Creative couples – listen up! Today’s real Jewish wedding is a detail-heavy big day that you’re going to want to absolutely devour.
Lucy and Michael wanted every element of their big day to be 100% ‘them’, and they achieved it by the truckload. Every detail of their urban, Shoreditch celebration was personalised to perfection, from the flowers to the favours (make sure you keep reading to the end for the story of the Tequila Sunday tattoo favours – an absolute hoot). All of the quirky, homemade decor choices were captured by the highly rated Miki Studios, who the couple simply raved about.
There are so many brilliant ideas to borrow from this fun-loving pair, including a GIF machine!! A GIF MACHINE!! (Note to selves, do not let the Smashing Team anywhere near a GIF machine, we may never emerge and have to live in GIFland for all eternity).
Beautiful bride, Lucy, looked outstandingly amazing in her Anna Campbell gown – a serendipitous bargain find that had just been waiting for her to come along. Her Gatsby-inspired bridesmaids were the perfect accompaniment.
There were also so many moving stories and touches. As Lucy’s father had sadly passed away, he was commemorated with his tallis forming the basis of a simply beautiful Chuppah. So many of Lucy and Michael’s friends and family came together to lend their skills, expertise, love and care to make the day happen – the mark of a truly loved couple.
Lucy describes the day with aplomb, so we’ll pass you over to her now for the full picture. Take it away, Lucy!
How We Met
Lucy, the bride: I do acquisitions for a property company and Michael is an actor. I, however, have only done this for a year, and, before that, was also ‘actorising’ around the place. We met doing corporate kids’ parties for big banks for their Christmas season. A very strange experience, but we became very close friends (we both fancied each other but was convinced the other one didn’t) and, after a month or so of this, gave into the feelings and the rest is history!
An exposed-brick east London venue
We got married at Shoreditch Studios in east London. We knew we had to find a London venue, both of us being from here. The other main requirement was that it needed to be a black canvas space, where we could do dry hire and supply everything ourselves.
We viewed a couple of beautiful spaces, but they were a bit too prim and proper for us, so when we walked into this venue with its exposed brick and archways, we were immediately sold.
We had actually been to an event there, years ago, but seeing it completely clear, we knew we had so much space to work with!
It also had an outside courtyard, which we loved, as it can be hard to get outside spaces in urban London venues.
A rustic, urban wedding theme
We decided to plan and put the whole wedding together to make it 100% us.
A colour theme emerged through Michael’s suit and the flowers. The flowers were mainly dusky vintage colours, but with a deep burgundy running through, which matched his suit. All metallic accents, including the cutlery, were gold instead of silver. We had personal touches throughout the whole space, from hanging photos, homemade/collected props, to personally made wedding favours.
When it came to props, we gave ourselves the challenge of sourcing everything for free. Michael started collecting empty wine crates from work, which we stacked to make the cake plinth, and also used to display the dancing flip flops.
Our table names were all painted onto single wine boxes (named after places that are important to us), and our table plan was drawn onto spare wood floorboards that I had from work, which was the rustic/urban blend we wanted.
All of these elements gave it such a personal, quirky feel, that worked just perfectly for us.
On the day, our wonderful friend, Marc Wheately, event managed and made sure everything ran smoothly. He was a dream!
Invitations in lace envelopes
Our invitations were beautiful but incredibly simple: brown card with white writing. The special touch was that they were enclosed in lace envelopes. Very special. Designed by Ruth Kaye Design
Boho beautiful fishtail braids and a burgundy statement lip
I wanted my hair up, as I have a fair amount of it and didn’t want it to detract from the dress. I knew I didn’t want something too neat, as that just isn’t me and I love plaits. So I went for fishtail braids, all the way around, that created a beautiful boho, vintage look and gave space for the amazing hair piece to shine.
When it came to makeup, I knew I wanted a burgundy lip to sit well with the colour scheme, and if I ever wear lipstick it is red anyway. Apart from that, I didn’t want to go wild, as I don’t wear heavy makeup day to day and didn’t want to not look like myself. I opted for soft, natural skin with a very subtle smoky eye, which went well with the statement lip.
My hair and makeup were done by Catherine Bailey, who was wonderful and created exactly what I wanted.
A serendipitous encounter with a vintage-feel Anna Campbell gown
I’m not going to lie – I had, perhaps, looked at what type of dress I might like even before Michael proposed.
I found that every dress I like was by Australian designer, Anna Campbell. A couple of weeks into our engagement, I went to a wedding fayre with my mum, now sister in law and fiancà©. It was just for fun, and we didn’t expect to find anything. I then spotted, from the other side of the room, this dress hanging completely separately from the others.
