Category Archives: Real Life Weddings

The Latest Royal Engagement Upends 2017’s List of Top 10 Blog Posts

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement announcement at the end of November totally upended our list of top ten blog posts for 2017. For the first eleven months of the year, the most sought-after posts were those that answered basic questions about planning a Jewish wedding, like “What do the Jewish bride and groom wear,” and “How tall should the huppah poles be?” But since Harry and Kate made their intentions official four weeks ago, posts referencing Buckingham Palace receptions and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton shot up out of the background to take half of the top spots.

Couples planning weddings appear to be googling for royal inspiration for wedding dresses and wedding menus, in particular. And while we don’t yet have many details from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding, we can look to Will and Kate for inspiration.

As we look back at’s all-time collection of blog posts, these ten claimed the top spots for popularity in 2017:

10. Your Own Royal Canape Reception: Kosher-fied Menu and Recipes – On the morning of William and Kate’s wedding, Queen Elizabeth threw them a canape reception. Over the following two weeks we posted recipes for kosher versions of nine of the canapes, including such tasty tidbits as poached asparagus spears and smoked haddock fishcakes. This post links to them all.

9. The Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Step by Step – Starting with the bride’s reception and the groom’s table, through the huppah ceremony, and finishing with yichud, this post lays out the parts of a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.

8. DIY wedding dress in Grace Kelly style from Vogue Patterns – Kate Middleton’s wedding dress drew comparisons to Grace Kelly. This post links to sewing patterns for wedding dresses with silhouettes and details inspired by the iconic dresses of these two brides.

7. 5 Tips for Creating an Inviting Wedding Pie Dessert Buffet – A down-home outlier among the royal posts, this dessert option started trending several years ago and continues to charm.

6. Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!) – A master class from Buckingham Palace on how to feed a crowd.

5. Wedding DIY: How to Decorate a Table with Garland – A collaborative post of and FiftyFlowers.

Buckingham Palace Beefeaters4. Wedding Recipe: Garlic-Herb Crusted Beef Roast for a Crowd (Meat) – A British classic for your own wedding menu.

3. How tall should the huppah (chuppah) poles be? – The answer to this perennially popular question.

2. What do the Jewish bride and groom wear? – Why it’s all about white.

1. Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Garlic for 50 (Parve) – As the most popular menu item from the Buckingham Palace dinner reception menu, the humble potato takes the top spot among blog posts, in the form of a practical and flavorful selection for your own wedding menu.

I’m already looking forward to finding out about the wedding trends that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will inspire in 2018.

[Photos: Official Buckingham Palace engagement photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by photographer Alexi Lubomirski.]

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Groom’s Mom Creates Beautiful Wedding Chuppah from Vintage Tablecloth

wedding chuppah from lace tablecloth

When Erika and Adam married earlier this month in romantic San Juan Capistrano, they wed under a chuppah canopy that holds deep family meaning. Adam’s mother, Marla, created the canopy from an heirloom tablecloth that belonged to Adam’s grandmother. It was a way to include the groom’s paternal grandparents, who are both deceased, in the wedding. “She was a very special person in our family,” Marla explains, “and loved Adam very much.”

To turn the tablecloth into a chuppah, Marla attached ties that were tied to huppah poles from “The cloth was of fine linen and leaf appliqués, approximately 110″ in length,” Marla explains, “It wavered ever so beautifully in the breeze and added a serenity and magic to the ceremony.” Marla turned to florist Lynne Lucente to create the final touch of flowers and greenery.

chuppah holders lead wedding procession

chuppah creator

Marla, chuppah creator and proud mother of the groom.

Erika and Adam’s outdoor ceremony was held at San Juan Capistrano’s The Villa. The groomsmen served as huppah bearers. “Having Adam’s groomsmen carry in the chuppah at the beginning of the ceremony was dramatic and completely sweet!”

Thank you, Marla, for sharing the story and photos of this beautiful chuppah!

