If it’s impractical to have a countryside wedding, there’s one clear solution: bring the countryside to the city – and that’s exactly what rustic-loving couple, Miranda and Gabriel, decided to do.
Their beautiful wedding incorporated elements of farmhouse chic, including doodled dress codes (what a fantastic idea) a multitude of painstakingly collected jam jars, and loose, tumbling floral arrangements – oh, and a Chuppah (designed by the amazing Blue Sky Flowers) to stop you in your tracks. Have you ever seen such a thing of beauty? We are in LOVE!
All of this was lovingly captured by our beloved Recommended Vendor, Ria Mishaal, whose work has graced the pages of STG many times before.
In fact, it was one of her past real weddings, Claudia & Ed, who inspired much of the cast of Miranda and Gabriel’s big day. Miranda actually attended that wedding as a guest, and when she later saw the feature on STG, she knew that she couldn’t go wrong by contacting a few of their vendors!
Miranda and Gabriel ended up using Claudia and Ed’s photographer, planner AND florist, and were delighted with their choices.
There’s so much more to talk about, including the bride’s beautiful Philippa Lepley gown, the couple’s egalitarian ceremony and speeches and the simplification of bridesmaid politics, so we’ll hand over to Miranda to tell you all about it!
How we met
Miranda, the bride: I’m a teacher and Gabriel is a doctor. We met through a fix up – his brother and my sister were friends from university, and my sister passed on my number to Gabriel at a dinner party.
Then, after an awkward phone call, and some unsuccessful attempts at Facebook stalking on my part, we went on a completely blind date (all I had to go on was my sister’s description – “he is extremely tall with large hair”) to the extremely romantic (!) Cottons Rum Shack in Chalk Farm. We met at eight and stayed out until 2am, talking and laughing – it just went from there!
A London venue with a rustic vibe
We had two venues for our wedding – Hackney Town Hall for the ceremony and St Pancras Hotel for the reception.
Originally I had been adamant that I wanted a countryside wedding, preferably in a barn. However, it turns out that a large Jewish wedding in the country, in November is not such an easy feat. So, after schlepping around almost all of the barns that the home counties have to offer, we settled on a London wedding.
As soon as we decided on London, I knew that I wanted the ceremony to be at Hackney Town Hall. The building is lovely, but has a relaxed feel and, as we live in East London, it was ideal.
The hotel took a little longer to find, but it ended up being perfect. A beautiful, central London hotel that didn’t have a traditional hotel feel. I loved the exposed brick and metal beams. It was also such a treat to be able to stay in one of their amazing suites on the night of the wedding.
Bringing the countryside to the city
Alex, The Bijou Bride was our wedding planner, and as well as being lovely to work with, she did an amazing job.
My obsession with bringing the countryside to a big London hotel was not an easy look to achieve, but she managed to give the wedding exactly the rustic feel that I wanted. She absolutely ‘got’ what I wanted and delivered it beautifully.
Most importantly, thanks to her organization, the whole day ran like clockwork. We couldn’t have done it without her.
A dress-code doodle
My invitation was one of the things about the wedding that I was most pleased with. I knew that I wanted it to be a bit quirky, and for guests to understand the vibe of the wedding from the minute they opened it. I was also desperate not to have a traditional wedding dress code, and after ‘smart casual’ was vetoed (by my mother), Gabriel suggested that I draw the dress code, instead.
So, I put together some little doodles (apologies to my boss at the time…) and sent them over to the lovely people at Emmy Designs to put them together for me. I was so thrilled with the final result, and we got lots of emails from friends the day we sent the invitations out saying how much they liked them and how excited they were for the wedding.
Jimmy Choos steal the show
My shoes were a source of great concern for all of my friends and family, as I am notoriously a trainers girl, not a heels girl.
I lust after beautiful sky-scraper heels, but then try them on and look like Bambi learning to walk for the first time.
After buying (and then returning) no fewer than five pairs of shoes, a week before the wedding I went panic shopping and bought a completely beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos. I was totally obsessed with them and ended up dancing and leaping around in them all night, not even needing my pair of pearly white Converse that I had bought for the occasion.
The handsome groom
Gabriel’s original choice was to get his suit from Marks and Spencer, but his dad convinced him otherwise. He got a beautiful bespoke suit from Henry Herbert.
Adorable pageboys and flower girls
I decided to have my sister as my only bridesmaid, to avoid bridesmaid politics. She chose her own dress (she was given no restrictions!).
I then had our gorgeous nieces and nephew as our pageboy and flower girls. At the time, my sister’s beautiful identical twin girls were so teeny they couldn’t walk down the aisle, so my sister carried one and my mum carried the other. They totally (and justifiably) stole the show.
