OK could today’s destination Jewish wedding be any cooler? That portrait of the couple just chillin’ in shades against the backdrop of the Hadera skyline – LOVE. And the super colorful floral chuppah with the suspended tallit canopy? Perfection.
We’re obsessed with the gorgeous wedding photos from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor LUZ Weddings. From the emotion and spirituality of the chuppah to the wild party (complete with Brazilian drum line) to the artsy portraits taking advantage of awesome architectural backdrops, every image is so memorable. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Lisa, a strategic consultant for The Behavioural Architects, and Igor, Igor is a press officer at the UK’s Home Office, are a totally stunning couple.
We’ll let Lisa fill you in on the rest – by the way, we are ALL about her simple, elegant dress from Elia Vatine. Like everything about this day, it’s the perfect mix of laid back and glam…
How We Met
“She’s gorgeous but blind dates are really not my thing,” I said to Mika, a mutual friend who’d been trying to set me up with Lisa for months. “If one day we are ever in the same place you can introduce us but until then I’ll wait”…
A few months later when I had recently come back from spending New Year’s in Portugal, I attended a Shabbat dinner at the JLE, a social center for young Jews. Out of pure coincidence, Lisa also decided to attend and during the cocktail reception we were introduced for the very first time. “Nice to meet you,” I said, though what I really meant was “finally.”
In another strike of “coincidence,” we ended up sitting next to each other, in one of the 15 available round-tables. We talked until first course was served, but then some friends started coming to the table to catch up on my latest trip. I got distracted and stopped speaking to Lisa. This ended up taking all dinner and when I realized I should speak to her again it was too late and dinner was over.
I felt embarrassed and added her on Facebook a couple of days later. I messaged her apologizing for not being a good “table mate” and asked if I could make it up and take her out for a drink. She accepted and we went to Alice House, a classic local bar/pub in West Hampstead.
The date lasted for five hours and it felt like the most natural of things. We talked about dogs, vegetarianism, gin & tonics, Judaism, kids, and behavioral economics (something I still struggle to understand).
“I think I met the woman of my life,” I messaged Daniel Granditer and Simon Murray, two friends who knew about the upcoming date.
I was never so sure about something in life as wanting to see Lisa every hour of every day after that. I knew that no matter what, I should not let such a beautiful, kind, and generous soul pass. From that day onwards I would do all in my power to make her my life companion.
Ten months after our first date, while on holidays in the magical mountain town of Lenzerheide, in Switzerland, I proposed to Lisa. I knew that was her “happy place.” Yes, at the very top of the Swiss Alps.
I pretended to have never heard of him before when my friend Mika told me about this handsome, smart, funny, and nice friend of hers. “You guys have to meet,” she said. A few weeks later I was discussing with a group of friends which Friday night dinner to go to – there were so many options, a dinner organized by the JLE being one of them. We decided to attend a Friday night dinner in town, but our plans fell through last minute and we were lucky to catch the last few spots at the JLE dinner.
When we got there, Mika absolutely wanted me to sit next to her, but when we sat down I turned around and it was not her sitting there, but Igor. We talked for a little bit, and the conversation actually became interesting, but he seemed to be the star of the evening and people did not stop coming over to him to say hi and chat. At some point he apologized and said he had to go to speak to a few friends… He didn’t come back to the table for the rest of the evening.
“Handsome, but a bit snobbish” was my conclusion, and I ended up having a fun night with my friends. Two days later I left to Israel, and when I turned on my phone after the flight I saw that I had a friend request on Facebook, and a couple of hours later I received a message from Igor.
He apologised for disappearing and said, “I’m not a fan of texting, do you want to meet up?” We ended up texting for the rest of the week – although he supposedly wasn’t a fan. We went for a drink as soon as I got back to London and our first date lasted until the bar closed.
The following weeks and months we saw each other more and more, and with every day we spent together, my feelings for him grew fonder. Soon there was such a strong bond between us that it was hard to spend even one day apart.
Early January, a few days after New Year’s, in the most beautiful spot on the planet, Igor made me happier than ever with just one question.
A Destination Wedding in Israel
Although we’re a very international couple, we both knew that we wanted to get married in Israel. We looked at a few different venues, but Baya’ar in Hadera convinced us with its natural yet elegant charm.
A Fab Planner
We had an incredible wedding planner – Natalie Abraham – who became a true friend throughout the planning process. She went above and beyond to make our dream wedding become reality and took so much weight off our shoulders.
With that said, it was such an incredible experience to plan something so big for our closest family and friends. We really did put all our time and effort into making sure it was the most incredible evening.
In addition, Igor and I have very similar taste so apart from when the party should end we agreed on pretty much everything 🙂
We did not have a color scheme or theme per se, but we wanted the decoration to be in line with Bayaar’s natural beauty. Hence we had a lot of green and natural colors in our decoration.
We also wanted to keep the invitation quite simple. Our brother-in-law is a graphic designer and he helped us loads with the invitation design. We decided not to have printed invitations (staying in line with the natural theme, we wanted to save some trees 😉 ).
Hair + Makeup
The day before the wedding I went to the mikvah in Tel Aviv, on Pkiin Street. They lady there (unfortunately I don’t know her name) was absolutely lovely! Totally recommend this mikvah.
