Where to begin with today’s positively divine Jewish wedding? This one is chock full of clever ideas and sweet traditions – and did we mention that the couple are basically models? Oh, and the venue’s not bad looking either! Eye candy all around today!
Robyn, an area manager and one half of @tworealfoodies, and Josh, a property surveyor, live in Manchester but had their hearts set on an Israeli wedding with a fairy tale garden vibe, and that’s exactly what they got at Givat Brenner. Take one look at Ronen Boidek’s breathtaking photos and we think you’ll agree.
Beautiful Robyn, who looked just like a fairy tale princess in her lace gown from Yolan Cris, is lucky enough to have grown up with some of the best Jewish wedding musicians around: Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor The Portnoy Brothers, who specialize in performing at chuppahs. Naturally, they sang at Robyn and Josh’s – and their father, who happens to be a rabbi, married the couple!
Speaking of keeping it in the family, Robyn’s family has the most beautiful chuppah tradition: when her parents got married, her mum handmade a canopy from her own mother’s wedding dress. Afterward, the couple embroidered their initials on it. From then on, the canopy was passed from relative to relative, with new initials added each time it was used. Robyn’s and Josh’s are the latest additions. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful tradition to start?
We haven’t even gotten to the sweet “message in a bottle” favors/place cards Robyn handwrote (and stuffed!) for every single guest, but we’ll let her tell you more about that – along with all the rest of the details of this dreamy day…
How we met
Robyn, the bride: We met when we were 12 years old at Habonim summer camp. We went to summer camp every year together until we were 16, when we went to Israel on tour for a month. Those were definitely some of the best summers, with friendships and memories that last a lifetime. We stayed close but didn’t become “official” until after we finished University in Nottingham in 2012 and have been together ever since.
A Destination Wedding in Israel
We got married at Givat Brenner in Rechovot. Israel is very special to us and we wanted to get married somewhere that had a beautiful garden/fairytale vibe, which Givat Brenner definitely did. We loved all of the amazing stone when you enter the venue as well.
A Fab Planner
Our color theme was gold, as it matched with the gold thread running through the lace and flowers on my dress. We used Victoria Rosen as our wedding planner; she was simply an absolute STAR. She was amazing from start to finish, and both of us and our families absolutely love her! She is such a wonderful person and so organized; we had such fun planning the whole wedding. There was literally no stress throughout the whole planning.
We wanted a logo with our initials that could then be embroidered onto our chuppah. An old work friend designed the logo, and the invitations were just really simple and classic, gold and cream.
Hair + Makeup
Mel Atias Bueno from Make Up Make Up in Tel Aviv did my makeup. Eliana Gasner from Ramat Beit Shemesh did my hair. They were both such a dream to have around – it was so important to me to have people who were fun, relaxing, and positive while we were getting ready, and that is what they were. The atmosphere getting ready that morning was just 100% happiness, and they were both so chilled.
A Yolan Cris Dress
My dress was from the Knutsford Wedding Gallery in England. The designer Yolan Cris is quite weird and wacky, but this dress was so pretty and fit perfectly with the fairytale vibe I wanted. I fell in love with it when I first tried it and knew it was the one when my mum and mother-in-law both started crying! I also had my sister there for the fittings via Facetime from Jerusalem!
I knew I wanted a big skirt, so I added some petticoats underneath for extra volume. They were also amazing with my dress to make it more modest and made a custom made insert to put underneath to cover my sleeves and back for the chuppah that I took off for the party afterwards.
Gold and Diamonds
I went all out and bought my veil and hair accessory at the store where I got my dress. I wanted the veil to be super long but plain, so you could still see all of the detail on the dress. And the hair accessory was gold leaves with little diamonds intertwined. I loved my hair – felt like a Pinterest bride!
I actually wore Converse! I got some custom made cream Converse that said “Mrs Lee” on the side, sewed on some of the spare flowers and lace from my dress. and put cream ribbons to tie the laces. Definitely the comfiest wedding shoes ever!
The handsome groom
Josh was the most gorgeous groom I’ve ever seen of course. He wore a black Kooples tux, with Armani shirt, cufflinks, and bow tie. And the most amazing shoes that we picked out together from Russell and Bromley. My dad thinks these shoes blew the wedding budget!
Bridesmaids in Rose Gold
I had 6 beautiful bridesmaids: my sister, my niece, 2 of my cousins, and Josh’s 2 sisters. My mum made their dresses and did such a fantastic job! We had them all round for a fitting at my parents’ house; they each picked their style and my mum created their beautiful dresses. She even made 2 of the dresses without the girls being there! Their dresses were rose gold and matched perfectly with the gold theme. Lindsay Grossman did their hair and Mel did their makeup. They all looked completely divine.
Music by Friends of the Bride
The Portnoy Brothers sang at our chuppah. Not only are they obviously the best out there, but I have known them since we were all babies, as we are from the same community back home in Hale. It was so special to have them singing at our chuppah and something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. Our rabbi, their father, came over from Manchester to marry us, which was another “must have” for our wedding. My brother-in-law, Yakov, read out our ketubah for us at the chuppah, which was so special.
