The majority of submissions that land in my inbox are from photographers, which is wonderful as I get to sample all the most creative and inspiring new photography and Jewish weddings out there. However there is something very special about receiving an excitable email from a recently married couple, bursting to tell me all about their big day (especially when they’ve drawn inspiration from Smashing The Glass in the run-up to their wedding!). I recently got an email just like this from Erica all about her sensational Lower East Side W-day, and it was only made better by the fact that this venue has to be one of the most jaw-dropping I’ve ever seen.
Some say that there is something theatrical about a wedding… well if that’s the case, today’s venue is the perfect stage. It’s the phenomenal Angel Orensanz, the oldest surviving synagogue in New York City. With a Beethoven inspired atmosphere, some scintillating kaleidoscopic creations by the lighting designers, lots of Jewish traditions, and Brett Matthews‘ immense photography, your eyes are in for a treat with this New York knockout!
Erica, the Bride: I heard about this Smashing The Glass through endless searching of the internet for inspiration for Jewish weddings. I didn’t want a cookie-cutter wedding and wanted as much individuality as possible, which is how I came across the blog.
We chose to get married at The Angel Orensanz Foundation, and decided upon this venue because of its beautiful architecture and deep-rooted Jewish history (it was built in 1849 and is the oldest surviving synagogue in New York City). The first time I saw the space, I was sold. It didn’t hurt that Sarah Jessica Parker got married there and often frequents the space. I love aesthetically satisfying spaces with culture and tradition. The juxtaposition of the gothic/cathedral look and the modernity of the art space they hold on the third floor seemed really exciting to me and I knew that the photos would last me a lifetime.
We wanted to play up the gothic theme of the venue with candles and lots of them! We lined the stage of the chuppah with candles and also had candles on all of the tables and in the centrepieces that held the flowers. To play up the gothic feel, I also wanted a dark bouquet and chose dark eggplant mini calla lilies.
I didn’t have a theme, however, I did want to stick with lighter colour palettes to counter the darkness of the space so for example, chose mostly white centrepieces I chose a dark bouquet for myself to stand out from my bridesmaids, who held pink and white bouquets.
My invite was super traditional, which is what my husband and I were aiming for. We had the invite designed to open to Hebrew, with English on the cover, and used a very formal font.
My dress was from the Wedding Salon of Manhasset and the designer was Austin Scarlett, of Project Runway. I came to the wedding salon to browse for dresses, thinking I would sort through every dress of every bridal store within a 100 mile radius before finding “the one.” To my surprise, I walked into a trunk show that day and decided to look through some of the pieces out of curiosity. I was looking for something sexy, yet modest, without being too covered up. I saw this dress, which was originally sleeveless, and decided to try it on for fit. Not only did it feel right, everyone around me agreed, including the designer himself. The wedding salon was incredibly accommodating with my build-up. They did such a good job that it looked as though the dress came with the sleeves. They were the perfect fit and the right amount of coverage — a perfect sheer.
HAIR PIECE + VEIL
My hair piece and veil came from Bridal Styles and the veil was custom beaded with Swarovski crystals, as was the hair piece. I wanted a long train on my veil that would complement my dress and since my dress did not have any lace on it, I wanted to keep the veil very simple. So I chose a cascading veil with a Swarovski-embroidered border.
My husband surprised me, first with gorgeous tear drop earrings after our first look, and then with a necklace and bracelet in the yichud room after the ceremony.
I wore low-heel Jimmy Choo Evelyn pumps. I didn’t want a white shoe, so I opted for a glittery silver and I chose the lower heel because I am already very tall and knew that I would be dancing the night away, and wanted to be as comfortable as possible.
I had five bridesmaids. Four of the girls wore dark navy and were allowed to wear whatever they wanted as long as the colours matched. They were really supportive and worked together to make sure all of their dresses matched. My maid of honour wore a nude sequin gown with sleeves and a train. I chose dark navy because I wanted something wintery and it happens to be my favourite colour.
