I have the most utterly sublime and beautiful wedding for you today. Starr is from New York City, and Jacques is from Paris, and the story of how these two met is quite simply a modern day fairytale.
Starr says “My mum says she prayed for this husband for me, and that’s truly how I believe he came into my life! We met in Paris. I was on holiday and a mutual friend invited Jacques for dinner at this trendy hotel, and we were engaged 37 days and 5 countries later…”
As it happened, that first evening they met in Paris, Starr was at the beginning of a three-week European holiday. Jacques invited Starr to join him for dinner again the following night with a bunch of friends but it rained heavily the next day, and one by one his friends dropped out. Jacques called her to say that it would be just the two of them and asked if that would be ok. She agreed and so the spark was lit…
Jacques was determined to see Starr again even though she was about to leave Paris for the next leg of her trip, and the following weekend he caught up with her in Barcelona, then several days later he met her in London, the next weekend in Paris, and then the weekend after that he travelled to New York to meet Starr’s father to ask him for Starr’s hand in marriage. A week later the couple traveled to Morocco for a wedding and that’s where Jacques proposed.
Quite the love story, hey? I’ll now hand over the reigns to the beautiful Starr to tell you about the story of her wedding but just before I do, I want to say that I am beyond excited to feature the incredible photography of Joy Marie Smallwood. Her eye for composition, colour and texture means that each and every photo feels artsy, sexy, fun, candid, rich, boutique, authentic…. I could go on and on. I’m sure you’ll agree that every one of these images is immense.
VENUE TO ECHO OUR ‘PALACE OF VERSAILLES’ THEME
Starr, the Bride: We knew we wanted a destination wedding as we loved the idea of entertaining friends and family over an entire weekend – not just one night – and in fact we ended up having five different events during our wedding weekend, including a Shabbat dinner and a traditional Sephardi Henna Party!
As Jacques is French we toyed with the idea of getting married in France. I love the drama and history of the Palace of Versailles – you can actually get married in the Orangerie there – but in the end it proved impractical for us to tie the knot in France.
We thought about where would be good for everyone and where would they enjoy traveling to, and came up with Palm Beach… Americans love Florida, Europeans love Florida. We decided upon the beautiful Mar-a-lago Club whose stunning ballroom echoed the grandeur of Versailles which fitted right in with our wedding theme.
The Mar-a-Lago was built in the 1920s by the heiress Marjorie Merriwether Post, and combines stunning Moorish, Venetian, Spanish and Mediterranean elements, including spiral staircases and intricate stone carvings.
A COUTURE CREATION OF A DRESS
I tried maybe 600 dresses, no joke! I wanted structure and drama, and it was surprisingly hard to find. Anyway in the end I found something wonderful from Amsale but I wanted it to have some extra oomph so I added another ‘pick-up’ to it and also chose a dramatic long floor-length beaded veil that I fell in love with from Reem Acra. It had a detachable piece so that I could make it shorter for the cocktail hour.
My dress was made from ivory duchesse satin and had a sweetheart neckline, a billowing skirt and large embroidered rosettes. The back was embellished with lace and sequins and my name was sewn inside the dress to have ‘something blue’ along with red string to keep away the evil eye. I also wore a lucky english penny in my shoe!
The morning of the wedding was quite rainy and there was talk of putting a marquee up but I didn’t want that – I wanted the feeling of the outdoors – but as I descended down the stairs with my father to come down the aisle the most amazing thing happened, all of a sudden the sun came out behind me. It felt like it was from G-d…
I had a basket next to the chuppah where I asked all of my friends to put their wishes because the chuppah was very important to me: it’s your own personal Yom Kippur – you’re forgiven for all of your past transgressions and you become pure again under the chuppah. I wanted a long ceremony and I wanted people to understand the significance of it so I wrote about it in our wedding program. I also talked about important people that had passed away who weren’t able to be with us on the day, and also as it was an orthodox ceremony with mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazi customs, I explained some of the Sephardic customs in the program too.
CHUPPAH DESIGN + A VERY PERSONAL BOUQUET
My chuppah was absolutely gorgeous. It was covered in flowers and the tallis of Jacques’ father’s (who sadly is no longer with us) was hanging inside above us.
Karen from Always Flowers put it altogether and was simply amazing – they were the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen. I designed all the bouquets and flower decorations myself and my bouquet had hydrangeas, princess roses, akido roses and vanda orchids in it. I also incorporated some old photos into my bouquet as I wanted to feel that certain special people in my life who weren’t there with me on the day were with me in spirit.
OUR AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER
Our photographer, Joy Marie, was utterly amazing. Not only did she take the most incredible photos, she was phenomenal on the day – really helpful, supportive and just a wonderful personality to be around. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
A LIVE ARTIST
We hired a wonderful artist called Agnes Caesar Russo who painted the event as it happened. I’d seen her at another wedding and thought it was the most fantastic idea to create a live painting.
DRAMATIC TABLE DECOR
My mum, Gail Lowe Maidman, was in charge of the table design (she has a table design company called Tables That Talk) and she did such a fabulous job! There were flowers, candles and water fountains with pink lights on each table. We also had fleur de lys ice sculptures everywhere which looked fantastic. The tables were long and dramatic and each one was named after hotels around the world that Jacques and I love.
Our first dance was to Hatikva , or rather a piece of music which Hatikva was inspired by – a hungarian piece. We did a waltz to it, and then we had the Jewish music dancing. I loved that part of the evening – it was very important to me.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Remember to be a guest at your own wedding! In my case I’m afraid I was very upset with my hired wedding planner. So many things went wrong that are not mentioned in this piece – there were many, many hiccups from start to finish, but despite that I stayed very positive and joyous throughout it all. Enjoy every minute whatever is happening around you – don’t stress and take pleasure in every second.
STARR + JACQUES’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Venue – Mar-a-Lago Club
Photography – Joy Marie Photography
Florals – Always Flowers
Bride’s dress – Amsale
Bride’s Veil – Reem Acra
Bride’s shoes – Stuart Weitzman
Hair – DM Hair
Make-up – Kristin Garcia
Groom’s attire – Ralph Lauren
Decorations – Silk Purse Interiors
Table design – Gail Lowe Maidman
Cake – Ana Paz
Entertainment – Hank Lane
Artist – Agnes Caesar Russo
Wow. Yes WOW. what a dashing duo Starr and Jacques make. And what a way to turn a wedding into a fairytale. Visually their wedding is amazing, but as the day progresses, you can see the excitement, anticipation, nerves, joy, spirituality and unconditional love in Starr and Jacques faces. And Joy Marie captures it so exquisitely. Thank you to Starr and Jacques for sharing your special day with Smashing The Glass. Let me know what you think of this wedding in the comments below!