There’s something so special about a backyard Jewish wedding. That personal touch of making things official in your family home – there’s nothing like it. Even though today’s couple, Sara, a speech and language therapist, and Jason, a payments manager, didn’t initially plan to hold their wedding in the bride’s parent’s garden – their pre-pandemic plan A was Israel – in the end their day turned out to be everything they could’ve hoped for and then some.
Due to the pandemic, Sara and Jason kept the ceremony and dinner to just immediate family, and then invited a handful of close friends to join afterward for dancing and late-night snacks. Working with a fabulous team of vendors, the pair transformed the garden into the perfect rustic retreat, adorned with flowers and candles and all kinds of soft romantic touches.
Sara and Jason’s chuppah, rented from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor The Happy Chuppah People (who they found right here on STG!), was the perfect cornerstone for their rustically romantic aesthetic. They opted for “The Finchley,” built on natural branches that looked as if they were just growing out of the garden.
The couple report that one of the best decisions they made in their wedding planning was working with Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Events with Grace as their on-the-day coordinator. Grace helped keep things organized during the last month of planning, and on the day she made sure everything ran smoothly and took the pressure off Sara and Jason and their families.
Scroll through Megan Donati Photography’s beautiful imagery and you’ll see what an absolute dream of a day this turned out to be. We’ll let Sara take it from here…
How We Met
Sara, the bride: We first spoke on an Aish trip when were 17. We had actually met a year earlier but I had forgotten on the trip. Jason came up to me and started talking like we were old friends. I wasn’t sure at first but on the trip we became friendly. When we got home, we started a long-distance friendship. The rest is history; we dated for 4 years long distance until Jason made the move to Essex.
Venue and wedding plans
We got engaged just before the pandemic and had plans to fly to Israel to book a venue. The world however had other ideas. After a while, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. As long as our family could be there, it was time to get married. We planned an intimate wedding in my parent’s garden. Working for the NHS and through the pandemic I was very concerned about Covid and we decided this was right for us.
We had just our immediate family for the ceremony and dinner and then our best friends joined us for dancing and late-night food. Although it wasn’t the wedding we had imagined, it ended up as the most perfect day and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
As it was in the garden, I wanted it to feel rustic and relaxed. I wanted the colour scheme to be a particular shade of ‘mauve’, which everyone told me didn’t exist. I also knew that I wanted lots of flowers and candles everywhere. We hired rustic style furniture and a marquee to add to the aesthetic (Anthology Vintage Hire and John Pollock). The combination of this, the chuppah and flowers transformed the garden.
We asked Grace of Events with Grace to help us organise things from around a month before the big day. She made sure everything ran smoothly, hiring her was one of our best decisions. It took so much pressure off us, especially with the wedding being held in our family home.
Invitations / stationery
Jason’s sister Kaykron Creative is a talented graphic designer and so kindly designed our invitations. We used Paperless Post to send out our invites, which was the best way of doing it with the uncertainty of Covid.
Hair + Make-up
I choose loose curls with a plait and flowers in my hair to match the rustic aesthetic. Two of my best friends did our makeup, it felt extra special to have them there in the morning as we were getting ready, Pippa Johnson and Hannah Fenton. The mums and my sister-in-law’s hair was done by our fabulous family hairdresser Hair by Samantha Perl and mine by the incredible Ayelet Garson.
A Madi Lane Dress
My dress was by Madi Lane and it was from Abigail’s Collection in Colchester, Essex. The shop was just amazing. They were so lovely and made the whole experience so special. I knew I wanted something flowy with lace and I saw the dress on Pinterest the week after we got engaged and instantly knew it was the one.
I wore little gold hoops to my first dress fitting and loved the look so decided to wear gold jewellery for the wedding. I wore jewellery from both of my grandmothers. Hoop earrings, bangles and a dainty gold watch. My mum had a little handbag from her own wedding, we had applique added from my dress to the bag. This made my ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ very meaningful.
I kind of wanted to wear trainers, I’m not really a stiletto heels kind of girl. I settled for something in between and found a lovely pair of simple block heels which were comfortable and matched my dress perfectly from ASOS.
The handsome groom
Jason wore a grey tailor-made Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros, with Kurt Geiger loafers. The groomsmen wore matching grey suits from River Island and they all wore mauve ties and pocket squares to match. I bought Jason a gold tie clip which he opened the morning of the wedding with his initials and the wedding date on.
My younger cousin and sister-in-law were my bridesmaids. I was always supposed to have my Canadian cousins, but they sadly weren’t able to make it because of Covid.
I looked far and wide for bridesmaids’ dresses that were the exact right colour. I also wanted them both to feel as comfortable as possible in whatever shape they wanted. I ended up finding the perfect dresses on ASOS, in the same material and colour but with different styles.
