I bet you’re intrigued by the idea of four men breaking the glass under the chuppah, right? Well let me explain…
The groom in today’s wedding has three wonderful boys from a previous marriage and all three were included in the vows (the Bride created a set that she recited just for them). Then when it came to the big moment, all the boys joined in with their father for the smashing of the glass. Um – how brilliant is that? I absolutely love how symbolic and meaningful that is, and Molly Michel from M Three Studio captures the moment perfectly in the image below.
But that’s just one of a ridiculous amount of reasons why I love today’s wedding.
Reason #2: I love that Leah and Phil only invited 20 guests. I’m a big advocator of not inviting too many people, as I highlight in my Top 5 Do’s and Don’t’s for the Perfect Jewish Wedding. Fewer and closely connected is far better than inviting a cast of unknowns, and makes for a much more meaningful, intimate atmosphere in my opinion.
Reason #3: Leah rocks a life-changingly gorgeous Berta gown. That plunging neckline! All that lace! It’s super sexy and daring, yet oh so feminine and elegant at the same time. And if that’s got you all green with envy just wait until you see reason #4, her snakeskin Jimmy Choo‘s!
OK, enough with my reasons, I’m going to hand you over to the Bride to hear the wedding story from her, but before I do, let’s hear from her wedding photographer, Molly Michel. She’s going to tell you a little bit about the ‘rai-ayy-ann on [their] wedding day’ as Alanis Morissette famously sang. And no, it’s not ironic, it’s really rather lucky, as Molly explains:
Rain was definitely not part of Leah & Phil’s plans as they created their wedding day. Watching the forecast that week, the rain stubbornly took hold on their day and refused to budge. By Saturday morning, there was no denying that buckets of rain (and all the luck that comes with it) was what would come to define their day. And then a funny thing happened. Their intimate wedding became more intimate. People huddled closer together to dodge the raindrops. They hugged to bring about warmth. They sat closer, shared stories, snuggled by the fireplace, stood arm in arm, swaying to the band, poured the wine a little more liberally. The intimate, close-knit wedding that Leah & Phil had hoped for was somehow even more so because of the rain. Lucky thing, those raindrops.”
How we met
Leah, the Bride: Phil and I met through a mutual friend in September 2010. He put his number in my phone with the name “Mr. Wonderful.” After our initial introduction, we made plans to meet for drinks at NoMI at the Park Hyatt the following week. Leading up to the date, I was really nervous so asked if we could reschedule. He wouldn’t. He replied with, “I don’t take rain checks.” And, the rest is history!
An intimate wedding with just 20 guests
Riverbend‘s event coordinator was my go-to for everything. I wanted a rustic feel, with an element of formality. Very traditional black and white, and I wanted to make sure that my colours/theme complemented the greenery from the grounds.
Wedding Day Activities
With an intimate wedding, Phil and I were able to put together a few activities that wouldn’t have been feasible with a larger wedding. Everyone arrived by Saturday at noon (the wedding ceremony was the following day). On Saturday afternoon, our families went trap shooting at River Wildlife, a 500-acre wilderness preserve in Kohler, and on Saturday evening, we had our “rehearsal dinner” at Il Ritrovo, an Italian restaurant located in downtown Sheboygan.
After dinner, the families gathered and played a jeopardy game (created by myself and Phil). Categories included: sports, medicine (two doctors in the family), music, and a “Leah & Phil” category. The day was a great ice breaker for the weekend.
Hair + Make Up
Hair and make-up was provided by Blush Beauty from downtown Milwaukee. They were amazing! For my hair, Phil loves my long hair, and prefers when I wear it down. I wore my hair half-up (so it wouldn’t be in my face), and played up my natural waves. For make-up, I wanted a natural look. The only caveat to that was my eye make-up. I wanted my eyes to pop.
A Berta wedding dress
I bought my dress from Ultimate Bride in downtown Chicago. It was a Berta gown and it was EVERYTHING I wanted and more. I envisioned a lace gown, sexy but classy. I also wanted something that highlighted my ‘tuches’* (my husband says it is my best feature 🙂 ) Already floating on cloud nine, I knew it was THE one when the saleswoman told me that Berta is an Israeli wedding dress designer.
