I wasn’t a typical bride. I didn’t have a scrapbook or Pinterest board filled with pictures of my dream wedding. I honestly wish I had the energy to do that.
Instead, I had Nicole.
Remember, I was pregnant or caring for an infant during most of this process – not the best state for keeping track of lots of little details. She would come over and we would go through of options (or sometimes get a photo text of a chuppah or tablecloth I liked in the middle of the night), and, most importantly, she made me make decisions. So when life got crazy with a newborn baby and both Maks and I back dancing with DWTS, she kept us in line and our wedding on track.
What we ended up with was gorgeous beyond my dreams – a perfect blend of tradition and originality, culture and celebration, fam and glam.
I really wanted to capture that classic, chic, old Hollywood feel, and a huge part of that was our venue.
Maks first showed me Oheka Castle in 2013. He said he’d love to marry me here someday and I thought it was incredibly sweet that he was already thinking about venues… and then he dumped me – haha!
When he finally did propose, Nicole actually called Oheka the NEXT DAY to see what their availability was for that summer. Ha! I had to tell her (and a lot of other people) to chill and let us just enjoy being engaged for a while.
Both Maks and I come from families of four, but Maks has a huge extended family of friends and blood relatives that he’s amassed since coming to the USA that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. So, while a smaller venue could have worked for just family, we always wanted it to be a huge affair.
Really, Oheka Castle was the perfect mixture of style and function. Glamorous and elegant with enough room to fit a whole bunch of partying Russians. 🙂
For our rehearsal dinner, I really tried to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw. For you Sex and the City fans, I always remembered the dinner Carrie had with Big. The long table and the chandeliers. It was just so sexy and intimate. I really wanted that – for 50 guests, of course.
It was held outdoors in the Oheka Restaurant courtyard, simply styled with red roses dipped in gold. There was a chance of rain that day and we were praying it would hold off (the amazing staff set up another fully decorated table indoors just in case). We had a few good hours of dry for a dance floor on the cobblestones, a cigar rolling station, and great food.
Shai came down to the party with us… and fell asleep within the first hour. As much as I wanted guests to be able to play with him, it was really important to me as a mother who would like to retain her sanity that his sleeping patterns didn’t get too messed up. There were a few times that Cherryl, our amazing nanny, had to literally swat away hands grabbing for him.
For the ceremony and reception, my colour palette was rather muted – white and ivory flowers, gold and ivory table settings, ivory and blush wedding party – not just because of its timelessness, but because I wanted the guests to be the colour.
Although choosing a favorite decoration from our wedding is hard, I’m still in love with our chuppah. I come from the Anglican Church and Maks is Jewish, so it was really important to me that we combined traditions from each into this occasion. In a Jewish wedding, the chuppah symbolized home, hospitality and the divine origins of marriage – which was so beautiful.
Floor to ceiling white piping and drapes enclosed the grand ballroom where our reception was held, keeping the guests socializing instead of staring out the windows. To keep that romantic feel, I chose candelabras wrapped in roses and luscious balls of roses for the centerpieces and an ivory and gold tablescape.
We wanted to hang a huge flower centerpiece from the roof of the ballroom, but were told last minute that the weight restrictions wouldn’t allow it. So we improvised and hung individual roses from the chandeliers and it turned out beautiful regardless.
Sure, it was plenty glam – but it was also fun. We had a photo booth with props set against a gorgeous wall of flowers. The operators were so incredible and kind – it’s not an easy job getting 300 or so rowdy Russians in line, focused, and ready to have their picture taken. 😉
The dance floor felt like being at a rock with a three level stage surrounded by massive LCD screens, lighting, and CO2 canons. The 10-piece band was really out of this world!
I know I went all out with my wedding, but what really made the difference were the details. Pick a few details and build your theme around them. Love my wall of flowers? Make that the center of your reception. Want to get married in a castle? Do it and let its natural beauty do the heavy lifting of your decorations. Most of all don’t be afraid to make it uniquely you.
I hope your wedding is a memorable to you as mine was to me.
Photo Credit: Jamie Levine Photography