We could not be more delighted to be featuring the fabulous London Jewish wedding of our Smashing The Glass Bride’s Club member Jessica! Jessica, who works in advertising, wed Harry, a solicitor, at the majestic St Pancras Renaissance and their big day was simply BEYOND!
Naturally, we were thrilled to hear that Jessica found some of her incredible vendors through Bride’s Club, including their sensational chazzan, Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Jonny Mosesson. In Jessica’s words, “He has the most beautiful voice and moved so many people to tears. He got people clapping along to sheva brachot and hearing his voice really calmed both of our nerves. For me, he took our ceremony to a whole other level.”
For their reception music, Jessica and Harry went with Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Ambassador Band, another rec from Bride’s Club. Jessica writes, “They performed beautiful acoustic sets while guests were eating, and bought the party for the dance sets in between courses and at the end of the night. The Israeli dancing set was also incredible with so much energy. They had everyone on their feet all night long and were better than we could have ever imagined.”
Even before she got engaged, Jessica knew she wanted Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Claudine Hartzel as her photographer – and unsurprisingly, she received another rave review from Jessica: “Claudine was everything we could have wanted in a photographer and more. She rolled with all the punches and kept us both really calm when a few hiccups happened. She really is the dream supplier and we hope to be able to work with her again in the future.”
There’s so much more to say about this wonderful wedding, but we’ll leave it to Jessica, who looked simply divine in Sophia Tolli, to fill you in on the rest…
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HOW WE MET
Jessica, the bride: We met on JSwipe (as all modern Jewish love stories start) and started dating on 29 May 2016. It was then incredibly special to get married on our 6-year anniversary, on 29 May 2022.
St. Pancras Renaissance
We chose to have both our ceremony and party at the St Pancras Renaissance. As soon as we walked in for a viewing, we fell in love. Both the ceremony room and the Ballroom are flooded with natural light and have unique and spectacular looks. We wanted a venue that really spoke for itself and the Renaissance does exactly this. The staircase is a showstopper and as a huge Spice Girls fan, it meant I got to live the dream of being a Spice Girl for the day.
Our favourite room was actually the room we used for our reception (meaning sadly we didn’t get to go into it on the day itself) called the Ladies Smoking Room as it was the first room in London where women were allowed to smoke indoors – how times have changed! All the venue really needed was a bit of lighting to show off its beauty.
A real bonus of the venue was that it is outside of the congestion charge zone and has parking for any guests who wished to drive! Also, despite it being a very old, listed building, all of the areas we used were fully accessible for wheelchairs – something very important to us as 2 of our guests (one of which being in the bridal party) are wheelchair users.
What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us
I discovered some phenomenal suppliers including our sensational chazzan Jonny Mosesson and our fantastic band Ambassador Band through Bride’s Club. I also knew of our photographer Claudine Hartzel before we got engaged, so it was great to see how much she was rated by other brides. We had a slight hiccup when our original videographer sadly closed during Covid, but after a couple of recommendations in Bride’s Club, we found PR Films who were just wonderful.
Not long after getting engaged, Harry and I went for a walk near where we live. We walked past some beautiful flowers and this inspired our colour scheme of periwinkle blue and coral. A few years ago I took a calligraphy class and have been practicing ever since. This meant that I was able to handwrite the invitations, name places, table plan and welcome sign.
I really love that I was able to add such a personal touch to our day. We wanted to keep decoration minimal, mainly just using candles and lighting to highlight the beauty of the venue. This meant the more personal touches stood out and made our wedding a bit different.
Andy from Main Events did our production and was fantastic at helping bring our visions to life. He lit the room beautifully, highlighting but not detracting from the grandeur of any of the rooms. I fully trusted him so when he suggested a slightly more modern stage, I agreed and I’m so glad I did as it looked phenomenal. Andy was great to work with; he’s very patient especially when dealing with a highly Type A bride.
Invitations / stationery
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted for invitations. We had an ‘all-in-one’ invite that folded together and had a wax seal fastening with the address on the back. I hand wrote all the names with calligraphy inside. Although I designed them with a rough sketch, the wonderful team at Kellmatt Printers created them for us, incorporating the J&H design of the wax seal I had bought. They then used this logo for our menu cards too.
