We love it when a couple gives their values a starring role in their Jewish wedding. And Miriam, an environmental consultant in the water sector, and Lazarus, an intellectual property manager for a green hydrogen start up, did exactly that for their beautiful big day at beloved Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor The Brewery.
Unsurprisingly, sustainability is a big deal to these two – and they followed through on that value by using e-vites instead of paper, a mix of fake flowers along with fresh to reduce waste, and gave out wildflower seed favours for guests to plant to help save the bees.
We also love how Miriam and Lazarus worked with their rabbi to incorporate some feminist touches into their Orthodox ceremony – like having Miriam say a line back to Lazarus after he gave her the ring, and having female guests reading the Sheva Brachot in English as well as the men saying them in Hebrew.
Even cooler is the way they went about making sure all of their guests, Jewish and non-Jewish, felt involved in the wedding: Miriam and Lazarus went a step further than an explanatory order of service on the day, instead opting to send theirs out to guests in advance – along with FAQs about Jewish weddings and videos and music clips to prepare everyone for the dancing!
We love how Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Michael Lee’s photography captured all the fun, energy, and bold colours of the day – and he came up with some awesome ideas for creative shots.
Now over to the bride, who looked simply stunning in her vintage-inspired Eliza Jane Howell dress (not to mention that epic flower crown!)…
How we met
Miriam, the bride: We met on JSwipe – a truly 21st century couple!
A London Wedding
We got married at The Brewery in Moorgate. We chose it because we loved the old industrial feel, the beautiful exposed beams and brick walls, and the fact that it had space for our chuppah and dinner in separate rooms.
We planned everything ourselves – Lazarus and I are both into gardening so we chose a bright, spring colour scheme (hoping that the weather in March would match!). We had bright orange, yellow and pinks as our theme colours as we wanted the day to be colourful and fun!
What ‘Smashing The Glass’ did for us
I loved looking at all the photos for colour inspiration – especially the summer outdoors weddings, and thinking about how we could achieve a similar look indoors. It was also really good to see that The Brewery was one of STG’s recommended vendors as we knew we could rely on them to make our wedding amazing.
We chose to do an E-vite to save paper (we both work in environment/sustainability) which I hope our guests found convenient. The design was by a friend of ours, Janina, who is amazing at graphic design. She totally got the bright coloured floral look we wanted.
Hair + Makeup
Liz Finnegan did my hair – she’s been my hairdresser for more than 10 years and I wanted someone I felt comfortable with. I had a loose side bun with a french braid to keep my hair off my face and show off my backless dress.
Sarah Field did my makeup – she’d been really highly recommended and I loved the glamorous vintage look she gave me. I’m a total novice at make up so I just left Sarah to do her thing and I loved the result!
An Eliza Jane Howell Dress
It was from Eliza Jane Howell – I knew I wanted a dress from her since a friend recommended the designer for dresses to suit curvier women. I always wanted something vintage looking with lots of heavy beading, and when my future sister-in-law found my dress at the EJH sample sale I knew it was the one!
I borrowed a veil from my friend Naomi who had a beautiful long veil with a silk trim from her own wedding a couple of years ago. I also had a bright pink and orange flower crown to match the colour scheme.
My father-in-law loves shoes and wanted to take me shoe shopping for the big day. He’d bought his daughter Jimmy Choos for her 16th birthday after she’d made him sign a contract when she was 12 promising to buy them for her one day!
So the wedding shoe shopping trip made me really part of the family. I felt incredibly spoilt when I ended up with Carrie Bradshaw’s bright blue Manolo Blahniks with the crystal buckle, they were my favourite part of my outfit! I did have a pair of £20 sandals from T K Maxx to change into for the dancing though!
The handsome groom
Lazarus is a real country gent and wore a blue check 3 piece suit with an orange tie and pocket square to match my flowers. He also had on his favourite Star Wars socks and boxers! Lazarus wore his Zaide Arnold’s pig cufflinks – and later he put on Arnold’s wedding ring which was really meaningful for him and his family.
Bridesmaids in Pink
I had two bridesmaids and my sister was maid of honour. They all have different styles so I just asked them to wear any shade of pink, yellow or orange. They all ended up choosing pale pink dresses which looked really beautiful with their pink bouquets and flower crowns.
Birch Tree Chuppah
We chose the birch tree chuppah because we both really love outdoors and nature, and wanted to create an outdoors feel without risking the rain!
A Feminist Orthodox Ceremony
We had an orthodox ceremony and worked hard with our rabbi, Alex Goldberg, to get as many “modern” touches into the ceremony as we could. I’m really passionate about Orthodox Feminism so being able to say a line back to Lazarus under the chuppah when he gave me the ring was really important.
We also had women reading the Sheva Brachot in English as well as the men saying them in Hebrew, and Lazarus and I walked around each other 3 times each. These changes were only small but they really meant a lot to both of us. We also had my brother Daniel, who is a rabbi in Israel, speak to us under the chuppah which was really special.
