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We are absolutely blown away by the pure, unadulterated gorgeousness of today’s London Jewish wedding! Kelly, a restauranteur (she’s the owner and founder of A.O.K Kitchen), and Abel, who’s in property focusing on social housing, set out to plan a celebration evoking a magical candlelit garden, complete with tons of romance and beautiful flowers – and did they ever pull it off!
Everything about this day – from the flowers to the chuppah to the luxe backdrop provided by the couple’s venue, The Dorchester – gave off the ultimate fairy tale vibes. And that’s before we even get into Kelly’s exquisite Monique Lhuillier gown! As soon as Kelly spotted this dress – adorned with colorful hand-embroidered flowers and butterflies – she knew it was the perfect fit for her special day.
Now over to Kelly…
How We Met
Kelly, the bride: We were introduced by a mutual friend
The Dorchester. We could envision what we wanted with the ballroom there and wanted to transform the space in a way it had not been done before. It was really amazing to see how this came to life.
Abel very kindly trusts my visions when it comes to designing and creating and he was all for the idea of a magical candle lit garden theme with lots of beautiful flowers and just being very romantic with a hint of fairy tale. And when I saw my dress I knew that was the dress which went so perfectly with the theme.
We didn’t have a wedding planner as such but we used Banana Split for all the production and the wonderful help from the events team at The Dorchester. My sister Jamie Landesberg used to be a very sought after wedding planner so that was very helpful as I was able to ask her for lots of advice.
The vision for the whole wedding was to create a room full of magic, romance, beauty and love coming from all aspects – the design, music, atmosphere, outfits and all the little details such as our logo we created for our invites, menus, covid tests, and our personalised sanitisers we had on all the tables which was a huge hit! Even now when I see friends or family everyone still has them in their cars or homes which is really nice. My friend has a company called Let’s Sanitise and she did them for us. We chose the scent watermelon and they were really such a cool feature to have on the tables.
Invitations / stationery
Banana Split did these for us and we just wanted something very elegant and classic. We created a logo of our initials which were on the invitation.
Hair + Make-up
There is only one person I would have gone for, for my hair, who is Kym Mullem! She is the best of the best and her attention to detail and the love, care and support she shows all of her brides is so unique! My makeup was by the amazing Emma O’Byrne.
I have really sensitive skin so I had to be really picky when it came to my makeup and what products I used. Emma was so supportive of this and was happy to listen to all my concerns. For those reasons and also because I don’t really wear makeup, she was so great in not making me feel overwhelmed by a full face of makeup, and created a beautiful natural look which is what I wanted. I was so happy with it and didn’t have any bad headaches from my allergies to a lot of products.
A Monique Lhuillier Dress
My dress was by Monique Lhuillier. I worked with Browns Brides who ordered the dress for me from New York. I found the dress on Pinterest after searching non stop for months. I knew exactly what I envisioned myself wearing and as soon as I saw it, I knew that was the dress for me. Everything about it from the uniqueness, the style, the shape was what I knew would suit not only my body best, but also my personality. What is really special about this dress is for some reason no one else in the UK has bought it and I was told that (at that time) I was the only person in the UK to have this dress.
The details of the dress were so beautiful and delicate. It had hand embroidered flowers and butterflies all over it in beautiful colours finished off with a very thin black velvet waist tie. Having the butterflies on the dress was really special for me as since losing my Popa two years ago whenever I see a butterfly I think of him.
I wore a pair of diamond studs my mum gave me. She has had them since she was 18 so they are very special to me. After the ceremony I wore a beautiful white satin bow from Botias Accessories in my hair and my veil matched my dress. It was absolutely stunning and magical embroidered with the same flowers and butterflies on my dress. It was a real statement piece that went so perfectly with the whole theme of the wedding.
My shoes were also by Monique Lhuillier. They were white satin, platform block heel so really easy to walk in and very comfortable, finished with a pretty embellishment for the ankle strap.
The handsome groom
Abel wore a bespoke made suit by the incredible tailors Thom Sweeney. They are such lovely gentleman with the most impeccable style and made the experience so enjoyable and fun. Abel is extremely classic and like me knows exactly what he likes and what suits him and went for a beautiful dark navy single breasted suit with thick lapels. Matching trousers – an elegant dark navy bow tie – classic English style, shiny evening shoes, a white silk pocket handkerchief and a beautiful deep red rose on the lapel which all the men involved wore.
