We’re experiencing some serious chuppah envy right now. Do you see that canopy? #chuppahgoals or what?! Dani, an interior designer, and Codey, an MBA student, wanted their wedding to be romantic but edgy, and nothing embodies that more than their fantastic chuppah.
Dani was inspired by the coolest piece of bold floral fabric she found at a local textile house, and she knew instantaneously that it would make the perfect chuppah topper. And was she ever right — the bright colors against the black background are just so cool, and miles away from your typical all-white canopy.
The couple continued their theme of edgy, artsy brights and florals in their dÃ©cor — you’ve got to check out their epic tabletop dÃ©cor in Verve Films and Ryan Graham Photography’s captures of the day — and completed their uber-cool look with a neon sign featuring the lyrics to their song. What song, exactly? Read on to find out from beautiful Dani, who found the perfect blend of vintage and rock ‘n’ roll in her beaded lace dress from Vesselina…
How we met
Dani, the bride: We met many years ago when we were around 11 or 12 at a Jewish summer camp (Habonim Dror). Through the years we remained good friends although we did not attend the same school. My husband even attended my bat mitzvah back in the day. We will both attest to the fact that we knew we were each other’s “one” and that marriage was inevitable between us. You can even say we were childhood sweethearts from the moment we met.
An Industrial Venue
We got married at a venue called Fox Junction. It is in the middle of the CBD (Central Business District) in Johannesburg. A very unconventional area and location to get married in. We wanted an industrial looking venue, something edgy and different that would reflect our personalities.
An Edgy Wedding
We wanted our wedding to be romantic but edgy. We did not want the typical white wedding because that is just not us. Thus, the use of bright colors, loads of texture, and of course a neon sign with the lyrics to our song (Mr. Brightside by The Killers). We had the most fantastic wedding planner, Candace from Absolute Perfection. After only a brief telephone conversation with her she knew and understood exactly what I wanted and she nailed every aspect of it.
Hair + Makeup
There are only two people in this world that I would trust to make me look my best on my wedding day, and they are my insanely talented hairdresser and friend Jenna Goncalves from Ginger Hair Salon and incredible makeup artist Dyllan Morais. I wanted to keep things simple and look natural on my wedding day. So, for my hair we went with loose, natural beachy waves (that’s also how the groom loves my hair :p ). For my makeup we stayed away from the regular bridal makeup and created a natural glam look complemented by dewy skin and a pop of peach on the eyes.
A Vesselina Dress
Before I even started planning my wedding I knew exactly what dress I wanted and who was going to make it for me. I chose the design of the dress because I simply had never seen anything like it and it was so me. It had a classic, vintage feel with a bit of rock ‘n roll. Vesselina, one of South Africa’s top designers and also a close family friend, made me my dream dress. We used the most magnificent beaded French lace as well as other pieces of lace that I found at a vintage shop in London.
A Flower Crown
For the ceremony, I wore the most beautiful floral crown that my cousin bought for me from Anthropologie in America. I also woke up on the day to a wedding gift from the groom, which was a beautiful pair of diamond earings that I wore.
For my shoes I went with a classic Valentino Garavani Rockstud ankle strap pump in a nude patent leather. I wanted a pair of shoes that were classic and that I could enjoy wearing after the big day.
The handsome groom
The groom wore a custom-made 3-piece tux by Frank Bespoke. He wanted to stray from the norm so he decided to go with a burgundy velvet jacket, slim fit ankle grazing pants, and studded loafers that we found at a small Italian shoe boutique in London. The groom also wore a custom-made lapel pin (a gift I gave him on the wedding day) that had his late father and brother’s initials on it. I also had their initials embroidered on the inside of my dress.
Bridesmaids in Pink and Red
The bridesmaids and flower girls wore shades of nude, strawberry, and burgundy. They each got to pick their own dresses in those colors, ensuring that they all felt their best on the day. This was something that was really important to me.