I wanted our menu cards to be three sided and stand by themselves – one side had the menu, one side had the speech order and the final side had the table number. I handmade our place names using seed paper, ribbon and of course more calligraphy. I then made the table plan using cotton paper, wax seals and even more calligraphy! Everything was in a shade of periwinkle/dusty blue to tie it together.
Hair + Make-up
There were quite a few of us (11 in total) getting ready together in the morning so I assembled a solid Glam Squad to help us. I used the incredible Nicole Trup for my make-up and Daniella McKenzie Hair worked wonders with my hair. Nicole also made up the two younger bridesmaids and flower girl, and Daniella did the three adult bridesmaids. Nicole is not only a phenomenal make-up artist; she is also a family member so she got to celebrate with us all night. Luckily for me, she was on hand for touch-ups and to wipe away the happy tears whenever I needed.
For all other make up, we used Michelle and Shelley from Mischel Make-up. Michelle and my mum are good friends and she has done all of our make-up before, so we knew she would be fantastic on the day. It also meant that she came to celebrate the rest of the wedding with us as a guest. Tamara Ausano did everyone else’s hair and they all looked incredible.
A Sophia Tolli Dress
I had dreams of an off the shoulder, satin, princess dress. When I tried these on, I realised quite quickly that I actually didn’t really like them on, and they really weren’t me! During my first appointment, I found that I really liked the designer Sophia Tolli, so for my second appointment I found a bridal salon that also sold her dresses. I went with my mum and sister to Satin Bow Bridal in St. Albans and fell in love with the first dress I tried on – although this didn’t stop me spending the next hour trying on loads of other dresses too!
My dress was a lace top, crepe bottom fit-and-flare with a beautiful lace trim on the train. I absolutely adored it and got so many compliments on the night. I chose a long, plain veil from Pronovias with a thin sparkly edge to compliment the dress but not detract from the beautiful train. Inside, I had a lucky sixpence sewn in that I borrowed from my sister as she had it for her wedding – this was my something borrowed!
I wore diamond earrings that were made from my great Grandmother’s eternity ring and this was my something old. Harry bought me a beautiful bangle as a wedding day gift that he had got engraved on the inside which was my something new. I also wanted to incorporate the ring Harry proposed with (it was a stand-in ring so that I could choose my own, and was a white sapphire solitaire), so I had this made into a necklace. It was all very simple which is perfect because I don’t tend to wear much jewellery.
My dress had a beautiful criss-cross back and I found a pair of Rainbow Club shoes which also had a criss-cross to match. As with all Rainbow Club shoes, they have a little blue gem on the bottom which acted as my something blue. I also had a pair of scalloped edged white converse which were perfect for dancing.
The handsome groom
Harry ended up having more suit fittings than I had dress fittings! We went to Suit Supply and he went for a bespoke tuxedo with a low U-shaped waist coat. He looked so smart and handsome! Inside the jacket, they sewed in our wedding date so whenever he wears it in the future he will remember our wedding day. He chose to wear a black bow tie and we bought the Groomsmen and dads periwinkle blue Bow-ties. This meant he was able to stand out a bit in photos. I bought him some personalised Groom socks as a surprise on the day, as well as some beautiful personalised cufflinks.
I had 6 bridesmaids and a flower girl. It was really important to me to be surrounded by my family on my wedding day, so my bridal party was made of my sister, 3 cousins, Harry’s two cousins and my best friend (who is so close to me, my family call ‘cousin Daniella’). I was very open to the idea of the girls wearing different dresses in the same colour so we went to David’s Bridal as they have such a huge choice of style.
I chose steel blue for the colour as it worked well with the periwinkle theme. Four of the girls chose the same dress, our 11-year-old bridesmaid chose something different from the children’s range, and one of my cousins chose something different too. My little flower girl chose an adorable dress from Monsoon, but we got her a bow from David’s Bridal to match the other girls. They all looked beautiful and I was really emotional seeing them all in their dresses.
