Yukie and Jason’s Moroccan market-themed Israeli destination wedding was an epic, four-part production, thanks to super helpful mother-in-law, Victoria and their incredibly talented planner, Adena at A to Z Events.
Bright colours abound with lavish gold accents, maximalist patterns and oh my goodness, check out that cake! At Smashing the Glass HQ, we’re also loving the drama of those fantastically opulent thrones for the bride and groom (move over Posh and Becks), and these brilliant stylistic choices are matched only by the loveliness of the couple’s story.
For anyone out there who is living the sometimes taxing reality of the old adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, take heart – this loved-up pair have proved that long-distance relationships can have a truly happy ending. With a groom from New York, a bride from Tokyo, the groom’s parents from Moscow but living in Israel and most of the guests taking their first trip to the Holy Land for the couple’s wedding, this is a love that brought together cultures from all over the world for a truly beautiful celebration.
The ceremony was custom built for Yukie and Jason. While it was important to them to have a ceremony that was “official” according to the religion, with Yukie having recently joined the tribe, they also wanted it to reflect their own feelings and personal connection to Judaism. Some of the personalised details included a reciprocal ketubah, and when the groom smashed the glass, the bride simultaneously smashed a plate. The rabbi composed his speech by asking the bride and groom for three important memories and three reasons they were each other’s one and only — from this, he created an incredibly moving tribute to their relationship.
Oh, and if you’re not already sick with jealousy over Yukie’s amazing Oscar de la Renta gown, she also had two more gorgeous dresses for the evening parties! Feast your eyes on it below, all perfectly captured by photographer Shabi Kedem and Levi Dovid.
How we met
Yukie, the bride: I am Japanese and spent my entire life in Japan before I met Jason. We met nine years ago in Tokyo while he was on vacation with his brother.
Although at first I thought he wasn’t my type, once we started talking we got along so well that we had a date every day for the week he was in Tokyo. We kept in touch after he left – he called me every day for the next two years.
We visited each other any time we could — he even came to live in Japan for a year. We kept our long-distance love going for for years between Tokyo and New York.
Then, four years ago, I finally decided to move to New York and we started living together.
Getting married at Caesar Yam in Caesarea, Israel
We held our wedding at Caesar Yam in Caesarea, Israel. Our priorities for choosing a venue were: a) it had to be a beautiful place with an extraordinary factor, b) we could party into the small hours of the morning if we wanted! c) the reception had a Moroccan theme so venue had to match.
Caesar Yam is located next to massive Roman ruins, and directly within Crusader fortifications right next to the sea, so we could use the amazing ocean view while being surrounded by the amazing vibes of the ancient ruins. It was perfect for our guests since most of them were flying in from the US, so the ancient feel was a real novelty! Plus, Jason is a HUGE history nerd, so it was the perfect spot.
A Moroccan-themed wedding
We used a wedding planner, Adena Mark and her team from A to Z Events. Originally, we wanted to have our wedding at a hotel in Morocco where Jason and his mother, Victoria, had stayed. They fell in love with the hotel, but unfortunately it could only accommodate up to 50 guests. After that, Victoria really warmed up to the idea of Moroccan-themed wedding and so did we. My husband’s parents live in Israel and we wanted to let his mother plan her dream Moroccan-themed wedding. That is why we chose to have our wedding in Israel, so she could be in charge to liaise with the wedding planer. The family agreed that we had to have provide the best time for our guests and make it a very special wedding for everyone so that they wouldn’t regret making the 11-hour trip!
Victoria and Adena planned the wedding ceremony and reception, while Jason and I took charge of the music and after party, as they were most important aspects to us. They did wonderful job and the wedding was divided into four parts: a traditional Jewish-style ceremony, an elegant classic reception, a Moroccan party-themed reception and then crazy after party. The fact that we kept changing themes and areas of the venue kept everyone from getting bored.
We only send paper invitations to our parents and relatives. They were elegant, silk-covered booklets with all of the information and our gold monogram pressed invitation.
For our friends, we used Paperless Post, and I designed a Moroccan-inspired e-vite with ancient-style font. We wanted be ourselves and didn’t want to go too elegant or traditional, so we kept it casual and fun, but also hinted at our wedding theme.
Hair + make up
I didn’t have any requests. I believe professionals always know better than amateurs, so I told them to do their best style for my face and outfit. All I asked was for them to consider that I had three dresses and two different headpieces to change, so I didn’t want to spend lots of time having to change and missing the party. They understood and I managed to pull off three different looks with little time wasted. Huge thanks to my hair stylist, Avi Ben Avi and his staff.
Three wedding dresses including an Oscar de la Renta gown
I had three dresses!
I bought the first dress in NYC at Mark Ingram, an Oscar de la Renta gown for the ceremony and the classic-style reception. Victoria’s request was that I look like princess with a BIG skirt, but still look elegant. The Oscar dress certainly had that, but had some more modern elements too so it fit my taste too.
The second dress was from Israel, by an Israeli Couture designer, Chana Marelus. I found an Israeli designer’s UK Vogue Instagram picture and fell in love at first sight. Every dress was amazing but this one especially had a very 13th century, Near East princess style with gold and cream colours, so I wore it for the Moroccan-themed part of the reception. The colour of this dress and its ancient look perfectly matched the theme and venue — it was my favorite dress.
The third dress was a cute, casual white mini dress for the after party, so I could be comfortable and dance the night away. It was from Proenza Schouler. Its black trim and off-shoulder made it really modern and cool.
