Attention everyone: we have an exceptionally exciting real wedding on the blog today and one that I’ve been eager to share for quite some time!
Our real blogging bride, Lauren, who we LOVE, finally married her darling John. She is the first of our 2016 real Jewish brides to be blogged and boy, did she get wed in style. Lauren’s Jew-ish wedding was every bit as chic, contemporary and downright cool as I expected it to be. The day was expertly captured in all its glory by Photography by Krishanthi.
Lauren was a very detail-oriented bride with an exceptional eye for design. This shone through in every quirky and awesome choice the happy couple made for their big day, from their stunning gold-foil calligraphy invitations that they sourced from much-loved Smashing Supplier, The Golden Letter Paper Studio to their absolutely astounding pink ombre meringue shard cake, which almost looked too good to eat (almost).
OK, can we talk about that chuppah, please? What a wonderful sentiment and a beautiful way to involve friends and family in such an important life moment. I won’t ruin it for you, go and have a look — and then come back next week for the DIY tutorial to see how it was made.
Lauren has her own fabulous blog, which I’d encourage everyone to follow, but for now I’ll put you in Lauren’s capable hands, for one more encore on the blog (and then another cheeky one when Lauren posts her chuppah tutorial next Friday, 17th — I just can’t get enough)! Take it away, Lauren.
How we met
We talked for a few weeks on Match.com before meeting up for our first date on Valentine’s Day. I turned up very late as I was evidently not overly keen at that point. John bought me a present – a rose and a card.
We got on so well and then watched Impractical Jokers until two AM while eating my homemade cookies. Lots more details are in my first blog!
A quirky barn venue at Stoke Place, Buckinghamshire, UK
We were married at Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire. We wanted one venue and somewhere that was a little bit quirky.
Originally we wanted a traditional barn with the complete barn feel, but felt that most of the barns we saw were too small and would mean a lot of turnaround time between the reception, dinner and dancing.
Each venue we saw, we liked more than the last, and then we got to Stoke Place and knew it was the one (despite saying the same at the previous locations!)
I loved the vintage and modern mix of decor, but most of all, I liked the incredible staff. Every single person we encountered was so welcoming and from the first meeting to the final clear up after the wedding were more than accommodating, always in a friendly way.
By the end, we truly felt like they were part of the family and were as committed to our day being perfect as we were.
A rustic, handmade aesthetic
We wanted to have a rustic, handmade feel to the day, drawing on my love of all things crafty. I also intended to hand make as much as I possibly could. We wanted a lot of wood (utilising John’s easy access to wood at work in a builders’ merchant) and a lot of handwritten or calligraphy signs. We wanted the flowers to complement this and bring the main colours of green and deep and blush pinks.
All the signs were handwritten by me, cut out and screwed together by John. Our family helped us to put them into metal buckets and secured with shingle the day before the wedding and my brother, John’s youngest brother and my bridesmaid’s fiancee put up all the out door signs the morning of the wedding.
One of my close friends is Ben Krieger from Outrage Events. Whilst his main role was a guest and chuppah holder at our wedding, he did help and advise me along the way to create the rustic handmade feel. He was amazing and always on the end of the phone to make suggestions or advise me against any crazy ideas!
A modern calligraphy invitation on gold foil
This was something that took me ages to decide on. I toyed with the idea of designing my own invitations, but decided to go with Zoe at The Golden Letter Paper Studio whose designs I had seen around and felt that she perfectly captured the image in my head.
We went with a hand-lettered modern calligraphy look in gold foil on cream with a lovely blush pink border. The envelopes had a craft paper inlay which tied into our rustic theme.
We had one of my own little illustrations of two owls in love made into a wax seal and I hand lettered each envelope before posting. We had some great feedback from our guests saying how lovely they were – I was so pleased with them.
Dramatic eye makeup
I went with the lovely Shelley Greenham (a makeup artist who works for the BBC). She was amazing and did my hair and makeup along with my mum and one of my bridesmaids. She brought someone with her to do my two other bridesmaids and I think we all looked pretty good!