A rustic-look, autumnal Chuppah
I knew that I didn’t want anything too big and I wanted the whole ceremony to have a rustic feel, so we went with simple birch frame, and Liz decorated it with beautiful autumnal colors in oranges, purples and reds. It was exactly as I had pictured it.
I always knew that I wanted my late father’s tallit to be the roof of our Chuppah. I wanted him to be a part of the ceremony (we also used his kiddush cup).
An egalitarian service
The ceremony was something that both of us felt strongly about. We wanted it to be meaningful for both of us, but knew that we would both have to make compromises as Gabriel is Orthodox and my family is Reform.
The wonderful Rabbi Shlomo Levin, who married us, was incredibly understanding and respectful of our different traditions.
My beloved childhood rabbi, Rabbi Charles Emanuel, spoke at our Badeken, which was highly emotional as Gabriel and I hadn’t spoken to one another in a week.
I was keen to make the service as egalitarian as we could whilst remaining within the Orthodox tradition. Men and women sat together, I decided not to walk around Gabriel and I smashed a glass too (not just an excuse to show off my Jimmy Choos, I promise!).
We also had three of my closest female friends come and offer us ‘blessings’ under the Chuppah. I loved that our ceremony incorporated both of our traditions – it was beautiful and meaningful for both of us.
We also included a guide to Jewish weddings on each guest’s seat, so that all of our guests, many of whom had never been to a Jewish wedding, would feel included.
I had planned to order a beautiful Ketubah on Etsy, but in the end I ran out of time. We used the standard United Synagogue format, which was actually quite lovely anyway.
At the reception, I gave a speech. I’m not a big public speaker, but I’m really glad I did it.
Stunning floral arrangements
The wonderful Liz at Blue Sky Flowers was responsible for our flowers and our stunning Chuppah. Almost all of our guests commented on how gorgeous the flowers were – she did the most amazing job.
Going with her to New Covent Garden Flower Market to choose the flowers was one of my absolute favourite parts about planning the wedding. It was so much fun to be involved in that way. She was also endlessly patient about my obsession with jam jars.
Our fabulous photographer…
Our photographer was the wonderful Ria Mishaal. Not only were the photos that she took absolutely beautiful, but she and her team were a dream to spend the day with. Calm, professional and just generally lovely people. I seriously couldn’t recommend Ria and her team highly enough.
Our video was done by a friend of a friend, a professional filmmaker, Philipp Morozov, and he did it as a favour to us. He did a wonderful job.
Kosher catering by Food Story
Food Story did our catering and the food was exquisite. All of our guests commented on how good the food was and several asked if it was actually kosher – the ultimate compliment!
A silent disco
Gabriel was music man. He DJs, so I left him in charge.
We had Levi Levin Band – they were AMAZING for both the Israeli, simcha stuff and the English music we wanted (mostly Motown). They absolutely made the party.
Then, when we had to turn the music off at 11, we had a silent disco. Our DJ, Dan Bendel (part-time DJ, full-time doctor) is a friend of Gabriel’s, and did a fantastic job of finishing off the party. I wish his set had been longer, and ended up heckling him for “one more song” along with the others on the still-full dancefloor.
Jam jar favors
I wasn’t going to have favors, but I’m glad Alex convinced me! We had little cards on strings (like luggage tags) with a link to a Spotify account, which had our wedding soundtrack.
I collected all of the jam jars that our florist used for the flowers. My sister was amazing, and collected hundreds, and she even recruited her whole street to collect as well! The collecting was slightly irritating at times, as our kitchen isn’t that big, and at one point it was completely overrun with empty pickle jars, but I’m so pleased I did it, as it added to the rustic feel I wanted.
Also, the jam jars ended up being accidental favours as lots of the guests who stayed to the end (most of our friends) ended up taking a few home! I didn’t want all of those months of collecting to go to waste!
Table drinking games
We had drinking game on each of our friends’ tables. People had to drink every time anyone mentioned any one of a list of wedding clichà©s.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Try not to lose track of the bigger picture. Ultimately, what matters is that you’re marrying the person you love. It’s so easy to get caught up in small details!
Miranda & Gabriel’s little white book
Photographer – Ria Mishaal
Wedding planner – The Bijou Bride
Venues – Hackney Town Hall and St Pancras Hotel
Flowers – Blue Sky Flowers
Bride’s dress – Phillipa Lepley
Bride’s accessories – Etsy
Bride’s shoes – Jimmy Choo and Converse
Groom’s attire – Henry Herbert
Hair + Make-up – Karen Mason
Flowers – Blue Sky Flowers
Caterer – Food Story
Band – Levi Levin Band
Invitation – Emmy Designs
Videographer – Philipp Morozov
Photo Booth – The London Lightbox