We love it when a couple makes their Jewish wedding all about family – which is exactly what Sara, a record label manager, and Greg, who owns a chain of women’s clothing stores, did in planning their autumnal black-tie affair near the bride’s hometown on Long Island.
It started during the planning phase, when Sara’s mom took the lead in bringing the day to life. Then, on the day, Sara and Greg were married by the bride’s uncle, a rabbi for the United States Navy – all while wrapped in Greg’s late grandpa’s tallit. Then, post-ceremony, the couple’s living grandfathers came out on the dance floor to help the newlyweds bless and cut the challah. You can just feel the love seeping out of each and every one of Hilary Katzen’s exquisite photos.
We’re also obsessed with Sara’s bridal style, from her crystal-beaded gown bySottero & Midgley to her white glitter Keds by Kate Spade (yep, this bride wore sneakers all throughout the big day!) to her gorgeous veil – which, fittingly enough, was handmade by her mother. Sara’s luscious locks looked perfect, too – which was all the more meaningful since she spent the three years preceding the wedding growing her hair back after losing it to cancer.
And how gorgeous is the couple’s exuberant ketubah by Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor 1-800-ketubah.com – Nava Shoham?! Selected by the groom, who was after something colorful, the couple now give their ketubah place of pride in their home.
Read on for the full details of this epic day – which was truly a family affair…
How We Met
Sara, the bride: We met at a bar mitzvah when we were seniors in high school in 2010.
We got married at Swan Club in Roslyn, NY. This is pretty close to where I grew up on Long Island. We wanted a venue where we could have the ceremony and reception there, but give both parts of the day a different feel. The Swan Club was newly renovated when we went to check it out and the place is beautiful. There are so many options where to have the ceremony and cocktail hour and the grounds are beautiful year round.
Even though we got married on a cold day in November, there were still great places for pictures and it was on the water, so it was really nice. Also the food was incredible. That really sealed the deal.
An Autumnal Wedding
We did not use a wedding planner, but my mom basically became the wedding planner which was so helpful because my work hours are long. We always wanted a fall wedding and had an idea of the colors we wanted to be incorporated into the day, but we can honestly say that nailing down the colors was pretty tough! The exact shade of the burgundy that we wanted was hard to match so that changed what we wanted to do for the bridesmaids.
Ultimately, we went with a black tie theme, so the bridesmaids wore floor length black dresses of their choice and the flowers were mostly creams with dark burgundy accents & lots of greens. We also had lots of gold accents everywhere and tons of candles!
Gina by Design Inc. helped design our invitations. We wanted something timeless & classy, that felt in line with the black tie attire, with gold accents to match the gold we incorporated throughout the wedding. We had our Hebrew names written on the invitation as well.
Hair + Make-up
I always wanted to wear my hair down for my wedding, but unfortunately, 3 years prior, I lost all of my hair due to cancer. But I planned the wedding long enough in advance so that my hair would be a certain length so I could still wear it down like I had always hoped. I used my regular hairdresser who I trusted with my hair for my special day. Her name is Denise at Salon Rock. For my makeup, I used Jessica Abel who did an incredible job.
A Sottero & Midgley Dress
My dress was from Max Bridal on Long Island. The designer was Sottero & Midgley and the dress was the “Stella”. I had an idea of what I wanted before going dress shopping for the first time, but I walked away with something different than I had expected. It was hard to find something that was simple but still special, until I tried on this dress. It was the perfect combination of both. As soon as I put it on, I knew it was perfect for me. I loved the long train and the carefully thought out crystal design on the bodice.
I wore a one of a kind hairpiece with crystals on it which I love and I hope I have somewhere to wear it again one day! It matched my dress perfectly. I also wore my mother in law’s diamond bracelet and a special opal ring that my grandfather gave to my mom for her bat mitzvah, years ago.
One of the most special things for me was that my mom handmade my veil. It is so beautiful and went perfectly with my dress.
I wore sneakers! I am not a fan of heels, ever, and that last thing I wanted was for my feet to hurt that day. I knew you couldn’t see my shoes under my dress so I wore sneakers the whole day. They were covered in white glitter and platformed to give me a bit of height. They were Keds by Kate Spade.
