We couldn’t be more delighted to feature the gorgeous DIY Jewish wedding of our Brides Club member Emily to Jason! The couple, who live on a sailboat and run a sailing business, planned a laid-back eco-wedding totally in keeping with their values and lifestyle – and in line with their tight budget.
How’d they do it? With a little help from their friends. Emily and Jason asked guests to pitch in on wedding prep in lieu of gifts, and it made for such a special day – from the food cooked by guests to a chuppah constructed from local driftwood by the Boy Scout troop Jason leads! Don’t miss it in the gorgeous images by Nyama Photography.
We loved following Emily’s wedding planning journey during her time in Brides Club, and we’re so touched by her kind words about the community:
“I loved being a member of Brides Club, joining after I got engaged was a no brainer for me because I’d already been in Karen Cinnamon’s Smashing Life and love the community she has created there. I found our ketubah, yarmulkes and invitation/wedding website through Bride’s Club. I received so much support and love in this group.”
Another thing we’re obsessed with? Emily’s gorgeous vintage dress, ordered from Etsy! The classic ‘50s styling is SO chic, and going vintage is such a great eco-friendly option.
Now over to the bride…
How we Met
Emily, the bride: We started dating after Emily moved to Bellingham, WA from New York City. Jason quickly told her that he would never live on land again. Emily started taking to life on sailboat having admired sailboats from a far for much of her life. Emily bought a ballet school on San Juan Island and moved to Friday Harbor.
After a brief time living on land and loving hosting large dinners (which Jason especially loved), Emily and Jason decided to move back full-time to the sailboat, where they are very happy and looking forward to extended cruising. We are loving life on our boat and started a sailing business, Essential Sailing Industries. Jason with an emphasis on battery and solar systems, electrical work and generally meeting and helping people work with their boats and solving their boat problems. Emily is putting her years of sewing to work making canvas for boats.
We got married at the San Juan Island Grange Hall. It is right up the hill from where we live on our sailboat and since we ended up housing all of our out of town guests on boats it was super practical because we all could just walk to and from the venue. Jason’s family has a long history of grange involvement and getting married at the Grange Halls around Washington state so that really felt right as well.
What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us
I loved being a member of Brides Club, joining after I got engaged was a no brainer for me because I’d already been in Karen Cinnamon’s Smashing Life and love the community she has created there. I found our ketubah, yarmulkes and invitation/wedding website through Bride’s Club. I received so much support and love in this group.
I really didn’t have any clue about theme or color scheme or even a particular wedding style. We didn’t hire a wedding planner and did things as cheaply as we could. I did the vast majority of the wedding planning and organizing, enlisting a friend or two along the way. And of course, all big or Jewish questions I took to Bride’s club! I realized event planning is definitely not my things so some things felt through the cracks, which was okay. Our whole plan to keep expenses low was to ask for gifts of service rather than presents.
One of our friends suggested I contact her mom who did decor/store fronts/merchandising for years and has a great sense for design. I met with her the week before the wedding and we came up with a plan to use a lot of natural elements in the design. Lots of madrona branches, other branches, leafs, etc. She really took charge of it which I was so grateful for and it came together beautifully on the day. A bunch of our other guests helped her and it was a great community effort doing the setup and decorating.
Invitations / stationery
Hair + Make-up
The first person I contacted once we got our date from the Rabbi was my friend, Natalie Joseph Hair who is a fantastic hair stylist. For years, I’ve admired the bridal styles she posts on Instagram so I knew I wanted her to do my hair for my wedding. I particularly love her braided styles and the incorporation of flowers. I wanted an up do so it would last through all the dancing (which sadly didn’t happen because of COVID).
My makeup artist, Ferah from Beauty by Furi, was someone I had known online for years yet hadn’t met in person. Upon meeting at my makeup trial we realized we are friends now! She did an amazing job of listening to me and helping me discover what I wanted for my wedding look. After the trial, she asked how the makeup wore through the day and even had me send her photos.
A Vintage Dress
Living on an island (plus COVID) I knew I needed to order my dress online. I wanted a vintage dress and discovered that Etsy had a great selection of vintage dresses. I messaged back and forth with my good friend in NYC who is a costumer for the New York City Ballet. I had basically decided on one dress then when I went to order it was gone, already sold! Then I found my dress and it was even more perfect. A vintage dress from the 1950s, cap sleeves (to cover my shoulders), buttons lining the back zipper, beading on the front and a large flower on the back with the most adorable bustle.
When it arrived in the mail, beautifully packaged with a set of vintage earrings for free, I discovered this dress was even more gorgeous and it fit me perfectly! Unlike modern dresses that have linings, all the insides of this dress are exposed so you can see all the hard work and love that went into the creation of this dress. The dress is made of a heavy satin that almost looks like cotton and has a lovely drape. I also discovered that the three bustle points untied into a train, another thing on my wishlist!
I also purchased my veil on Etsy, from a shop called Veils for Brides. She had the most amazing customer service and allowed me to return the first veil I ordered because I realized after I got it that it wouldn’t work for the bedeken. The veil she created for me was absolutely perfect with a blusher of plain net and an ivory chapel length veil with golden flowers to match my dress. My earrings were “my something borrowed” from my sister in law, the ones she and her sister wore for their weddings. I thought about wearing a necklace and even tried one on only to realized my dress/look didn’t need it.