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Treasure Trove of Historic Wedding Videos Now Available Online – Grace Kelly, Queen Elizabeth

Grace Kelly Finally Ties the Knot! British Pathé, which maintains about seventy years worth of historic news reel archives, released 85,000 videos this week. We searched “weddings” and dove right in. Some of our favorites:

Grace Kelly’s Royal Wedding (1956)

Royal Wedding (1947). Then Princess Elizabeth marries Prince Phillip.

A Jewish wedding from the 1920s. We don’t see any of the chuppah ceremony, but we do get a bit of the bride’s reception, hakhnassat kallah, before the ceremony, beginning at the 6:36 mark. There’s a lot of coming and going into and out of cars and a bit of spontaneous Charleston dancing while waiting to get into cars. More dancing at 9:06. Overall, looks like a fun crowd.

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25,000 Guests Attend Tuesday’s Royal Jewish Wedding (Video)

The Jewish royal wedding of the season took place in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, when Shalom Rokeach, 18-year-old grandson of the leader of the Hasidic Belz Rebbe dynasty, married 19-year-old Hannah Batya Penet in an ultra-Orthodox ceremony. While the groom is Hasidic royalty, the bride is a commoner, inviting parallels to Wills and Kate.

The most widely cited wedding detail is that 25,000 people attended. The second most cited detail is that the bride wore a veil the entire evening, although the veil for the reception was smaller than the one she wore for the ceremony. As Kate Dries of Jezebel observed, these aren’t the kind of details that get you featured on Style Me Pretty, so I wanted to highlight some of the deets I love:

  • Sunset ceremony.
  • People holding candles.
  • A huppah befitting a royal wedding: It looks like its about 25-feet square. The canopy is blue — looks like velvet — with scalloped valances that are embroidered in gold and edged in heavy gold bullion fringe and gold tassels.
  • Chandeliers — 5 of them — hung under the huppah.
  • The bride’s full ball gown without a train – formal, but nothing to trip on when circling the groom.
  • The bride’s ceremony veil. It’s heavier than most, for the sake of modesty before all those male guests, but the bride wears it well, and the length is great.

I still don’t know what they served at the reception, which was my first question after finding out about the 25,000 guests. If you find out, let me know.

Here’s another video, where we get to see a little more of the bride in action. She circles the groom at the 2:00 minute mark.

The Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Step by Step

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Wedding Reception in a Biker Bar?

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY
Did you see the recent episode of Worst Cooks in America where the contestants had to feed a pack of hungry bikers? Show hosts Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell brought their cooking-challenged challengers to Brooklyn to duke it out at the East River Bar.

The contestants served up some grilled figs and chicken wings, and the production crew served up some biker-worthy wall flair in the form of hubcaps and skulls. But last year, my littlest brother and his bride held their wedding reception at that bar, and I can tell you the place cleans up real nice.

See for yourself, with wedding and reception photos by Jacob Arthur.

(BTW, is it really fair to make people who didn’t know anything about cooking a few weeks earlier come up with their own original chicken wing recipe in 90 minutes?)

And here are pics from another real-life wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park

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A Photograph of My Parents on their Wedding Day

1950s vintage wedding

I love this photo of my parents, Sharon and Wally, on their wedding day.

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Real Life Wedding: Alanna + Joe Share their Favorite Hangouts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Wedding East River State Park Brooklyn
Alanna and Joe showed how personal and fun a small wedding can be when they chose their favorite neighborhood hangouts for their wedding and reception. Both sites were within walking distance of their Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment. The ceremony took place at the East River State Park, across the river from Manhattan, and the reception took place about a mile away at the East River Bar. The couple’s favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant catered the reception.

The entire event was informal and easy going. Guests who showed up at East River Park before the ceremony hung out and enjoyed the sun with other park goers or got something to eat at one of the food trucks adjacent to the park. Fifteen minutes before the ceremony, a party rental company appeared and set up chairs at a spot facing the river. A view of Manhattan on the far side of the river provided the backdrop for the ceremony. When a few guests arrived late, after the ceremony had already ended, the officiant, Joanna Fernandes, suggested that Joe and Alanna take the opportunity to renew their vows for the benefit of the late arrivals, which they did, a mere five minutes after the ceremony.

