A David’s Bride for a Colorful Jewish Wedding with Handmade Touches at Maiden’s Barn, Chelmsford, UK

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We’re so thrilled to be featuring the beautiful Jewish wedding of our beloved Brides Club member Sophie today! Sophie married Josh in a colorful, exuberant barn wedding with some wonderful handmade touches – and lots of inspo from her fellow Brides Club members!

In Sophie’s own words, “Brides Club was totally invaluable to me! The introduction videos about where to start and guides such as ‘Questions to ask your Venue’ were excellent resources… It’s also been lovely connecting with other brides and making new friends around the world!”

Brides Club even inspired one of Sophie’s very coolest DIY touches: hand-crocheting ALL of her wedding kippot! Inspired by another member of the group, Sophie lovingly handcrafted kippot in fuchsia, orange, yellow and lilac to hand out on the day – which also became lovely keepsakes for guests to take home with them!

Sophie and Josh also found their chuppah supplier, Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor The Happy Chuppah People, through Brides Club. They opted to rent the large Finchley chuppah, and didn’t it look just perfect in their rustic barn venue? Don’t miss it in Amanda Ward’s wonderful photos!

The pair also opted to work with another beloved Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor, Toastmaster Jango, and they call booking him “one of the best decisions we made.” Jango “made us feel at ease from the first conversation and told us how he’d look after us as if it was his own children’s wedding” – and it goes without saying that he kept the day running smoothly so the bride and groom could enjoy their wedding stress-free.

Sophie and Josh added so many other fun touches to their big day – we love that they had a sweet cart in honor of Josh owning a real-life sweetshop, and how cute is it that instead of a guest book the couple asked their guests to fill in ‘Tips for the Newlyweds’ cards?! – but we’ll leave it to the bride, who looked beautiful in her David’s Bridal gown, the rest…

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How we Met

Sophie, the bride: We met on J-Swipe at the end of June 2017 when Josh was working as a sports journalist and I was working for a gift experience company. As he told everyone during his wedding speech, he was sitting on the toilet when he first saw me and decided to swipe right!

We went on our first date on 1st July 2017 and decided to meet at dinosaur crazy golf in North London. This turned out to be a great first date as it was relaxed and fun without any awkward silences! After I beat him, we decided we wanted to continue getting to know each other and drove to a pub for drinks which then turned into dinner!

We played “Who Jew you know” and surprisingly we had no mutual friends! However, after a few dates my mum was questioning me about my new mystery man and it turns out she used to work with his dad!

A few months after we met, Josh had a career change and now owns an old-fashioned sweet shop in a shopping centre and I work as an assistant to an account manager.

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A Barn Venue

We had a few requirements for our venue that helped us narrow it down, but we still looked at 8-10 options before finding our venue – Maiden’s Barn in Chelmsford. We wanted somewhere that wasn’t in central London and was within driving distance for the majority of our guests coming from Essex and North London. We also wanted somewhere that had the possibility for an outdoor ceremony but with an indoor contingency in case of rain, as well as having air conditioning – because you never know what a British summer is going to be like!

After spending some time on Pinterest I realised that a barn was the perfect venue for us but our guest numbers restricted us with some venues as a lot of barns cater for a smaller wedding and not the 140-180 guests we wanted.

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Another requirement was to have the bar in the same room as the dancing as we have both been to weddings where half the guests disappear for the evening to the bar and we wanted as much dancing as possible! On-site accommodation was also important for guests coming from out of town and those who wanted a night away from their children!

I found Maiden’s Barn via Google on a wedding website and it had good reviews from other brides so we made an appointment to go and they were the last of 3 back-to-back venues we saw on the same day (funnily enough on our 3-year anniversary, so it felt extra special when we saw it) and it ticked all our boxes.

Unfortunately the weather on our wedding day was overcast and drizzly so we made the decision to have the ceremony inside and it was just as beautiful. Plus it brightened up after so we could still have photos and the reception outside.

