Okay, HOW gorgeous is Hannah and Josh’s willow branch chuppah? Covered in the most exquisite, airy little blooms of baby’s breath and delphinium, it’s just so adorable we. can’t. even.
Hannah, a makeup artist and beautician, and Josh, a business development manager, knew the secret garden theme they chose for their Jewish wedding called for a very special chuppah.
Floral, obvs. Delicate, but distinctive. Impressive, but not overwhelming. Natural, but supremely artful at the same time. We think they knocked it out of the ballpark, don’t you? And photographer Haim Afriat captured it all so beautifully.
The secret garden theme extended way beyond the chuppah, too, and we love all the sweet details Hannah and Josh added in to make it come to life. While Hannah waited with her mother and soon-to-be MIL for Josh to come in for the badeken, the three ladies sat on a swing covered in roses. SWOON. And the place cards were keys, hanging by the entrance so that everyone took their own key to the garden as they entered the reception — so clever!
As if we needed another reason to be just a little bit jealous we didn’t get to attend this fab wedding ourselves, some of our all-time favorite wedding musicians, Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Boutique Chupah Music (who Hannah just happens to have grown up with!).
Though the act is best known for their phenomenal chuppah music, Hannah and Josh opted to use Boutique Chupah Music all night long (well, technically until midnight when their venue banned live music…), and we’re totally not surprised to hear that they absolutely rocked the party.
And before we hand you over to beautiful bride, Hannah (who looked SO elegant in her Rosa Clara gown) make sure you sign up to our FREE online event: ‘How to create an unforgettable Jewish wedding with our founder and editor, Karen, happening on Monday November 12.
How We Met
Hannah, the bride: Josh and I started speaking on MySpace when we were 15 years old, after a year, one Saturday night we decided to meet up. We went to the same school, and at the age of 17 Josh asked if I fancied trying out a relationship. We have been together ever since.
We have stayed together through thick and thin. I went on a year out to Israel for 9 months, while Josh travelled the world. Josh then went to Leeds University for 3 years, and after 10 years of being ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ Josh popped the question on my birthday.
He surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam, took me to a Michelin restaurant and got down on one knee. We definitely are childhood sweethearts!
A Destination Wedding in Israel
We got married at The Q in Herzliya, Israel. We chose to get married in Israel as the country means a lot to us (and we were guaranteed great weather!). We spend a lot of time there together and my family have a home in Herzliya Pituach – it was actually the first place Josh and I went on holiday together – so there was no doubt that we wanted to make a holiday out of our wedding!
We wanted our wedding all outdoors, because we could! We didn’t travel to Israel to be inside! The Q gave us a bit of both; it had a structure, but the walls and ceiling had been taken off, meaning there was a proper floor to walk and dance on, yet we could look up at the stars.
There was also a beautiful garden where we had our reception and chuppah. We were really careful about the distance from both Tel Aviv and Herzliya to our venue. We had already got everyone to travel to Israel; we didn’t want them to be on a coach for hours to get to the venue in rush hour traffic on a Tuesday.
The day we went to look at venues we got stuck in traffic coming back from the other possible option; that’s when we decided that the Q was perfect! It was 5 minutes away from Herzliya Pituach and about 15 minutes from Tel Aviv, where the majority of our loved ones were staying.
A Fab Planner
Having Debbie Nussbaum as a wedding planner was one of the best decisions I have ever made. She was fantastic and instrumental in helping us plan the wedding we always wanted. She listened to all our wants and needs, and did everything she could to source and sort out everything.
Josh realized how amazing she was when she managed to diffuse a floral argument between me and my mum while staying on both of our sides. If you’re getting married in Israel then look no further! Debbie is every bride’s dream, and I will definitely be using her again for any other simcha in Israel!
After deciding on The Q and seeing the beautiful outdoor spaces and the little hidden areas, we decided that we wanted the theme to be a secret garden. I wanted my little bridesmaids to have a flower head crown (they looked like little pixies).
During the reception my mum, my soon-to-be mother-in-law, and I sat on a swing covered in roses while waiting for Josh and the boys to finish the tisch and come to the badeken. There were tea lights and flowers everywhere.
We decided that we wanted the name places on little individual keys; they were hanging by the entrance, so everyone took the key to the garden as they walked in. Our color was antique pink; I’m a girlie girl and just love the soft look of pink and white together.
We had a cardboard frame made that had our names, the location, and date printed on it. It was hanging outside in the garden and got bought inside towards the end of the evening.
Rose Gold Invitations
Our invitations were an envelope style, sealed with our logo. When opened up there was a rose gold foil and white shimmer invitation, as well as the aufruf invitation, information, and gift list cards. I wanted them to be simple, yet elegant.
The invitation theme and logo was used on our benchers, fan tags, place settings, and throughout the wedding decor. Our invitations were designed and made by Hadassah Walker at Bespoke Invitations. She was so helpful, and listened to everything we wanted. She did loads of samples for us and we decided on what we liked and didn’t.
Hair + Makeup
So, my hair and make up was a difficult one! I am actually a makeup artist myself. I always do my own makeup; I’ve never trusted anyone else. I know what I like, and I know what suits me.
