I am really excited to bring you this wonderful craft-filled wedding from over the pond in Conneticut, USA. Our gorgeous couple live in Brooklyn but got married in Connecticut after meeting at university six years ago. Sarah the bride designed so many creative elements of her big day including her stunning wedding dress (with Modern Trousseau), a wonderful ‘papercut-style’ chuppah designed with her very talented mum, our very own Smashing Supplier Jeanette Kuvin Oren, not to mention the beautiful table decorations, and exquisite letterpress invitations. Feast your eyes on their gorgeous day and take in all their lovely DIY details!
VENUE – CONVERTING A SIMPLE SPACE INTO A STUNNING RECEPTION
Sarah, the Bride: We booked my synagogue as the ceremony/reception venue. Being a traditional Jewish wedding, this was an appropriate locale. But don’t be fooled by a “lack of pizzazz” if your synagogue’s social hall isn’t as ideal as you’d like it to be. I had a vision, and was able to convert a large, relatively simple space into a stunning wedding reception. No one recognised the room once the decorations and lighting were set up. We also picked this location since we had a large guest list, and many venues would force us to cut our guest list in half (that wasn’t going to happen!).
The colour scheme came out through the process of seeing my likes and dislikes regarding dà©cor. I didn’t have a true vision until all the pieces began coming together. I knew I wanted neutral, timeless colours; so I stayed in the beige, tan, ivory genre. When I added gold to the mix, I thought we were set. It looked so beautiful and ethereal. Once I chose my bridal party dresses, the final colour came to be: “Dusty Shale,” a grayish seafoam/teal variety. It was a perfect medley of neutral, yet beautiful and timeless colours for a wedding.
I am delighted to introduce a fabulous second guest post from Michele Schwartz, editor of The Modern Jewish Wedding, a popular website for Jewish/ interfaith couples and wedding planners.
[image: Sex and the City via HBO.com]
“I know that game. I invented that game. So, they’re Rules Rabbis,”
Charlotte York Goldenblatt from Sex and the City.
It’s true. When considering conversion to Judaism from another religion, whether for a wedding, or just because, rabbis will traditionally turn you away. Rabbis are known to test your commitment by saying “NO!” three times. Then it is up to you…
If you are considering converting for your ‘beshert’ (your meant to be), here are some questions that will be useful to ask yourself and your intended before taking the plunge.:
1. How do I know if Judaism is right for me?
You’ll know! I hate to sound trite–but, you’ll know. If you are pressured to convert or feel as if you must do so just to be married, then you should stop reading now and read my previous post on incorporating Jewish traditions into your interfaith wedding. However, if you are committed to having a Jewish home, raising your children Jewish and are intellectually curious about Judaism–then read on. The best place is to start is with curiosity.
- Read, read and then read some more.
- Attend services at several different local synagogues.
- Take a class. Most congregations offer a weekly text study you can attend. You can also check out your local Jewish Community Centre or even a local university to find classes or lectures that spark your interest.
2. Even if I don’t convert can I work Judaism into our marriage and home?
Absolutely. Most people begin the road to formal conversion after first experiencing life in a Jewish family, home or community. Jewish rituals don’t negate anything you were raised to believe. You can get married under the chuppah, you can participate in congregational services, learning and holiday celebrations, you can attend or host a Passover seder, you can light candles on Shabbat and enjoy a day of rest on Saturday. If nothing else feels right for you–learn a new recipe or two and eat Jewish soul food.
[image: Daphna & Godwin’s Tuscany wedding ]
3. How “Jewish” do I want to be?
There are lots of different flavours of Judaism. But no one is more Jewish than any other (despite what you might hear or think). You should try them all–and decide for yourself what feels right for you. Do you like traditional music and lots of Hebrew in your worship service? Do you want to belong to a community that keeps strictly kosher? Do you feel more comfortable in a setting where there are same-sex couples and no one frowns at ear piercings or tattoos? Judaism is a big tent–you have to find the most comfortable seat for yourself.
Isn’t this photograph one of the most dramatic wedding portraits you’ve ever seen? Well if you’ve ever thought of getting married amid a breathtakingly beautiful primeval landscape ie. *the desert*, and you choose the oh so talented Dima Vazinovich as your wedding photographer, then that’s the kind of shot you’ll end up with!
Today’s gorgeous couple, Liran and Etay, chose the Beresheet hotel, a destination spa hotel in Israel’s Negev desert, as their wedding venue as they wanted somewhere where they could relax and enjoy quality time with their guests over the course of a few days, and additionally somewhere that reflected their modest and serene personalities.