All of Me
We had traditional Jewish music for our chuppah sung by the fantastic Jonny Turgel. Lazarus walked in to ‘Yesimcha’ and I walked in to ‘Boi V’shalom’, both by Ya’akov Shwekey. For our first dance we had ‘All Of Me’ by John Legend.
Alina from Flowers by Alina did an absolutely amazing job with all the flowers – they were definitely the highlight of the wedding! My bouquet was a huge burst of colourful roses, tulips, spray roses, solidago, wax flowers and yellow thistles.
We really wanted jars of herbs as part of the centrepieces to give the room a great smell and to give our guests a useful going home present! The buttonholes were made of mini succulents and the flower crowns were pink roses with loads of eucalyptus leaves.
Alina took all my ideas and made them better than I could have imagined – my favourite was the washing line with name cards pegged on, suspended between ladders covered in jars of flowers, fairy lights and even vintage suitcases and books!
We actually found our photographer, Michael Lee, through his parents who are friends of my parents. He came over to show me some of his work and it was obvious that he’s really talented and has a passion for art and photography.
Michael was an absolute pleasure to work with on the day, he was so fun and friendly and really helped us relax. He had some amazing ideas for creative and funny shots, like one of me in my dress hailing a bus, and we especially loved the late night drunken photo shoot after the guests had gone home! The photos have all come out so beautifully and looking through them really helped us relive the day.
Our videographers – DreaMedia were also really lovely to work with and we can’t wait to see what they’ve produced.
Pick and mix
We chose to have a huge pick and mix table instead of a cake, which went down a storm with all my nieces and nephews! All the food from Reich was delicious.
Hora + Macarena
We had Jonathan Shine and his band Neshama for music. They had played at my bat mitzvah and we had heard them at a few friends’ weddings and loved the amazing party atmosphere they create. I really wanted some fun Israeli and Jewish dancing as well as English party music, and Neshama did both brilliantly. Our favourite was the spontaneous Macarena and Hora! The dance floor was packed all night and the band really added to the energy and celebration.
We had some cool festoon lighting by W A Carr & Son which added to the fun festive look of the venue. They also provided us with a photobooth which kept the kids entertained! Lazarus and I have 7 nieces and nephews and lots of little cousins so it was really important to us that the kids had a good time – we made them all personalised activity books and covered the kids table with bubbles, bouncy balls, wind-up toys and colouring pencils – although most of them spent the whole night in the photo booth!
Seed Packet Favours
With the help of my bridesmaids we made 250 wild flower seed packets with every guests name stamped on them as the name cards on the table. Lazarus and I have an allotment and love planting vegetables and flowers, so this was one way we brought our personality into the wedding. We also both really care about the environment and wanted to encourage all our guests to plant the flowers to help save the bees!
We had a real mix of more and less religious Jewish guests, and non-Jewish guests who were attending their first Jewish wedding, so we wanted to make sure everyone felt involved. We sent around an order of service and FAQs with videos and music clips to prepare everyone for the crazy simcha dancing, and made sure to have ‘Hava Nagila’ as well as some more modern Israeli and English music to make sure everyone got on the dance floor!
A green wedding
As Lazarus and I are both in the environment and sustainability field, it was important to us to be as environmentally conscious as we could be when planning the wedding – so we had e-vites instead of paper, used fake flowers to reduce the amount of fresh flowers wasted, used recycled card for our menus and gave out wildflower seeds for our guests to plant to help save the bees.
A Joint Speech
Lazarus and I did a speech together – my parts were well prepared and written well in advance but Lazarus’s was slightly more off the cuff.. I think the most memorable part of the speech was Lazarus’s Borat impression though!
We’re saving our honeymoon for later in the year so that we have another fabulous occasion to look forward to.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I found having all the details written out in spreadsheets and sent to all the suppliers made me much less worried about everything running properly on the day.
We also had Lucie from W A Carr & Sons as our event manager on the day, she really helped with all the small details and made sure everything ran to plan. I’d really recommend having someone who knows the schedule well to help out on the day, whether it’s a party planner or a bridesmaid or usher, so that you don’t have to worry about co-ordinating and can just enjoy the day.
I also made sure to have a look round the venue before everyone arrived so I could see how everything had turned out – you won’t have time once the party gets started!
Also make sure you have some comfortable shoes – the best part of the day was going crazy on the dance floor! And a glass of wine before the guests arrive really helps calm the nerves…
Miriam & Lazarus’ little white book
Photography – Michael Lee
Venue – The Brewery
Videography – DreaMedia
Bride’s dress – Eliza Jane Howell
Bride’s shoes – Manolo Blahnik and T K Maxx
Makeup – Sarah Field
Caterer – Reich
Band – Neshama
Ceremony music – Jonny Turgel
Flowers – Flowers by Alina
Production – W A Carr & Son
Invitation – E-vite