, the only problem was the week before the wedding the earrings I had wanted to borrow had been sold! However the staff were all wonderful and I tried on every pair of earrings in the shop until I found something that would work with the diamond Alice band I had picked out.
After the wedding, when I went to return the earrings to my father, he whispered in my ear ‘they are my present to you’ it was such an incredible gift and I felt so lucky.
Sparkly Stuart Weitzman shoes
I’ve never been a great wearer of high heels, and while I LOVE shoes, I can normally only keep them on my feet for about an hour before I give up, so it took a while to find a pair that I liked and could walk in.
In the end I picked a sparkly pair of Stuart Weitzman for Russell & Bromley‘s ‘showbiz’ heels. The name felt fitting for the venue, and they where so comfy. I kept them on all evening until it came time to do the first dance and I realised the dance floor was quite slippery. Not wanting to end up on my bottom in front of 180 people, I slipped into my crystal covered trainers my mother had surprised me with a few days earlier ‘just in case’.
The handsome groom
Our wedding was black tie, and we had Ben’s tux custom made by a local tailor, Birkett Bespoke Tailors, who talked us through all the fabrics and linings etc, We liked him so much that we ordered a second suit for Ben to wear to some of the other wedding events. We got all the ushers and best men matching scrabble cuff links and purple silk bow ties — they all looked so smart.
Bridesmaids in silver
I had always known that I would have my sister Cecily as my chief bridesmaid, and my little sister Skye as my flower girl, and of course my best friend Heather was definitely going to be a bridesmaid too.
They all wore different dresses, in tones of silver in keeping with the colours of the wedding and they all looked amazing.
Not a chuppah but a wall of foliage and white flowers
We didn’t have a chuppah, we were married in front of a wall of foliage and white flowers, but to play with tradition, our amazing florist had created a tunnel of white willow tress, so as we walked up the aisle it was as if we where walking through the archway of hoops that the bride and groom enter through at the start of the reception, which is quite a traditional thing to do at a Jewish wedding.
A Humanist Ceremony
We had a humanist ceremony. Ben’s family is Christian and mine is Jewish, and we wanted something far more personal than a civil ceremony. We meet with Ginny and explained our predicament, of wanted a ceremony about us that allowed us to bring in elements from both of religions. She agreed, and we worked with her to put together a ceremony, that even six months on family and friends still comment on just how personal and lovely it was.
My brother lit a candle for the family that are no longer with us, and my mother read a poem, and Ben’s father a passage from Corinthians.
The highlight of the ceremony was hearing all our friends and family laugh. It’s one of the things I love most about Ben is the fact even in what feels like the darkest of times he can always make me laugh and that was so important to us.
Our musical choices
I walked down the aisle to an amazing orchestral rendition of What a Wonderful World performed by Orquesta Filarmà³nica de Honduras, I spent a very long time searching for the perfect version of the song. But as a surprise for all our guests, and to kick off our movie theme, our recessional music was The Jurassic Park theme tune.. some of our male guests where very impressed. And to keep the movie theme going, we entered the reception to the Star Wars theme, it was a surprise for Ben, and it was much appreciated.
We worked with the amazing Wildabout Flowers. Leanne is a family friend, she did the flowers for our engagement party, there was never going to be anyone else!
I gave her my overall vision, winter wonderland; whites, silvers and greys. And I trusted her to do what she does best. It was so amazing to walk into the venue to have this amazing surprise. They totally transformed the space, you never would have know by day it’s a museum. Using willow trees, decorated with floating tea lights, and surrounding the bases of the trees with festive foliage and white roses, it was like a snow covered garden.
She picked calla lilies for the bridesmaids bouquets as she knew they where one of my favourite flowers (she remembered from the engagement party) and the only thing I had said I really wanted was white peonies for my bouquet. Very out of season, she said she would try. Well try she did and deliver she did, they smelt amazing, and looked amazing.
Our fabulous photographer…
I studied photography at school, so the photographs where really key to the evening. I had looked at over nearly 100 wedding photographers and no one had really stood out, till I meet Richard Payne at Brides The Show. He used black and white FILM!!! As well as digital, but it was the film that got me excited. He had an amazing eye, but also understood that there is something so amazingly tangible about an original printed photograph, that digital just can’t capture. I was sold, and he did not disappoint, I only wish I could share the black and white prints with you.