For makeup I decided to go with Naor Appel, which was one of the best decisions ever. Naor has a real talent for bringing out people’s beauty, rather than covering it up. He understood exactly what I wanted – a subtle and natural look. I would say Naor is definitely a real makeup artist, with the focus on ARTIST.
For hair I had Roy Hobbit Efrat, not only is he an amazing hairdresser, he also brings some really great energy and happy vibes with him.
An Elia Vatine Dress
I got my dress from the amazing Elia Vatine. I was actually with my cousin who got her dress from Elia and had her last fitting before her own wedding when I was looking around, and found my wedding dress. I didn’t have a clear idea in mind of the wedding dress I wanted, but I just loved the elegant simplicity.
I decided not to wear any jewellery other than stud earrings. I got the veil from Elia Vatine as well.
The handsome groom
Igor wore a tailored black tuxedo from a famous Portuguese tailor called Rosa & Teixeira.
I decided not to have bridesmaids. I’m blessed with 4 amazing sisters/sisters-in-law who naturally took on the role of bridesmaids. They did coordinate the color scheme of their dresses, but I did not get involved in that.
A Spiritual Ceremony
It’s very difficult to describe the spirituality of our chuppah in words… Two people who made it special were our friends Rabbi Dov Cowan and Rabbi Benji Morgan from the JLE who officiated the ceremony and sang under the chuppah (beautifully accompanied by the incredibly talented Nimrod playing the violin and Raphael playing the guitar/saxophone). It was also unbelievably special to be surrounded by our incredible family and friends! We really felt the love! We’re so lucky that all of that came through on the pictures and video we were given by Luz and Nir.
A Laser-Cut Ketubah
We worked with the most amazing and talented designer/florist – Lior Zemel. A man of not many words, he immediately understood our style. We didn’t have exact ideas of what we wanted, so we told Lior we wanted something natural and elegant that is not over the top.
When we got to the wedding venue on the day, we were shocked by the beauty of our chuppah and the table centers. We would have never been able to imagine such perfect decoration and beautiful flowers!
Baya’ar is such a magical venue that we always wanted to follow with its natural look and feel. Lior blew us out of the water with bringing that “forest feel” into the Great Hall.
We played a mix of Jewish/Hassidic, Brazilian, and Israeli songs. And some mainstream as well 🙂 The amazing Noa and Chen (Udrub DJs) put together THE perfect playlist to meet all of our music requests. Their knowledge of music is neverending – they knew more Brazilian songs than Igor did!
Noa and Chen also have an amazing talent to “feel the crowd” and sense when to turn the party up, or when people need a little rest.
Our Fabulous Photographer…
We spent a lot of time researching THE PERFECT photographers. And when we reached LUZ Weddings‘ website, we know immediately that we had found them. We worked with Shay and Aviv and there are no words to describe their incredible talent (the pictures say it all).
They captured the most incredible, deep, and spiritual moments at the chuppah, as well as the wild party vibes during the dancing sessions. And of course, we are also incredibly happy with the super artistic couple shoot pictures that we had the day after the wedding. As a big plus, Shay and Aviv were the most incredible people to work with, spreading only positive and happy vibes.
… and Videographer
Nir Tenenbaum did our video, and we absolutely loved it. We can’t even count the number of people who told us that our wedding trailer is the most beautiful and moving one they had ever seen.
Nir understood exactly what we wanted and was able to reflect all the many emotions that came up during the wedding in the video.
Our caterer was Braaf, and they were incredible throughout the planning process, as well as on the wedding day itself. Everything worked absolutely seamlessly, the food was presented beautifully, and our guests absolutely loved the all the dishes!
We decided not to have a huge wedding cake, because the dessert buffet was already massive. We did, however, have a (normal sized) birthday cake for Igor’s sister, as the day of our wedding was her birthday as well.
There’s no party like a Brazilian party. And since Igor is Brazilian, we absolutely wanted to address that part of our identity as well. We decided to have a Brazilian drum line to create a real Carnival feel. Morango did an incredible job, and our friends are still raving about their amazing performance.
Nimrod & Raphael, who accompanied our friends who sang at the chuppah, also did some live-on-DJ stunts during the dancing sets, and they were absolutely incredible! Nimrod on the violin and Raphael on the saxophone pumped the energy up (even more!).
Four Parents, One Speech
Our parents held a wonderful speech – the four of them together. Igor and I also decided to hold a very short thank you speech and quick Dvar Torah.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I was waiting for the nerves to kick in, but they didn’t. I was super calm, because I knew there was no reason to stress out. I knew that the day would be incredible, no matter what, so I wouldn’t let unnecessary stress ruin my joy!
Igor on the other hand was a little nervous but once he got under the chuppah he calmed down 🙂
Lisa & Igor’s little white book
Photography – LUZ Weddings
Videography – Nir Tenenbaum
Wedding planner – Natalie Abraham
Venue – Baya’ar
Bride’s dress – Elia Vatine
Groom’s attire – Rosa & Teixeira
Flowers – Lior Zemel
Catering – Braaf
DJ – Udrub DJs
Ketubah – Danny Azoulay