We could not be more delighted to be sharing the gorgeous interfaith Jewish wedding of our beloved Smashing The Glass Brides Club member Nalda! Nalda, a licensed massage therapist, married groom Dan, who works in higher education, in a heartfelt ceremony with some truly wonderful DIY touches.
First off, how special is it that Nalda’s crafty mom made the couple’s chuppah canopy and chair sashes? She also helped crochet kippot for the guests – and Nalda and Dan even learned to crochet themselves so they could join in! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to touching personal details – don’t miss the super special way the couple included Nalda’s son in their ceremony! You can tell from Misha Book‘s photos what a truly special day it was.
And of course we’re so touched by Nalda’s kind words about our Brides Club. In her words,
Brides Club was an invaluable resource during our planning. I spent so much time reading through all the Brides Club checklists and guides, on everything from choosing your planning priorities, to picking traditional music, and what to include in our programs… The other Brides Club members are always so supportive and quick to provide advice, insight, creative ideas, or just a listening ear. I can honestly say our wedding wouldn’t have been half of what it was without Brides Club.
There’s so much more to say – just for starters, the wild story of Nalda’s Etsy dress, and the couple’s surprise minimoon – but we’ll hand you over to the bride now…
How we Met
Nalda, the bride: We met on Hinge!
Our venue was the beautiful Farms Country Club, in Wallingford, CT. We wanted a gorgeous, all-in-one, full-service venue, with some significance to us as a couple. Just out of sheer luck, it happens to be in the same town where we had our first date, and there was a wedding expo held there that we attended 2 weeks after we got engaged. We fell in love with the venue immediately, but did our due diligence and visited a few other locations to be sure. The manager, Richard, was also so lovely though – there wasn’t really ever any competition!
What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us
Brides Club was an invaluable resource during our planning. I didn’t know anything about Jewish weddings, and while Dan had more experience with them, he hadn’t planned one before! I spent so much time reading through all the Brides Club checklists and guides, on everything from choosing your planning priorities, to picking traditional music, and what to include in our programs.
One of our toughest jobs in the whole process was finding our officiant, and a tip from Karen sent us in the right direction, which started the chain of events that led us to securing our fabulous Cantor, Laura Stein. The other Brides Club members are always so supportive and quick to provide advice, insight, creative ideas, or just a listening ear. I can honestly say our wedding wouldn’t have been half of what it was without Brides Club.
Dan and I always say that we’re Bashert, and because of that every step of the planning just seemed so simple. Choices were made so easily, we were incredibly lucky! Details always just seemed to fall into place, as if someone had left the breadcrumbs for us to just follow a path to the chuppah. We planned our wedding day for Dan’s birthday, so we decided to have floral centerpieces on some tables, and giant clear balloons on the others. Every birthday needs balloons! We tried to use very small, local vendors wherever we could (we met some of the most wonderful people this way), and Etsy shops for mostly everything else.
My favorite color is aquamarine/teal – my whole office is decorated in it, and Dan likes pink, so those became our wedding colors. We both have cats and adore them, so when we saw an ad early on for personalized wax seals/stamp kits that had two cats’ tails forming a heart, we nabbed it (with plenty of teal wax) right away. We really liked a simple, white birch chuppah, so we ended up going with that, and a birch design on our wedding cake as well with other white birch accents (our stationary, and vases on some of the reception tables). My mom is a master at crafts, so she made our chuppah canopy and chair sashes.
She also loves to crochet, so Dan and I both learned as well, and picked out teal yarn so the 3 of us could crochet all the kippot. She even added a white Star of David to Dan’s. Our welcome sign/“guestbook” had our actual fingerprints on it, in the shape of a heart. We designed and printed all the table names and most of the signage ourselves, and put them into little teal Ikea frames. Our seating chart asked “Where in the world are you sitting”, so each table was a state or country with some relevance to us/our relationship/our guests. Every detail was personal to us, and all the choices along the way just seemed so clear! We were (and still are) so blessed. We were our own wedding planners, but we did have a spectacular day-of-coordinator, Jessica from JH Events, who did all the hard work of keeping us on time and putting all the details perfectly into place on the day, so we could just enjoy it!