We picked Allora Visuals to do our videography, I knew the day would fly by so fast I would miss so much of it. Niki capture all the key moments, from getting ready at the hotel, all the wonderful speeches, and even the unplanned (unrehearsed) rendition of Bohemian Rapsody our friends treated us to at the end of the night when the music stopped, and no one wanted to leave.
It was really important to me to have some elements of Jewish tradition, so I asked my uncle to do the blessing over the bread and wine before the meal. Those prayers where always my responsibility as a child, and remember being so proud when I learnt them by heart, it was a really special moment for me to have them said at my wedding by my uncle.
A wow wedding cake
We worked with Abigail Bloom for our cake, I had heard so much about her from some of our suppliers, and when we tried the cake I could understand why, not only did it look amazing, but it tasted even better. We saved the top tire to have at our civil ceremony.
I let Ben to pick our first dance song. The only criteria was it had to be from a movie. He chose I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore which made me laugh every time I heard it as the version he chose was from Rock of Ages sung by Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.
Our amazing drag queen sung it, in leather shorts and knee high boots, and I don’t think anyone one else got the joke, but it made the whole moment about us, which I loved.
We had an amazing live cabaret act, diva, tenor and drag. It was one of the few things Ben had really wanted — a drag queen! Over the years we have seen some amazing performance, and this was no different. They kicked the entertainment off with Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing and the drag queen entered singing Diamonds Are Forever — very fitting for a family of jewellers. We then had a great DJ drummer take us through the rest of the evening, with the dance floor never empty.
Tree decorations as favours
I know that often favours got left behind, so I wanted them to be something everyone would want (and if not that I would want!) so we picked tree decorations, to match our colour scheme, and used them as the place settings as well. Most of them went, I saw some guest collecting more at the end of the evening, I even had a guest call me afterwards asking if I had any spare she loved them so much.
To enter the drinks reception upstairs our guest had to pass through a wardrobe of coats, as if they where entering Narnia, it was just one of the many fantastic little touches that Zouch & Lamare pulled together for us.
We had a great photo booth, with loads of props, peopled loved it, and it was amazing to look back on them, and see how much fun everyone was having.
My father gave a speech, I had been worried about what he might say, but he moved the whole room to tears. It was lovely to have his blessing and hear how proud of me he was, even Ben looked a little teary eyed, which doesn’t happen often.
Ben and his groomsmen all gave cracking speeches, and not be outdone I did one of my own. It was important to me that I had a chance to thank all the people that had done so much for us to make this day special.
…including a Bride’s speech!
There was no way I wasn’t going to make a speech at the wedding, after all the hard work, blood (literally, I pricked my fingers that morning sewing the straps onto my sisters flower girl dress), sweat and tears that went into the day, and there were people I wanted to thank.
It’s funny, a lady at my old office told me that a bride shouldn’t make a speech at the wedding because she should appear shy and demure on her big day…. well, anyone that knows me will tell you I am neither shy nor demure. It was so important to me that my friends who had supported me, and my family especially mother and father, my sister and my in laws knew how grateful I was for everything they had done to help make the day possible. Also to let Ben know how very much he means to me, and how much i appreciate his small gestures of love as much as the big ones, I told a funny story of me bashing my head against a wall and Ben coming to my aid with a bag of frozen brussels sprouts.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Get help! It was very important to me that my friends and family where able to enjoy themselves and not worry about the decorations, or travel. Bring on planners for the last couple of months as it made everything so much easier and we didn’t notice any of the hiccups on the day.
Phoebe & Ben’s little white book
Photographer – Richard Payne Photographer
Videographer – Allora Visuals
Wedding planners – Zouch & Lamare
Venue – The Underglobe
Flowers – Wildabout Flowers
Hair – Imran Chowdhary of Michael John
Make-up – Kristina Gasperas Make-Up Artist
Bride’s dress and veil – Rosa Clara
Bride’s jewellery – David Morris
Bride’s shoes – sparkly heels of Stuart Weitzman for Russell & Bromley
Groom’s attire – custom-made tuxedo by Birkett Bespoke Tailors
Groomsmen suits – Moss Bros
Bridesmaids – Monsoon and Dessy at Reflections Bridalware
Live cabaret – Incognito Artists
DJ drummer – Lindsay, found through Incognito Artists
Cake – The Abigail Bloom Company
Stationery – Intricate Creations
Calligraphy – Claire Gould Calligraphy
Chairs and Crockery – Options Hire
Photo Booth – The Photobooth Guys
Toast master – James Hasler