A Floral Fabric Chuppah Canopy
The chuppah design was based on a beautiful piece of fabric that I found at a local fabric house. I absolutely fell in love with this bold floral fabric and had to have it as the top of the chuppah. The florist draped flowers around the rest of the chuppah to compliment the fabric.
A Moving Ceremony
The kiddush cup we used for the ceremony was the same cup the groom’s parents used when they got married. This was very significant to my husband and will now hopefully be passed on to future generations.
There are two parts of the ceremony that really stand out for me. The first is the badeken: after spending a week apart and having zero contact with the groom, the rush of emotions as he entered the room was surreal and something that still send shivers down my spine. The second stand out-moment is when I was walking down the aisle flanked by my parents and looking up to see the groom waiting for me at the chuppah. The physical act of walking down the aisle toward my “future” is a moment that will forever resonate within me.
As an artist, I wanted something extraordinary, a piece of art that could be hung up in our house. We ordered our ketubah online from a lady in Israel. Dalia was an absolute delight to work with.
A Bridal Flash Mob
For our chuppah we had an incredible group of guys sings us down the aisle and perform the sheva brachot for us. We used a band called The King’s Men who were an absolute pleasure to work with and made our ceremony that much more meaningful.
Our first dance was to a remix of Mr. Brightside by The Killers. Although it is a very untraditional first dance song, it is our song and we wanted to stay true to who we are. We had a choreographer create the dance, which went from a typical first dance into a flash mob where the bridal party joined in. The dance lessons were such a fun way to spend some time with our bridal party prior to the wedding.
The groom is seriously into his music, and as he will tell you, good music! We like to live life a little bit rock n roll and asked the DJ to play the quintessential hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. We wanted all the familiar classic sing-along songs so we could sing our lungs out and rock the night away.
We based all the flowers on the exquisite piece of fabric that was used for the chuppah. We wanted something bright and bold but still romantic. Our florist/wedding planner really outdid herself in this area.
Our fabulous Photographer and Videographer
When we were searching for the people who were going to capture our special day we knew we had to make sure we chose the best. Ryan Graham Photography and Verve Films came highly recommended to us and after going through their work and meeting with them we decided that they were the perfect pair to have accompany us on our wedding day. They were an absolute treat to have around on the day and made the whole experience that much more amazing.
A Live Band
We had a live Jewish band perform at our chuppah. They were amazing and completely created the special vibe under the chuppah. They also performed our horas.
Flip Flop Favors
The girls were all given a pair of flip flops so that they could take their heels off and dance the night away with us, and all the men received a yarmulka/kippah.
We had a neon sign made that hung above the main table. The sign displayed the lyrics to our song and became the main focal point of the whole venue.
Post-chuppah ceremony we slipped away with the photographer and videographer to an abandoned railway station for our couples shoot. This we had to pre-arrange with the council, but all the admin was well worth the final product and amazing shots we received.
There were some additional personal touches that we added to make the day more significant; these included handmade kippot for all the groomsman (made by my mother), customized bee lapel pins for all the groomsman (my husband and I call each other “Bee” as nicknames), and custom-made flower girl dresses handmade by the bride’s mom.
My husband lost both his dad and brother and had the most emotional and fitting speech for them – there was not a dry eye in the house. His words about me were also so real and raw and he managed to capture who we are as a couple so accurately and articulate his feelings in such a moving and inspiring way. I felt like the only girl in the world when he spoke about me.
The groom also asked his grandfather to walk him down the aisle on the day.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I think the best advice would be to have a wedding coordinator and planner. This ensured that we could both relax and completely enjoy every moment of the day without worrying about the technical formalities. Also, stop for a moment and take everything in. The day goes by so quickly, so just take a moment to look and appreciate everything around you.
Dani & Codey’s little white book
Photography – Ryan Graham Photography
Videography – Verve Films
Wedding planner – Absolute Perfection
Venue – Fox Junction
Bride’s dress – Vesselina
Bride’s shoes – Valentino Garavani
Bride’s accessories – Anthropologie
Groom’s attire – Frank Bespoke
Band – The King’s Men
Invitation – Chrystalace
Ketubah – Ketubata