Now this folks, this is how you do a ‘Wedstival’ wedding. Naomi and Michael have, in my opinion, only gone and nailed the most perfect laid back, fun-filled outdoor field wedding with a real festival vibe. There’s a Volkswagen Beetle photo booth, super sized balloons, wild flowers galore, madcap crazy Jewish dancing, a surprise speech by the bride especially for her groom, and a tent village for the glamping guests.
One of my favourite details from the wedding has to be Naomi’s bouquet made entirely of brooches. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and it’s such a heart-warming and impactful idea. Naomi told me. “I asked all the women to give me a brooch but didn’t tell them why and then used them in my bouquet. This meant all the women were walking down the aisle with me. I also used a couple of brooches from my grandmas, which was nice as they are no longer with us.”
This is one of those weddings that radiates a wholesome warmth that I can never seem to put into words. There’s just so much love, and it’s all been captured perfcetly by the super talented Adam and Hannah Photography making their debut on Smashing The Glass. Don’t miss the wonderful wedding film at the end of the post by One Wedding too. No matter what mood you’re in, I guarantee you’ll feel totally uplifted after watching it!
Naomi and Michael met on the first day university and had been together for 8 years when they got married. They have written their wedding report together.
Our chosen venue: a synagogue and a field in Essex
Naomi and Michael, the Bride and Groom: We got married at Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation. It’s the synagogue where Naomi grew up. Michael actually proposed in the synagogue as he knew Naomi always wanted to get married there and he wanted to make the proposal the start of the story. He managed to get access and covered the inside in candles and flowers.
It is a beautiful traditional shul and created a great atmosphere. We wanted to get married in synagogue as for us the ceremony was the most important part and we wanted to ensure that it was separate from the party and that it didn’t become too gimmicky (in a field). The shul has sadly announced it is closing so our wedding would have been the last wedding to take place there…
We always knew a black tie do wasn’t for us and wanted something that felt true to us. We decided that having the party outside would be fun, relaxed and be a lot of fun. As we wanted the ceremony in the synagogue, we needed a venue nearby, and knew we wanted a field that we could camp on as well. This proved extremely difficult, and after searching and trying lots of offical venues, we met a farmer called David who owns the land next door (he owns a local farm shop) and it went from there!
Naomi wanted our wedding to be full of colour and to feel very natural. We also didn’t want a ‘theme’. No wedding planner – just hours and hours of our time (let’s be honest – Naomi’s time). We also had a lovely friend of ours, Rebecca Belson, help us on the day to co-ordinate suppliers and help things run smoothly.
A Jenny Packham Dress
My dress was Eden by Jenny Packham, I am not into my designers but I also really don’t like traditional wedding dresses and wanted something that felt true to me… something I would be comfortable in (and would not need to hold the dress to dance).
I absolutely LOVED the dress and was so pleased with it as I really thought I would find it impossible to find something. It was from Morgan Davies (who were so super helpful) and I had the dress altered by Tanya Jacobs from Tova Designs, who also made my veil which matched the dress using the same beading. I loved the detail of my dress and wanted an extra-long veil as I didn’t have a train on the dress.
I had a head piece which I bought from a wonderful designer in Israel called Petite Lumiere and it matched the dress perfectly. I also bought some earrings online that matched my engagement ring (they weren’t real diamonds though). I also wore my nana’s Star of David, which meant a lot to me.
mint green shoes from Rachel Simpson… and Nike high tops!
I am quite tall so went for mid height – again I don’t like normal wedding shoes so went for mint green shoes from Rachel Simpson (I also have quite big feet and she does bigger sizes). As soon as the formal photos were out the way I kicked off the heels and went for Nike high tops as there was no way I was going to let heels hold me back from dancing on my big day!
hair + make up
A suit for the groom that didn’t quite go to plan…
We had a nightmare with Michael’s suit. We ordered a bespoke suit and when it arrived it was a garish blue colour! We were gutted but we ended up getting a three-piece from an Italian suit store and it was fab. His shoes were from Office. He looked great and the suit was altered to fit him perfectly.
He wore a crisp white shirt and an ivory tie (to match my dress). I made him a personalised hankie for his pocket and it really finished the whole outfit. Top Tip: Be careful if you are ordering a personalised suit and make sure you really know what you are ordering beforehand, especially the colour!
bridesmaids in black
We had five bridesmaids who all wore multi wear dresses. I loved these as they are simple but so elegant. As you can imagine, with five girls of different shapes and size, its can be hard to find a dress that suits them all but this dress allows them to style it the way they like but still look similar. For the shul they all had different colour pashminas.
They all had flowers for their hair and wild flower bouquets. I let them wear whatever shoes they wanted and they could accessorise however they wanted too.
We had a gorgeous flower girl, Makayla, who wore a cute ivory dress and two page boys. Our little nephew Zack wore a blue suit (just like Michael) and cousin Daniel wore grey (like the rest of the wedding party).
We wanted to keep the chuppah true to the shul and use its structure, combining it with wild flowers and colour. It looked amazing!
