Jewish Weddings

Rachel and David: An American Dream

Rachel and David planned their entire wedding from ‘across the pond,’ though you wouldn’t have been able to tell they’d only visited Hedsor once or twice before their big day!

Their special day was flawlessly coordinated, and Hedsor was described by Rachel as “the perfect setting for the wedding of our dreams.” High praise indeed!

We spoke to Rachel to find out more about their special Jewish wedding and what Hedsor House means to them…

Why Hedsor?

"We always knew that we wanted to hold our wedding in a grand house; half of our guests were travelling to the UK from America, so the traditional features of Hedsor House made it the perfect backdrop to our day! My Mum told me about Hedsor years ago as she’d seen it in the film ‘Quartet’ and knew immediately that it would be the most perfect wedding venue for us. Fast forward to us being engaged; we visited Hedsor and knew immediately that it was the venue for us, absolutely stunning and the staff were so wonderful. 

Details of the Day

Our wedding day was absolutely magical and the magic was made possible by holding it at the most exquisite venue – Hedsor House!
— Rachel (Bride)

There were many small details that were very important to us, such as the invitations and wedding favours designed and made by myself and my Mum. The colour scheme was purple - including my bouquet, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen bow ties and lighting in the room.

The House: There were so many elements that we just loved. The Sunken Garden was beautiful (even in winter) and we knew that’s where we would hold our cocktail hour. The Bridal Suite was gorgeous, definitely the perfect setting for the Bridal Party to get ready in the morning. The Centre Hall with the beautiful domed ceiling… WOW!

The Dress: My dress was by Maggie Sottero, covered in intricate lace and beading. When I found the dress I knew it was ‘the one’… It was everything I could have dreamed of with the scalloped edge, capped sleeves and sweetheart neckline. When I found it we already knew that Hedsor House was our venue and that the dress would fit the elegance of the venue just perfectly!

The Ceremony: It was very important that we could have a traditional Jewish Orthodox ceremony under a beautiful chuppah (wedding canopy) and ours was adorned with gorgeous purple and ivory cascading orchids. It was covered with the tallit (prayer shawls) of our grandfathers, a wonderful tradition within David’s family to honour those who have passed.

Though it was traditional, our ceremony had a modern twist. Our Rabbi sang many songs during the ceremony which included a beautiful rendition of Lecha Dodi (Come My Beloved) to All of Me by John Legend as I was escorted to the chuppah. Surrounding us was a sea of purple lighting and all our closest family and friends.

The Flowers: We used the exquisite Ruby and Grace who were so gracious in accepting the challenge of finding flowers that worked with our purple colour scheme. We gave them a small swatch of fabric from the bridesmaid dresses and Hannah told me that she always had it on her!

The Food and Drink: Philip Small, a specialist Jewish caterer, was absolutely amazing! Our starter was a duck salad and when we were walking around to greet our guests we knew it was a hit – everyone’s plates were empty! For dessert we enjoyed 4 miniature ‘shot’ desserts - chocolate mousse, berry compote with meringue, sticky toffee pudding and my favourite – vanilla ice cream with ginger stem.

The Cake: The cake was made by Philip Small’s wonderful pastry chef who made an exact replica of a cake I’d found on Pinterest – a three tier ivory cake covered in purple filigree. Each tier of our cake was a different flavour – red velvet on the bottom, chocolate sponge in the middle and lemon on top – delicious!

The Photographer: Our photographer was the brilliant Mike Garrard. We were both very sure we wanted a photojournalism style; when we discovered Mike we knew that his style and the vibrancy of his pictures would capture the essence of our day. He certainly did!

The Videographer: Looking at Hang The Moon’s website I was hooked, his style was everything I could have dreamed of. The trailer and film is fantastic, we’ve watched it more times than we can count!

The Suppliers

Photography – Mike Garrard / Bride’s Dress – Maggie Sottero / Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Alfred Angelo / Caterer and Production – Philip Small / Videography – Hang The Moon / Entertainment – The Twentysomethings / Bridal Hair and Makeup – Bridal Hair Design and Make-Up By Elisa / Florist – Ruby and Grace

Huge thanks to Mike Garrard for permission to use a selection of photography from Rachel and David's celebrations!

