In my book, making your wedding day into a holiday is an absolutely brilliant idea. Not only do you get to throw a wonderful party for all your loved ones, but you also get to do it in a place where the weather stands a better chance of behaving on the big day!
Parisians, Helene and Benjamin, did just that with their destination wedding in Israel and organised a whole heap of pre-wedding festivities for their guests as well as the big W-Day itself. So not only did they create an utterly sublime wedding day in Old Jaffa (with the help of much-loved Smashing Suppliers RS Eventime), they also put together a mountain of events for their guests so that they could get a flavour of the city of Tel Aviv. This was a really thoughtful gesture as many of their guests had never visited the city before.
There was a cocktail party, a beach party (I *so* want one of those Keep Calm and Play Matkot tote bags) and a third pre-wedding party at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Such wonderful ideas and all expertly planned by the lovely Sophie and Ravit from RS Eventime.
I must also single out Helen’s ‘rock princess’ Jimmy Choo‘s. Er… wow. And that she secretly took singing lessons in the months prior to the wedding so that she could surprise her groom with a rendition of ‘their song’. Double wow. Every single element of this wedding ties in together so perfectly and I’m so thrilled to be bringing you this well deserved ray of sunshine this rainy Tuesday morning
Thank you to Helene and Benjamin for sharing their delicious destination with us. Let’s hand over to the gorgeous bride…
how we met
Helene, the Bride: Benjamin and I met in New York five years before we got married. Ben lived in New York and I was looking for a new flatmate… I was coming to NY for an internship and was looking for an apartment… that’s how we met! We were roommates to start with, but one month later we became a couple, and since then we’ve always lived together — in New York and back in Paris. The funny thing is that we’d attended the same high school in Paris but didn’t know each other back then…
A wedding in old Jaffa
We held our wedding at Beit Andromeda in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. We wanted to get married in the Old City of Jaffa in an authentic venue with a beautiful view of the sea, and with amazing food which was also very important to us.
We were looking for a place that would fit our 120 guests, not too small, and not too big. We fell in love with the venue at first sight. It was authentic yet very original and nicely decorated (even raw, without additional decor or design). The managers were great and understood immediately what we wanted. The menu sounded appetising and then the tasting was outstanding — that was what convinced us.
Choosing to use a wedding planner
We really didn’t want to use a wedding planner at first, but then a few months before the wedding we realised how much we had to handle (details…which are not really details and can take a lot of time when you’re not a professional and you live abroad). We had more than 100 guests from France as well as other parts of Europe and USA, and those from Israel. and we wanted to enjoy more than a day with them.
We also wanted to really enjoy the time spent with them and not have to worry about the details during the events. So the final time we came to Tel Aviv, before the wedding, we met a few wedding planners…until we finally met Sophie and Ravit from RS Eventime.
Once again, it was love at first sight, and a real fit! They had plenty of ideas for the events we wanted to plan before the D-day (a cocktail party and beach party) and they took us very quickly to tour some places so that we could make a decision before we flew back to Paris.
As mentioned, we wanted to get married in the Old City of Jaffa in a very authentic, emotional place… BUT we wanted our guests to experience other parts of Tel Aviv, as for many of them it was their first time in Israel. We wanted them to see the more urban/arty part (so we did a welcome cocktail at Pastel, at the Tel Aviv Art Museum.) and of course the more fun part, at the beach (for this we organised a beach party in Herzliya).
Our invitation and a destination wedding website
We made a customised e-card using Paperless Post which looked great! We also created a website for more information and updates on all the events. We used wix.com, which was also nice and simple to us).
It took me a long time to find the dress of my “dreams” I went to many different designers in Paris and Tel Aviv and tried on some nice ones, but they were never “the one”. Until I discovered Rosa Clara‘s collection “Soft”, and tried on the dress named “Ugo”. I didn’t want to look ‘disguised’ and in this dress I did not. I would look like the bride, of course (and this was a must too!) but the dress was precious (with all the details and embroidered sequins and pearls). I felt like myself… and comfortable and sexy too! And finally I knew Ben would love it too (which was another must of course!).
Jimmy Choo ‘rock princess’ shoes
I got “rock princess” sparkling shoes from Jimmy Choo. They have an incredible 8.5cm high heel (I am already very tall) and they fitted beautifully with my dress (but the decision point was that they fitted my jeans too the first time I tried them on ! “Yes! I’ll be able to wear them again after the wedding !!”).
hair + make up
I wanted a romantic look and I wanted to wear my hair up for the chuppah ceremony and the beginning of the party (for a more “sophisticated” look and in order to highlight the beautiful back of my dress!). Afterwards I let it down for the rest of the party (as Ben prefers it like that and so do I). In any case it was a good idea because I danced so fast and hard during the hora that my up do would have gone out anyway at some point!
My wedding planners Sophie and Ravit found the perfect hair & make up artists team for me. They were great.
The handsome groom
Benjamin wore a beautiful tailor made suit in ‘bleu nuit’ (dark blue). He was so handsome (of course;))
I am not really into the idea of bridesmaids… I had my closest friends come to my hair and make up prep and they all wore beautiful dresses from their own choice, all in different colours, and all looking gorgeous!
our Jewish wedding ceremony…. with a modern twist
Our rabbi was great. He suggested that I could give Ben his ring too and say something to him (whereas in all weddings I have been to, the bride never talks!) I just said a few words to him but it was really emotional (he wasn’t expecting it), and also for our family and friends too – there was something more personal about it.
I saw some pictures on pinterest and blogs that inspired me for my chuppah design. I wanted a traditional chuppah with four wooden poles held by four of our friends. I also loved the idea of a white veil… and also flowers at the top of the poles.
music for the ceremony and after…
For the ceremony, Ben walked on Beshem Hashem by Rabbi Carlebach. I walked in and did the seven cirlcles around Ben to Meheira Hashem
After the horots, we had a little bit of oriental music, then the DJ did a great mix of Soul and RnB music that we love.For the party, We wanted a lot of horot (to make it a real jewish wedding) and we chose a great band for this: Eden mi Qedem.
A surprise song for the groom.. sung by the bride
During the desert, I made a surprise for Ben – I sang our song (Im Telech by Idan Raichel) accompanied by the band. I had taken some secret singing classes during the months before our wedding, and had rehearsed for the big day, but it was a total surprise for Ben. I
It was scary but it was great, Ben was so happy — he told me it was the best present to him.
For our flowers I wanted something very chic — not too girly — a mix of whites and greens. I showed some pictures to our designer, Adi Shaul, and I totally trusted her, she has great taste.
our fabulous photographer
We looked at many photographer portfolios on the internet and met several photographers whilst in Tel Aviv, but our wedding planner Ravit introduced us to Pierre Mikael Cohen and it was the best fit. It is important to like the book of a photographer but also to get along with him. And he spoke French so a good point for our guests.
We had favours at our Beach Party — we created custom-made tote bags with Keep Calm and Play Matkot printed on them, and multi-coloured foutas (turkish towels).
Helene & Benjamin’s little white book
Wedding Planner — RS Eventime
Photography — Pierre Mikael Cohen
Venue — Beit Andromeda
Brides’s dress and veil — Rosa Clara
Bride’s hair comb — BHLDN
Bride’s shoes — Jimmy Choo
Design —Adi Shaul
Band — Eden mi Qedem
Invitations – Paperless Post