Invitations / stationery
We used Shutterfly to make our invitations, but we definitely spent lots of time tweaking and editing a darker wood design they had, into one that better fit our white birch decor, and our colors. We loved them! Our save the date magnets were from Vistaprint, and were also white birch. Some simple but beautiful personalized pink thank you notes from Etsy, and our fun wax seals pulled all of our wedding stationary together.
Hair + Make-up
I’m usually not glam at all – I own maybe two 5 year old eyeshadows and a single tube of dried mascara… So I reached out to a good friend for a recommendation for a local makeup artist who would understand that and not try to make me look too unlike myself on the day. Chayika of Bel Atis Beauty was absolutely amazing! She was the sweetest ever, and truly understood that while I wanted to look like the best me possible, I didn’t want anything too over the top.
My hair is also extremely thick and curly natural, and I knew I wanted softer curls for the wedding. There is only one person on the planet who I trust to straighten my hair, but she doesn’t travel. So I went to her the day before the to tame my curls, and when we ended up with a 90+ degree wedding day (in May!), I ended up deciding last minute to put my hair up. Chayika was able to come to the rescue and do just that for me too. I’ve never felt more comfortable or beautiful.
Haha, so my dress is one of my favorite stories! I actually purchased it on Etsy, of all places. I like to say I’m not usually a gambler, but my wedding dress was my one big gamble and I won! How did I end up with an Etsy dress? It’s a long story that goes back a few years…
First, when I met my now husband back in January 2019, I’d already been a surrogate once, and I was toying with the idea of doing it again.
Second, we were engaged in February 2020 – just weeks before the world shut down. I was literally in the middle of the the IVF process to carry a second surrogate baby at the time. The embryo transfer in March of 2020 was successful, and so the intended parents had a due date in December, 2020. Meanwhile, Dan and I were planning our wedding for May, 2021.
So, between lockdown and the growing baby bump, traditional wedding dress shopping (and timelines) weren’t exactly a feasible option. I spent hours combing photos on the internet of wedding dresses! I knew I wanted a 3/4 sleeve, natural waist, full skirt, a touch of color, lots of sparkle (but no lace), and something special on the back. That dress simply did not exist. Anywhere. Trust me, I looked! So when I found a shop on Etsy offering custom dresses, Wedding Beautiful Day, that also had listings for both a beautiful strapless dress in a sparkly fabric I loved, and a short, sweet 16 dress in lace with sleeves and a back cutout that I thought were stunning, I reached out to her and asked if she would make something of a mashup for me.
She said she absolutely could, and even offered to add a single layer of pink tulle to the skirt. I was sold! I placed the order around July with my general size, so she could at least purchase my fabric for me – with the added caveat that I wouldn’t be able to send her my exact measurements until sometime after delivering the baby, maybe in January? For a dress I would need to be completed as soon as possible before May. She understood the assignment, and made me the dress of my dreams. I had no backup plan, and I never once met Gayatri in person, but because she is apparently magic – the dress fit absolutely perfectly when it arrived in the mail late in March, and didn’t need a single alteration.
My wedding earrings were also an Etsy find, Crystal Corridor, but my tiara and veil came from Dareth Colburn. I actually saw an ad for them, fell absolutely in love, and bought them months before I even started thinking about my dress. So I literally matched the rest of my bridal look to my tiara and veil. They were perfect. Once the dress was here, I decided a bridal belt would complete the look, and I found a gorgeous (and inexpensive!) matching one on JJ’s House.
Shoes were another fun puzzle to solve. I definitely wanted dreamy bridal heels, no flats – but nothing too high or uncomfortable. We started taking lessons for our first dance, and it was our instructor that suggested I get dance shoes! So many of the normal brands were extremely expensive, but I was able to find an adorable (and affordable!) pair (also on JJ’s House), so much so that I actually bought two! One to practice in at our lessons, and one to keep pristine for photos and then immediately ruin by wearing outside on wedding day. They were silver, covered in sparkle, sooo comfortable all night long, and our instructor still calls them my Cinderella shoes. ????
