One of the reasons I’m in love with my job as editor and curator of Smashing The Glass is that weddings are the ultimate fusion of creativity, traditions and of course true love – three things that I adore – and this divine wedding has all three in buckets.
When an email from Danny and Julie of Minty Slippers popped in with a link to Meredith and Shoshana’s incredible wedding film, below, I had a massive ‘this is why I cherish my job’ moment. It’s so very moving, and their devoted love for each other is so apparent — I literally whooped, hollered and clapped my hands with glee in anticipation of blogging Danny and Julie’s fabulous work, and Meredith and Shoshana’s love story.
It’s a tale of long-distance desire with the pair first meeting in 2011 when Shoshana, from London, was studying at the New York Film Academy and Meredith was working at a Manhattan advertising agency.
Shoshana eventually returned to London after her studies, and being thrown suddenly into a long distance relationship, they decided to make videos to remind them of the fun they shared together. Their videos are super creative and fun and will fill you in a little more on their love story.
But on to the wedding itself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen brides who smiles as much as Meredith and Shoshana did on their big day; honestly their infectious grins are enough to make even the most miserable, rainy Mondays seem like Happy Hour in the Caribbean.
They were married at Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire, a beautiful venue that was once the home of Sir Laurence Olivier. There is a Stephanie Allin AND a J.Crew gown, both as beautiful as each other. There is a singing harpist, an immense naked cake, outdoor games and stunning florals . There are hand-painted favours by Shoshana (who is an illustrator by trade) of each guest’s name painted and presented on miniature easels. There are some fantastic ideas for a really meaningful wedding ceremony.
But most of all? Most of all there is L.O.V.E
Meredith and Shoshana, the Brides: We chose Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire, for its tree-lined entrance, the castle like turrets, the beautiful gardens and the stunning contemporary mix with 13th century architecture — need we say more, it was perfect!
‘Global travel meets art’
Our wedding theme would be best described as ‘global travel meets art’ – that’s what we arrived at in the end! We didn’t have a colour scheme but we definitely thought about colour throughout the process. We didn’t use a wedding planner, we had too much fun planning it ourselves!
It was — we chose another illustrator (Shoshana is an illustrator too), Rebecca McMillan to do our invitations and she was excellent — very careful and attentive. We enjoyed sealing the invitations with a gold wax heart seal! Shoshana did stationery at the wedding — menus, placecards and order of ceremony.
Our wedding dresses
Shoshana: My dress was from a boutique in London by a designer called Stephanie Allin. I added my own touch by adding lace to the delicate straps and made my own sash using tulle and lace with a romantic bow at the back. There was something different about that dress when I tried it on — although I’d felt pretty in most of the other dresses, in this one I just felt amazing! It really helped having one of my best friends, Saima with me to get another trusted opinion and was a lovely bonding experience!
Meredith: My dress was an ivory silk chiffon Heidi dress from J.Crew . It was the very first dress that I tried on. Right away I knew it was perfect and something I would be very comfortable wearing throughout a very active day. The dress is simple, classic and elegant. I’m so happy I decided to go with it, as it ended up being a great compliment to the picturesque setting at Notley Abbey and my beautiful bride.
Juliet Glaves from Thoughtful Flowers provided the most beautiful flowers to wear in our hair, it was really exciting when she came to deliver them on the day. Meredith wore her grandmother’s earrings.
Our two sisters were our bridesmaids. Their dresses were very similar in style but different colours. Meredith’s sister, Jillian wore a coral dress, Shoshana’s sister, Miriam wore a pale blue dress. They were lovely and floaty for the outdoor summer wedding.
We had two aisles which we both walked down simultaneously, which was very important to us as we wanted to symbolise our equality within the marriage. The watering of the tree part of the ceremony was fun, particularly as Shoshana kept watering it enthusiastically until asking eventually “Am I done?” making everyone laugh!
music for the ceremony
Involvement of family
One of Shoshana’s grandmas is completely deaf, so we always made sure she knew what was being said by providing her with all the readings and written versions of everyone’s speeches. Shoshana’s mum and sister helped put these together and made sure they were in the right place at the right time.
All members of our immediate families were involved with things like our dads walking us down the aisle, our mums and sisters giving speeches, our brothers being ushers and Meredith’s sister in law being our ring bearer.
We didn’t choose any particular flower types, but we did choose the most fabulous florist ever. Juliet Glaves (mentioned earlier, doing flowers for our hair). Her creations were absolutely stunning — a truly wild mix but at the same time very delicate and extremely fresh.
We chose our photographer, Mark Cachia, not only because of his talent, but because of how good he is with people. We knew we’d be spending a lot of time with him on the day and so would our guests — so we knew how important it was to like him as a person as much as we did his work.
Our videographers were a husband and wife team, Julie and Danny who run Minty Slippers. Their work is incredible — the finished results capture stories so emotively and cleverly, yet they manage to be so unobtrusive on the day. We hardly noticed them at all on the day and they are such lovely people to work with.
A naked cake and fabulous food
We chose a naked cake decorated with fresh berries and flowers (with help from our wonderful florist). Neil Thornton from Le Papillion Patisserie made our cake. We chose it because it tasted as good as it looked. The 1st tier was chocolate and raspberry, the 2nd tier was carrot cake, the 3rd tier was lemon drizzle. We still dream of that cake!â€¨ Bespoke by Bijou handled our catering. and one of our favourite things about the food that we asked for were the tiny ice cream cone canapà©s, we loved the honey and ginger flavours!
A singing harpist and amazing playlists
The Singing Harpist, Jharda Walker — because her harp playing and voice are beautiful and she can give a range of classical to current music, which was relaxing and interesting at the same time. We had some outdoor garden games — the weather was so lovely, so it worked out really well.
Our first dance was a song very special to us, By Your Side by Sade. Meredith organized the playlist for the reception — she put so much effort into creating the perfect celebratory atmosphere and it really paid off — everyone was dancing all night long!
We didn’t do traditional favours, but Shoshana hand-painted each guest’s name and presented the paintings on miniature easels to take home. A friend of ours recently told us he’s put it at his desk at work!
Advice to other brides
Make sure you choose vendors you really, really like. Some of them, of course you won’t see on the day, but others you will and their personalities can really add to the atmosphere. So, if you get a funny feeling about someone before you book — listen to your instinct, it’s telling you something for your own good! Positive energy on the best day of your life is so important.
Also, use the day before the wedding to completely relax. You shouldn’t have anything much to do the day before the big day — use it to treat yourself and your partner to a spa day, get your nails done and rest. The wedding day is going to be busy and incredibly important and fun so relax your mind and your body because, trust us when we say you will be exhausted by the end of it!
Meredith + Shoshana’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Videography — Minty Slippers
Photography — Mark Cachia
Venue — Notley Abbey
Shoshana’s dress — Stephanie Allin
Meredith’s dress — J.Crew
Flowers — Thoughtful Flowers
Entertainment — The Singing Harpist, Jharda Walker
Cake— Le Papillion Patisserie
Catering — Bespoke by Bijou
Stationery — Shoshana Bratton (the bride!) and Rebecca McMillan