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Emily and Dan: Music and Merriment

Emily and Dan seamlessly blended traditional elements of their Jewish heritage with an incredible flashmob and party atmosphere at Hedsor. 

Their day was characterised by a number of surprises, mostly revolving around music which is a passion of theirs - in fact they met when they were in a musical at university and Emily now runs a choir that Dan is a member of. 

We spoke to Emily and Dan to find out more about their wedding and the reunion of boyband Blueprint for one night only... 

Why Hedsor?

We loved that we could have a little piece of the countryside all to ourselves and still be within close reach of London.
— Emily

"We fell in love with Hedsor House the moment we saw it. With stunning views, plenty of space and timeless beauty, we loved that we could have a little piece of the countryside all to ourselves and still be within close reach of London.

We had always hoped for an outdoor wedding, especially given the stunning gardens and view at Hedsor. But when it rained on our wedding day, the beautiful Centre Hall was the best plan B we could have hoped for, and the numerous spaces inside the house meant there was plenty of room for our guests to spread out and explore.

Choosing Hedsor was the best decision we made, and we have been showered with compliments about the venue ever since! 

Details of the Day

The Ceremony: We had a modern Jewish ceremony, updated with the help of our Rabbi to include lots of beautiful traditions that we personalised to make sure it reflected our values. Emily was sung down the aisle by a friend of ours, and our Rabbi brought along a guitar for added music, with a performance of our favourite song, alongside a reading of some of our favourite lyrics from other close friends. 

We chose a simple chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) and were surrounded by our family and loved ones. As a twist on the traditional Jewish breaking of the glass, usually done only by the groom, Emily also stamped on a glass! 

Pick great suppliers. If you know you have the best people on the job, you’ll be able to relax on the day.
— Emily

The Food: Caper and Berry were incredible caterers, providing flawless event management on the day too. From the canapes, tweaked to suit our palates, to the bespoke fish-based three course menu and show-stopping ‘shots and pots’ we couldn’t have asked for more. The evening cocktails, flavoured popcorn, cheese board and salt beef sandwiches went down a treat and we’d recommend them to anyone! 

The Cake: Emily’s mum was keen to design the cake, and made hundreds of sugar hydrangeas which cascaded over layers of chocolate, vanilla and fruit cake. 

The Photographer: Simon Atkins ticked all our boxes, having photographed Jewish weddings and ceremonies at Hedsor. With a photojournalist style, we knew Simon would capture our day without us awkwardly posing. We hardly noticed he was there, and we were so pleased with the way he captured the emotion, atmosphere and love of the day. 

The Entertainment: We chose Totem as our band for the day - a brilliant decision! Musicians played during the ceremony, signing of the register, reception, dinner and several awesome sets in the evening! Daniel’s brother Michael performed our first dance - an amazing acoustic rendition of ‘500 Miles’ on guitar. We soon had everyone dancing with us!

Our reception kicked off with some traditional Israeli dancing, which saw us thrown into the air on chairs, and huge circles of dancing with our friends and family! From then, three singers and a band plus live DJ kept the dance floor full all night. As well as some beautiful performances by friends during our ceremony, we decided to add in a few surprises for our guests! Immediately after cutting the cake, we both broke into song, soon joined by 25 of our singing friends in a flashmob song and dance routine we’d put together.

Later in the evening Blueprint, Daniel’s boyband from his university years, re-formed for a short set - all of this we’d kept even from our parents! Singing ‘Love Me For a Reason’ with all our guests is something we’ll never forget! We ended the night with a sparkler exit, lit up by the faces of our nearest and dearest!  

The Suppliers

Catering: Caper and Berry / Photographer: Simon Atkins / Cake: Waitrose & Emily's Mum! / Chuppah: Chuppah's Direct / Flowers: Ruby and Grace / Lighting, Sound & AV: Class Act / Music: Totem / Flashmob: Starling Arts / Hair & Make Up: Simone Abeya / Dress: White Leaf Bridal / Groom's Suit: Saint Laurent / Groomsmen: Moss Bros / Rings: Michael Platt

Huge thanks to Simon Atkins for permission to use a selection of photography from Emily & Dan's special day!

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