A bridal cape, candy butterflies, tango music… swooooon. Today’s French-Israeli destination Jewish wedding is just SO full of fantastic, unique touches. Sarah, a lawyer (and member of our Brides Club), and Uri, who works in real estate, created the most wonderful, distinctive day – partly thanks to their “wedding bible,” (in Sarah’s own words!) Smashing The Glass!
Sarah reports that she found lots of her vendors through STG, found inspo for details, and more. Our fave quote from her awesome writeup? “It’s a miracle I didn’t find my husband on it too.” LOVE.
But back to the cape. We are OBSESSED. Our friends at fab London bridal boutique and STG Recommended Vendor Mirror Mirror deemed 2018 “the year of the cape” on the Facebook Live they did with us earlier this year, and after seeing how Sarah pulled hers off we’re inclined to agree. Photographer Camellia captured the glorious fashion – plus all the other details of the day – so exquisitely.
Sarah looked just so elegant and distinctive in that cape – obviously her hyper-glam dress (that tiered skirt!) from Viktor & Rolf didn’t hurt either – and we love how it’s an easy way to add that little something extra for the ceremony. And the story of how Sarah ended up with it is pretty cool in its own right.
We also love that Sarah chose to depart from the bridal script and walk down the aisle to… a tango! How’s that for a dramatic entrance (you know, to go with that cape)? Turning it over to the gorgeous bride, Sarah…
How we met
Sarah, the bride: I am French but grew up between Paris and Madrid and moved to New York 11 years ago. Uri grew up in Hertzlyia in Israel, and moved to New York 6 years ago.
We were set up by our only friend in common at the time, we kissed on our first date. 2 years later Uri proposed in the middle of Washington Square Park where we had wandered around on our first date. Our matchmaker was our witness at our civil wedding in New York.
A Destination Wedding in Israel
We got married in Israel at Ronit Farm. Uri is from Israel and I am from France. We were hesitating between a wedding in the South of France, where I spend all my holiday, and Israel. Uri had a preference for Israel because it’s home, but he was open to both options and wanted me to be happy so he let me pick.
After more than a month of sleepless nights struggling to make up my mind, we realized that for my guests who are mostly not Jewish it would be such an incredible and unique experience to go to Israel for the first time. Mission accomplished, we had people from all over the world travel for the wedding and everyone loved Israel and that made us so happy!!
A Fab Planner
I had a wonderful wedding planner, Moran Goldstein, who helped me greatly with finding and coordinating all the vendors, especially since I was organizing from New York and only went to Tel Aviv once during the planning.
Even though Israeli weddings are usually informal, I wanted our wedding to be very formal (French style) so we did black tie dress code and sit-down dinner. It was beautiful, and everyone played the game and looked so chic.
My one wish was always to get married outside, which was a risk considering it can get pretty hot in Israel. The outdoor of the venue is so magical, we had to take advantage of it. We got lucky, the temperature was perfect, we danced under the stars and the lights, by the enchanted lake.
Smashing The Glass was my wedding bible, I read every story!! It helped me chose the place, the vendors, the extras. It’s a miracle I didn’t find my husband on it too 🙂
I got a quote from an invitation designer in New York and almost choked ($12000 without printing). I went online and googled designers from Spain (where I grew up). And I found Monica Custodio. I liked her portfolio and started working together on our watercolor logo.
I am not a creative person, but she asked me the right questions and took it from there. We wanted oranges or lemons because Uri’s family has citrus plantations in Israel and I love bougainvillea, which reminds me of my grandma.
We had the printing done in Israel by Mozart. We did one version in Hebrew and one in English; our planner chose the paper for us and it was perfect!
For the invitations in the US we got custom stamps with our logo on it. While on my bachelorette, I get a call from Uri telling me the stamp I ordered was 3 cents short, the poor thing had to stamp again all the invitations while I was having shots with my friends #teamwork. So glad he double checked before sending, it would have been a disaster otherwise.
Hair + Makeup
I used Sandro, my hairdresser and makeup artist from Paris. I’ve know him for over 15 years and before I knew the husband I knew he would be the one doing my beauty. I flew to Paris the week before for trials and gave him carte-blanche. I just trust the guy.
A Viktor & Rolf Dress
Wow, the dress. I had no idea of what I wanted, puffy, sexy? I was very confused. I didn’t want lace nor illusion, so basically I was not left with many options and the ladies in the bridal shops didn’t know what to do with me…
After 5 shops they would tell me you must have an idea by now of what you want, but no, still nothing… they were all beautiful but it didn’t feel like me. One day I was checking online bridal collections and I came across a short dress from Viktor and Rolf that I fell in love with and sent it to my sister, I thought maybe for the civil. She got back to me and told me to check their whole bridal collection. Wow, I was stunned, for the first time I wanted all of them.
I found their vendor in New York, Mark Ingram, called and asked them if they had any Viktor & Rolf, they said no but asked me to pick 3 and that they would order them. The dresses came from Amsterdam specially after about 1 month or 2, I didn’t even continue my search because I knew one of them would work.