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What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us

Brides Club was totally invaluable to me whilst planning a wedding during a global pandemic! I didn’t know where to start and all I had before joining BC were a few Pinterest boards! The introduction videos about where to start and guides such as ‘Questions to ask your Venue’ were excellent resources.

I made most use out of the budget spreadsheet as this lists out the majority of suppliers you will spend money on and gives you an idea of what percentage you will spend on them. It really helped me plan what our biggest expenditures would be based on our budget.

It’s also been lovely connecting with other brides going through the same thing and making new friends around the world! It’s just been a shame that there weren’t as many meet-ups as I’ve heard there were in the past due to Covid restrictions.

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Hand-Crocheted Kippot

It wasn’t until we found the venue and started looking at STG blog posts for similar weddings that I started to find the theme. I’m a very creative person and love bright colours so I knew I wanted to put my own stamp on the day but wasn’t sure what because I didn’t want anything to look ‘cheap’.

After seeing another member in Brides Club post the pattern, I decided I was going to crochet my own kippot, which was no easy feat around a full-time job, even in various Covid lockdowns! I picked the colours fuchsia, orange, yellow and lilac which would become our accent colours throughout the day. I also crocheted flowers to decorate the box I found to display them in.

Josh and I used the Bride’s Club resource about picking your non-negotiables for the day and luckily we were aligned in everything that was important to us. 

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As Josh owns a sweet shop, it was only right to have an epic sweet cart which was kindly supplied by Chelmsford Sweet Carts.

We didn’t use a wedding planner, but from early on in the planning process decided we wanted a toastmaster on the day. Particularly because our venue/caterer weren’t used to holding Jewish weddings and we wanted someone who would keep the day running smoothly. Toastmaster Jango was highly recommended to us and booking him was one of the best decisions we made. Jango made us feel at ease from the first conversation and told us how he’d look after us as if it was his own children’s wedding. He gave us a timeline for the day that we could pass to other vendors and made sure that everything went to plan – and then fixed them when they didn’t like when the caterers bought out the main course before the toasts and he had to change timings round!

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Invitations / stationery

We are very lucky that my step-dad Dennis Adelman is a graphic designer and therefore was able to design all our stationery for us! We started with the invite and once that was decided on the rest of the stationery followed. Dennis made us a beautiful program explaining the ceremony for those not familiar with Jewish weddings that was based on wording and advice found inside Bride’s Club. There were signs for toiletries in the bathrooms, flip flops for when your feet hurt and a custom sign for our sweet cart along with the menus, place cards and table numbers. We are very grateful for everything he did for us, even if I was apparently a difficult client!!!

After all our stationery had already been printed, I then decided I wanted a frame that people could use to take selfies on the dance floor. As I’d left it so late, I turned to Etsy and found the fab Colour Print Shop who used elements from our invites to design the frame and it arrived the next day! We also hadn’t come up with our hashtag until 2 weeks before the wedding so we missed out on printing it on the rest of the stationery which was a shame, because #SophieSwipedASweetie was the perfect tag.

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Hair + Make-up

I knew who I wanted to do my hair and make-up before I was even engaged! Around 15 years ago I trained to be a nail tech and my first job was in Lynsday’s salon, Purism. She was so supportive helping me get started and there began my hair obsession. I knew that Lyndsay was fab at doing wedding hair and that she would work with my (and my mum and sister’s) natural curls to create a unique style. I had a few trials before we found the perfect style and I had so many compliments on my hair on the day. Some of my hair pins were passed on to me by a friend who didn’t use them for her wedding and the rest I purchased from Etsy.

Make up was also a given. I met Gal 18 months previously when we worked at the same company and found out she had a make-up business on the side and was fantastic. I wanted to still look like me but a more glammed up version and Gal did just that. The make-up stayed put all night, even after some very sweaty hora dancing!

