When Becca, who works in a Jewish secondary school, and, Ellis, a pharmacist, started planning their UK Jewish wedding, they knew they wanted it to be a combination of both of their personalities and tastes.
That started with their color scheme: Ellis’s favorite color is purple, while Becca’s is blue, and so that became the basis for their wedding look – with some dashes of white interspersed.
Flowers were a key part of tying it all together, and the couple – who describe themselves as “completely clueless” about flowers – turned to Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Alexandra’s Florist, who brought their vision to life (including decorating their gorgeous floral chuppah!) and spent lots of time going over different flower types and colors until they were 100% happy. Don’t miss the lush florals in Megan Donati Photography’s wonderful images of the day!
We loved hearing about Becca’s wedding dress shopping experience as a plus size bride – she began her search with trepidation, and while there were some bumps along the road we’re happy to report a very happy ending in the form of the traditional A-line gown of her dreams AND a fabulous boutique that made her feel totally at ease all through the process.
There’s so much more to this wonderful Jewish wedding, but we’ll turn you over to the couple for the rest…
How we Met
The story of us officially getting together is a 21st Century type of romance! We were both due to be going on Macnoar Israel tour in July 2011 and we already had a few mutual friends. Prior to going on tour, one of Becca’s friends broadcasted her pin over Blackberry messenger (lol trendsetters). Ellis was already one of our mutual friends’ contacts, and he decided to add Becca.
We began talking over BBM as well as skyping regularly and decided to meet up before going away – we felt there may be something romantic there. We officially met in person and had our first date on the 25th of June, 2011 (many moons ago) and have been together ever since – the rest is history!
Initially, we were set on the idea of a barn wedding. However, after realising how many guests we had on our list and a Jewish family’s love of food and drink, we had to accept it wasn’t practical or financially viable! So, we carried on looking and came across Stock Brook Country Club in Billericay. As soon as we looked around the venue, we could immediately envision ourselves saying “I do” there. It had the rustic feel we wanted but with a modern twist, giving a wholesome, countryside vibe not far from London.
The main thing we loved about our venue was the amount of natural light it allowed in no matter what the weather. As we know, English weather is unpredictable, even in the height of May! It also had a variety of different rooms, which allowed for all the traditional elements of our Jewish wedding to go ahead – from the Badeken to the Tisch – it was perfect!
Purple and Blue
Our wedding theme and style was very much a combination of us both. Ellis’ favourite colour is purple, and Becca’s is blue, so it only made sense that the theme throughout was a mixture of the two. Our groomsmen all wore navy suits with purple ties, kippot and pocket squares, whilst our bridesmaids wore light blue dresses.
We brought this all together with our flowers, which were a combination of both colours with a dash of white! We know these aren’t the most common of colour combinations, especially in May, but we wanted our wedding to feel like it represented us as a couple.
The day wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did without the help of Jane Peachey, the wedding coordinator for our venue. She ensured that every aspect of the day was planned meticulously beforehand and that all those involved were ready for a seamless transition between the different ceremonial and traditional aspects of a Jewish wedding.
From the private Badeken, to the Chuppah and Israeli dancing- it truly felt like, for a day, the world revolved around us! While we know this sounds cheesy, it’s a testament to what Jane and her staff achieved for us on that day!
Plus Size Wedding Dress Shopping
Over to Becca for this one! As a plus size bride, I’ll be honest, finding my wedding dress was probably the most worrying, yet exciting part of getting married! I always felt that I wanted to find a dress that I absolutely loved, but that also fit me well and made me feel beautiful. I had my heart set on the idea of a traditional, A-Line and Satin wedding dress. I had no idea if this style of dress would suit my figure or if it would even come in my size!
I went to several plus size wedding dress shops and on one of my visits, the shop assistant had brought out a variety of dresses and I kept staring at the one in the corner, which was the style I had always dreamt of. As soon as I put the dress on, I became emotional – it sounds cliché, but I really felt like a princess, which I never thought was a feeling I would have! I had found “the one”!
Frustratingly, the dress itself was way out of my budget and the shop assistant was quite pushy with me to buy it. This left me leaving the shop feeling deflated as I had found the dress of my dreams, but it was out of my reach.
I contacted a few other Bridal stores to see if they stocked the dress, when I came across Felicity Rose Bridal, based in Maidstone. Not only was the dress half the price in their store, but they were shocked and appalled at how the other shop assistant had treated me. I explained all my worries as a plus size bride, with the potential weight fluctuation and all.
They made me feel so unbelievably at ease and reassured me that no matter what happened, my wedding dress would fit me like a glove perfectly on the day. After several visits (probably more than the average bride) and many anxious phone calls from both my Mum and I, the dress was everything I could have dreamt of and more. They were so patient, kind and their attention to detail was outstanding. I could not have asked for anything more!