As I approached I realised it was my dream dress: an Anna Campbell sample from an old collection, two sizes too big and half price! It had a fantastic vintage feel, with an off white, almost grey colour. Felt weird buying the first dress I saw, but I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t find anything better! I took it to a seamstress, who fitted it to my size and it was beyond perfect and beautiful!
A divine Debbie Carlisle headpiece
I knew I wanted hair jewellery, and looked at a few different pieces at wedding fairs and online. I finally settled on a stunning piece by Debbie Carlisle. I got smaller versions for the bridesmaids and my mum. They looked perfect!
I also wanted a full-length veil, and managed to find the ideal one in my local bridal store, Blush and Ivory. It was plain and simple, as the hairpiece and top half of the dress were quite elaborate.
My heels were sparkly and gold, from Kurt Geiger. They were quite high, but nothing dangerous! Relatively simple shoes, as these weren’t my main focus and I managed to find the perfect pair in the sale, so my budget loved that!
The handsome groom in Cad and Dandy
My now husband had an exquisite three-piece suit made by Cad and Dandy. It was burgundy and he accented it with blue: his tie, shoes, feather pin and pocket square. He also wore a pocket watch across the front, which is a look I love.
His groomsmen basically had the opposite, with blue suits with accents of red. Michael and the boys looked truly dapper, and his suit made him stand out in the most wonderful way. What a beauty!
Bridesmaids in flapper dresses
I had two maids of honour, as I just couldn’t choose and also two bridesmaids. They wore beautiful ’20s-inspired flapper dresses from Gatsby Lady. They were dusky blue, which went nicely with the colour scheme and had that vintage feel I was going for.
A Chuppah with beautiful symbolism
A friend of my mothers had shown me a picture of what her son had done, which was a very rustic Chuppah using large branches partially covered in flowers and using a tallis across the top. I absolutely loved the aesthetic, and it fit in well with the look and feel of the day.
My dad sadly passed away two years ago now, and so we used his tallis. This symbolically made it very special for us and it felt like he was up there with me.
A Christian-Jewish hybrid ceremony
Although I am Jewish, my now husband isn’t. Neither of us are particularly religious, but there were certain elements of Jewish weddings that I loved and wanted in the ceremony.
That meant that we had to do the legal part a few days early at Peckham Registry Office, which gave us free rein to put whatever we wanted into the ceremony.
It was taken by my dad’s brother, my uncle, which felt very special indeed. We basically just put together a ceremony that included what we both liked from both Jewish and Christian ceremonies: a hybrid.
Perfectly placed live music
We have a fantastic string quartet called Oopsie Mamushka for the ceremony and champagne reception so they played as I walked down the aisle. I walked in to La Vie En Rose. This came about by me listening to every song in their repertoire and when this came on, I just started crying and knew it was the one. It was so beautiful and not the typical song to choose.
For leaving the ceremony, we had them play The Can Can! We just thought it was really fun and upbeat and set the tone for the rest of the day!
They also played the champagne and canapà© reception and provided the most fantastic entertainment through playfully dancing and engaging with the guests throughout their performances.
A fabulously floral meeting of minds
My florist was one of my top finds of the wedding. We met at a wedding fair in Islington and I knew she had to do my wedding the minute we started talking. She understood what I wanted immediately and every suggestion she had was weirdly perfect.
We went for dusky, light, vintage colours with accents of deep burgundy running throughout. As well as the stunning bouquets and dinner table flowers, she also had a whole balcony to play with, which she adorned with all sorts of hanging and graduating flowers, as well as Cur chuppah sticks! I couldn’t recommend Emma Soulby more highly if I tried!
Our fabulous photographers
I cannot speak more highly of our photographers! When I came across Miki Photography, I immediately knew I loved their work. Mick Shah wasn’t available for our preliminary date, so we booked his associate, Ash Davenport. We did an engagement shoot with him, and although we were a little nervous, we couldn’t have had more fun on the day and the results were stunning!
We were thoroughly excited to have him with us on the day. Ash then told us that Mick was also free on the day and wanted to join him so we could two for the price of one! Winning!
On the day, they weren’t just photographers, but part of the entertainment! They engaged so well with the guests and made me feel so relaxed in the morning when I was nervously getting ready… and the photos… WOW! We have been blown away by how exciting and vibrant the photos we have received have been. They captured the day in such detail, catching beautiful natural moments, as well as some SERIOUSLY arty shots! THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST!
A naked cake with dark, fresh fruit
We wanted a simple naked cake with lots of dark fruit to fit in with the colour scheme. Michael was given free rein to pick flavours, as that is his forte. He couldn’t decide, so we had three tiers: chocolate, red velvet and lemon drizzle. It was really beautiful, but I can’t comment on taste as I never got any! Too popular – it went before I could get a look in. I may have also been too busy dancing!