However, it was my wedding day. This was the one day that I didn’t want to have to do anything! I selected my makeup artist very carefully. Usually the Israeli makeup artists have a ‘style’ which is very heavy and thick.
I found Mel Bueno, who is an English girl living in Israel. I told her exactly what I wanted, we had a trial, and I sat back and let her work her magic. As much as it was killing me inside, I sat quietly – I know how difficult it is when someone is telling you how to do your job. She did exactly what I wanted, she just got me! I would highly recommend Mel at Make-Up Make-Up.
As for my hair, my mum and I have always been to a hairdresser in Israel every time we have any parties, so I knew I could trust him.
Because of the heat in Israel, and also the intricate beading on the back of my dress, I just knew that I had to have my hair all up. I had it curled and pinned up to look almost like it was in a bun on the back of my head, with volume on the top, and my long fringe blown to create softness around my face. The head dress then went on top and around the bun.
A Rosa Clara Dress
My dress was from The Knutsford Wedding Gallery, it was a Rosa Clara dress. I always thought that I wanted a tight fitting dress with a low back; however, when I started looking I was open to trying anything on.
That said, I knew that Israel in June was going to be extremely hot! So I didn’t want a thick fabric, or layers. When I tried on this dress I just knew it was the one! It was just me!
It was tight fitting but not too revealing, elegant but modern, with a train that looked like it could cover the aisle, and such intricate beading covering the back. It said sophistication on the front but let’s party on the back!
An Heirloom Lace Train
I had some additions to my dress. First, I had sleeves made to cover my arms for the chuppah ceremony. I also had an added train that clipped on to the side using some extra beading.
One of the main reasons that I wanted a dress without any lace and also an extra train was because I had been given a train and veil from my mum; she wore them on her wedding day, my grandma wore it and my great grandma did too. I knew when I was a little girl that one day when I got married, I too would wear the beautiful, delicate antique lace.
I spoke to Rosa Clara, and managed to buy the beading piece from the back of the dress. The alterationist at The Knutsford Wedding Gallery used this to hook on the extra train; she then also took some of this beading to make a head piece for me and my mum.
I didn’t wear any jewelry as my neck line was high and I didn’t want anything to deter from the dress. I did wear delicate pearl drop diamond earrings, which my parents had bought me as a bridal gift.
I had no idea what shoes I wanted to wear, all I knew was that I wanted wedges so that I could walk around, dance comfortably all night long, and avoid getting stuck in the grass. I also wanted them to be sky high as I’m only small and Josh is tall!
On a girls’ trip to Barcelona, my mum, my sister-in-law (maid of honor), and I went into a shop and my mum saw the shoes. They were nude sandals with a beaded T-bar and a sparkly wedge platform. They were the only ones left, and they were my size! It was a sign! They were just perfect. The beading matched the beading on my dress, and the sparkles just added to the party vibe.
The handsome groom
Although I went with him to pick out the suit, it was so special when I first saw him. We had decided not to see each other a week prior to the wedding, so seeing him walk towards me at the badeken he just looked so tall, tanned, and handsome. I couldn’t believe that I was marrying this man!
I just had my 2 nieces as my bridesmaids. They were 1 and 3 at the time. We bought them dresses from Not On The High Street. The dresses were blush pink with flowers, and the girls wore ballet shoes and flower crowns.
My sister-in-law was my maid of honor, and she wore a tight fitting Pronovias dress. We went to Barcelona to chose it, and the Knutsford Wedding Gallery made arrangements to get it sent over and have it altered. It was blush pink with intricate beading around the arms.
My brothers were groomsmen, and Josh’s brother was best man, with 6 of his closest friends as ushers. We matched their ties and pocket squares (along with our dads) to the girls dresses. We bought the girls bracelets with their initials on, and the boys tie pins with theirs initials too.
Willow Branches and Baby’s Breath for the Chuppah
We decided that we wanted all our family under the chuppah, and to have our backs to our guests. We wanted to feel like it was just us, and that we didn’t have 300 people staring at us.
The rabbi that conducted the ceremony has been my rabbi since I was 4 years old, so it was also comforting to see his face, and the kind words he said to us.
I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at chuppah designs. I didn’t want something that would take over, and it had to go with the secret garden theme. We chose a very airy, delicate and soft design, with willow branches covered in baby’s breath and delphinium.
The Portnoy Brothers (Boutique Chupah Music)
For our chuppah, reception, and throughout the evening, we used a band very close to us, the Portnoy Brothers (also known as Boutique Chupah Music). I grew up with the boys in Hale; they have since moved to Israel. They are just phenomenal.
We had lots of FaceTime meetings with them. Choosing the songs for the chuppah was easy for us, since we wanted the classics with no twists.
As our first dance we chose the Allen Stone version of Bob Marley’s Is This Love. We thought long and hard about first dance songs, we managed to narrow it down to 3, every evening we would sit down and play them all. We ended up choosing what we did because the lyrics meant so much to us. We told the Portnoy Brothers which song we were leaning towards, and they sent us a short voice clip of them singing it. It was amazing, and we knew right then that that was it!