After the wedding, guests joined Alanna and Joe in walking to the reception. At midnight, the couple invited everyone back to their apartment for a star-gazing party on the roof.

In planning their laid-back wedding, Alanna and Joe focused on sharing things they love and a few special details. They claim that they fell into their sunny color scheme just by choosing the accessories they liked. The wide-ranging mix of colors came together because Joe’s boutonniere used the same yellow flower as Alanna’s bouquet, and Alanna’s sunglasses frames picked up the turquoise in Joe’s paisley tie.

Thank you, Alanna, Joe, and photographer Jacob Arthur for sharing.

Here are more details:

Colors: A sun-splashed mix of orange, hot pink, yellow, and turquoise anchored with a touch of navy.
The bride wore: A lacy sheath, wedge flip flops, sunglasses, and a feathery fascinator in lieu of a veil.
The groom wore: A navy seersucker suit, paisley tie, striped socks, and straw fedora.
Officiant: Joanna Fernandes
Flowers: A bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere DIY’ed by the BR’ide. Alanna explains that she put a shell from the beach where Joe proposed into his boutonniere: “Thank you, thousands of hours of cable wedding tv!” David Tutera would be proud.
Transportation: Alanna and Joe reserved a limo for a ride to the park before the ceremony, but the trip to the reception was by foot. Guests with mobility challenges took advantage of taxis available outside the park.
Reception decor: With the East River Bar’s evocative decor, Alanna and Joe didn’t need to do anything to create a festive atmosphere. The only element they added were tent cards on the tables telling guests they had found the right place and listing the reception menu. What more do you need?
Reception music: The jukebox.
Entertainment: Great conversation and the bar’s video games.
Food:: A buffet of Italian specialties by Patrizia restaurant. To keep the buffet fresh, as well as to refresh the energy of the party, Patrizia delivered the food in four separate courses throughout the reception.
Photographs: Brooklyn-based Jacob Arthur

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Jewish wedding New York park ivory silk chuppahVISIT:


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Real Jewish Wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park

Jewish wedding New York park ivory silk chuppah

I love to see the ways couples decorate our huppahs. This week, Natalie sent photos of her wedding to Richard in a New York City park earlier this month. You can feel the joy just looking at the photos.

The simple, natural beauty of the flower petals on the ground is perfect for a spring wedding in the park.

To decorate the poles of the Ivory Silk Huppah, Natalie layered not just colors, but textures, too, with charcoal grey silk ribbons and tassels in a color that I’m going to call muted bronze.

How to decorate a wedding chuppah with ribbons and tassels

Natalie found the ribbons and tassels at Jo Ann Fabrics. The tassels were in the curtain trimming isle, Natalie says, and she chose the ribbon from the ribbon isle, in medium width.

For other brides who want to recreate this effect, Natalie recommends, “make the ribbons longer, because I wished they would have flapped in the wind more.” Still, I can’t imagine they could have created any more joy.

Thanks so much for sharing, Natalie! All the best to you and Richard.

Related article: 7 Ways to Decorate a Huppah


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Real Life Jewish Wedding: Under an Organza Huppah at Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Boat House

wedding at New York Prospect Park May 2012

Big thanks go out to Nancy for sending us this photo of her son and new daughter-in-law marrying under a’s Organza Huppah earlier this month. The site for the wedding was the historic Prospect Park Boathouse, one of Brooklyn, New York’s most elegant landmarks.

“We all loved the ethereal feeling of the organza huppah,” Nancy wrote, “Set against the bucolic setting of the Prospect Park Boathouse, we could do no wrong. Bride and groom were thrilled.”

And we were thrilled to see the photo. Thanks for sharing, Nancy. wishes you and your family all the best!

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