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A David’s Bridal Dress

My dress wasn’t the smooth sailing experience that the TV shows would have you believe. I knew I wanted to be able to wear a regular bra under my dress so needed something with straps that would cover it. I went to 3 different stores and tried maybe 15-20 dresses before asking whether a strapless dress would be able to have straps added. It turned out it could and I ordered my dress from David’s Bridal in September 2020. It arrived fairly quickly by early November, but due to various lockdowns and stores being closed, we weren’t able to pick it up until well into 2021.

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Accessories

The night before the wedding Josh left me a present to open and it was a beautiful bangle with an infinity style design on it that went perfectly with my other jewellery for the day!

My necklace was the diamond from my mum’s engagement ring, that she hasn’t worn since her and my dad divorced over 30 years ago and she had it made into a necklace for my birthday in the previous September so I could wear it on the wedding day. I purchased earrings from Ever Thine Co on Etsy as I just wanted something very small and delicate and there were limited shops open at the time.

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Shoes

I’ve lost count of how many pairs of shoes I ordered and returned! I didn’t want a very high heel but I also didn’t want flats! There weren’t shops open at the time I started looking and those that were open weren’t letting you try shoes on or you had to wear a mask, which made the shopping experience unpleasant for me. I tried cheap shoes, expensive shoes, regular fit, wide fit, ballroom dancing shoes….everything you can think of!

I was debating going to a bespoke shoe maker, but in the meantime had been wearing one of the first pairs around the house a lot that had gotten too worn looking to return and decided to stick with them and then change into flats once they were too painful! I ended up wearing them all day and night and it was only as guests were leaving that I realised how painful my feet were and took them off!

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The handsome groom

We decided that navy suits with white shirts and bright coloured ties would go well with the theme and the summer wedding. Josh doesn’t enjoy wearing a tux so we ruled out a black-tie dress code, which wouldn’t have been right at the barn anyway. We picked Moss Bros as Josh’s dad, my step-dad and Josh’s brother, the best man, could buy their suits off the rack and Josh could have the same suit but made bespoke to fit him. Unfortunately, there were some issues with the alterations and it wasn’t right.

He also wanted a personalised lining made for his waistcoat which Moss Bros couldn’t facilitate, so he found a bespoke tailor in Soho, London, who could make silk lining from a photo of sweets from his shop. They made the most fantastic waistcoat which was revealed for our first dance. Shoes were from Dune and the ties and pocket squares were from TieRoom.co.uk

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Bridesmaids

I asked my sister to be my maid of honour soon after the planning began! I decided on a navy dress to match  the groomsmen’s suits. I later decided that I also wanted Josh’s sisters to be bridesmaids on the day so I asked them both to the wedding party and walk down the aisle together. Due to various diary conflicts and not living near to each other we were cutting it fine with ordering bespoke bridesmaid dresses, so I ordered lots of different navy dresses in different styles and sizes from the high-street and we got together one evening at my sister-in-law’s flat to try them all on! I wanted them each to have a style they were comfortable in so didn’t mind if they didn’t match as long as the colour was right!

We ended up with the maid of honour dress from  Silk Fred and the bridesmaid dresses from Coast and House of Fraser.

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Ceremony

We were hoping to have the ceremony outdoors within the beautiful lawns of Maidens Barn, however we knew there was a chance we would have to have it inside due to weather. I was watching the forecast like a hawk in the weeks running up to the day, however in the morning it was cloudy and rain was forecast. Due to the time the chuppah had to be set up, we made the call that we should have the ceremony inside just in case it rained, which it did! We had arranged some lawn games such as Jenga and giant Connect 4 but unfortunately these weren’t set up in the best place due to the change in where the ceremony was held.

I was quite nervous about the chuppah and having everyone looking at me, so wanted to keep the ceremony as simple as possible. I knew I wanted a public badeken as I didn’t want Josh to see me before the moment that I walked down the aisle.

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Due to not having kosher caterers but wanting a United service we actually had to have an intimate family ceremony in shul 3 days prior, so this worked in our favour as a dress rehearsal for the big day! Our rabbi was able to bless us whilst keeping the ceremony as close to the real thing as possible. I was disappointed that we’d already technically be married by the wedding day, but it didn’t take away from how special it was, and to us that was our official wedding and is the anniversary we will celebrate.

