The wonderful Jewish wedding of Sophie, a sustainability executive, and Daniel, a legal technologist, has so much going for it – stunning florals, a gorgeous chuppah, rockin’ music, and an exquisite venue, to name just a few things.
And we adore them all. But most of all, we love that these two made it their highest priority to make sure their big day felt like a big, welcoming community, centered on happiness, love, and family. Especially meaningful was the fact that Dan’s dad – who’d been in hospital and rehab for 8 months recovering from Covid – was able to be there, and you can just feel the emotion come through in each and every one of the photos from Jo Russell of Chiko Photography, and every frame of the epic wedding video by Max from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Denee Motion.
Sophie and Daniel opted to work with a number of our beloved Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendors, including their venue, #STGvendor Offley Place – which “ticked every single one of our boxes and then some” between its welcoming staff, beautiful grounds, and accessible spaces – and #STGvendor Toastmaster Jango, who helped to ensure the day ran smoothly – and also provided invaluable assistance in the runup to the big day. They also opted to make their wedding gift list with #STGvendor The Wedding Shop, who we love for their fab selection of not only general home goods but Judaica too!
There’s so much more to say, but we’ll leave it to Sophie – who looked simply ravishing in Enzoani – to fill you in on the rest…
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How we Met
Sophie, the bride: The story of how we met depends on who you ask! However, we can both agree we met at the University of Manchester, and have been together coming up to 10 years.
A Country House Venue
We fell in love with Offley Place Country House and Hotel in Hitchin. The second we walked in, we knew it was ‘the one’ with everyone in our immediate family agreeing – it ticked every single one of our boxes and then some! The staff were so welcoming and we could straight away see our wedding coming together in the beautiful venue. We particularly liked having exclusive hire of the venue as well as the idea of an outside ceremony in the beautiful grounds.
We also loved that it was one big room for dancing and dinner, meaning that everyone was able to celebrate continuously without transitioning from room to room and our elderly relatives were able to soak in the atmosphere.
A Meaningful Wedding
The most important part of the wedding was to ensure everyone felt like a big, welcoming community – happiness, love and family was the most important thing for us. We were supposed to get married the year before, but due to the pandemic and Dan’s dad battling with his recovery from Covid (in hospital and rehab for 8 months after being ventilated), we postponed a year. It was therefore incredibly special to have Dan’s dad by our side on the day itself – a true miracle as he continues to recover – and his presence added to the emotion of the day.
We are very sentimental and are all about the personal touches! For instance, I (Sophie) always knew I wanted my Grandma’s engagement ring to remind me of an incredibly inspirational woman.
One of the first things we wanted to do after we got engaged was to ask my close family friend to design our chuppah canopy. Lois is an incredibly talented artist and painted a special design on silk for us. The final chuppah coupled with Flowers by Alina were breath taking and there was something so powerful about looking up at the bespoke design in such a symbolic space.
The design was lots of little intertwining S and D’s symbolising our marriage, surrounded by Hebrew meaning ‘I am my beloved, and my beloved in mine’. We loved it so much we carried it on as a theme throughout the wedding, on our wedding stationary.
I had my other grandma’s brooch on my bridal bouquet that she originally wore on her wedding day in 1952 as a good luck charm. I was also very fortunate that my talented friend, Ella Stern who is an established jewellery designer made a special, gorgeous silver pendant necklace with a sapphire as my something blue. Ella’s pieces are available in Fortnum & Mason or (as featured in Sunday Times Style, The Guardian, Vouge and more).
Toastmaster Jango also helped to ensure the day ran smoothly alongside our wedding planners aka our mums. Jango’s help in the run up to the big day was invaluable!
Hair + Make-up
Emily was an incredible hair dresser, so lovely, fun and really made me feel fantastic – not an easy job for naturally curly hair! Laura made me feel so beautiful, comfortable and confident – if you’re looking for natural make up – look no further!
Our talented friend Leone did our bridesmaids hair and charmed the room with her vibrant personality. All of my bridesmaids absolutely loved both her as a person and the work that she did.
An Enzoani Dress
My dress was from the wonderful Ann Louise Bridal and I really loved how personal the experience was. They also helped make bespoke touches to my dress, such as adding a bit of sparkle on the front. As a minimalist bride, my Enzoani choice was perfect with a wow factor of a large train.