The handsome groom
We rented Dan’s tux, a beautiful navy blue jacket with black lapels and black bow tie – from John at Modern Formals. My son wore an exact match to Dan’s, and seeing them all dressed up on the day is what finally made me cry (I was cool as a cucumber until then)!
We kept our bridal party extremely small, so my sister was my maid of honor, and Dan’s sister was my bridesmaid. We chose Azazie as the designer, and “spa” as the dress color (a beautiful aqua blue which matched our wax seals perfectly, and so fitting for a massage therapist who loves teal). We let them choose whichever floor length dress they wanted, and they both chose beautifully.
I grinned and giggled throughout our entire ceremony, it was so full of joy and love. Cantor Laura did such a wonderful job of truly making it customized to us. The whole thing is my favorite, but we did buy necklaces for Dan and my son – a dog tag with a puzzle piece cut out of it – my son got the dog tag and Dan got the puzzle piece. We called my son up to the chuppah, the musicians played “The Rainbow Connection”, Dan read the inscription to my son (“Today I tell your Mom I do, and I promise you forever too. Love, Dan) and we put the necklaces on both of them (the puzzle piece simply has my son’s name on it and our wedding date). Dan cried, my son cried, I cried, our guests cried, and neither of them ever take them off now. I am the luckiest girl in the world.
We also found the ketubah on Etsy, by Happy Project Shop! It’s a beautiful, sparkly, metallic pink – a round tree design with birds interspersed. The interfaith text perfectly spoke to our hearts as well. It is so beautiful.
We found a simple white birch design (also on Etsy!) that we could put together and take apart ourselves easily enough. We went with my mother to pick out a beautiful sheer fabric with a hint of sparkle to make the canopy and matching chair sashes out of, and had our florist attach the canopy for us and add some beautiful arrangements (matching our bouquets) to one corner, and to the aisle chairs. I still smile every time I see photos of our ceremony setup!
Our Music Choice
We’re obsessed with our wedding playlist! We put all the ceremony songs and the must play reception songs that we submitted to our DJ on a Spotify playlist that was a available alongside our livestream to our virtual guests, and we still often play it when we’re cooking or just relaxing at home. For our processionals – Cantor Laura, Dan, and the rest of the bridal party walked to ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’. My son escorted me down the aisle to the Hawaiian version of ‘Over The Rainbow’. We had a string duo on cello and violin play all the ceremony music, and an amazing DJ for the reception. Our first dance was to ‘Conversations In The Dark’ by John Legend.
Our florist was the amazing Flowers from the Farm, in Hamden, CT. We told her we visualized roses, peonies, and ranunculus in whites, creams, pinks, and just a few pops of deep berry, with minimal greenery. She absolutely nailed the vision we had! She even added some aqua ribbon and rose gold sparkle to the bouquets. I was so sad we couldn’t keep them all forever.
We loved the color and emotion that shone through in Misha Book‘s photos, and we were thrilled to get exactly that from our own pictures as well.
We decided early on we didn’t need a videographer, but with the pandemic still persisting as our date got closer (and we were adamant not to postpone, we were getting married on May 23, 2021 whether we were able to have 20 guests or 200), we decided to at least live stream (using LoveStream) the ceremony for our guests who were unable to be there in person. We are so glad we did, because now we have our ceremony recorded forever!
Food and Cake
One of the many reasons we chose our venue was because they do the catering in-house (and it is DELICIOUS). So The Farms provided all our food. We had a little of everything in order to accommodate all of our guests, including quite a few vegan options. They were even able to bring in glatt kosher meals from an outside kosher kitchen for the guests that required it. We also loved our signature drinks that not only matched our colors (mine was teal, and Dan’s pink) but had our favorite spirits in them (Midori for me, Amaretto for Dan)!
We had both a wedding cake, and a birthday cake for Dan – which were from a small, local bakery called Alyssa’s Cakery. They did an amazing job! The wedding cake was a 3 tier carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – designed to look like white birch with a heart and N+D carved in it, and the birthday cake was a marble sheet cake with cookies and cream frosting, designed to look like a NYTimes crossword. Dan is an avid puzzler who does the crossword every day!