My favourite part was when the rabbi read out our reasons we’d previously sent him on why we wanted to marry each other. He also explained the traditions in detail and with humour so that our friends and family that hadn’t been at a Jewish wedding before could follow and enjoy it too.

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Chuppah

I was recommended to use The Happy Chuppah People by Brides Club and took advantage of the member’s discount. We went for the large Finchley chuppah as it fit best with our barn theme and I’d seen some photos on STG of similar flowers to the ones I wanted.

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Our Music Choice

My uncle is a musician so I’ve always wanted him to play if I ever got married. We were going to ask his band to play in the evening but decided that we wanted him to enjoy the party too instead of having to play! So instead, he played the keyboard for our ceremony and the reception with an accompanying clarinettist. Josh walked down the aisle with his parents to a beautiful song called ‘Eucalyptus Grove’ and I walked in with my parents to ‘Sunrise Sunset’ from Fiddler on the Roof.

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For the hora and evening dancing we had SupaTight and they were fantastic! They were another recommendation from Brides Club and we couldn’t have been happier with them! Geoff the owner and Reuben the band leader were fab from the start, offering loads of advice and being really flexible bearing in mind we were unable to meet in person beforehand. We were sent a repertoire of songs and picked our definite yes and definite nos, plus the band learnt our entrance song (‘The Greatest Show’) and our first dance song (‘It’s All About You’) specially. I didn’t leave the dancefloor all evening!

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Flowers

I wanted to use Ramels Florist in Potters Bar as they played a part in the early days of our relationship! Josh sent me beautiful flowers from them after our second date so I thought it would be sentimental if they also did our wedding flowers. I had already picked the colours for the crochet kippot when I went to visit the florist so I knew I wanted to include these colours. Josh didn’t have an opinion on the flowers so I took my mum and although I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted for centre pieces I showed Mel at Ramels my Pinterest ideas and the fact I wanted small centre pieces where you could see the person on the other side of the table and she pulled it off perfectly!

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Photographer and videographer

We spoke to a few photographers based on recommendations, but eventually decided on Claudine Hartzel as she had photographed our friend’s wedding a year before and they had highly rated her! She had also previously shot at our venue which was a massive plus for us as well as her experience and calmness on the day.

We had a few Zoom meetings with Claudine in the run up to the wedding where she showed us her photography style, we discussed timings and the formal shots and she was very helpful in easing my nerves. Unfortunately 2 days before the wedding Claudine told us she had Covid and would be unable to shoot our wedding! I went into panic mode but Josh stepped in with his calmness and together with Claudine arranged a replacement photographer – Amanda Ward.

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Amanda had worked with Claudine in the past and we sent her the schedule designed by Claudine and Jango. Amanda was fab on the day and very friendly and put us at ease. We received our photos within a month of the wedding with my unsightly hora-dancing bruise edited out! Amanda really captured the joy on the day and the non-posed photos of us laughing and having a great time are my favourites.

For videography we chose Galaxy Video based on their reviews, price and offering of a free teaser video for BC members. We were also really happy with them on the day and are hoping they captured all the important moments!

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Food and Cake

Maiden’s Barn use their own in-house caterers – Host Catering. We were given sample menus when we booked the venue, but we wanted to vary from this slightly, so after a long chat with the them we went for a private tasting at their restaurant in Bishop’s Stortford. We got to try multiple dishes and made notes and narrowed down our choices nearly a year before the wedding!

Host were very flexible with allowing us to pick from different menus and tailoring it to suit us by having a ‘non-offensive’ meal and catering to any dietary requirements.

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Favours

We decided against favours and instead had a sweet cart where guests could fill up bags to take home with them – although most couldn’t wait until the end of the evening to eat them! I found Chelmsford Sweet Cart Hire on Facebook and they provided the cart, jars and sweet bags. I went with Josh to the wholesaler to pick the sweets for the cart and we had a Mr (& Mrs) Simms sign made to match his shop sign!