Our ceremony was absolutely beautiful. From the second we both stepped into the room we felt surrounded by so much love from everyone who means the most to us, and truly nothing could have prepared us for that feeling. The room for our ceremony was slightly curved, so our aisle wasn’t completely straight. When I first walked in, I couldn’t actually see the chuppah but as I got half way down the aisle I saw a very emotional Harry standing there with his parents, which is something I will never ever forget.
Jonny Mosesson was our chazan and by end of the ceremony my cheeks hurt from smiling at him. He has the most beautiful voice and moved so many people to tears. He got people clapping along to sheva brachot and hearing his voice really calmed both of our nerves. For me, he took our ceremony to a whole other level, particularly when he sang ‘Im Eshkahech Yerushalim’– we had goose-bumps!
Our Music Choice
We chose to walk in to English songs rather than the popular choice to put Hebrew words over an English song. Harry chose ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ and I chose ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’. When I had my first look with my bridesmaids and dad earlier in the day, I could hear our chazan practicing with the band and it made the moment so special.
Both Harry and I love Boyce Avenue – a band who do acoustic covers of other songs. On the day we got engaged, a beautiful song came on shuffle and we instantly fell in love with it as the lyrics were just so perfect for us. We listened to it almost every day while we were engaged and knew it was our first dance song. It is called ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’ and since the wedding we have had so many people tell us how much they loved it. The singer who sang this for us completely blew us away. There are photos of us smiling at him during the dance as we were so wowed by him. It made what was already such a special song for us, even more special.
For Israeli dancing, I really wanted more modern songs with only a couple of the more traditional songs, and Ambassador Band fully got the brief. Despite most people loving it, I am not a fan of Moshiach so we left this one out. My favourite videos of the day are Harry and I being carried on the chairs to Tel Aviv – the atmosphere was incredible.
We used Flowers by Alina for our flowers and from our first conversation she really got the look I was after. The venue was so grand and ornate; I really didn’t want to take away from it by adding too many flowers. I chose not to have white flowers as colourful flowers reflect our personalities a lot more. I really wanted coral peonies – thankfully these were in season and we were able to have them both in the bouquets and the chuppah.
We went for an asymmetric chuppah predominantly with foliage and then pops of colour in coral, yellows and oranges. These colours matched the bridal bouquets and tied it all together. We also added candles around the chuppah and down the aisle which made the room feel even more romantic. The simplicity of the chuppah made it even more beautiful and so ‘us’ – Alina completely smashed it!
For the centre pieces, we had candelabras with ivy on half the tables, and floating candles with foliage on the other tables. They were so simple and elegant. For the top table, we had the same pops of colour we used on the chuppah, with candles dotted throughout. It was enough to brighten up the tables without detracting from the incredible room.
Photographer and videographer
I have followed Claudine Hartzel for years on Instagram, so it was a no brainer that we were going to book her when we got engaged. From the very first conversation, we knew we had found the perfect person! Claudine was everything we could have wanted in a photographer and more. She rolled with all the punches and kept us both really calm when a few hiccups happened. Timings ran away with us and we ended up needing to do the majority of couples’ photos after the party. Claudine still had so much energy and patience – taking us to loads of different spots to get the perfect shots. She really is the dream supplier and we hope to be able to work with her again in the future.
When we got engaged, we booked a videographer who very sadly had to close their doors during the pandemic. We moved over to PR Films and couldn’t have been happier with our decision. Paul and his team were professional, lovely guys and we are so glad we had them at the wedding. I barely remember seeing them, which is the sign of a great videographer – I really didn’t want a videographer who made us fake moments, just one that captured the beautiful moments as they happened. This is exactly what we got with PR Films!
Food and Cake
Harry and I love Italian food! We really wanted an Italian theme for our menu and our caterer, Philip Small, helped bring this to life – we even had focaccia and olives on the table when people arrived. For our starter we had a trio of arancini balls and there is now a hot debate over which was the best one – I think asparagus, Harry thinks mushroom and there are also a lot of votes for duck.
Our starter was a chicken Milanese with tomato pasta and spinach. It was something a bit different from the traditional wedding food, and also meant we got to have our favourite food… pasta! Our dessert deviated from the Italian theme. I had wanted a chocolate and salted caramel soufflé and Harry had wanted a lemon tart. We ‘compromised’ by having a full sized version of my choice with a mini version of Harry’s choice. It was absolutely delicious and so nice to effectively have two desserts.