Bridesmaid dresses were from Wed2Be. It was perfect as Wed2Be have 7 different styles, perfect a big group of bridesmaids. There were 4 in lilac and 4 in dark purple.
Ceremony and Chuppah
As mentioned above, our chuppah was incredibly special to our big day, but so were the people underneath it! We were blessed to be surrounded by our two sets of parents who really are incredible role models when it comes to marriage.
The ceremony was beautiful, conducted by Rabbi Odom Brandman, Buckhurst Hill Chabad who is Dan’s family rabbi and a close family friend. Rabbi Brandman and his wife Henny made us feel incredibly welcomed, really understanding what we wanted from the ceremony and making sure all guests, Jewish knew the significance of each moment. The personal touches brought to the ceremony were so special.
We also had Paul from Pure Showband singing throughout the ceremony, adding to the incredible atmosphere. One of our favourite parts of the ceremony was when the final sheva brachot was sung by Paul and the sun began to shine for us.
It was also particularly moving that before Dan smashed the glass that our parents stood with us symbolising the families coming together. We also had our bridesmaids and groomsmen dance around the chuppah after the glass was broken which was really fun. Our ketubah was the standard Orthodox ketubah.
Music Choice / Entertainment
Pure Showband were AMAZING! They got our whole crowd up on the dance floor and were just perfect. We particularly loved the impromptu dance set between the starter and the main as they could see lots of people on the dance floor ready to kick start the next part of the celebrations. They made us feel so relaxed and brought bundles of energy. They were also incredibly helpful before the big day, helping us choose all the music from the ceremony to the end of the wedding.
Dan walked down the aisle to ‘Tov Lehadot’ and I walked down to ‘Meheira’. Both were incredibly powerful. Our first dance was ‘As’ by George Michael and Mary J Blige, slowed down at first for the traditional ‘slow dance’ but quickly becoming upbeat to get everyone on the dance floor.
Alina from Flowers by Alina was incredibly knowledgeable, patient (a much needed trait with us) and extremely helpful. With a specific chuppah request, she ensured that the canopy would work with the flowers on the chuppah. We opted for different purple and white flowers, with Sophie’s bouquet just being white calla lilies which was reflected in Dan’s button hole.
Alina really did bring our wedding venue to life – especially with the beautiful centre pieces too! Our bridesmaid and groomsmen had a selection of purple flowers echoing our theme.
Photographer and videographer
As Dan’s mum is a photographer, getting the perfect photos was a non negotiable – and we can certainly say Jo Russell from Chiko Photography certainly exceeded all expectations, alongside our videographer, Max from Denee Motion. Both made us feel super comfortable capturing some of the best moments of our lives and getting all the shots we wanted (and some we didn’t know we wanted but have become our favourites)!
Advice to other couples planning their wedding
Enjoy every minute of it – laugh, smile, cry, dance – go with the moment and sometimes the un planned moments are the best ones! (E.g Dan falling through a sheet during the raucous Israeli Dancing!) The Israeli dancing gets sweaty, make sure the groom brings a spare shirt!
Food and Cake
Eat me, our caterers, were so attentive and the food was delicious! The canapes are something our guests are still talking about to this day.
One of the most special and emotional moments of the wedding was when Dan’s dad gave a toast to the State of Israel with the support of his two siblings. Due to his illness, he struggles with his speech and so we printed it out beforehand so that everyone could read it on the tables. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and hearing his voice while he was singing the Ha’tikva was a moment we will never forget.
We will be going to South Africa and Mauritius. We used Abby Lewis at MB Luxury Travel (a Smashing The Glass recommendation).
SOPHIE & DAN’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Chiko Photography
Videography – Denee Motion offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club
Venue – Offley Place
Toastmaster – Toastmaster Jango
Wedding Registry – The Wedding Shop
Bride’s dress – Enzoani found at Ann Louise Bridal
Bride’s accessories – Ella Stern
Groom’s attire – Hugo Boss
Bridesmaids – Wed2Be
Hair + Makeup – Emily, Laura, Leone (bridesmaids)
Flowers – Flowers by Alina
Catering – Eat me
Band – Pure Showband
Stationery/Invitation – U-name-it
Rabbi – Rabbi Odom Brandman
Honeymoon – MB Luxury Travel
Smash The Glass Pouch – Smashing The Glass Etsy Shop or join Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club and get one for free!
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.