I was a little fussy with my hair and she was so accommodating. My makeup didn’t move despite my frequent hot flushes from adrenaline through the day. I really enjoy experimenting with makeup, so had a reasonably clear idea of did and didn’t want.
I went for slightly dramatic eye makeup as, being a glasses wearer, I knew it was important to make them seen. Lots of people asked me if I was going to wear contact lenses on the day, but this was never an option. I think I look weird without my glasses and it’s a big part of our identity (John wears glasses too).
A Sonsie by Veromia Wedding dress
Dress shopping was the one thing I was not looking forward to. Being a ‘plus-size’ bride, I was nervous and not sure where to start. I have a pretty good idea of how to style myself anyway, but I had never looked for a wedding dress before.
I found a place that I had heard of before (they had been featured on a plus-size bride TV programme on the BBC) and my first appointment with one of my bridesmaids was lovely.
However, it went a bit downhill from there and there were numerous problems, from the owners not turning up to appointments to being told I should try to lose more weight by the wedding.
It did turn out to be the most stressful and unpleasant part of my whole wedding planning process and I did say several times in the weeks leading up to the wedding that I hated the dress now after all the stress. However, as soon as all the issues were fixed and I was in my dress each time I had a reasonably successful fitting and, finally, on the day, I remembered why I loved it so much in the first place. I was so happy with it in the end.
The dress was from the Sonsie Collection by Veromia and was an A-line cut with a sweetheart neckline. It had a tulle overlay with sleeves (a must for me) and the top section was covered with beautiful beading and embroidery that followed down to the skirt and faded out. There was a tulle band around my waist. It was a lot more ‘blingy’ than I originally intended to go for, but worked just perfectly on the day.
A single-tiered veil and something-borrowed pearl earrings
Originally, I didn’t want a veil, but over time I decided to go for one. I tried a shorter veil, but that just didn’t look right, but decided on a long veil single tier veil. I think I wasn’t too keen on having a veil over my face, but found a single tier really helped to bring everything together.
I went to David’s Bridal a couple of weeks before the wedding and found the perfect single-tiered veil with very delicate beading around the edge, which went perfectly with my dress.
I wore a pair of pearl earrings leant to me by one of my grandmothers and in the evening I changed my earrings to a pair of custom Sugar and Vice of heart-shaped iridescent earrings that had a ‘Mrs’ written in the middle of one heart and my new name ‘Beadle’ in the other. I am a massive laser-cut acrylic jewellery nut so had to get some in there somewhere!
My cousin Jonny Leiwy Jewellery reset my engagement ring (with a diamond given to us by my grandma) and made both of our wedding rings.
I also had a lovely ‘Mrs Beadle’ necklace made at my favourite jewellery brand Tatty Devine for breakfast the next day.
Custom-designed Shoes of Prey wedge heels
I designed a pair of custom shoes online at Shoes of Prey in Australia. I had a really clear idea of the shoes I wanted to wear as I really wanted to be comfortable on the day and I knew I would want a little bit of height.
I chose an open-toe slingback with a wedge heel. I was able to choose the colour of each element of the shoe, the height of the wedge and add any extras I wanted.
When they arrived I was over the moon, they were so comfortable and looked amazing too. Just what I wanted.
The handsome groom
I bought him a pair of cufflinks from a shop on Not On The Highstreet that I had personalised with the same illustration that we had on our wax seal.
Obviously, I thought he wore his suit very well. He stood out perfectly amongst his three best men, my brother and our fathers who were all in blue. I didn’t get the full effect of his outfit until after the ceremony as he wouldn’t look at me as I was walking down the aisle with my dad. He had his back to me but had his hand out waiting for me to take it. He got a bit of a surprise when my dad took it first!
Bridesmaids in Ted Baker dresses
I had three beautiful bridesmaids. They wore a lovely pale pink dress from Ted Baker that was fitted in the bodice, but went out into a swing round skirt. It worked perfectly for the time of year and apparently was very comfortable.
My main requirement for their outfit was that they were all comfortable in what they were wearing and happy. I didn’t want to be one of those brides who says my bridesmaids have to wear something just because I was a bride.