WHY WE DECIDED TO HAVE OUR WEDDING IN THE DESERT
Liran, the Bride: Well before Etay popped the question we started talking about having a destination wedding and getting married somewhere abroad. The idea was that our guests wouldnÊ»t feel like theyÊ»re at a wedding but like theyÊ»re on a little holiday (weddings go so fast we wanted to enjoy time with our loved ones over the course of at least a couple of days and hang out at ease as much as possible).
Having gotten engaged and established an idea of guest count we realised that we needed to find a venue in Israel. Last year we enjoyed our stay at Beresheet Spa Hotel in Mitspe Ramon so much that we decided that this would be the best place for us: peaceful, calming, romantic and the exact sense of beauty that we were looking for.
Now this is a wedding that I seriously would have LOVED to have attended. It’s so different, so creative and incredible fun. I mean what could be better than a vintage tea party at London Zoo culminating in an outdoor Jewish dancing session and big party (not forgetting a drunken guest attempting to climb into the gorilla enclosure!)?
Just scroll down and you’ll see the bride arriving in a flower-bedecked Karma Kab, the groom arriving by canal boat, a seriously jaw-dropping vintage styled bride, a hand-drawn animal-themed ketubah, stunning photography by Steve Poole and David Klein that captures some of the most amazing Jewish dancing energy I’ve ever seen, and on top of everything this report is a little bit special as not only do we hear from Sarah, the bride, there is also a bit of commentary thrown in now and again from our groom, Ben. A Smashing The Glass first! The idea for holding their wedding at such an unusual venue was triggered by Ben proposing to Sarah in the Penguin Pool building…. aaaah, I’ll let Ben take over from here:
IMAGERY BY STEVE POOLE UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED
WHY WE CHOSE LONDON ZOO
Ben, the Groom: I proposed to Sarah at London Zoo as when she was a child she wrote to Jim’ll Fix It to ask him to let her into to the zoo’s penguin pool building. She loved the architecture as a little girl – that space age type of feel – and she was a bit besotted with the building. When I proposed to her I organised with the zoo to take her round and then led her into the Penguin Pool building and proposed to her in there.
We also knew that we didn’t want a party in a hotel or ballroom, and we ideally loved the idea of getting married somewhere outdoors, but finding an outdoor London venue that could hold 250 guests for both the chuppah and the party on the same site, and that could also incorporate a kosher caterer didn’t leave us with many choices. Luckily London Zoo ticked all the boxes and we chose it as our wedding ceremony and party venue.
Sarah, the Bride: We knew that we wanted to have a summer fete / vintage tea party feel and that really worked in the beautiful garden terrace where we held the chuppah and Jewish dancing. We were fortunate enough to have an amazing, sunny day and the space couldn’t have worked out better for us.
image: Chyna Darner Photography
Mazel Tov, you’re engaged! You are starting to put together Pinterest boards, you’re buying every wedding magazine going and bookmarking all the best wedding blogs. There’s only one hitch – you are Jewish, and your fiancà© isn’t. But no need to worry, because by adding Jew-ish touches to your wedding and reception, you can honour both sides and have everyone “kvelling” in no time.
Here are five simple and fun ways to incorporate Jewish wedding traditions into your special day:
1. FIND AN INTERFAITH KETUBAH: There are Ketubot written in English with no mention of God or religious beliefs. Every couple should agree to love, commitment and laughter (three things the Ketubah represents); it’s good for the soul! [image: Interfaith ketubah from Daphna & Godwin’s Tuscan castle Jewish wedding ]
2. HAVE YOUR PARENTS WALK YOU DOWN THE AISLE: Every Jewish mother dreams of the day she’ll walk her child down the aisle (wearing a dress that’s the envy of all her friends). Don’t deprive her of this proud moment! Plus, your soon to be in-laws will no doubt find it charming, thereby giving you some serious brownie points.
3. HAVE A CHUPPAH: The chuppah represents your new home and forms a beautiful, striking central space for the wedding ceremony. Also, designing a chuppah will be a special way for you both to create something symbolic and beautiful together. Just add it in to the floral budget and enjoy the experience and symbolism. [image: Chuppah from Lee & Gary’s Jewish Wedding at The Criterion, London / Peachy Productions ]
4. SMASH THE GLASS! Since even Jews can’t agree on why we break a glass at a Jewish wedding, there’s really no reason not to include the tradition. It’s fun! Everyone shouts “Mazal Tov” and everyone claps and hollers. Who doesn’t want a standing ovation on their wedding day?