What was most special though is he wore my Popa’s cufflinks with his initials on – which are the same as Abel’s. It was really meaningful to all of us that he was wearing those so it felt like he was there with us. Abel looked like Prince Charming which he is to me!
I had 4 bridesmaids and one page boy. Two of the girls were my cousins and the other two were my best friend’s children – they came all the way from Los Angeles so it was so special that they were such an important part of the day – and the page boy was my cousin. I wanted to have little ones as my bridesmaids/page boy as I think it’s so lovely having them walk down the aisle and having the attention on them. The girls had gorgeous little flower baskets with their names on and threw petals down the aisle as they walked down.
They wore beautiful classic white tulle puff sleeve dresses and white ballet shoes and had flower crowns made with the flowers used for the wedding. The page boy was very lucky to have a bespoke suit made by the same tailors who made my husband and dad’s suits.
The whole ceremony took place in the ballroom and it was setup ready for the evening, which guests weren’t aware of until they arrived. So you came in had a welcome drink where a piano and pianist were playing on a raised circular platform surrounded by flowers, and then when guests were called into the room they went and sat at their tables and the chuppah was set up. What was really cool was that it was put on wheels so that it was able to be wheeled out after the ceremony.
We wanted it to all be very smooth with no stopping and starting and with no long wait for the room to be changed over. We wanted it to feel like you were going out for a really lovely dinner and party rather than an actual wedding. The whole ceremony was magical and whilst the guests were waiting for us we had an amazing singer who came over from Israel. He also sang everyone down the aisle before I came in with my parents.
My very close friend Charlotte Posner, who is the most amazing artist, creates bespoke ketubahs, and she did ours with a picture of me and Abel in his suit and my dress with all the colours of the flowers we had at the wedding. It was absolutely beautiful and we are going to have it framed and put on the wall in our new house next to the piece of artwork Abel had her commission for when he proposed to me. All of her work is simply amazing!
I wanted something to match the theme of a magical fairy garden, and to have the flowers not so uniform so it felt more wild and natural with some of the flowers draping down onto the floor. It was so beautiful.
Our Music Choice
We had the amazing Alex Le Roux create all of our music for the night. We are a family big on music so we wanted something really cool and theatrical which would also act as an element of surprise for our guests. We created a 16 piece orchestra which was revealed to the guests during our first dance to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ and as the horn section of the song comes in the red velvet curtain on the stage dropped to reveal the whole band. It was so cool and everyone was so shocked!
That’s when the party really got started. Throughout dinner we had a supper club feel where we had two singers and violinists playing really lovely old school classics such as Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Franki Valli & The Four Seasons etc which set a lovely romantic tone to the dinner part of the night. My best friend from Los Angeles who is a famous Latina singer also surprised me with a performance of one of her songs which is the classic ‘Mas Que Nada’. It was so fun to dance on stage with her whilst she was singing.
We had an after party in the room at the back of the ballroom which we turned into a night club. We had a really cool DJ come over from the South of France who played amazing music and took us through to 3am! It was a lot of fun!
We also were able to get the amazing Chazan Shlomo Gertner. His voice is like listening to an angel and the song I wanted to walk down the aisle to he learnt just for me which was so special.
I am so lucky to call Rob Van Helden a friend, and also so lucky to be able to have used him. He is the most talented florist I know with the most amazing vision and creativity. He knows me so well, and he understood exactly what I envisioned for the wedding. What he created was simply breathtaking and everything I wanted and more! He is the best!
Photographers and videographer
We used photographer Pippa MacKenzie who was able to document the Friday night dinner we had the night before. Unfortunately the morning of the wedding she came down with covid but we were so lucky to be able to get two amazing ladies, Nadine van Biljon and Claire Graham that work with her come as back up on such short notice and they did the most amazing job. The photos are all so beautiful and had exactly the feel I wanted from the photography which was very delicate and romantic and natural rather than staged and very high definition etc.
The videographer we used was the talented Andrew Gemmell. He is absolutely amazing and such a lovely man along with the rest of his team. He makes you feel so at ease and comfortable, as did the photographers, without ever feeling under pressure or awkward. The video is sensational as is the highlights video he created too.
