Here at STG HQ, we have to admit that we welled up a LOT while putting together today’s real Jewish wedding. From bride, Jenna’s moving words about their choice to marry in Jerusalem, overlooking the old city, to groom, Jacob’s heart-stopping speech about his love for Jenna, we’re sure there wasn’t a dry eye at the wedding (and there certainly wasn’t one here).
Their history together explains why. Not a lot of couples can make a long-distance relationship work, but Jenna and Jacob were so sure that they were meant to be, that they did everything in their power to ensure that they could be together.
The wedding itself looked effortlessly beautiful, with the surroundings and Jenna’s stunning wedding ensemble speaking for themselves. Also, while we’re gawking, we definitely wouldn’t mind one of those Nutella cupcakes!
The intense adoration, which is such a rare find in this life, is so evident in the beautiful spread of photos, taken by much loved STG Recommended Vendor, Luz Weddings, who photography weddings in the UK, USA
We’ll hand over to Jenna for her beautifully eloquent and tear-jerking writeup of her and Jacob’s wedding – we’re sure you’ll join us in wishing them a long and blissfully happy life together.
How we met
Jenna, the bride: Jacob is from Switzerland and I am from Australia. We met in Israel, as both of us were studying at Tel Aviv University as law exchange students.
A ceremony overlooking the old city
We wanted to get married in the country where we met, and decided on Jerusalem, overlooking the old city.
We wanted to stand under our chuppah and celebrate our day, while seeing that we are in Israel, rather than being in a venue that could be anywhere in the world. This added to the significance of the day. It was spiritual, beautiful and meaningful.
Focusing on what matters
We felt that, too often, couples focus so much on getting the color schemes, flowers and style right that they tend to lose sight of what the day is really all about – the marriage and the celebration of love.
These were exactly the things that we did not want to focus on… In order not to get lost in these details, we decided on not having a color scheme or particular flowers – a mix of everything and anything.
We decided to have a Friday buffet brunch wedding to fit the casual, relaxed vibe. Also, we decided not to have any set seating, so guests could choose freely where they wanted to sit, move around and mingle and enjoy the outdoor bar. This created a very relaxed, chilled and informal vibe, and allowed us, in the lead up, and on the day, to stay focused on what really matters: the marriage ceremony and enjoying being with our closest family and friends.
Simple, floral and summery invitations
We had our invitations designed by a fantastic company in Australia, while we were still living there. The invitation was simple, floral and summery, reflecting the sort day we wanted it to be.
Hair up for a hot day in Israel
I had my makeup done by Yasmin Bedussa and hair by Raz, who are both so talented. I decided to have my hair up, keeping in mind that it was a day time wedding in July, so I wanted to be comfortable and not too hot.
Creating the dream dress
I knew the sort of dress I wanted to wear, but it proved quite difficult to find when I started looking, and I didn’t have enough time to get something made from scratch (I was moving back to Switzerland from Australia).
By buying a dress and having it significantly altered and redesigned by a fabulous couturier, I was able to create my dream dress: ivory with a hint of gold/tan coming through, off the shoulder, slimline with Venice lace and back detail.
I kept my accessories simple. I had a plain, long veil and some pearl earrings. The dress had a lot of beautiful detail, and I didn’t want to take away from that with more jewellery and hair accessories.
For my shoes, I went with strappy tan heels. I love tan with ivory!
The handsome groom
Jacob and I had fun shopping for his outfit in Australia. As it was a daytime summer wedding, he didn’t want anything too formal or too dark, and went for a beautiful medium blue suit and white shirt.
A down-to-earth chuppah
We didn’t want a chuppah that was too over the top. The chuppah symbolises the home that the couple will create together, so we wanted something down to earth and joyful, with flowers and greenery.
A ceremony facing Jerusalem
Unconventionally, we had our backs to the guests under our chuppah, as we wanted to face Jerusalem and focus on the significant, special moment.
One of our favourite parts was the beautiful music played by our outstanding Aussie/Israeli band. They made the whole ceremony more meaningful and special. The singer/guitarist also participated by giving explanations about the different rituals under the chuppah, which made sure every one of our guests understood the significance of the customs, and helped us stay present and remember the meaning behind everything in the moment.
Hearing these songs while walking down the aisle with the view of the old city of Jerusalem ahead of us was something we will forever remember.
A summery bouquet
As mentioned earlier, given we didn’t want to get too bogged down in these little details, I decided on a summery bouquet with all different flowers and colours, which was the same for the table centres: all different sizes and shape glass jars with wild colorful flowers and earthy brown table cloths.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
Luz Weddings, who did our photography and videography, was fantastic and so talented. We got some really special shots from the day.
We liked that Luz was focused on capturing the moments as they unfolded naturally rather than set-up, posed photos.
Cute cupcakes and brunch food
Instead of a cake, we decided on getting a mix of different flavoured mini cupcakes! I Love Cupcakes in Tel Aviv were so helpful and professional and made the most delicious cupcakes, with flavours including Nutella, peanut butter and caramel, red velvet, Oreo and more.
An excerpt from the groom’s speech
Jacob made a beautiful, emotional speech, which I heard for the first time at our wedding. Here is an excerpt:
“Tonight, as we will celebrate our first Shabbat together as husband and wife, I will sing the Jewish song Eshet Chayil to Jenna for the very first time. Eshet chayil mi yimtza we rachok mi’pnimim michra. In English: A woman of bravery, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value. I have found my “eshet chayil” — my woman of bravery… I admire your ability to adapt, learn and conquer challenges — without complaining!! — and still always remain that happy, loving and caring person you are.
In the past few months you kept saying to me that you are looking forward to the wedding day, but what really excites you, is what comes after July 8 — our life together. This is very typical of you. You don’t care about the fuss and superficial things in life — you care about what really matters. Peer pressure means nothing to you and you always follow your heart and your beliefs no matter what.”
At the end of Jacob’s speech, we had an un-choreographed slow dance together, which was so emotional and special. Our family and friends then joined in halfway through and it was one of our highlights of the wedding day.
Wherever You Are
Our first dance was to the Angus and Julia Stone song, Wherever You Are. The lyrics of the song really resonated with us.
It hasn’t been so easy with us coming from opposite ends of the world; having had to spend months apart while in a long-distance relationship (it doesn’t get much further than Australian and Switzerland!), living a year together in Melbourne and then me moving to Zà¼rich… the lyrics really sum it up: “there’s nowhere else to be, I could live in your old car, with the broken stereo, I want to be wherever, wherever you are”.
A stand-out van
Our band, Niggun Collective, an Aussie/Israeli band, was really the standout vendor at our wedding.
The band was extremely professional to work with, and so talented, playing a mix of traditional and relaxed modern music. They worked together with us to make sure the music and vibe was exactly what we wanted and on the day – they went above and beyond our expectations. We could not recommend them more!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Remember what it is all about – don’t sweat the small stuff, and keep it all in perspective.