Our very foodie wedding

There are few things more special than your wedding day. We’d like to share our wonderful day with you.

It has to be said, we’re not truly weddingy people. Whilst we love going to weddings of our family and friends, we’re just not natural gushy, wedding obsessed types.

Having said that, there’s a lot of truth to the ‘best day of your life’ adage. If you’re lucky enough to have very lovely, understanding family willing to support your vision, weddings are a delight, as ours was.

Our wedding was an untraditional Jewish one. We had a small, intimate Masorti Jewish ceremony, at Clissold House in our local area, Stoke Newington, followed by a bigger party at our parent in laws’ house, in a Moroccan themed marquee. 

No, we’re not Moroccan or have any family who are, we’re just inspired by the place and find the aesthetics wonderful.

Our Moroccan marquee
I designed our table numbers with Moroccan ingredient names

Jewish dancing under the Moroccan canopy

Our Jewish ceremony was incredibly special to us. We aren’t hugely traditional, but at important moments in your life, it feels right to follow some traditions and the Jewish ceremony was a great one. It has symbolic customs; you marry under a beautiful canopy and drink cups of wine, and sign an often artistically decorated wedding contract (the ketubah). Our wonderful Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said some very touching words (you can hear them as the voiceover to our video, link below).

Other lovely traditions are the bedekken before the ceremony, a time to be just with inner family and have a moment together. And the yichud couple alone time immediately after the wedding ceremony. 

Both were wonderful moments for us to just take a breath and take it all in together, which so often people advise you to do, but without the actual structure to do it, is tricky.

Our Jewish ceremony

Our chuppah before the ceremony
Our ketubah

Now, most importantly, let’s get to the food.

Ceremony canapes: 

At the ceremony we just wanted nibbles and canapes so as to not detract from the main event (the dinner). At Clissold house we chose the great Tom’s Feast to cater for us, and they delivered some wonderful light snacks.

Stunning baba ganoush with homemade flatbreads and chicory with goats curd and edible flowers

The main meal: 

Then there was the main event itself. I knew from the start I wanted something inspired by Ottolenghi, the middle eastern delicious salads are some of my favourite food. We had briefed various Kosher caterers for meat versions but got frustrated by the prices, so in the end investigated a pescatarian option with Ottolenghi themselves and were pleasantly surprised. They aren’t cheap certainly, but they were much less than a Kosher meat option and were so dependable with the quality. We were not disappointed.

 And if you can’t pull out all the stops at your foodie wedding, when can you?

Beautiful smoked mackerel blinis, wild mushroom tarts and feta filo cigars just showing on the left
Everyone’s favourite, wasabi, panko raw tuna bites

For the main dinner we knew we wanted unpretentious and very relaxed dining.  We wanted there to be lots of amazing  food and for everyone to help themselves to as much as they wanted. 

Ottolenghi obviously has a fabulous selection of salads and fish options, the only difficulty was narrowing down the menu! Everything was sumptuous and special.

Fregola, artichoke, fennel and almond salad
Heritage tomato and kefalotyri cheese salad
Wild rice, chickpea, crispy onion salad (specially requested by us from the cookbooks)

The presentation…just like the restaurants

Grilled sea bass and caponata

Seaweed crusted cod with tartare sauce
Goats cheese and confit garlic tart

And finally, let’s not forget, Ottolenghi make some of the most accomplished desserts in the country. So we knew dessert would be a treat. 

The catering team made a great suggestion, that we go for lots of small bitesize desserts rather than larger portions, everyone could then try a few different options which I really liked the idea of. Dessert canapes are genius, we had four options.

Rosewater pistachio mini cakes
Mini chocolate, tahini tarts with sesame brittle, mouth watering
Super fresh passion fruit meringue tarts
Persian love cake bites with kirsch cherries

After dinner we wanted the ultimate petit fours with tea and coffee and decided nothing would do but the very best baklava and biscuits the master Turkish bakers of Green Lanes had to offer. All hand ordered and delivered by my wonderful mother in law.

Baklava and biscuits

The cake: 

A total and utter showstopper with bright colourful flowers and macarons. Dusted with pomegranate jewels, crushed pistachio and freeze dried raspberries. Flavoured, at my request, with Moroccan flavours, orange blossom and pistachio, with cream cheese frosting. The dream wedding cake. 