My favourite part was the badeken before the ceremony, I don’t think any of us expected it to be as emotional as it was. With just our parents and siblings, everyone in the room shed a tear and it is a moment we will treasure forever.
The search for the right chazzan was quite difficult but at the last minute we managed to secure Yossi Binstock. He made the ceremony with his beautiful A cappella voice and was charming and a true professional.
We had a beautiful yet simple ketubah provided by our synagogue.
The Chuppah really helped cement the rustic aesthetic. We found The Happy Chuppah People on Smashing the Glass. We went for “The Finchley” which looked like branches, as if it was already in the garden. I wanted lots of flowers on the chuppah and worked closely with the florist to achieve the final look, thankfully everything looked perfect on the day.
Our Music Choice
I walked down the aisle to ‘Boi Beshalom’. Jason and I had spent weeks listening to different versions before deciding this one was right. It made us emotional and excited for the big day. Our first dance was Elton John’s ‘Your song’. We both love Elton John so it felt right and not long after our wedding we adopted a puppy who we named Elton.
The amazing Marie from Beacon Bloom really brought my flower vision to life. I wanted a mixture of pink, mauve and purple flowers as well as some greenery. We bought bud vases for the tables which the florist filled with lovely flowers. Marie repurposed our chuppah flowers once the ceremony was over. The flowers were just breath-taking and made everything come together.
Photographer and videographer
Food and Cake
Neil and Alison Cohen under Glatt Kosher Chabad Buckhurst Hill catered for us. We had poke bowls to start which were a hit. Jason’s Israeli and we love Israeli food, so we had Israeli style mains which included lots of tasty salads. We all sat at one long table which felt so cosy and relaxed.
We also had late night burgers and chips which is all I want to eat after a night of dancing.
I didn’t even really want a cake but my mum thought it was an essential. She found Renbake and ordered the beautiful cake which the florist added flowers to. I’m so glad we ended up having a cake it looked so gorgeous and tasted great too!
As it was a small do, we made playlists for each part of the day. Jason’s brother (his best man) was responsible for keeping the tunes going, it worked perfectly for us.
We had personalised fans for the women and kippot for the men which said ‘krongratulations’ on them (our last name is Kron). We also had mini hand sanitisers for everyone (that Covid life).
I wanted lots of women’s voices heard on the day so our mums did a speech each and so did I.
The wedding was all outside, so we had lots of blankets around and sparklers for the end of the night. We also had polaroid guest book so our friends and family could take pictures and write messages to us. The end result was lots of drunken pictures and messages from our loved ones.
We really made the most of our talented friends and family for makeup, invites etc. and felt that it added a special personalised touch to the day.
We went on a little minimoon a few days after the wedding and stayed at the beautiful Seaham Hall, which is a spa hotel in Durham County. We had a glorious few days relaxing after the wedding and reminiscing. We are in the process of planning a proper honeymoon.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Make sure you have exactly what you both want and your wedding that reflects you as a couple – it can be hard to drown out the noise of others but what matters is that you have a wedding you dream of whether it fits the usual mould of a wedding day.
The day goes so quickly so try and just take it all in and make the most of it. If you haven’t got a planner, hire a ‘day of’ coordinator. You will need it and it will relieve so much stress.
What ‘Smashing The Glass’ Did For Us
I am a loyal follower of the Smashing the Glass website and Instagram, I was always looking for inspiration for the day! I found lots of great ideas as well as wonderful vendors from smashing the glass.
SARA & JASON’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Megan Donati Photography
Videography – Charli May Video
On-the-day Co-ordinator – Events with Grace
Chuppah – The Happy Chuppah People offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club
Bride’s dress – Madi Lane found at Abigail’s Collection and alterations by Wedding Alterations Colchester
Bride’s shoes – ASOS
Groom’s attire – Moss Bros
Bridesmaids – ASOS
Hair + Makeup – Ayelet Garson Hair by Samantha Perl Pippa Johnson
Flowers – Beacon Bloom
Catering – Alison and Neil Cohen under Glatt Kosher Chabad Buckhurst Hill
Cake – Renbake
Stationery/Invitation – Kaykron Creative Paperless Post
Rabbi – Rabbi Odom Brandman
Honeymoon – Seaham Hall
Chazzan – Shul in the wood
Furniture – Anthology Vintage Hire
Marquee – John Pollock
If you’re a Jewish or Jew-ish bride-to-be, you’ll want to join Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club. Guided by the world’s number 1 Jewish wedding expert, Karen Cinnamon, Brides Club is the private community for Jewish and Jew-ish brides that removes wedstress and indecision and gives you what you need to plan with confidence during these uncertain times. Join our Brides Club here.