Published on Modern Jewish Wedding
From the Bride:
"Even though we have been together since 1997, I didn't start the wedding planning until after the official proposal in April 2014. And when we chose the date November 23 of that same year (which would turn into the 17th anniversary of our first date at midnight!) I sprang into action to get everything ready in 7 months!! To represent us, I knew I wanted the day to include tradition, elegance and a little bit of rock 'n' roll, so I always included the world "unique" in every search I did to look for ideas on the Internet. Our first date had included flying to Las Vegas for a Jane's Addiction concert and we have been together ever since - with music being a big part of our mutual interests. We are both "L.A. natives" but have a lot of friends and family with European and Moroccan-Jewish backgrounds so we wanted all of those elements incorporated into the wedding. Plus, we are huge fans of the cinema with one of our favorite genres being the classic Old West (favorite films and television shows include Once Upon A Time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly trilogy, Deadwood...) as well as anything by Stanley Kubrick (no matter what genre it was!) so that was another layer to add to the theme. Both of us agreed that we did not want our wedding venue to be "a hotel or country club" so when we looked at our first choice - the historic Ebell of Los Angeles - and found that it was available on our date, we knew it was meant to be!!
The next thing to do was find my dress. I was not the kind of girl who planned or dreamed of the perfect wedding dress her whole life so I had to start from scratch!! All of a sudden it was getting very real - I was getting married and going to be a bride!! I started booking appointments around Los Angeles and watching wedding dress shoes on TV and about the third place I went to - Panache Bridal in Beverly Hills - I found the perfect dress by Allure Couture that brought tears to my eyes as I looked at myself walking toward the mirror. So check that off the list and I could move on to the rest of the planning and hands-on work that I knew I would have to do myself to give the special touches that would make our day so memorable. The rebellious side of me would take over when someone would say "but the guests won't remember the food or ..." and I would always answer "Well they will remember OURS!!" (Hence I ordered an iron brand with two connected hearts and one with an "M" for our last name to "brand" the flattened potatoes on the dinner plates that guests are still talking about!)
I spray painted so many things antique gold that I felt my fingers had a "Midas touch"! Our dessert bar flowed from Moroccan on one end to Czech to Parisian with varying candle holders in the same gold color tying it together. I ordered gold antique lace to decorate the jars of the Candy Bar. And my wonderful florist painted hundreds of gold succulents that looked like tiny flower brooches for each place setting.
Playing cards with gold foil pressed "thank you" labels were one of the favors each guest received, along with hand stamped linen "money bags" of chocolate gelt. The tables were each numbered and named after a famous western town - some real and some from the movies (Sweetwater, Calico, Rock Ridge...) and the menu cards resembled old parchment with our names "established November 23, 3014". Even the props for the photo booth followed suit with old hats, jeweled masks, feather fans, money bags and toy guns...
The "big day" arrived right on time. Not too drawn out and not too soon. I actually felt that everything was ready! I had complete trust in everyone who was contributing to our ceremony and celebration, especially our planner, photographer, florist and the team at the Ebell. I was actually able to listen to myself when I repeated in my mind "just let go, breathe, and savor each moment of the day!" Plus I said "anything that goes wrong will just add to the uniqueness of the event - hopefully in a pleasantly memorable way!" Luckily the memories were all fantastic and our wedding surpassed all of my expectations!!
I truly could not have wished for a more perfect day. As I prepared with my girls (all 5 of them "Maids of Honor" because I could not distinguish one more special than the other), the weather was a warm, clear fall day and the venue was being filled with flowers, music and love all around. The sun set early - around 4:30 and the evening sky turned from blue to rose gold as guests arrived for the cocktail hour before the ceremony and as we were signing the ketubah. The "first look" as bride and groom will always be one of my favorite moments and I'm so grateful for all of the pictures that beautifully captured the moments leading up to the ceremony because that all went by so quickly. Seeing my handsome groom in his custom cutaway coat, and receiving my gorgeous bouquet with a surprise bunch of extraordinarily meaningful lilies of the valley (that my florist found in November!!) peeking out from the arrangement were a few of the things that I will cherish forever. I remember waiting in the hall at the top of the staircase and hearing applause as each of the couples walked down the aisle before me to the instrumental version of Etta James' "At Last". Then it was finally my turn to walk down the staircase and over the swirls of ivory rose petals that decorated the dark hard wood of the ceremony room. I heard the beginning notes of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" that our trio of musicians played so touchingly and begin my journey to the chuppah linked in the arms of my two brothers as they walked me down the aisle to my husband-to-be.
Our vows were letters written to one another that the rabbi asked us to write and not rehearse or share with each other until the wedding. I still have tears in my eyes remembering the amazing words from each of us. And before the conclusion of the ceremony the whole audience of friends and family were asked to stand and touch someone in front of them to connect every person all the way up to the bride and groom which linked us all together in a chain of love that not I nor any of my guests had ever seen done before!! What a spectacular moment that was!! The love that filled the room was tangible and awe inspiring!! We finished the ceremony with a huge "Mazel Tov" and walked back down the aisle to Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" as the guests headed out to a second cocktail session and we relaxed as husband and wife for the first time in our 17 years together flying high on the emotions of the moving ceremony which we had just shared.
The reception was planned as a "party to remember" for all of our guests from near and far. This part of the evening went by all too quickly as far as we were concerned! Our extraordinary band expertly directed the flow of the evening from our first dance to the hora, through dinner and speeches, cake cutting and bouquet/garter toss to the last dance to one more of Led Zeppelin's greats: "All of My Love". And that was the final theme layered on top of our spectacular night. All of my love...to you. "
Venue/Catering/Lighting: The Ebell of Los Angeles
Wedding Planner : Heather Freedman of Delmar Events
Florist: Elizabeth Bailey Designs
Makeup & Hair: Fiore Beauty
Videographer: Elysium Productions
Officiant: Adam Greenwald
Photo Booth: Mobile Photo Booth
Cake: The Butter End Cakery
Gluten-Free Cupcakes: Sprinkles
Invitations/Stationary - minted.com
Bride's Dress, Veil, Headband - Allure Couture from Panache Bridal Beverly Hills
Bride's Flats & Clutch & Gold Skull Ring in Bouquet: Alexander McQueen
Bride's Heels: Giuseppe Zanotti
Bridesmaid's Dresses: Zac Posen
Groom's Tux/Jacket: custom made jacket
Scarf for the Hora: Johnny Was
Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co.