I went to the appointment alone (my mom and sister live in Paris, and I find that friends as amazing as they are, usually give their opinion based on their own style and taste and not necessarily yours).
When I tried my dress on, I knew that was it. It was very different and a bit of a risky bet so I called my brother who lives in New York and he came to the appointment. I thought if a man who is classic likes it we are good to go. We facetimed my mom and sister and all agreed “it’s beautiful and it’s very me” (or whatever that means).
I kind of enjoyed keeping my dress a secret from everyone else, it made it even more special. But I couldnt stop thinking about what my husband would say. One day he told me I hope it’s simple, sexy and shows your body… it was literally the opposite which panicked me but whatever I was going for it. And he LOVED IT.
For the after party, because my dress was very heavy, I changed into a short vintage sequin dress that I chose with Uri from the most amazing bridal vintage store in Los Angeles called Happy Isles. I started following them on Instagram and wanted to buy everything from the store.
A Bridal Cape!
Ok, that’s another story. While trying on my dress at Mark Ingram, the lady helping me brought me the matching veil, the veil was soooo overcharged with flowers it looked like I was going to the Met Gala but I had hope that we would find something to do with it.
The week before my wedding I met with my hairdresser and we tried it on and didn’t like it, it was too much. He then took it down and… put it as a cape ! I was like yes ! Bring it on I’m wearing a cape at my wedding, I loved it.
Then my sister found a silver “voilette” at the hair salon, we first tried in front of my face but I looked too modern and weird and again my genius hairdress turned it around and put it on the back of my head on top of the chignon. I kept thinking of my poor husband who wanted a simple bride with her hair down…
White high heels. I changed after the chuppah into the most comfortable high heel platform shoes in the world and then into gold platform sneakers with rainbow colors on the platform.
The handsome groom
My love, he was so handsome. He was wearing a midnight blue tuxedo from Ralph Lauren, and patent leather shoes also RL. J.Crew tux shirt and he was wearing custom engraved cuff links and studs from Babette Wasserman, a UK jeweler that I had gifted him specially for the wedding.
I had four gorgeous bridesmaids. I have been a bridesmaid often and it’s a bit of a pain to wear something you don’t necessarily love, so I told them to get their own dress, my only requirements were pastel color and long.
I wanted them to be able to wear the dress again and get something they love. By coincidence they ended up wearing green or touches of green and it looked beautiful.
A Floral Chuppah
Simple and elegant in white pink and green. I didn’t want too much fuss. I insisted on a high stage and catwalk though, so that people wouldn’t stand in the middle and block the view for other people behind. I also put a lot of chairs so that no one would have to stand. The venue is so magical, all green, in an amphitheater with a lake, I didn’t want the huppah to be too overwhelming.
An Emotional Ceremony
We were married by Rabbi Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel, which was an incredible honor. Uri really wanted him to be our rabbi; he is a wonderful man that makes you feel at ease and gives you serenity on the most overwhelming day.
Our fathers passed a few years ago and I wanted their tallits hanging at the chuppah above us to protect us, that was very important for me. There were touching mentions of them in the rabbi’s speech, our speeches, and in the wedding program. They very much felt part of the celebration.
We had made programs for the wedding to explain to my non-Jewish guests what was happening during the ceremony. My one regret of the wedding is that I really wanted to do the circling… and guess what, I forgot! I walked in, started sobbing like a baby, we were so happy and moved to see each other and totally forgot to circle him.
We got the ketubah from the rabbinate, I was stressed about not having the exact text otherwise so I just went with the rabbinate’s one.
A Bridal Tango
Uri came in to Shlomi Shabat – Bereshit Olam, so beautiful and emotional. I departed from bridal script on that one and chose the melody Por Una Cabeza – Carlos Gardel. It’s a tango, I love that melody and wanted something unique and powerful, and also I love Latin music since I grew up in Spain. It was very dramatic and no one was expecting that melody.
Enchanted Garden Flowers
I had a bridal bouquet of orchids. I wanted something simple and not rigid.
For the tables we chose a mix of roses, lilys, orchids and other beautiful flowers in the white, green, pink, and fuchsia tones mixed with candles and with a lot of bougainvilleas around the venue.
We also added light garlands to emphasize the enchanted garden look. The florist/designer was Hilit Gordon. She has impeccable taste and I knew I was in good hands with her. We rented gold under plates so that people wouldn’t get to a bare table.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
We had photography and videography, both from Camellia. They did my sister’s wedding, so it was a no brainer for us to chose them 🙂
We also had a photo booth in black and white which was super fun, people loved it and we were so happy to have these pictures right after the wedding to look at and dream a bit before getting the official ones!!
On the day of the wedding, I wanted to do the chuppah before the cocktail hour, which is common in Europe/US but not in Israel. I didn’t want to see Uri before the chuppah, so we took our pictures during the cocktail. It was a bit sad to miss the cocktail, but I loved the emotion of seeing each other first under the chuppah.
