You know we love it when a couple really focuses on bringing out the spiritual side of their Jewish wedding. And lucky for us, that’s exactly what Australian-turned-Israeli couple, Rachel and Yehuda, did in planning their traditional day.
Capitalizing on the beauty and holiness of their adopted home, this duo opted for a venue that just exudes Israeli charm. Bezzela Hahar’s stunning outdoor grounds made for the dreamiest enchanted oasis setting, between the lush greenery and abundant Jerusalem stone — and it could not have been more perfect for the couple’s ultra-meaningful sunset (!) chuppah.
Also amazing is the post-wedding nighttime photoshoot in Jerusalem’s Old City Gilad Mashiah orchestrated for Rachel and Yehuda. This spiritual pair wanted to conclude the celebration with prayers at the Kotel (Western Wall), which just happened to provide a backdrop for some truly, amazingly touching photos.
Oh, and we’re obsessed with the fact that the couple set up a live feed of their ceremony for friends and family who couldn’t make it in person. Such a wonderful way to keep your loved ones in the loop, especially if you have lots of family overseas like Rachel and Yehuda did. Their grandparents who weren’t able to travel even ended up holding a viewing party for their friends back home — awww!
Now over to Rachel, who lived out all her Disney princess fantasies and then some in her magical, modest Tali Shurin wedding dress…
An Enchanted Garden in Israel
Rachel, the bride: We got married at Bezzela Hahar on Moshav Machasiya. We were looking for a place with a beautiful outdoors for the chuppah, and seating space indoors, and Betsela Hahar immediately gave us the impression of an enchanted garden, whimsical and breathtaking. The location worked for us perfectly. It was convenient for our family in Bet Shemesh and Jerusalem.
Rachel came up with the idea and we both immediately loved it. It was both of our names in a pomegranate, which had special significance to us. We used Chana Schiffmiller to design and refine this idea, and she brought Rachel’s vision to life, devising the perfect balance of elegance and creativity.
Hair + Makeup
I’m an olah chadasha (a new immigrant to Israel), and was incredibly overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure which type of look I wanted, and was referred to Miriam Kaufman by a friend of mine, who had used her a month before.
My nerves were in vain however! Miriam was remarkable. She patiently sat with me for hours, browsing through different looks, and then trialling them. I decided on a sparkly eye (!) and a dark lip, to match the drama and character of the dress.
I had always intended to have my hair down at my wedding, and had Pinterest boards filled with beautiful dos! Last minute, feeling the Bet Shemesh sun, I completely changed my mind. Miriam adapted immediately, and created the most beautiful twist for me.
A Tali Shurin dress
When asked to describe my dream dress, I always imagined something out of a Disney fairy tale. I wanted something ethereal, floaty, and magical. I looked for a while for something that would match my fantasy, until I found Tali Shurin. Tali had the imagination, inspiration, and patience to sit with me for hours until my dream dress materialized. She made the whole experience exciting – every fitting made me feel like a princess!
Decked Out in Pearls
My headpiece was strands of pearls, matching the pearls on my dress, and these same pearls fringed the ends of my train and veil. These were also made and provided by Tali.
The handsome groom
Yehuda wore a black suit and white shirt with a cream tie that matched my dress. But the best part was his socks. They were crazy colorful and wacky socks, really giving personality and flavor to his look, which also reflects the type of guy he is. Super classy but with a hidden awesome twist! Socks were from Johnson, a store in Tel Aviv.
Mix and Match Bridesmaids
I had eight bridesmaids and five flowergirls! My bridesmaids were my close friends and our sisters, who were flying in from all over the world to be with us. Because of this, I decided on a color scheme (pale pink, nudes, and dusty rose), and my bridesmaids found their dresses themselves. The overall look was exactly what I imagined!
We purchased our flowergirl dresses online, which I recommend – especially to people who have flowergirls coming in from overseas! I was most apprehensive about this, considering all the internet horror stories I’d heard, but the dresses turned out beautifully, and the flowergirls were adorable!
A Spiritual Chuppah
The most important part of our day was the chuppah. It was important to us that all the people joining us in our spiritual union were those who had made a significant impact on us throughout our lives.
The holiness that surrounds a bride and groom at the time of their wedding is almost unparalleled. The day is considered a ‘Yom Kippur’ for them specifically. We wanted the people helping us make the journey from singlehood to a life of togetherness to be our friends, family, and rabbis.
Bezzela Hahar provided us with a decorator who built a chuppah that was simple and elegant! Our chuppah was outdoors at sunset, which provided a stunning backdrop. I went with an all-white floral theme, and these decorated the aisle and the actual chuppah. On the floor of the aisle, we had pale pink rose petals.
We were fortunate enough to have our shared favorite singer play at our wedding. Shlomo Katz is a spiritual and musical inspiration to us both, and we spent many a date at his concerts, or listening to his songs. It was incredibly meaningful to us that such a person would be setting the musical tone at our wedding.
Yehuda suprised Rachel by singing her Eshet Chayil, and the girl cousins debuted an incredibly choreographed flash mob on the women’s side.
Pink and White Flowers
In keeping with the theme, our flowers were white and pink! The bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and chuppah were decorated with white and cream roses, and the petals which decorated our aisle were a pale pink.
We used Gilad Mashiah! We happened to find his website while looking for a photographer online, and instantly fell in love with the vibrancy, clarity and quality of his photos.
After arranging a meeting with him, we were blown away by his genuine personality, energy, and commitment to capturing every moment of our day. He made every aspect he was involved in pleasant, easy, and exciting.
He listened to our opinions and answered our questions with incredible patience, and went the extra mile to help us create the most wonderful memories. A highlight of our time with Gilad was the Old City photoshoot we did after the wedding finished.
Our videographer was Menachem Schloss. We were really happy with his service and the way the video turned out.
Watching the Wedding on Live Feed
Because so much of our family lives overseas, it wasn’t possible for many of them to be with us on our wedding day. We wanted to have them share in our simcha as it was happening, so we had a live feed.
Our grandparents in the USA who weren’t able to travel ended up having a party at their home with all their friends, watching our wedding as it was happening. The fact that they were able to experience everything with us, albeit from really far away, made us all feel closer.
Our combined vision for the wedding was that it would be a meaningful, spiritual, and memorable day for us and those kind enough to celebrate with us. We asked Shlomo Katz to end our wedding with a ‘kumzitz,’ when all the family and friends could come together and sing, and he acquiesed. A number of our guests confirmed that this was a highlight for them as well.
Trip to Kotel
We ended our wedding day with a trip to the Kotel (Western Wall), to pray and to have a final wedding photoshoot in the Old City! This part was fuelled with emotion, and I truly felt like I was experiencing a prophecy, with the opportunity and privilege of celebrating my wedding my wedding in Israel.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
There are so many expectations for a wedding, it’s important to remember that the wedding is about the two of you. Pay less attention to the expectations of society, and focus on the parts of your wedding that are most important to you.
A wedding doesn’t have to be beautiful in a conventional sense for it to be beautiful to you. Arrange your budget on what you both want the most. If there’s something that’ll make you feel special, do it! If there’s something that will make your day more meaningful or enhance it in any way, go for it!
Rachel & Yehuda’s little white book
Photography – Gilad Mashiah
Videography – Menachem Schloss
Venue – Bezzela Hahar
Bride’s dress – Tali Shurin
Groom’s socks – Johnson
Hair + Makeup – Miriam Kaufman
Singer – Shlomo Katz
Flowers – Pinna Yeruka
Live Feed – Video Eden