The crochet kippot were also something that guests could take home as a keepsake. 

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Extra details

When we came in to dance the hora I was having some dress issues! I felt like I was tripping up it and it got ripped by someone standing on it straight away. I was ushered towards a chair to be lifted, which I wasn’t looking forward to! I’d been advised to sit sideways on the chair and hold the back for support, but the lifters (I know who you are!) didn’t lift evenly and I slid off!! In the process I scraped the inside of my arm on the back of the chair and came up with a HUGE bruise almost immediately! Thankfully my amazing maid of honour had bruise cream on her which I was able to apply straight away. It was definitely a moment we’ll always remember!

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I wanted to add some personal touches that I’d either experienced at other weddings or thought would have been a great idea. The bonus of being the last of your friends to get married meant that we both had a good idea of what we did and didn’t want! I made toiletry baskets for the bathrooms with essentials such as plasters, deodorant, hairspray, safety pins etc. I also purchased 30 pairs of flips flops in our colour scheme for guests to change into when their feet hurt. I then spent about 3 weeks trying to find the perfect box to put them in, before finding one on a German website that worked perfectly!

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Instead of a guest book we decided to have ‘Tips for the Newlyweds’ cards that I’d gotten inspiration from on Pinterest. These were designed with the same theme as the rest of our stationery and we had a fab time reading them the next day.

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Honeymoon

Due to covid restrictions we decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of going abroad so decided to have a UK staycation. It’s been a dream of ours to go on safari for our honeymoon, so instead we booked to go to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire! We built this into our plans and drove to Bath for 3 nights, then to Cornwall for 4 nights and finally to the New Forest for 3 nights before returning home. We were so lucky with the weather and although we were busy every day we had a lovely time and it was a well needed break!

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Advice to couples currently planning their wedding

We totally recommend having a toastmaster on the day or at least some kind of day of coordinator. It means you can relax and enjoy the day and let someone else sort out any issues that arise! Even with a toastmaster we still managed to miss our entrance song due to having photos taken in a field, but it didn’t matter, our guests didn’t know how it was supposed to be and I think it’s important to remember that. No one else knows the options you had when planning or that you could have gone with a fruity dessert instead of a chocolate one (we had a trio so there was something for everyone!)

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We tried to keep in mind that we wanted to create a fantastic atmosphere and celebration and that was what guests would remember, not whether or not you had favours. I also highly recommend having a calm and collected partner who will reason with you when you get stressed out about the small stuff. I couldn’t have gotten through it without Josh! 

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SOPHIE & JOSH’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK

Photography – Amanda Ward Photography
Videography – Galaxy Video
Toastmaster – Toastmaster Jango
Chuppah – The Happy Chuppah People
Venue – Maiden’s Barn
Bride’s dress – David’s Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Paradox
Bride’s accessories – David’s Bridal
Earrings – Ever Thine Co 
Hair Pins – RW Wedding Designs
Bracelet – Beaverbrooks
Groom’s attire – Moss Bros, Stephen Williams,
Suit Alterations – Tony Phillips
Bridesmaids – Coast,  Silk FredHouse of Fraser
Hair + Makeup – Lyndsay KeenGal Farkash
Flowers – Ramels
Quartet – Mark Adelman & Stewart Curtis, Jazz Dynamos
Evening entertainment – SupaTight
Catering – Host
Stationery/Invitation – Dennis Adelman
Rabbi – Guy Hall
Ring box – Pink Positive Shop


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.

The post A David’s Bride for a Colorful Jewish Wedding with Handmade Touches at Maiden’s Barn, Chelmsford, UK appeared first on Smashing the Glass | Jewish Wedding Blog.

A David’s Bride for a Colorful Jewish Wedding with Handmade Touches at Maiden’s Barn, Chelmsford, UK