A Cake and a Candy Bar
Our catering was by Local Kitchen, which is the catering of Ronit Farm. I hear the food was amazing 🙂
We used A.B. Cake for our wedding cake. We didn’t care so much about the cake to be honest, we wanted something flat and colorful and we got a delicious beautiful peach and red fruit cake! We also had a candy bar which was a huge success from Candyel, so yummy although as you can imagine I didn’t eat anything for 3 days nor see the food.
The Live Band
The Live Band was fantastic – everyone complimented us. They were lively, fun, classy. They had a huge repertoire and were so professional.
They played at the cocktail and we had asked for a violinist at the huppah and cocktail. It was beautiful. They then got on stage and started with a very long hora, which is my favorite part, so I asked for it to be extra long although I almost fainted from the turning, heat, and excitement. We had music, appetizer, music, main course, music, and desserts. I loved that flow, no time to get bored, to get too full, to get tired, you’re always on the go!
DJ Itay Galo was our DJ for after the dinner – the guy is a genius. He understood us perfectly and is very good at doing international weddings. We needed a mix of Israeli, American, French, Latino, and deep house music and he delivered until 4am, everyone was dancing!
I had organized surprise fireworks for Uri right after our first dance, it was really magical and I loved that no one was expecting it, especially him.
We saved all the tables around the dance floor for the young crowd and that really gave so much ambiance to the party. A lot of people had scared me by saying you won’t see your husband the whole night. That was not our case, we basically spent our night on the dance floor together having a blast, dancing, jumping, kissing. The smile on Uri’s face is the fondest memory I keep from the party.
We had a 3-day wedding, which I am so happy about. It was more work, but it was also more time spent altogether.
We first had a white-themed Shabbat dinner at Uri’s house for all the foreigners. Having a Shabbat at home was very special and cozy, and all the youngs went clubbing to Shalvata after.
On Saturday we had planned for all the youngs to spend the day at Calypso Beach. Roy Bar was our photographer and he was very very good. By the time of the wedding, it felt like summer camp, everyone had met and mingled and felt like a big family.
For the international guests we had gift bags with our logo delivered to the rooms. Inside we put 2 boxes of chocolates and mixed nuts from my husband’s gift shop, a map of Tel Aviv, a do not disturb sign and a hangover kit with earplugs, Alkaseltzer, Advil, band aids, and mints!
We also gave fans for the chuppah in case it got too hot, embroidered kippahs with our initials, custom prayer books for the Shabbat, and hamsa bracelets with a thank you note for the guests when they were leaving the wedding.
Speeches and Singalongs
I gave a speech on Friday night, it wasn’t planned but it felt right, these were mostly my guests and we were hosted by Uri’s mom so I felt like I wanted to thank people for coming and Uri’s family for opening their house so warmly. It came from the heart and my voice broke a few times but I think that everyone especially appreciated the genuine welcome on the Holy Land.
At the wedding, we had speeches from our brothers, a video, and our sisters sang us a song which was so cool, we were on stage with them and they had changed the words of Stevie Wonder’s song I Just Called To Say I Love You and the guest could follow the lyrics on the screen behind us and sing along. Finally Uri gave the best speech, mentioned everyone with love and detail, it was funny and came from the heart, it was perfect.
Our families were incredibly present and loving. This was Uri’s and my wedding, it was organized by us, thought by us, had our touch.
A Minimoon in Sicily
No plans yet, we are New Yorkers so we were back to work 2 days after the wedding, but we took a few days off for a friend’s wedding in Sicily and that was our minimoon. We are thinking about a honeymoon next year but will see…
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
For 9 months, I breathed organization of the wedding. I was involved in all the details so I was very scared of not being able to let go the day of. I impressed myself, on Thursday morning I basically checked out from the organization and let things happen, it was my time to enjoy, be with friends, family and party.
I thought, even if something is missing no one else will know that it’s missing, so just relax. I was lucky to have great vendors that made the rest work like magic, and my wedding planner that conducted the flow like a boss.
For those organizing a destination wedding: I was stressed because I had so many foreigners but I realized that people are incredibly independent and resourceful and they figure out stuff on their own!
So my advice would be, plan in advance to finish up the details and 2 days before let it go and focus on yourself, your work will pay off I promise and you will be so overwhelmed with emotion and happiness you won’t think about the small things.
Sarah & Uri’s little white book
Photography – Camellia
Venue – Ronit Farm
Wedding Planner – Moran Goldstein
Bride’s dress – Viktor & Rolf purchased at Mark Ingram and Happy Isles
Groom’s attire – Ralph Lauren, J.Crew and Babette Wasserman
Hair + Makeup – Sandro Pothin
Flowers – Hilit Gordon Design
Band – The Live Band
DJ – Atisuto
Catering – Local Kitchen
Cake – A.B. Cake
Candy bar – Candyel
Stationery – Monica Custodio and Mozart
Photo Booth – The Photoset
Photography for the days before the wedding – Roy Bar
Disco – Shalvata