HAPPY NEW YEAR! OK, maybe that’s a little premature, but we love the idea of sneaking in an extra New Year’s Eve,for one night only, and that’s exactly what Amanda and Harry did with their gold, NYE-themed big day.
Amanda and Harry first met as children, and they share so much in their upbringing and communities. But it wasn’t until adulthood that they were reunited, and this time, it was love! In fact, they celebrated their shared history by having their ceremony at the synagogue they both grew up in.
The larger-than-life couple poured their personalities into their big day, with everything from giant ‘Amanda & Harry heads’ to a table dedicated to past family weddings.
Everything was kept in the circle of family and friends, including Harry’s mother singing Amanda down the aisle and the hair and makeup.
Over to the happy couple, now, to tell you all about their big day details! Take it away, Amanda and Harry.
How we met
Amanda, the bride and Harry, the groom: We knew each other as children. We went to Solomon Schechter Day School of Rarity Valley from age five Along the way, we were also members of the same synagogue, Congregation B’nai Tikvah.
During those years at SSDSRV and B’nai Tikvah, our paths didn’t really cross, but they did in the summer of 2009 at The Knight Club in New Brunswick, NJ. Harry was out celebrating his last law school final, and Amanda was out with a girlfriend.
Amanda recognised Harry from across the bar, and since he was staring back, she thought he recognised her, too. She approached him only to find out the staring was simply because he thought she was pretty (but don’t worry, she embarrassed herself by knowing his entire name, while he had barely any clue who she was!) It all worked out, though!
A venue with personal history
We got married at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick, NJ. We picked the venue because we both grew up in the synagogue and were both Bar/Bat Mitzvahed there.
The in-house caterer did our Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and has known Amanda all her life. Harry booked the venue three months prior to proposing to make sure he got the date, and surprised Amanda the day he proposed.
A personalised wedding theme
Our wedding was very personalised. Amanda likes things very unique and larger than life. Harry’s mum is an opera singer and sang Amanda down the aisle. Our 300-person wedding was clad in gold and Harry and Amanda’s initials featured throughout the venue. There was a vodka bar for Amanda and a scotch bar for Harry featuring some of his favourite scotches.
Our very good friend, Stacy Shiffner, of SMS Paper & Designs custom-designed each piece of the invitation from the save the date, to the shower, to the entire invitation suite. Pops of gold-foil surrounded a very classic invitation, with the addition of our English AND Hebrew names!
Keeping hair and makeup in the family
Amanda’s hair was done by her lifelong hair stylist, Stephanie Daniels from UFO Salon and Spa.
Makeup was provided by Amanda’s Matron of Honour’s sister, Samantha McCann, of Makeup by Samantha Holz McCann. She’s done Amanda’s makeup countless times and she knew best. Amanda’s only request was a set of double lashes!
Finally finding THE dress
Amanda’s dress was from Park Avenue Bridals in Verona, NJ. After three different stores and 20+ dresses, it was narrowed down to the following: had to be strapless where straps could be added, had to have lace, had to be mermaid cut, and had to have a serious tulle bottom. A little bling couldn’t hurt.
Enter: Eve of Milady. After trying on a few of her styles it was evident she would be the designer to hit every mark, and she most certainly was!
Amanda wanted a short veil to complement the over-the-top dress. It was a simple, short veil with rhinestones around the edge, selected the same day as the dress.
Blinged-out Badgley Mischka heels
Amanda wore ivory, blinged out 3.75” Badgley Mischka sandals. VERY bridal. And then, of course the, there was the obligatory shoe change: BRIDE flip flops. No shame!
The handsome groom
Harry is as classically handsome as they come, and he wanted to feel no different on our wedding day. He selected a black tux, black suspenders and black bowtie. His patent leather tie-up shoes and a silver pocket square (the rest of the groomsmen had gold, to match the girl dresses) completed the look.
Amanda has always found Harry to be incredibly handsome in a suit; his perfectly fitted tux really knocked it out of the park!
Bridesmaids in gold
Amanda had six bridesmaids. They each selected their own (floor length) style from the Bari Jay sequin collection – all the dresses were gold. With a GOLD New Year’s theme, they fit right in!
