Happy 1st of the month everyone! I hope that 2016 has been kind to you so far and that your wedding planning is going brilliantly. If you haven’t booked your wedding photographer yet, you might want to enter our win your wedding photography competition with Claudine Hartzel, the brilliantly talented camerawoman behind today’s gorgeous Jewish wedding. Have a read of what the bride had to say about working with Claudine, further down the page — you’ll see that if you’re the lucky couple to win this competition you’ll be starting the celebrations early!
So onto this beauty of a W Day. Although set just outside London, Jodie and Joel wanted to create a woodland-style wedding amongst the lush gardens, lakes and waterfalls of the beautiful Luton Hoo in Hertfordshire. Initially Jodie, who runs her own mobile juicing business, wanted to get married in the middle of a forest so this setting was a perfect compromise. The table centres by Platinum Raspberry are particularly exceptional, and really bring the woodland theme to life.
This is a truly inclusive wedding with family and friends involved every step of the way, from Jodie’s step-brother singing a prayer under the chuppah (to the Indiana Jones theme tune no less), to one of Jodie’s oldest friends singing Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You for the couple’s first dance. Jodie’s mum had secretly arranged this as a surprise along with a few other touches – how thoughtful is that?
Jodie has some brilliant advice for all of you at the end of the post — I particularly love ‘Remember to say prayers for everyone you love as you circle your groom — it makes the ceremony that much more meaningful’.
Not only do we have the lovely images from Claudine Hartzel, but we also have the film from Bloomsbury Films, which includes a heart warming speech from Jodie’s mum. Without further ado, I give you Jodie and Joel.
how we met
Jodie, the Bride: Joel was one of my martial arts instructors. I later found him on Facebook, gave him my number, and the rest is history!
We got married in the grounds of beautiful Luton Hoo in Hertfordshire, just outside London. We just fell in love with the gardens — there was a lake and a waterfall and it was surrounded by trees and greenery. Initially I wanted to get married in the middle of a forest so this was a perfect compromise.
A rustic, woodland-style wedding
We went for a natural, rustic, woodland-style wedding, so everything had very earthy shades and we tried to bring the outdoors into the venue with plants, logs and greenery. We didn’t use a wedding planner per-se but mum is so creative and we worked really closely with our florists, Platinum Raspberry, who brought our ideas to life. They were amazing and designed things that just blew us away.
hair + make up
Shelley Greenham did my make up and a wonderful lady called Abbie did my hair, I couldn’t have asked for nicer people to be around the morning of the wedding… they kept me calm, made me laugh and adjusted things when I was umming and erring! I had natural looking make up on my face (I was a bit panicky about wearing too much make up as I’m usually just a mascara and blusher girl), and I had my hair curly to one side with a rose.
I bought my dress from Forever Bridal in Barnet which is an incredible place. It’s owned by a mother and daughter who are so talented that they hand made a bolero and even altered my dress whilst I was wearing it. I have no idea who the designer was but I actually tried the dress on as a bit of a joke… I saw that it was slightly pink and princess like (when else can you ever put a dress on like that?!) but the second I stepped out the changing room I couldn’t stop smiling and that was that!
I had a veil (made my the lady in Forever Bridal) and some flowers in my hair. My dress had a bit of ‘bling’ on so I wanted to keep the rest simple. At first I wanted to wear mum’s veil but it was so much whiter than my fabric. She tried to dye it in onion leaves (a true story!) but it ended up turning yellow which was sadly not the desired effect…
I’m not a typical bride and I wasn’t really bothered about the shoes and tried looking everywhere for white wedge trainers. I ended up with some cream peep-toed shoes to match the dress and I’m very excited that they can be dyed any colour afterwards. Endless possibilities!
The handsome groom
Joel wore a black dinner suit from Impeccable and a black skinny tie. I always love him in a suit so that was enough to make me swoon… he’s a good looking chap, what can I say?!
I had two older bridesmaids in green twist-wrap dresses, and my two now-nieces in ivory dresses with a green sash. It all tied in with the natural, woodland colours (see the film at the bottom of the post to view the bridesmaids).
An inclusive ceremony
We tried to have as many people involved as we could with speeches, toasts and Sheva Brachot. One of the funniest moments was when my step-brother decided to sing his to the Indiana Jones theme tune. It was totally out of the blue but hilarious!
Joel’s cousin is a Rabbi so he married us on the day, which was so special. Whilst we initially wanted our chuppah by the waterfall it had unfortunately dried up, so we positioned everything by the lake, which was more perfect than we could have imagined. I loved walking round Joel and then standing by his side, looking at my family and trying to take in everything that was happening, the beautiful setting and the hugeness that was our marriage — it was so surreal!
bubbles down the aisle
Everyone blew bubbles as we walked back down the aisle… it was something I had mentioned to mum when I was much younger and couldn’t believe she’d remembered!
woodland-style flowers and greenery
We went for sand pink roses, astilbe, gypsophila and eucalyptus, which always reminds me of my dad as he used to have it all over the house when I was little. We also had moss for the centre pieces to give it that extra woodland vibe! The florist was Platinum Raspberry — they are the best. ever.
Our fabulous photographer
Claudine Hartzel was our photographer… we had seen a couple of people beforehand but we fell in love with her work when we saw her albums. There was so much attention to detail and she captured all the special moments. She also had such a bubbly personality that we decided instantly to book her and we were so happy with our decision! I actually want another party just to hang out with her again!
Live entertainment from the Gilev Showband
We had the one and only Gilev Showband on the day just so we could boogie to some classics and get everyone dancing!
a surprise first dance song
For our first dance, one of my oldest and best friends sung the Ellie Goulding’s song How Long Will I Love You?.My mum had arranged it secretly as we had said ever since we were kids that she would sing at my wedding… it was one of the best moments of the whole day!
The only thing is, Joel’s youngest niece decided to hold onto his leg for dear life during our first dance… I can’t wait to remind her of that when she’s older!
no wedding cake!
We broke all convention and didn’t have a cake! I eat so much of it in daily life that actually it made the day unique not having one! We had delicious desserts though so we definitely didn’t miss it!
advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Meditate and do yoga in the morning! I also thoroughly recommend a digital detox the day before the wedding (even if you don’t keep Shabbat), and from my own experience, having a girly friday night dinner and a long walk with a friend the day before, were the best things ever!
Remembering prayers for everyone you love as you walk around your groom is an absolute must too, it makes the ceremony that much more meaningful.
Jodie & Joel’s LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Claudine Hartzel Photography
Videography — Bloomsbury Films
Venue — Luton Hoo
Flowers — Platinum Raspberry
Live Entertainment — Gilev Showband
Bride’s dress — Forever Bridal
Groom’s suit — Impeccable
Make Up — Shelley Greenham
Chazan — Jonny Turgel