My gorgeous little flower girls were wearing a pretty sparkly pink dress from Monsoon. They were too cute, along with our page boys who were on the dance floor the whole night!
A homemade chuppah with some friendly faces
We always knew we were going to make our own chuppah. This was adding to the idea of building our first home together and it being supported by family and friends.
We were originally going to keep it simple: four birch poles held by four people that we wanted to be involved in our day, but when our birch poles arrived we realised that they may be a bit too heavy to keep steady for 45 minutes. So we made some changes, added a few metal buckets and some shingle and we had the birch poles secure.
For our canopy, we filled a large piece of pale pink fabric with pictures of family and friends and memories from our own individual and joint pasts. I then attached this to a contrasting piece of cream linen and added some ties to each of the four corners. These were attached to the birch poles.
The final touch were the flowers that our florist added to the top corners and around the birch poles to complement my bouquet and the flowers we had as table decorations. It was so beautiful and personal and worked better than I had hoped.
An interfaith Jewish wedding
We planned the ceremony from scratch ourselves. Seeing as we were having an interfaith wedding, we wanted to be able to have a ceremony that truly represented us.
One of the key things we wanted was a chuppah, but we knew no Rabbi would bless us under one. However, we loved the symbolism of it representing our first home together and that our family and friends help build, this was our one non-negotiable element of our day.
So after a bit of research among some rabbi friends and a read of many blogs (mostly Smashing the Glass!), we decided that we somehow wanted to create our own Jewish-inspired ceremony that would represent us and our desire to have our family and friends closely involved in our lives.
We just weren’t sure who was going to conduct this ceremony until we had a brainwave to ask my brother Josh. He is a very charismatic person so we felt he would be perfect to do this and would be a good way to get him involved.
Together, we discussed the key elements that we wanted to be included, the most important being seven of our closest family and friends creating their own version of a sheva brachot.
Other than a couple of readings, our own written vows to each other and a bit of explanation for our guests, we were pretty relaxed and let Josh keep some secrets from us until the day.
Our personalised Ketubah
We created our own ketubah after looking at a lot of examples of interfaith and non-faith marriage contracts. We feel that we wrote a perfect contract for us.
I hand wrote it, painted a watercolour border and we signed it during the ceremony along with two witnesses, John’s oldest brother and my close friend who had travelled from San Francisco to celebrate with us.
It was the most perfect ceremony and something that was truly personal to us. It was even better than I had imagined it.
Eclectic music choices
During the processional, we had an instrumental version of John Legend’s All of Me. It’s a song that my mum said early on reminded her of me and John and it stuck as a meaningful song.
My dad and I are big Sound of Music fans and had a slightly silly idea of walking into Maria’s wedding march. Unfortunately no one else really liked it and it turned out to be way too long for us. The night before the wedding my dad and I were listening to a few options and Doris Day’s version of Dream a Little Dream Of Me came on. It was perfect. One of my favourite songs and felt like a special message for John as I was coming down the aisle.
Our recessional song was Frank Sinatra’s You Make Me Feel So Young.
Our first dance was The Temptations’ My Girl. It was a song John sang to me the first time we went to karaoke together (I love karaoke!) in front of my friends, since then it was always our song and one that makes us smile at each other every time it comes on. There was no other choice really.
Dark and blush pink flowers
We used Lily’s Flowers. We weren’t too prescriptive with what we wanted. We gave them some colours that we were keen on, dark and blush pinks, sage and rosemary (something that had a nice smell) and something that was unstructured and wild/rustic looking.
We also wanted to have flowers that were in season and we knew that this can be unpredictable and wanted to have our centrepieces in jam jars and jars hanging from the three chandeliers in the main ball room.
Other than that, we were happy to be reasonably surprised on the day. The room smelt beautiful with all the rosemary and sage and bouquet and the bridesmaids’ matching bouquets were exactly what I imagined. We had small sweet Williams and similar purple and white flowers in our hair.