Our friend Alex was our chazan, and he did an amazing job. He is opera trained and sings for the Bevis Marks choir. We had our family do the Sheva Brachot under the chuppah. I also gave different friends jewellery to hold, each with a special blessing.
A very special bouquet made out of brooches
My bouquet was made out of brooches, I wanted to do this for all the bridesmaids but it takes so much time and is really expensive. For mine I asked all the women to give me a brooch but didn’t tell them why and we then used them in the bouquet. This meant all the women were walking down the aisle with me. I also used a couple of brooches from my grandmas, which was nice as they are no longer with us.
Wild-looking, rustic flowers, as if they were picked from the fields
For the rest of the flowers, I didn’t want structure. I wanted it to be very simple and feel natural and kept saying to our florist, Miri flowers, that I wanted it to look wild, like you have just picked from a field – which is actually harder than you would expect. I asked friends and family also to collect food jars for months and most tables had ten jars laid out on them, filled with flowers. Taking the labels off took a long time!
The florist also insisted on some big dramatic displays to add depth, and although I prefer small flowers so you can see everyone at the table, it really did work.
Our phenomenal photographers
We used Adam and Hannah Photography for our photos, and they were great, arriving early in the morning whilst we got ready right through to late in the evening whilst we partied hard. It was great having two photographers as it meant they captured every moment. They had loads of nice touches and everyone loved their work. We adored their unobtrusive style as we didn’t want the usual dramatic style.
For our video we used One Wedding who are based in Sheffield but came down for the day. They also arrived early and stayed well into the night. They were very friendly and have put together a great video.
food, glorious food
I love a traditional wedding reception, but in actual fact we really wanted a BBQ for dinner. Unfortunately we couldn’t have this but Reich, our caterers, did an amazing buffet for us. We had a carvery station of roast and salt beef and Yorkshire puddings. We had a Chinese station of sweet and sour chicken, stir fry veg and BBQ spare ribs. We had an Indian station of curried chicken and vegetables (India is where we went on honeymoon). We had an Israeli station of shawarma and roast and sweet potatoes and a salad bar, plus vegetable soufflé for the veggies. This meant there was loads of choice for everyone. Dessert was hot chocolate cake and a fruit salad and petit fours bar.
For us this was really important and we wanted a band. In the end we went for the Function Band, led by Dan Rosen. He had an 11 piece show band and they were amazing and really fitted with our style. Michael has some unique taste in music and they embraced this and learnt some new songs just for us!
We came into Happy by Pharrell Williams. Michael picked our first dance as a surprise for me and it was She’s Got a Way by Billy Joel. We also had 8 Days a Week by The Beatles as this is what I wanted as first dance! Our last song was Ho Hey by The Lumineers.
all sorts of favours!
Well, where to begin here. We wanted to really make the day personal so we had loads of little touches, from tissues in the shul, to car packs with CDs, snacks and directions to the field. When guests arrived at the site there was a welcome mat. We had ‘message in a bottle’, and for guests that stayed over there was a camping pack. We had pashminas if people got cold and flip flops for their feet. After dessert we had a s’mores station (which Naomi made), a sweets table, a cigar and whisky table and an ice luge that was actually in the shape of a cake (Michael’s nana loved it!)
Everyone said how brilliant the speeches were on the day and we were very lucky. After the Father of the Bride speech, Naomi made a surprise speech for Michael (Michael had really wanted Naomi to speak). Then there was a bridesmaid speech which was a rhyming poem.
Then came the best man speech which was extra special. Michael had five best men and only two were asked to make the speech. However, they started by doing ‘Best Man Factor’ – to work out who was the real Best Man – it was hilarious! To finish with, Michael gave his speech, and it was so personal and emotional.
Getting friends and family involved
For us it was really important to have lots of people involved with our big day so we tried to include as many people as possible, from having two of our friends as the masters of ceremonies, asking friends to do Sheva Brachot on the night, having a friend bensch, another two organising all the shtick. In total we managed to hand out about 30 roles!
advice to other brides
You don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to do it how everyone else does. This is your day and you need to do what you want. People will enjoy it if you enjoy it and put love into the day. Think about what you want and then think how can you make it happen. The more love you give, the more you get back.
Naomi & Michael’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Adam and Hannah Photography
Videography – One Wedding
Venue – Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation and a field in Ongar, Essex
Day-of co-ordinator – Rebecca Belson
Bride’s dress – Eden by Jenny Packham from Morgan Davies
Dress alterations and veil – Tanya Jacobs at Tova Designs
Bride’s shoes – Rachel Simpson and Nike high tops
Bridesmaids – Two Birds
Catering – Reich
Hair – Danielle Mackenzie
Make up – Zoe Jacobs
Band – The Function Band
Flowers – Miri flowers
Bride’s headpiece – Petite Lumiere
Volkswagen wedding camper van – Custard Campers
Volkswagen Beetle Photo Booth – Megabooth
Tipis – Wedding Tipi