A Pronovias Bride for an Elegant Pandemic Jewish Wedding at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, Paris, France
We’re absolutely obsessed with the uber-chic Jewish wedding of Parisian couple Lauren, a resident in medical oncology, and Eitan, a dental surgeon. These two planned such a perfectly elegant celebration in the luxe ballroom of the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, if not for the masks in their photos we’d never have guessed they wed during the pandemic.
Though the pair did have to postpone from July to September, they were fortunate in being able to stick with their original venue – at the time of their wedding, France’s only restrictions on gatherings were that masks and social distancing were required, and by cutting their original guest list in half Lauren and Eitan were able to make the Intercontinental’s ballroom work by spacing tables far apart and keeping the crowd at 1/3 the space’s full capacity. And we’re so glad they did, because this venue is really something special – don’t miss it in all its glory in Sprod Events’ gorgeous photos!
Because of the need for social distancing, not much dancing was possible – and so Lauren and Eitan had the clever idea to have a light show to keep everyone entertained! We also can’t get over the fact that their venue hired a security guard to walk around and make sure all the guests were wearing their masks properly throughout the wedding – and Lauren reports that to this day, guests are still joking about the “Mossad agent” they had at their wedding!
We can’t turn you over to Lauren without mentioning that she is a beloved member of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club, and we’re so touched to hear how much she valued the group during her wedding planning – so much so that, in her words, “joining the club is my first advice to other brides!”
Take it away, Lauren!
How we Met
Lauren, the bride: We met through mutual friends, during a Birthright trip to Israel in summer 2015.
I did this trip with my best friend, who brought her sister, and the sister brought some of her friends. One of them was Eitan. We got to know each other during the trip, then we kept in touch, and became good friends. Two months and a half later we were finally dating. 4 years later we were engaged, and 11 months later, we are married !
Venue and wedding plans
We got married in the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand. It’s a beautiful palace of Paris near the Opera Garnier, and we fell in love with the big ballroom with the high ceiling.
When I saw this ballrom, I knew I wanted to have our huppah and our party in it. It took a lot of organization to pull this off, because the ballroom had to be ready early for the huppah, with the band hiding behind and no table showing, then the guests would be invited to a cocktail hour in another room, to let the staff take off the huppah and place all the tables.
With the pandemic, we postponed from July to September but we decided to keep the same venue, and to cut our guest lists by more than half. The hotel was still closed because of the pandemic, but they still let us use the ballroom.
In France at the time, there were no restrictions on parties as long as we were able to keep our distance and wear a mask, so we were really lucky compared to other countries. We were able to follow our original plan, and we filled 1/3 of the total capacity of the ballroom. That way tables were far from one another, and we kept family who live together seated at the same table.
To be sure everyone kept their mask on, the venue hired a security guard, who spent his night walking around the tables and on the dancefloor to ask everyone to put their mask on if they had put it down. He was very impressive, and he scared people a bit because it seemed he was everywhere and saw everyone. Guests are still talking about him and joking about the Mossad agent we had at our wedding, it’s the one thing that wasn’t planned and they remember it the most !
What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us
I was following STG on Instagram far before getting engaged, and becoming a member of Brides Club was one of the first thing I did after my engagement. I was looking for ideas, inspirations, support and community, and that’s exactly what I found. In such difficult times with the pandemic, having other members living through the same things was very helpful. I found tips on budget, on guest lists, on wedding planning, the ressources are the greatest you can find online. On the FB group you always find someone to help you, to give you advice, to cheer you up ! Brides Club was clearly one of my favorite part of wedding planning and joining the club is my first advice to other brides !
We were supposed to have beautiful stationery, but when the pandemic happened we didn’t want to commit to paper invitations anymore, because there was always the risk that we would have to postpone and change everything.
So we used Greenvelope to send digital invitations and it was great. It was not expensive, and we found a design that we loved (it was a white agate slice with gold and pink details), it was animated with a song that we chose when the envelope opens. Plus, we could track directly the RSVPs, send people emails regarding change of plans/covid restrictions, and make our table plans.
Hair + Makeup
I was pretty scared about that part because I wanted to feel very natural and normal, and I couldn’t do any trial because of the pandemic, so I had to decide from pictures on instagram. I couldn’t choose, I changed my mind every day, until one month before the wedding I found one hair and make up artist I haven’t seen before, Shirley Samama : I called her, and it just clicked over the phone.
I wanted a low small bun like a ballerina, very simple and chic, and very natural glowy makeup. I had a hairpiece that was supposed to be a headband, but it felt wrong when we put it on my head, so my hairstylist cut it onto pieces and put some little pieces around my bun.
I loved my look because it was totally me, I looked like my best self, and it was very confortable, it didn’t move until the morning after (I kept my hair and makeup for the night because we went for a photo shoot the morning after !)