I got my black high heels from Nordstrom Rack in NYC for my brother’s wedding. I chose to wear these shoes because I knew I could dance for the whole night in them since I danced the entire night at my brother’s wedding.
The handsome groom
Given the vintage style we had for our wedding, Jason decided to model his outfit on morning dress like the British Royals wear for day weddings. We got my stepson a similar outfit and it was a sweet moment for the two of them to get dressed together.
No bridesmaids! I swore that I would not have bridesmaids at my wedding after hearing all my friends in NYC complain about being bridesmaids. I think Jason was at bit disappointed that he didn’t get to have grooms men but in the end it really simplified our ceremony in a beautiful way.
Nava Shoham designed our ketubah. We loved the historical ketubahs from ketubah.com but wanted a canvas ketubah since we live on a boat and want to cruise the world on our boat. I asked Bride’s Club and someone pointed me to Nava, I went to her website and we fell in love with this ketubah. Nava was wonderful to work with and so friendly and helpful on the phone. We are so thrilled by the result and once it is framed our ketubah will be the only hanging artwork we will have on our boat. Something funny happened at our ketubah signing, one of our Jewish friends who we asked to sign our ketubah wasn’t there! Atlas’s best friend is Jewish and post Bar Mitzvah age so he and his mom (who we had already asked) signed our ketubah!
The week before the wedding, I asked Jason if he was going to build the chuppah or did I need to build it. He assured me that he would build it (much more his deal anyways). Jason is the assistant scoutmaster for our local boy scouts so instead of building it himself he asked the boy scouts to build us a chuppah. So with 72 hours of notice they did just that! They used local driftwood and the scoutmaster’s wife sewed seastars to decorate the chuppah.
Our Music Choice
The band played instrumental music for Jason and my niece, Sofia, our flower girl to walk down the aisle. Then for my walk down the aisle and circling of Jason they played ‘Moon River’ by Henry Mancini. I put a lot of thought into what song I wanted. One of my favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn and the lyrics really fit us, our lifestyle and relationship.
For the recessional, we played ‘People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul’ by James Brown on my phonograph with has incredible sound. Very sadly, we weren’t allowed to have dancing at our wedding because of COVID (public health officials actually told us that personally).
This was the one vendor Jason was insistent on. Toni Shiurba is the local woman who Jason connected with years ago. A very creative person, she has a passion for flowers and grows a whole bunch of flowers on her porch. Jason encouraged her to start selling her flowers and would buy me flower bouquets (I love having fresh flowers around). Before our wedding she had never done flowers for a wedding before! We trusted her though and she did a great job!
Our photographer fell through a few weeks before the wedding because we realized we were uncomfortable working with him. Luckily one of my students’ parents is an incredible wedding photographer who though not available on our wedding day put me in touch with another amazing wedding photographer who combed through her contact list of great San Juan Island photographers when she also realized she wasn’t available that day.
Two days before the wedding, she gave me Sofie’s name/number from Nyama Photography and said if she wasn’t available she would provide babysitting so another photographer could photograph our wedding. I got on the phone with Sofie and she said she could do it! Sofie was incredible on the day and went above and beyond. She listened to me and by the end of the day I felt like I made a new friend!
We asked our guests to cook at our wedding. Originally Jason was planning to cook then a week before the wedding he had the realization that he couldn’t cook because he would be too busy getting married. Luckily he has some really wonderful friends plus my brother who really stepped up and did all the cooking, with days notice. Neither of us like sweets so we decided to not have a cake, less cost and one less thing to organize.
Jason did a “fake out” before he smashed the glass, we didn’t have enough Jewish guests so it didn’t have the desired affect unfortunately. The day of the wedding was rather funny. I got up earlier than the boys, made breakfast for everyone (cause I knew I’d need it), took a shower in the cockpit, met up with the lady who volunteered to do the decorations, then left to get my makeup done. Jason arrived shortly after I left and was over his head and so nervous. People were asking him all these questions and his answer was “yes” to everything.
Our wedding without us trying was really “green”, it is just who we are as people – we are very conscious of our impact on the Earth. Our wedding clothes were mostly used, our decoration were mostly from nature or the thrift store, invitations digital, and we asked for no gifts. So many people told us it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to. I think this was partly due to the fact that there was no drama at the wedding and also that we asked our guests to be an active part of the wedding.
We are hoping to go on a honeymoon on our sailboat, visit a few of our favorite stops in the San Juan Island and maybe stay a night or two at bed and breakfast our friends operate.
EMILY & JASON’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Nyama Photography
Venue – San Juan Island Grange Hall
Bride’s dress – Rare Jule Vintage
Bride’s shoes – Nordstrom Rack
Bride’s accessories – Veils for Brides
Groom’s attire – Ebay and Amazon
Hair – Natalie Joseph Hair
Makeup – Beauty by Furi
Flowers – Toni Shiurba
Ketubah – 1800-ketubah – Nava Shoham
Stationery/Invitation – Appy Couple
Rabbi – Rabbi Joshua Samuels
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.