We planned to have trivia during the reception (Dan plays weekly), hosted by the actual friend of ours who hosted the trivia night we attended on our very first date. She was unable to attend in person (due to an oh so exciting pregnancy! Her daughter is here now, and too precious), and we didn’t want anyone else to do it! So instead we added a Dan and Nalda word search and some sudokus (that Dan designed) to the back side of our printed menus (which we designed ourselves on Canva), and chose a newspaper themed ceremony program complete with a Dan + Nalda crossword and trivia questions.
We also had an awesome ice cream truck (from Ice Cream Emergency) that’s designed like a 50’s style diner for our guests to walk through and order ice cream sundaes to enjoy as an end of the night treat.
We wanted something small, cute, and useful that our guests would actually want to take with them, and remember us whenever they used them. So we had beautiful pens (in rose gold and pink) engraved with our names, the date, and our hashtag. They came in quite handy to fill in the program and menu puzzles!
We also sent wedding kits to all of our virtual guests ahead of time, complete with QR codes to access the livestream, the programs and pens, and kippot for all the Jewish families.
Our flower girl was the first surrogate baby I carried (she just turned 4 this year!) and her brother, born in December, was our most dapper guest in is his sweet baby bow tie. Their mother (we all consider each other family now) signed our ketubah. My nephew (my sister the MOH’s son) was our ring bearer. Dan’s best friend from college was the best man. There were 5 speeches, from Dan’s mom, the MOH, the best man, Dan, and myself. My girlfriends (who would have been asked to be bridesmaids if we hadn’t decided to keep the bridal party so tiny) helped my sister throw me the most adorable virtual paint and sip before the wedding, so friends and family all over the world were able to participate (we had the paint kits shipped to everyone ahead of time) and we all painted together over zoom.
We did a surprise 4 night minimoon the week after the wedding. It was a surprise only in that it was planned by Whym, our favorite travel agency. They only plan surprise vacations (within the United States)! You fill out an extensive survey about your likes, dislikes, budgets, etc, and they plan an entire itinerary for you. A week before your trip they give you a 10 day forecast for where you’re going, as well as a packing list.
You find out your departure location the day before, and your destination the morning of the trip! They are AMAZING, and we constantly recommend them to everyone. We got engaged on our first Whym trip ever, where they sent us to Washington, DC. This time, for the minimoon, they sent us to stay at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA – wine country just outside of Seattle. It was the perfect romantic getaway. We’re planning a Panama cruise as our official honeymoon in January 2022, if the pandemic makes it possible.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
We 100% recommend using a day of coordinator, someone you get along/connect with and is within your budget – to take away some of the day of stress. Ours, JH Events, was absolutely invaluable! Also, when planning, pick a budget, break down that budget into categories (the Brides Club spreadsheet example was a huge help for us to start off), and find vendors only within those budgets! I promise it’s possible. Finally, we truly believed that what was meant to be, would be. We tried not to stress over any details or options – none of your guests will know what your options were anyway, and everything will turn out beautiful! Once you have the right person to marry, everything else really is just details.
NALDA & DAN’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Misha Book
Videography – LoveStream
Wedding planner – JH Events
Venue – Farms Country Club
Bride’s dress – Wedding Beautiful Day
Bride’s shoes + Belt – JJ’s House
Bride’s accessories – Dareth Colburn (Veil+Tiara), Crystal Corridor, (Earrings), Handmade Love Story (Necklaces)
Groom’s attire – Modern Formals
Bridesmaids – Azazie
Hair + Makeup – Bel Atis Beauty
Flowers – Flowers from the Farm
Guestbook Alternative – Flutterbye Prints
DJ – FM Productions
Catering – Farms Country Club
Cake – Alyssa’s Cakery
Ketubah – Happy Project Shop
Stationery – Vistaprint (Save The Dates), Shutterfly (Invitations), Amz Deco (Wax Seals), Sheila Kitts Paperie (Thank You Notes)
Cantor – Cantor Laura Stein
Ice Cream Truck – Ice Cream Emergency
Favors – Pens
Virtual Paint+Sip – Art Fun Studio
Surprise Travel Agent – Whym