Food and Cake
Tony Page did our food catering and we had a great food tasting with him. We wanted a crowd pleaser and a nice choice for all dietary requirements. We also wanted to go for what was seasonal at that time of the year (November). We had an aubergine and cous cous for vegetarians/vegans, fillet of beef, and seabass. For dessert we had an apple crumble, fruit plates, bowls of strawberries on the table and vanilla ice cream scoops which people could help themselves too. When guests arrived we had our favourite drinks, a Paloma and a Picante to choose from and a small cup of Pumpkin soup which was a nice autumnal reference. It was delicious!
We didn’t want to have a wedding cake as such just because it always seems to get wasted so we had the idea of having an ice sculpture made by a talented chef we know. He is a genius and what he was able create out of ice was mind blowing. He made a small cake to fit inside the sculpture so we had something to cut for good luck and he had a knife made for us with the date of the wedding. He is such an amazing chef and we were very lucky to have had him be a part of creating magical moments for our special day.
Covid tests! We tried to make light of the situation and have our logo which was an A&K on a really lovely smart box sent out to all our guests and then for any friends and family staying at the hotel we had another one waiting in their rooms for them. We were extremely lucky that no one got sick before or after the wedding (besides the photographer).
We had lovely place cards held in little wooden tree blocks which went nicely with the magical garden theme.
In the nightclub at the after party I had printed around 300 black and white Polaroid pictures of me and Abel and they were placed all around the room which was really lovely.
We also had a candy bar – a cereal bar and late night food such as mini hamburgers and pizza which was a big hit after a lot of drinking!
We also then had a photo booth which was a really great one as you just stand in front of the standing tripod camera so it’s not inside an actual booth or with a lot of features. It was really simple and elegant which fitted into the space well. The DJ booth was placed up really high so that was a really cool feature too!
The speeches by my dad, Abel and his best men were all absolutely amazing, so beautifully written with the perfect balance of humour and love. There definitely wasn’t a dry eye in the room after the speeches that’s for sure!
One quote that really touched everyone was Abel’s last line of his speech which was “Kelly, my love, I now say to you what my dad said to me every night growing up, Every morning when I wake up I love you a little bit more, but not too much more or my heart would burst.” It was beautiful.
The other part of the wedding that truly made it even more magical was my bridesmaids and page boy. They all love dancing so much and had no problem getting on stage and performing with the band! But a special shout-out has to go to my cousin Ari who is a future star in the making. He commanded that stage like we were at his concert and everyone went crazy for him because he is so entertaining. He really put an even bigger smile on everyone’s faces that’s for sure!
We were so kindly and generously gifted a trip to Rome by the Dorchester Collection two days after the wedding it was so beautiful and the perfect way to end all the celebrations. We haven’t planned an actual honey moon as things with covid were still quite bad but we are very relaxed about it and thought we might do a few little mini moons rather than a big one. We are going to New York at Christmas time which will be lovely as Abel has never been and I know it well so will be fun to show him around and experience the magic of NY at Christmas time!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I was really lucky with how smoothly everything went for the wedding. From finding my dress on the first try (something I really never thought would happen and would be the most stressful part of the wedding) and my parents being very hands on – they have such impeccable taste that all their suggestions I fully trusted – and the support everyone showed for my vision from the flowers, music, the production etc, we couldn’t have ask for a better and more memorable day!
Everyone said it was the best wedding they had ever been to which is so lovely to hear. I think a big part of that was how we created such a nice flow where there was no stopping and starting and long reception etc. It just felt like an amazing night out with dinner and entertainment which was what we wanted.
The other thing that is so lovely is that I still get people complimenting me on my dress because it was so different. It will forever be my favourite outfit I’ll ever wear and I hope one day I can give it to my daughter or if I don’t have a girl/s my sister is due in September and is having a girl so she can have it because I think it will always be in style.
KELLY & ABEL’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Pippa Mackenzie
Videography – Andrew Gemmell
Wedding planner – Banana Split
Venue – The Dorchester
Bride’s dress – Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s shoes – Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s accessories – Botias Accessories
Groom’s attire – Thom Sweeney
Hair + Makeup – Emma O’Byrne Kym Mullem
Flowers – Rob Van Helden
Band – ALR Music Daniel Ben Haim
Catering – Tony Page
Ketubah – Charlotte Posner
Stationery/Invitation – Banana Split
Rabbi – Rabbi Schochet- Mill Hill Synagogue
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