A grand, white and gold Chuppah
Our florist, Kim of Marquis Florals by Kim, really helped make the vision come to life. Amanda wanted the chuppah to be less ‘over the top’ than the rest of the components to the wedding, because she wanted the guests to focus on her and Harry. The design included white flowers and gold fabric woven into the ivory.
A traditional Jewish ceremony
Before the ceremony, Harry had a Tisch and Amanda had a Badeken. Family and close friends were invited to join the couple (separately) for both ceremonies. Harry’s mother sang Amanda down the aisle – a very special operatic Hebrew song, Boi Kala (which means “Come, Bride”), a ‘re-lyriced’ version of the song Time To Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, Amanda circled Harry seven times, they selected seven special family members and friends to read the seven blessings, and Harry broke the glass at the end. Amanda and Harry also wrote and exchanged their own vows.
The table centerpieces were white roses, hydrangeas, arranged with other white flowers. There were two designs: tall and a short. The tall had a gold ‘crown’ and hanging off of the crown were crystal, gold and pearl pieces. The shorter style had three multi-tiered candles to go alongside the floral arrangement. There were several votive candles on each table as well.
Our fabulous photographers…
Our photographers were AH-MAY-ZING. Nick and Kelly of Nick and Kelly Photography made the whole day more FUN. We interviewed three different photographers. We really liked each of their styles, but what stood out about Nick and Kelly was their personalities. We knew we’d have to spend the entire day with them, and had to find people who meshed with us.
Nick can handle Amanda’s crazy personality, and can even match with some crazy of his own. Kelly really has it together, and Harry appreciated how organised and particular she was. We’ve actually remained friends with them after the wedding – they’re a fantastic couple and so incredibly talented.
Our videographer, Delia Studios, was great. He knew what he was talking about from minute one, and we just loved his unique, cinematographic style.
Steakinis and duck cigars
Classical Caterers provided all of the absolute unbelievable food and drink at our wedding. Cocktail hour is where the catering team really shines, with items like steaktinis and duck cigars choosing Classical Caterers was really a no brainer! The cake was simple: vanilla with chocolate frosting.
An energetic, 10-piece band
We decided on a 10-piece band from Around Town Entertainment. We only interviewed bands we had seen at other weddings (this particular band played Harry’s cousin’s wedding).
We really enjoyed speaking with the band leader, Adam, who happened to have a Yeshiva background of all things! His background certainly made things like the Hora and Amanda’s parents’ mezinka easier! The band was phenomenal and really kept the evening going.
A bakery to go
As the guests left they were able to fill up customised bags with cookies, cakes and pastries from our little “to-go” bakery.
You are GOLD!
We had gold touches all over, as well as several instances of Amanda and Harry’s initials. We had a generations table with photographs from the weddings of our siblings, parents and grandparents.
During cocktail hour, we had a vodka shot bar complete with a frozen sculpture that the vodka was served through (for the bride). We also had a scotch bar, featuring many of Harry’s favourite scotches. We had props for NYE and champagne around every corner: when you arrived, during toasts, passed around at midnight. There were passed drinks on the dance floor: mini-vodka sodas, mini margaritas, and fun shots as well. Also, passed desserts like cake pops, hot chocolate shots, and more!
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
I absolutely will not give the clichÃ©d advise of “what’s going to happen will happen so just relax” – I couldn’t do it, so why would I expect you to!? Work to your level of comfort and enjoy to your level of comfort.
I personally feel like I nailed an excellent combination of the two. For instance: the maitre did not have an updated copy of the wedding processional, but I did. I knew I didn’t want this messed up, so you best believe I had my MOH whip out her copy and hand it over to make sure it went just right!
Also – a little secret: your wedding day for the most part is not for you, and rightfully so. It’s for you to celebrate with your guests, SO – take a minute with you groom. Relax. AWAY from people. Have a quick drink together. Grab just five ‘no guests allowed’ minutes, and really enjoy it, because that might be the last you see of each other the rest of the night!
Amanda & Harry’s little white book
Photographer – Nick and Kelly Photography
Videographer – Delia Studios
Venues – Congregation B’nai Tikvah and Hyatt Regency New Brunswick
Bride’s dress – Eve of Milady purchased at Park Avenue Bridals
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaids – Bari Jay
Hair + Make-up – UFO Salon and Spa and Makeup by Samantha Holz McCann
Flowers – Marquis Florals by Kim
Band – Around Town Entertainment
Catering – Classical Caterers