For the first white dress, I had a tiara as per my mother-in-law’s request. She wanted me to look like a princess with a simple long-drop veil, which Adena found for us. The tiara was designed by my mother-in-law at a jeweller in Moscow.
For the second gold dress from Chana Marelus, I wore a gold-leaf motif crown from Keren Wolf, which worked perfectly with the ancient princess look.
I chose comfortable kitten heels for both the first and second dresses – white leather strappy shoes with a cut-out, lace-inspired design for the first dress and beautiful vintage satin mules, which I customised with an antique shoe clip.
For the third, short, dress, I wore fancy white floral and sparkly slip-on-sneakers from Christian Dior to dance.
The handsome groom
Jason wore navy, just a shade lighter than midnight blue. We started planning our wedding about six months in advance and had to do the dress and tuxedo shopping together, last minute, so the clothes were not a surprise for either of us! We all made decisions together.
We were going through Hollywood red carpet tuxedos and we both liked Daniel Craig’s tuxedo from the 007 Skyfall poster, Midnight blue with a black satin shawl lapel. While we loved the idea, most tuxedos in that colour were from last season’s collections and we couldn’t buy them anywhere. While we were in LA for a friend’s wedding, our friend Calvin introduced us to an amazing bespoke tailor, High Society, that makes suits and tuxes for red carpet events. We picked the fabric together and they tailored it just as we wanted (for a fraction of the price!)
Wee found an amazing shirt tailor called CEGO in New York who makes shirts for TV shows and movies. We matched the shirt with an extra-large butterfly velvet bow tie and velvet opera slippers to make him look super funky and cool.
Also on our wedding day, he blew out his hair to make it super big for hip tux style! He has very curly hair (AKA a JewFro) and while these days he keeps it short, when we first met, it was HUGE, and I wanted him to look like that!
Our music choice
We walked down the aisle to Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
For the after party, the most important thing was to have good music and to make sure all of our friends could have a wonderful time. We really took the time and effort to find the right musicians, and we found amazing band, New Thousand, at the New Orleans Jazz festival and flew them to Israel from the US. They were our amazing secret weapon Their sound is sort of electronic Balkan music, with an electric violin, keyboard and drum machine. They rock so hard though and were such a hit!
We had a wedding band called Black and White for the ceremony and reception. We asked them to stick to songs from before 1990, soul music and funk highly encouraged.
We had a violinist for the cocktail party before ceremony and for the first part of the reception.
We had a Morrocan/Mizrahi singer for the Morrocan part as well and Moroccan outfits for all the guests to dress up in and have fun!
Finally, we used an Israeli DJ, Omri Smadar, who brought a great mix of deep house, dancehall and finally ended with some old-school hip hop!
For the ceremony, the rabbi gave us surveys to fill out, asking for our three most important memories and the three reasons we know our partner is our one and only. He then took this and made it into the most beautiful speech ever, without even knowing us!
All of our beautiful flowers were arranged by Pablo Design. My bouquet was white and pink and the table centrepieces were made up of colourful flowers to go with our Moroccan theme, like magenta, orange, yellow and blue.
Our fabulous Photographer
Our photographer was Shabi Kedem, picked by our wedding planner, Adena. There was a videography component too (and even drone footage!).
A Moroccan-themed wedding cake
We completely forgot about the cake and didn’t even mention it to Victoria or Adena. But, of course, they took care of everything and we had a beautiful Moroccan design cake by Delicia Designs to go with our Moroccan-themed reception!
We had a wedding band called Black and White for ceremony and reception. We asked them to stick too only songs from before 1990, soul music and funk highly encouraged.
Violinist for cocktail party before ceremony and first part of the reception (Classic and elegant part).
We had a Morrocan/Mizrahi singer for the Morrocan part as well and Moroccan outfits for all the guests to dress up and have fun!
The amazing secret weapon, New Thousand! We found them playing on Frenchman Street in New Orleans during Jazz Fest! Their sound is sort of electronic Balkan music, with an electric violin, keyboard and drum machine. They rock so hard though and were such a hit!
Then we used an Israeli DJ, Omri Smadar, who did a great mix of deep house, dancehall, and finally ended with some old school hip hop!
For our favours, we had Moroccan leather slippers called Babouche. We wanted to give our guests something and Babouche slippers are comfy and cool looking, plus people could change into them and ditch their high heels for the after party!
We also custom made satin dust bags with tassel draw strings to put the slippers in. And printed the Hamsa I designed on it – a combination of my family symbol and his family symbol.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
I think the most important thing is make to it clear what you want for sure or what you don’t care about that much and prioritise. Make sure you and guests can have a wonderful time, not just the two of you…
And most importantly, choose comfy shoes!
Yukie & Jason’s little white book
Wedding Planner – A to Z Events
Photographer – Shabi Kedem
Second Photographer — Levi Dovid Photography
Venue – Caesar Yam
Getting Ready location — Casa Cala
Bride’s dresses – Oscar de la Renta from Mark Ingram, Chana Marelus and Proenza Schouler
Bride’s shoes – Christian Dior
Accessories – gold leaf motif crown from Keren Wolf
Groom’s attire – bespoke tuxedo by High Society and shirt by CEGO
Hair + Make-up – Avi Ben Avi
Flowers – Pablo Design
Entertainment — Symphonia Entertainment (Ely Katz)
DJ – Omri Smadar from Libra Music
Band – New Thousand
Cake — Delicia Designs
Invitation – Paperless Post
Paper invitations — Paper Works and Events