A Family Chuppah
We used the chuppah that has been in my family for many years. My mum made it from the material of my grandma’s wedding dress for her and my dad to get married under. She embroidered their initials into the front and then it was used by my auntie and uncle, then my sister and brother-in-law, with all of their initials embroidered into it as well. It now has our initials embroidered next to theirs and we hope it will be used for many future generations of our beautiful family. We are lucky to have had my grandma whose dress was originally used watching us get married, alongside 2 of my grandpas and Josh’s grandma.
Stay with You
Our first dance was John Legend – Stay With You. We’re not one of those couples who have “a song” so we just had a whole day listening to music together and picked this one! Our friends definitely helped with the song choices too. The night finished with Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis, sung very loudly in true Manchester fashion!
Believe it or not, Josh wasn’t that bothered about the flowers! I wanted lots of gypsophila as the venue was delicate and needed delicate flowers to complement it. My bouquet was a big round bunch of gypsophila, the bridesmaids had slightly smaller versions of this, and the button holes were mini versions. It all fit together so well. Our florist was Anat from the venue and she did a great job! The table centres were pale pink and white lisianthus with gypsophila and candles around them.
Our fabulous Photographer and Videographer
Ronen Boidek was the only photographer we wanted to use. When you look at his photos, you truly feel like you are at the weddings he photographs. You feel the emotions he captures just from the photos and that’s exactly what we wanted.
We wanted minimal “posed” pictures and loads of photos of the atmosphere, people having the best time and enjoying themselves. Ronen did this perfectly for us and we would recommend him a thousand times again. He was so relaxed and great to have around. The hardest bit is now choosing the photos for our album because we love them all!
We used Aryeh Gotlieb for our video; we also really love our highlight video and every time we watch it just want to go back in time! Aryeh was also so easy to work with and dealt with our amends and requests very well.
The amazing food was catered by the venue. Everyone said it was all so yum! The food tasting was one of the most fun parts of the planning, which we did while visiting Israel for our friends’ wedding. The food was all so hard to choose between, but the guests all loved it from reception to dessert buffet, to burgers and chips at 2am!
A Band and a DJ
After the Portnoy Brothers made the most beautiful chuppah, we wanted them to enjoy the rest of the wedding as guests. We chose Legend from Caliente as our band for the rest of the evening. They were so much fun; the guests were dancing all night, which is what we wanted more than anything. We loved the singers and the band, especially the saxophonist – they were all so talented! Then the DJ played us into the early hours with a mix of cheesy Justin Timberlake for Robyn and some good old Manchester tunes for Josh!
Message in a bottle
We were so grateful that all of our guests had flown over to Israel from far and wide, so we wanted to have a personalized touch when they arrived. Each guest had a personalized “message in a bottle,” which I hand wrote in the weeks leading up to the wedding. This was effectively the table plan, as on the outside was a little tag with the name and table number. I loved writing them as I felt happy to be able to personally send a message to everyone, especially as there were so many people at the wedding, we didn’t spend much time with anyone!
Last-minute flight drama
About 2 weeks before our wedding, Monarch airline went into administration. Around 150 of our guests had booked flights with Monarch, including both the bride, groom, and all of our immediate families. This meant that literally all of our flights were cancelled and unless we booked new flights ASAP, we weren’t going to Israel!
Our parents and family were amazing with helping people book onto new flights with other airlines, and amazingly almost all of our guests booked new flights so close to the day. This made it even more incredible that we had 300 people to celebrate with us in Israel.
I had a few very close friends and family who couldn’t come to Israel due to work or other commitments. So, on the morning while we were getting ready, I FaceTimed all the girls and my auntie who couldn’t be there. It was so special that I was able to speak to them all that morning, even if we weren’t together in person.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
We didn’t see or speak to each other for a week before the wedding to follow the Jewish tradition. If you’re unsure, I would say do it! The first time we saw each other at the badeken was the biggest rush of emotions I will never forget. I fell in love all over again with my gorgeous husband.
I would say just enjoy the whole experience from the planning to the big day, as it is over before you know it: way too soon! It is the lead up to the most exciting, special day of your lives and nothing is worth stressing over. And also, I would recommend asking any questions you have to the STG Facebook group as everyone is so friendly in there if you ever have wedding related questions.
Finally, a great piece of advice that a beautiful friend gave to me and I would pass on to other brides is: make sure you appreciate your parents on your big day (and every day!). They have done so much for you and this is their big day as well as yours. Tell them how grateful you are and how much you love them, and enjoy it all with them by your side if you are so lucky as to have them there with you.
Robyn & Josh’s little white book
Photography – Ronen Boidek
Band for the chuppah – The Portnoy Brothers
Wedding planner – Victoria Rosen
Venue – Givat Brenner
Bride’s dress and accessories – Yolan Cris purchased at the Knutsford Wedding Gallery
Bride’s shoes – Converse
Groom’s attire – Kooples, Armani and Russell and Bromley
Makeup – Make Up Make Up
Band – Caliente