Our fabulous photographer
I met Krishanthi at a wedding fair early on in the planning process. I fell a little bit in love with her and her reportage style photography knew instantly that she and husband, Joey, were the perfect photographers for us.
I can’t speak highly enough of Krish and Joey. The photos are amazing and it was like having a couple of friends with us. They also put together a lovely highlights film for us.
A showstopping pink ombre meringue shard cake
I loved my cake more than I thought possible! We met The Fondant Fox and Meringue Girls at The Most Curious Wedding Fair. They had this amazing rainbow shard cake on show and John and I along with my parents all knew instantly that it was the perfect cake for us.
We chose a Victoria sandwich cake and the meringue shards on the outside were raspberry and passion fruit flavoured. Instead of rainbow coloured we asked for pink ombre. It looked and tasted INCREDIBLE!
We chose this idea as we felt it had a nice link to London’s Shard, where John proposed to me.
We had One Entertainment – we were recommended them and went to see them and they were outstanding! They were so much fun, read the crowd perfectly and ensured that the dance floor was never empty.
We wanted a band who could include an Israeli dancing set and drum up the mixed crowd, some who know what it’s all about and some who had no idea. They helped get everyone up and enjoying it.
They also played during our reception and through dinner, although the chants that were created at John’s stag do did drown them out during dinner on many occasions.
John and I both secretly (from each other) planned to sing to the other.
I am usually expected to sing at family functions, so thought I’d be proactive and prepare this time. I chose to sing Etta James’ At Last.
It was not my finest moment! I think it was safe to say that I was pretty preoccupied on the day. John sang Andy Williams’ Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. It was a little bit of fun… I just hope I sing better next time.
A Boxless Booth
We used Boxless Booths for our photo booth. An amazing service and some really fun pictures. My parents weren’t keen on having any sort of photo booth, but John and I were insistent as we knew it would be really effective during our reception.
We were a bit nervous as the turnaround time during the reception was longer than we initially wanted, but it worked out perfectly as everyone was enjoying getting pictures taken.
We were even able to get my little owls illustration put onto the overlay of the pictures that our guests took home and stuck into our guest book.
Flavoured spirits for favours
We had little bottles of different spirits: marshmallow vodka, chocolate liqueur and limoncello. Each person had their own name tag (handwritten by me) attached to the bottle of drink that we picked out for them. We wanted something a little bit fun and something our guests could enjoy together.
In my family, the number 306 is a regular occurrence. It has a lot of significance for us. So John, my dad and I decided that seeing as our wedding was beginning at 3pm, my dad and I needed to walk in at exactly 3.06.
We had our amazing toastmaster Patrick Collins help us time it perfectly and it was like a little secret nod to my family.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
I was very chilled out on the morning of the wedding – everyone was commenting on it. What most people didn’t see was me stressing out the day, week, month before!
I felt so relaxed on the day because I had planned it well and knew that I was happy with everything I had done.
I would say if it is ever possible (it isn’t always possible), then it is really useful to get in to your venue the day before and set up as much as you can, especially if you are doing a lot of things yourself.
Also I would reiterate what I said in my final blog post before the wedding – make sure you make each other laugh even when you have made each other cry.
Basically, during your planning, don’t ever forget why you are getting married and find time for each other during the build up. You are a team and definitely need to approach your wedding in that way!
Lauren and John’s little white book
Photographer – Photography by Krishanthi
Venue – Stoke Place
Invitations – The Golden Letter Paper Studio
Bride’s dress – Veromia
Bride’s accessories – veil from David’s Bridal, Sugar and Vice earrings, Tatty Devine necklace
Bride’s shoes – Shoes of Prey
Groom’s attire – suit from Next, cufflinks from Marie Allen Jewellery, tie and pocket square from Frederick Thomas
Bridesmaids – Ted Baker
Flower girls – Monsoon
Flowers – Lily’s Flowers
Band – One Entertainment
Cake – The Fondant Fox and Meringue Girls
Photo booth – Boxless Booths
Wedding rings – Jonny Leiwy Jewellery
Toastmaster – Patrick Collins