The catering was provided by the wonderful Sinead of The Flavour Kitchen. She supplied all of our canapà©s, a three-course feast menu, late-night nibbles and all the furniture. She spent many a meeting and tasting with us, and together we created the most wonderful look and menu. Her food was outstanding and everyone commented on it being the best wedding food they had ever had.
All hands on deck for signature cocktails
Our bar was headed up by two very close friends. Our groomsman, Ross Hunt, who conveniently had worked in the event and bar industry for years previously, organised all the numbers and ordering of the drinks, and also BUILT THE BAR, which was stunning. We were also helped by the best bartender around, Rhidian Turner, who runs the Bournes and Hollingsworth Events. Rhidian ran the bar and created the two signature cocktails: The Bagwell and The Schlagman. Fantastic!
Two live bands and a GIF machine
So for the ceremony and champagne reception we had Oopsie Mamushka, as above. They were actually the first thing I chose for the wedding, as I had seen them years ago in Covent Garden and as soon as we started planning, I knew we had to have them. They were just wonderful, and everyone had such a great time watching their sets. They bring so much more to the table than a regular string group.
We had seen our evening band, Ta Mere, several times at the Prohibition and Blitz parties thrown by Bournes and Hollingsworth. They also played at of my maid of honour’s wedding a few years back.
They are by no means a traditional wedding band, and that is why we absolutely loved them.
They are like dirty swing music using instruments such as bagpipes, trumpets and the violin, along with the more traditional drums and guitar. They really brought the party to the next level, and I would recommend checking them out!
We also had a wonderful Photobooth and GIF machine supplied by Look Look. The GIFs proved particularly entertaining to watch back the next day.
Tequila Sunday tattoos
We used to run an event called Tequila Sunday with a very close friend of ours who Michael used to live with. It was a dinner party-type affair on a Sunday with different guests each week that after the meal would descend into tequila-based fun. Sounds kind of awful if you work Monday mornings, but trust me, it went down a storm. Then on one sunny Monday, we thought it would be hilarious to get TS (Tequila Sunday) tattoos!
My first thought on favours was that I wanted something that could be used/enjoyed at the wedding itself, as so many people forget to take them home if they are little pots of jam etc, as once the dancing starts people forget these things.
Our wedding was on a Sunday, so we thought wouldn’t it be fun if everyone could have a TS tattoo for the day? So we got transfer replicas of our tattoo and boxed with the story and instructions, a cotton pad and vial of water for application! It went down extremely well and everyone at the party was a true Tequila Sunday guest in the most spectacular way!
Firstly, I want to mention one of my maids of honour, Francesca Smyth, who along with another artist, Holly Monger, run The Write Good Company, who did all of our signs. The work they do is stunning and inventive and really gave the whole place a very cool look.
Secondly, I want to mention one of the groomsmen, Graham Cutting, who was our lighting designer for the day. We wanted to whole place fully rigged, and we were lucky enough to have a pro in the wedding party and he did the most spectacular job.
Because of my dad’s absence, other family members got their share of jobs! My two brothers walked me down the aisle and my wonderful mother made the speech.
Advice to brides and groom currently planning their wedding
On the day, just let it go. All you can do is done, and so there is no point in worrying! You will be so caught up in the magic of the day anyway, that if something slight did go wrong you wouldn’t even know about it, so don’t stress!
Try and add personal touches; it makes a massive difference on the day for people to look around and clearly see that it is YOUR wedding and no one elses!
Enjoy yourself. It is the most spectacular day; everyone is there for you and that feeling when you look around and you love everyone in the room is very special and unlike any other day!
Although doing the whole thing ourselves was so rewarding and created a very personal wedding, in hindsight, I would have got a wedding planner just to pull all the details together for me. That bit was quite time consuming and stressful, and I could have done with perhaps a little more help.
Lucy & Michael’s little white book
Photographer – Miki Studios
Venue – Shoreditch Studios
Bride’s dress – Anna Campbell
Bride’s accessories – Debbie Carlisle and Blush and Ivory
Bride’s shoes – Kurt Geiger
Groom’s attire – Cad and Dandy
Bridesmaids – Gatsby Lady
Hair + Make-up – Catherine Bailey
Flowers – Emma Soulby Flowers
Photobooth and GIF machine – Look Look
Catering – The Flavour Kitchen
Bar – Bournes and Hollingsworth Events
String quartet – Oopsie Mamushka
Band – Ta Mere
Invitations – Ruth Kaye Design
Signage – The Write Good Company