* ‘tuches’ is ‘bottom’ in Yiddish!
A very special pair of gloves
The only added accessory (besides earrings) that I wore were vintage white gloves from my late aunt, Pam. She loved collecting vintage gloves and hats. She gave me this pair before her passing to wear specifically on my wedding day.
Snakeskin Jimmy Choo’s
I wore Jimmy Choo‘s in Ivory snakeskin material. I am a shoe girl – but wanted to be able to WEAR my shoes the entire time. Sometimes, my eye for fashion gets in the way of comfort. I did not want this day to be the case.
The handsome groom
Phil wore a tuxedo: black trousers, black waistcoat, black bow tie. But, he wore a white jacket. This was in tribute to his late father, Zollie Hall. His father wore this very ensemble on his wedding day to Phil’s mom, Doris.
For our wedding, Phil wore a University of Maryland kippah, sporting their mascot, the mighty turtle. Go Terps!
Phil, is Catholic but has a great appreciation for the Jewish religion, and it’s culture and customs. Phil’s three boys (CoBrien, Dalton, and Tristen, from a previous marriage) were all included in the vows and all three of them joined in with the breaking of the glass.
The rabbi was also the same one who officiated my Batmitzvah!
I am so fortunate and lucky to say that looking back, our wedding was everything I wanted it to be. From beginning to end. The weekend was not just a union of two souls – but a union of two families. I would not have changed a thing!
Phil and I love Big Band music like Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Johnny Cash, and Bill Sargent’s Quintet Band played live at our wedding. We also had their pianist play Canon D for the processional and Threads of Love by Lorie Line for the recessional.
Beth Thomson was my florist. She is the sister of a dear friend of mine. I showed her a few pictures of what I envisioned, but really gave her creative freedom. My bouquet was ivory and pale pink with touches of green, using roses, ranunculus, lisianthus and stock. Wrapped in pale ivory ribbon with pearl trim and stems showing.
Phil and his three boys each had a white rose boutonniere. We also had white rose petals leading up to the chuppah. For the table piece, we had 1 large (32 foot) wooden table. To complement the beautiful outdoor landscape, we had 1 long greenery runner which overhung on each end. The runner included salal, ruscus, magnolia leaves, pittosporum, and white flowers. We then added 30 votive candles in clear glass holders throughout the runner.
Wedding Cake Cupcakes
I am not a huge cake person. But, LOVE cupcakes. My mom bought the “wedding cake” cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes to celebrate our engagement. I decided to use Gigi’s for my wedding too. We had an arrangement of both wedding cake cupcakes (white cake), as well as midnight magic mini cupcakes (chocolate). We also had Gigi’s create a 6-inch cutting cake for us to eat on our 1st anniversary.
Our fabulous photographer
After researching several local photographers, I had a phone interview with three photographers.The amazing Molly Michel from M Three Studio seemed the most confident in her abilities. I asked how she would structure the day, and she readily had a template. I did not want to be in charge, or give direction, on my big day. I wanted to enjoy my day, not having to worry about the fine details. I wanted to be directed, not be the one directing. I could not be happier with the turnout. She captured our day perfectly!
I included a wedding welcome box to be placed in everyone’s room upon arrival. I had personalised labels, boxes, and weekend itineraries made through Etsy. In the box, I included Kohler chocolate bars, bottled water, and other snacks to munch on. For the women, I also included Solemates High Heeler Heel Protectors to ensure the women did not sink in the grass!
A speech by my stepson
My step-son, Dalton, surprised us with a speech at the reception. He is definitely the comedian of the family. He retold the story of when I first met him and his brothers. He proclaimed, “when we first met Leah, Dad told us that she was a ‘work friend.'” He even gave us the air quotes when he said “work friend.” He went on to explain, “Then, she hugged us, and it was kind of awkward. After that, my brothers and I got together and decided ‘yea, they are dating.” Kids are so intuitive!
Leah & Phil’s Little White book
Florals — Beth Thomson
Chuppah Rental — Elegant Event Lighting
Groom’s Kippah – University of Maryland kippah with the mighty turtle mascot
Make-up & Hair — Blush Beauty