The handsome groom
Greg wore a custom tuxedo from Mens Wearhouse that he ordered two weeks before the wedding (classic Greg). But he spiced it up with a Gucci bowtie and pocket square. He also had Shark cufflinks since he loves marine biology.
I had 8 bridesmaids. I ultimately decided to let them all get black dresses of their choice, that were floor length and it was the best decision I made throughout the entire wedding process!
The ceremony was incredibly special because my uncle is a rabbi, for the United States Navy, and he married us. We also incorporated elements of Greg’s family by using his late grandpa’s tallit to wrap around us before our first kiss as husband and wife.
Another very special thing for us is that both of our grandpa’s came up to the dance floor to help us bless & cut the challah.
Greg actually picked our ketubah. He wanted something colorful. 1-800-ketubah.com – Nava Shoham designed it! It’s beautiful and hangs in our house now.
I wanted a lot of flowers that matched the colors that would be used for centerpieces and for the bridesmaids bouquets so that is exactly what we did. I don’t like perfectly symmetrical chuppah designs, so we went for a more refined garden look.
Our songs were very meaningful for our wedding. Greg & the bridal party walked down the aisle to ‘Atlantic City’ by The Band. We wanted something upbeat but emotional.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Make You Feel My Love’, by Adele. One of my favorite songs.
Our recessional song was ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen, Greg’s favorite musician. Our dog is named after him! Our first dance was to ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Kina Grannis.
My father daughter dance was to ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles. My dad and I have always shared a love of The Beatles. Greg and his mom danced to ‘Forever Young’.
Our florist was Dalsimer Spitz & Peck. They actually did my parent’s florals for their wedding 30 years ago. We went for seasonal flowers – white & burgundy alstroemeria, rubicon spray roses, burgundy caspia, silver dollar eucalyptus, grey caspia, dusty miller, ruskus, burgundy dahlias, burgundy carnations, schwartzwald mini calla lilies & dark red berries. We also incorporated a ton of candles.
I found Hilary Katzen, our photographer, on The Knot. I loved how natural & candid all of her shots looked. She did an engagement shoot for us a year before the wedding and we knew she was perfect. She made us feel so comfortable and got the most amazing photos. She was so patient with our large family and large bridal party and got the most incredible pictures.
Food and Cake
The venue handled all of the food for our wedding and it was AMAZING. Though I didn’t eat much of it, every guest complimented the food and the little tastes that I did have were incredible. For the cocktail hour, we did a bunch of stations of different cuisines that we loved including Caribbean, Chinese and BBQ. Our wedding cake was made by a dear family friend named Stephanie. It was incredible and had an edible figurine of our dog, Bruce!
We had an amazing band!! The Hal Prince Company. Our lead singer was Jay Prince. We really wanted a band to get the guests dancing all night and they did not disappoint. Greg even sang a few songs with them.
We went to Africa right after our wedding and it was the best trip we’ve ever taken. We went to East Africa for Safari and Gorilla trekking. We visited Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Our travel agent, Linda Kibak at Frosch Travel, did an amazing job.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Don’t sweat the small things on the day of the wedding. You will not remember that a family member showed up a bit late for pictures or that you yourself are running late. They have to wait for the bride and groom 🙂 Make sure to eat well that morning & just before the wedding starts because it will be hard to sit for food after you walk down the aisle.
SARA & GREG’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Hilary Katzen
Ketubah – 1-800-ketubah.com – Nava Shoham
Venue – Swan Club
Bride’s dress – Sottero & Midgley found and fitted at Max Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Keds by Kate Spade
Groom’s attire – Mens Wearhouse, Gucci
Hair + Makeup – Salon Rock, Jessica Abel
Flowers – Dalsimer Spitz & Peck
Band – Hal Prince
Catering – Swan Club
Stationery – Gina by Design Inc.
If you’re a Jewish or Jew-ish bride-to-be, you’ll want to join Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club. Guided by the world’s number 1 Jewish wedding expert, Karen Cinnamon, Brides Club is the private community for Jewish and Jew-ish brides that removes wedstress and indecision and gives you what you need to plan with confidence during these uncertain times. Join our Brides Club here.