We booked Ambassador Band quite early in the wedding planning process. This was a bit of a gamble for us as we weren’t able to go and see them perform because of Covid. We needn’t have been worried as they were unbelievable. They performed beautiful acoustic sets while guests were eating, and bought the party for the dance sets in between courses and at the end of the night. The Israeli dancing set was also incredible with so much energy, and the way they performed our first dance was truly unforgettable.
They had everyone on their feet all night long and were better than we could have ever imagined. If you’d have told me before the wedding that we would end up with a limbo and conga line, I would have said a solid no – but about half an hour before the party ended they read the room perfectly and everyone was conga-ing round the room. It was incredible and so much fun. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the band to people in the future – especially because working with Geoff is a dream as not only is he the loveliest guy, he listened to all of our requests and came through on all of them.
We didn’t have favours as we have so often seen these left behind at friends’ weddings. Instead, I made the name places out of seed paper and gave people instructions on how to plant the paper at home and grow their own wild flowers. If guests chose to take them home, we hope they have a little piece of our wedding to cherish for themselves.
It was so important to Harry and I for this to feel like ‘our’ wedding, not just a wedding that happened to be ours. Aside from me making the name places, table plan and welcome sign, we wanted the night itself to feel personal. One of my best friends from school, who has subsequently become a very close friend to Harry too, agreed to be our Master of Ceremonies. He stole the show and I’m going to convince him to make it into a career. He weaved anecdotes in throughout the evening and spoke so beautifully. It means the world to us both to have had him involved in our day as we know he’s a true friend for life.
I made a speech, which came as a surprise to nobody as I am definitely the louder of the two of us. Unlike Harry’s speech which was full of thankyous and adorable stories, mine was a speech to let everyone know all the slightly silly things Harry has said over the years – for example, he thought ‘carriages’ were an exclusive, wedding only type of petit-four, written on the invitation so that you made sure you stayed long enough for them!!
To tie in with the Italian theme, Slice and Sushi in Golders Green delivered boxes of pizzas for guests to have at the end of the night. This was such a winner and our guests loved it. We both really feel like our wedding was ‘ours’ and that everyone there felt that too. Whether it was the calligraphy, the Italian feast or Sam being our Master of Ceremonies, we hope everyone had a night to remember!
Straight after our wedding, we spent 5 days on the Amalfi Coast, so that we could eat even more Italian food. It was such a romantic few days and was the perfect way to unwind after what was such a hectic and busy few weeks in the run-up to the wedding.
Italy was our mini-moon and a warm-up for our proper honey-moon in September. Assuming there are no changes to borders/travel restrictions, we are off to Singapore and Australia for three weeks. This really is a bucket list trip for me and I’m so excited to be going there with Harry. Now the wedding and mini-moon are done, we’re ready to start making all our travel plans.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
My biggest piece of advice is just do you and don’t listen to everyone else’s constant advice. I felt like people constantly told me how to feel, how to be and what to do and I would strongly advise you do what makes YOU happy. If you want to be immersed fully in the moment then do it, and if you want to take 10 minutes alone with your husband during the night to chat then do that – but it should be what you want and feel is right.
Also, eat lunch on the day even if you’re not hungry – you’ll regret it if you don’t!
JESSICA & HARRY’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Claudine Hartzel Photography offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club
Videography – PR Films
Band – Ambassador Band
Chazan – Jonny Mosesson offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club
Venue – St Pancras Renaissance
Bride’s dress – Sophia Tolli found at Satin Bow
Bride’s shoes – Rainbow Club
Groom’s attire – Suit Supply
Bridesmaids – David’s Bridal
Hair + Makeup – Nicole Trup, Daniella McKenzie, Tamara Ausano, Mischel Make-up
Flowers – Flowers by Alina
Production – Main Event 1st
Catering – Philip Small
End of night pizza – Slice and Sushi
Stationery/Invitation – Kellmatt
Rabbi – Rabbi Plancey
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.