Seeing Jared for the first time was on the list of my favourite moments of the night. As soon as he saw me, he said “Nice outfit,” which made everyone in the room laugh. That eased up some of the nerves from the anticipation. I loved his bespoke and a hand-knit yarmulke, and his mother of pearl cufflinks and shirt studs.
HAIR + MAKE-UP
For my hair and makeup, I chose two amazing individuals who I had used several times in the past. I was confident that they would make me look my best and I was right. I have no words for how incredible and professional these two were. My hair was done by Aychin, and my makeup was done by Olga.
The stage where my chuppah was held was very intricately designed and had so much character that I did not want to take away from it. I wanted to keep my chuppah as simple as possible so that the audience would focus on the gorgeous architecture, not just our flowers. At first, I chose a simple tulle draping for the chuppah. Then, after seeing it sampled, I felt like it needed a little more. We ended up adding two bouquets of green and white hydrangeas on both sides of it to add some pizazz. I was thrilled with the final look.
The kiddush cup used under the chuppah was my husbands from his bar mitzvah – that was really special for us.
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
I walked into Pachelbel’s Canon in D. I chose this because I have loved this piece from all the wedding movies I have seen and adored in my childhood. It was something really recognizable and felt nostalgic to me.
We used Eva’s Secret and chose light blooms, such as hydrangeas and orchids throughout the space and I held a dark eggplant mini calla lily bouquet. Since my wedding was held in the winter, it was very difficult to obtain some of the more desirable flowers. Despite that challenge, the florist did a fantastic job putting all of the blooms and colors together to fit my vision. We used natural branches throughout the space, as well.
In addition to that, since we had a mechitza for the Jewish dancing, the florist created a beautiful array of branches to serve as the divider. The space felt open and the guests did not feel constricted by a plain wall. The branches were easy to manipulate and were removed from the dance floor soon thereafter and used as decor for the space.
We chose Brett Matthews after countless hours of online searching. I went to visit their studio and booked them right away. They were super nice, professional, and their portfolios blew me away. My sister is getting married in June and using them as well. I have recommended them to every single bride I know!
CAKE + CATERING
Some time ago my husband and I were on a trip in Florida and stayed at the Ritz Carlton, and found a magazine full of wedding imagery in our room. I saw a cake I loved and ripped the page out. We gave the picture to our caterer who replicated it to the last detail. We chose an amaretto filling because my husband and I both love almond desserts. We were in love with the cake and even packed on some weight after the wedding with all of the cake left overs. Esprit Events did our overall catering. I cannot express how outstanding their cuisine is. Everything is unique in its presentation.. full of flavour and just delicious.
MUSIC + ENTERTAINMENT
Doug and Eddie were the live band/string quartet that we chose. This one was a no-brainer. Not only are they highly regarded in my community, but they also performed at my 1st birthday party!
Coming from a Russian background, it was important for me incorporate certain elements for my side of the family to enjoy, so our band played traditional Russian and Yiddish music throughout the night. My husband and I love spanish dance music and we made sure to have plenty of that as well!
My favourite part of the dancing was the chair lift because it was really exciting to see all of my guests having such a great time, especially from that view.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Based on my experience, my advice would be to keep calm. All brides want their big day to be as perfect and magical as possible. As close to that as my wedding came, there were still some bumps. Guests who RSVP’ed cancelled, the weather was unseasonably cold and we needed to change the location of our photos, some things were delayed by a few minutes, etc. All in all, everything always comes together and the most important thing is to enjoy your day and make sure you remember the details of the day that caused so much anxiety to plan! My other piece of advice is to mingle with the guests as much as possible — everyone wants to feel important!
ERICA + JARED’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Brett Matthews
Venue — Angel Orensanz
Bride’s dress — Austin Scarlett from Wedding Salon of Manhasset
Bride’s hair piece + veil — Bridal Styles
Bride’s shoes — Jimmy Choo
Florals — Eva’s Secret
Catering — Esprit Events
Make-up – Olga
Hair — Aychin
Entertainment — Doug and Eddie
Candles + linens — B&B Party Rentals