Details of our wonderful supplier, Carla at Fondant Fox below. 

Our wedding favours: 

We wanted these to reflect who we are as a couple so decided to hand make a Moroccan Ras Al Hanout spice mix. We went to the Chinese supermarket and bought spices in bulk and mixed and decanted the mix into individual little jars.

We decorated them (or rather my lovely mother in law did) with beautiful Indian fabrics and little hamsa charms and beads and little individually stamped tags.

Favours are one of the best ways to bring your own personal touch and creativity to your wedding, but there are others. My best friend Tash is a super talented art director and calligraphy artist and she helped me to hand write the plethora of signs we had scattered around the two venues for the day.

I also personally designed (with the help of some more of Tash’s calligraphy) printed and cut each menu and ceremony leaflet myself on lovely brown kraft card as it was something I really wanted to do. And it paid off.

Having a wedding is a huge amount of effort, really very stressful and can be extremely expensive, but I can safely say it is incredibly worth it. 

Here are our top tips for getting wed:

1. Be as patient and understanding as possible with both sides of the family. Sit down with them as much as possible and discuss everyone’s priorities so each can be fairly represented. As much as it’s your big day, it’s important to make sure everyone is happy too. (But equally, don’t let family get carried away, ensure you take control).

2. Don’t listen too much to ‘shoulds’. There are a lot of customs and wedding traditions but you choose which you want and which you don’t. We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen for example as we didn’t want to choose between our friends and family who are all special to us.

3. Set a budget upfront and create a Google spreadsheet to keep track of it. That way you can easily share it with others to keep it updated.

4. The 2 most important things are food and music, choose dependable suppliers. The venue is the element that needs most forward planning though so book that first.

5. Choose the 2 things you want to do personally, don’t give yourself too much work, it’ll be very stressful.

6. Let family and friends help and get a day organiser to help if you’re having it outside of a wedding venue.

7. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it. It’s such an important day, try to take it all in.

For your viewing enjoyment here’s our video and all the photos from the day as well as our full supplier list.

Watch our video: 

Voiced by our wonderful Rabbi Wittenberg and recorded by the fabulous Luke Pilbeam.

https://vimeo.com/241654729

Password: clissold

Our wedding photos:

Taken by the talented Adam Szczepanski

http://adamsphotoart.zenfolio.com/sivannealexweb

Password: SivanneAlexWeb

Our wonderful wedding suppliers:

1. Marquee: Steel City: Matt matt@steelcitypromotions.co.uk a true professional, brilliant guy for any marquee needs you might have.

2. Ceremony Venue: Clissold House: Hannah Hannah.Sweeney@hackney.gov.uk a gorgeous venue for up to 60 people in the heart of Stoke Newington, our beloved home.

3. Music: Neshama: Danny Shine dannyshine@gmail.com the only thing you can’t tell how amazing it was from the pictures and video, but they were incredible. All stunning voices, really fun, chilled vibe, no fake standard wedding band stuff, these guys are amazing.

4. Catering (party): Ottolenghi: Laura motcomb@ottolenghi.co.uk incomparable, worth every penny, the best catering you could have.

5. Catering (ceremony): Tom’s Feast: Clare clare@tomsfeast.com a lovely, ethical company with very fresh, healthy food options.

6. Flowers: Peppermint Poppy: Kenza kenza@peppermintpoppy.com a very talented lady with real understanding of floristry and vision.

7. Chuppah: Andy @Chuppah direct: andy@mepuk.co.uk your go to for chuppahs, very professional and easy to deal with.

8. Photographer: Adam @Adamsphotography: adamsphotoart@hotmail.co.uk lovely and talented photographer.

9. Videographer: Luke Pilbeam lukepilbeam@gmail.com I can’t recommend him enough, our video is just stunning, I’m so glad I got a video of the day.

10. Cake: Fondant Fox: Carla fondantfox@gmail.com I can’t recommend her enough, the cake looked and tasted incredible and was very reasonable.

11. Hair: Rachel rachel.williamson81@googlemail.com a super reasonable and lovely talented lady.

12. Makeup: Hannah Powling (my wonderful sister in law!) She’s super talented, my make up looked amazing and stayed put all day!

13. Day organiser: Jessie Schlagman – 07904 234291, I literally couldn’t have done it without her. If you’re having a wedding not at a venue, you need this lady.

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