Ceremony and Chuppah
We were lucky enough to be able to call upon Becca’s cousin’s husband, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who is head of the Masorti sect of Judaism – he kindly agreed to officiate our ceremony for us. As he knew us already as a couple, he was able to make the ceremony feel very personal, which made the day feel even more special. He asked us to write a few paragraphs about each other and our families, which he also shared with our guests while we were under the chuppah – it was a very emotional moment!
We also had two of Becca’s cousins singing the Sheva Brachot under the chuppah, which was also a very touching and special moment. When it came to the design of the chuppah, we were both truly clueless! We knew that we wanted to keep in line with the rustic theme of our venue by having wooden posts as the base, however, this was as far as we had gotten!
We met with Alexandra’s Florist, who was kind enough to visit us at our house and remained incredibly patient with us, allowing us to look through all the different designs and types of chuppahs that she had available. We struggled to envision what our chuppah would look like, however, Alexandra was able to bring our vision of a blue and purple flower colour scheme to life – we could not have asked for anymore!
Our Ketubah designer was Rabbi Chaim Weiner, who took the time to speak with us about the wording, meaning and the style of ketubah we wanted. We decided to go with an egalitarian text, which we felt reflected our religious beliefs and relationship most strongly. We are going to get it framed and put it on the wall in our lounge – it is a very meaningful document to us, and it brings our Jewish identities together as a couple.
Our Music Choice
We decided to stay traditional with our song choices when walking down the aisle. Ellis, his parents and our bridesmaids walked down the aisle to ‘Mi Bon Siach’ by Moshe Kesselman and Yakov Felder. Becca walked down the aisle to the classic ‘Boi Beshalom’ with her parents.
We didn’t have a chazan, so choosing the right version of the song’s were important to us. We chose to use the Kollab music group version for Boi Beshalom because as soon as we listened to this together for the first time, we instantly became emotional.
We had the amazing Supatight as our band, who were able to not only get the crowd going with the traditional Israeli dancing, but also a variety of modern and classic songs! Everyone was on the dance floor the whole night (except when they were at the bar, of course).
Supatight were also able to perform our choice of first dance – ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson. We both love this song and have regularly listened to it throughout our entire relationship – we were adamant that we wanted an up-beat first dance. We couldn’t have asked for a better band!
Once again, we were completely clueless and had no idea of the types of flowers we wanted – we definitely did not study herbology at Hogwarts! (Becca is a huge Harry Potter fan).
With the help of the fantastic Alexandra’s Florist, she once again brought our vision of a blue and purple flower colour scheme to life. She spent a lot of time with us looking over different flower types and different shades of colours, so that we were 100% happy.
We decided on a combination of blue, purple and white flowers for the bouquets and centre pieces. We had a combination of low, full flowered centre pieces as well as floating candles with flowers in their stem.
We also decided on a white rose (a flower we WERE familiar with!) with purple accompanying petal flowers for the buttonholes that the groomsmen, our dads and our grandfathers wore. Overall, Alexandra did better than we could have ever dreamt of! She worked efficiently, reliably and brought our visions to life!
Photographer and videographer
We met our photographer, Megan Donati Photography, and our videographer, Charli May Video, at one of our friend’s Jewish weddings. We got such a good vibe from them straight away and upon seeing the results of their work, we knew it would be perfect for our wedding! We loved their natural style and personability as individuals, so we sent them a message!
Both Charli and Megan were absolute stars from start to finish, whilst remaining professional the whole way through. Ellis has never been the biggest fan of having his photo taken and he explained this to Megan who was really supportive through the whole thing and made it a really painless experience! They helped to capture our day better than we ever could have imagined.
It was one of their first Jewish weddings, but they managed to capture all the traditional aspects of the wedding and lots of intimate moments. They made us feel so at ease and really took the time to speak to us beforehand to listen to what we wanted from the day.
There were times that we even forget they were there, which shows how subtly they completed their work while still capturing unforgettable moments and memories. We couldn’t have asked for a better duo!
Advice to other couples planning their wedding
Our best piece of advice is to enjoy every single moment. There are times when you are going to be so stressed that you forget that this is about you as a couple. On the day, make sure to take a step back and take in everything and everyone – they are all there for you! The day will be over in the blink of an eye, so remember to drink lots, eat even more and have fun!
BECCA & ELLIS’ LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Megan Donati Photography
Flowers – Alexandra’s Florist
Videography – Charli May Video
Venue – Stock Brook Country Club
Bride’s dress –Romantica of Devon found at Felicity Rose Bridal
Band – Supatight
Ketubah – Rabbi Chaim Weiner
Rabbi – Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
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