A lot of people use the Portnoy Brothers for just their ceremony, but we had so much faith in them and knew that they would bring the party to life. They did exactly that, and we would highly recommend them. They travel world wide, so get them pinned down as soon as you know your dates!
White and Pink Flowers
My bouquet was cascading, filled with gardenias, orchids, and roses in antique pink and white. The groom wore an antique pink rose on his lapel, and his ushers wore a white rose. The table centers had an array of tall and small pieces, all roses and gardenias filled out with babies breath in white, antique pink, and blush pink. In Israel they use a venue dresser rather than a florist, ours was Shelley at Mint Design.
Our Fabulous Photographer…
We chose Haim Afriat as our photographer. We met with him and just fell in love straight away. His work blew us away. We told him the kind of pictures that we wanted and the rest he did.
… and Videographer
Our videographer was Avichai Wechsler. He came to us highly recommended. He was very enthusiastic, and his videos were amazing. We could feel the magic.
Avichai and Haim are great friends, so they worked really well together. I told them both to just do their thing; during the wedding I didn’t want to see them. They did just that!
1am Snack Break
The caterer was Ta’am Vetzeva (“taste and color”), and they certainly lived up to their name. One of the factors in choosing the venue was the fact that they are the resident caterer.
We visited their premises for a tasting session and were spoilt for choice with the amazing selection. We didn’t have a cake as this isn’t really a tradition at Israeli weddings.
Because our wedding went until gone 3am we decided that we wanted a 1am snack! We had a stall in the middle of our dance floor with shawarma, hummus, salads, and pitta so everyone could refuel.
Iconic Cocktails from the World’s Best
Our band played the whole way through the wedding ceremony, reception, and the evening.
Unfortunately, due to the location of the venue live music is only permitted until 12am, so we had a DJ play until gone 3am, with a saxophonist joining him. He was great fun and really livened up the party.
As well as lots of dancing, a great party also needs great drinks, so we managed to get one of Tel Aviv’s best cocktail bars, Jasper. In fact it has since been named one of the best bars in the world. They served up some great iconic cocktails all evening, really impressing our guests, and our waitresses went round with trays of different vodka shots all night long.
Juice Bars and Coloring Books
We had hand fans for the ceremony in case our guests got too hot, plastic heel protectors for the women wearing stilettos, and a juice bar between the ceremony and the dancing.
For the dancing we had ice cold flannels and and flip flops.
We wanted to make sure our guests could relax and be as comfortable as possible! The kids too – so we had little bags at their seats with coloring pencils and books, stickers, games, and bubbles.
All in the Family
We wanted our families to be involved in every way possible. My brothers were groomsmen, Josh’s brother was best man, and my sister-in-law was maid of honor. One of Josh’s best friends (who I also grew up with) looked after the ring, and all the boys were ushers with different jobs to help the day run smoothly.
Josh and I were both lucky to have our grandmas able to join us in Israel, as well as some of our elder relatives, we wanted to make sure that they would enjoy the day and night even if they couldn’t dance until 3am, so we had a coffee bar set up next to the dance floor for them. We also had lots of children there to make it a true family simcha.
A Honeymoon and a Home Renovation
We stayed in Israel at the Carlton on the Beach, Tel Aviv, for 6 days after the wedding to relax in the day and continue the party with our family and friends in the evening. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our honeymoon as we decided to buy our dream house and completely gut it – and as per every house build we went over our budget! We decided that it was more important to have our dream kitchen so that we could entertain all of our family and friends.
However, for our one year anniversary Josh took me to Rome. It was so special, as well as relaxing after the buzz of our wedding and stress of the home renovation.
Advice to couples currently planning their own wedding
Don’t stress about your wedding day. Don’t stress about what may go wrong, on the day of you wedding dont even think of the little details. No one will even know how it’s meant to be, and as long as you enjoy yourself, your guests will too.
The best piece of advice someone gave me was to stand back and have a look around the room. Watch everyone having a good time. It absolutely flies by, and before you know it all those months of planning and stress have just gone!
Wear comfortable shoes, and don’t wear a dress that needs to be hitched up all night! Wear your hair up, it will keep you neck cool and will stop it falling in your face!
Make sure your groom has 2 shirts! (He will most likely need to change after the first lot of Israeli dancing!) Your groom should also have a spare pair of trousers, just in case he rips them!
Chose your professionals and allow them to do their job. Just relax, take deep breaths, and enjoy every single minute! You only have one wedding day!
Hannah & Josh’s little white book
Photography – Haim Afriat
Band – Boutique Chupah Music
Videography – Avichai Wechsler
Wedding planner – Debbie Nussbaum
Venue – The Q
Bride’s dress – Rosa Clara purchased at The Knutsford Wedding Gallery
Groom’s attire – Armani and Canali
Bridesmaids – Not On The High Street and Pronovias
Makeup – Make-Up Make-Up
Flowers – Mint Design
Catering – Ta’am Vetzeva
Invitation – Bespoke Invitations
Hotel – Carlton on the Beach