A Pronovias Dress
My dress is a Pronovias gown but I changed things up a little… I always dreamed about a ballgown, but when I tried the sirene gown I fell in love with the way I looked in it. So as I didn’t want to decide between the sirene and the ballgown, I chose the sirene gown, and I bought a big skirt that normally you can buy with a separate top to make your own gown, and I put this skirt over the sirene dress for the ceremony and first part of the night. So it was two dresses in one !
I had a veil from Pronovias with pieces of lace which was perfect with my dress.
I wanted to add sleeves on my dress for the ceremony, and I found something perfect on Etsy – removable sleeves ! The color was the exact same white as my dress, and they didn’t slip at all during my trials, and were beautiful with my dress. But the minute I walked in the altar with my father, one sleeve got stuck between his arm and mine, and it slipped… But anyway I think if I had paid more attention, they would have been great, the other one stayed perfectly in place.
I wore very simple plain white sandal heels, but I changed the heels to white and gold Adidas Stansmith for the dancing ! My husband too wanted to change his shoes for sneakers but he didn’t have a nice confortable pair, so he decided last minute to borrow his brother’s sneakers which happened to be black and white Stansmith, so we wore the same shoes !
The handsome groom
He chose his suit with his parents, 9 months before the wedding, in Israel where his parents live. I didn’t see it until the big day. It was a black tuxedo with a bow tie, and the collar was in black velvet, he looked chic and classy, in one word, perfect.
We didn’t have a first look beforehand, because since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the moment when I would walk down the aisle with my father, and have my first look at this moment, and meet my husband halfway so he could put my veil on.
So that’s exactly what we did, and it was more perfect than I ever imagined, as my husband told me beautiful and funny things before putting my veil over my face, and I will remember this moment forever. It was the most intense moment of my life so far, and the one I enjoyed the most from our ceremony.
Our Music Choice
We had an amazing singer from our band to sing during thehHuppah, and he brought everyone to tears with his voice. For the processionnal, my husband and his mother, then our family walked in to ‘Lekol Ekhad’, by Lior Narkis. I walked in to ‘Boi Kala’, Hallelujah version. During the huppah, he sang ‘Ein od Milevado’.
We had our first dance to our song, it’s not a very famous song and nobody knew it at the wedding, so we were in our own little world dancing to it alone on the dancefloor. Perfect moment that I will remember forever. At the end of the night, we asked our band to play 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s songs that everybody knows, even if they are very cliché, and everybody was happy, singing and all, it was one of the best part, so much fun !!
My florist, Jardin d’Ambre, made my bouquet and table center, and the huppah decor.
I wanted only white flowers and a lot of green leaves, something unstructured, not too neat, with a lot of falling leaves. I wanted something romantic, but not too bling as the ballroom itself is already incredible. For my bouquet, I wanted the same style with a touch of pink flowers, and white ribbons falling out of the bouquet.
Photographer and videographer
We chose our photographer, Sprod Events, who was also our videographer, because we heard about him from family members. He lives in Israel and works between France and Israel. We had him at our civil wedding too, and did two shoots with us – one after the civil wedding and the other one the morning after the religious wedding.
We didn’t want classic photos, we didn’t want to be stopped every minute to strike a pose, so we asked him to just follow us and go with the flow, to have very natural pictures. We are so pleased by the results, some pictures look like they came from a magazine, and they are very lively !
We don’t have the video yet but we can’t wait !
Food and Cake
Our caterer, Daliah Reception, was the only kosher caterer allowed in this hotel. For the cocktail, we had different styles like sushis, foie gras, kosher caviar, falafel, some toasts… For the dinner we had seabass with vegetables for the first course, and tournedos Rossini with mashed potatoes for the second course.
For the cake we chose a croquembouche with flowers on and under it for decoration.
We had an amazing band, Dreamers Band, with different instruments and singers, and even though it was not a normal wedding, with few people dancing, they managed to set the mood and people stayed until very late ! Even if people weren’t dancing a lot due to Covid, they were enjoying it like a show or a concert !
As we knew people wouldn’t be dancing a lot, we decided to have a projection mapping light show, organized by the band and the venue. So at the beginning of the party and dinner, before our entrance, they saw a five-minute light show on the walls and ceiling, and then during the whole night they kept doing some lights shows on the wall. It was our way of keeping people entertained even if we knew the atmosphere would not be the same as a normal wedding. I don’t have any professionnal footage yet, but it was very impressive !
We had mini succulents in a little zinc flower pot. I wrote our names on stickers and some words like « let love grow » or similar things in French. Every week I receive a picture of one of our guests showing us their succulent.
We decided to put love quotes from different movies as names on the table instead of numbers ! Giving names instead of numbers to tables is quite common in France, and we always wanted that. We used quotes from Gossip Girl, Casablanca, Moulin Rouge, Game of Thrones, The Notebook, which was written on a picture from the movie, hanging on the table.
It was nice and it was very « us », as we both love movies and series, and I’m the kind of girl who write every beautiful quote I find in a little notebook.
Our honeymoon was supposed to be on the Amalfi Coast, but is postponed until further notice because of the pandemic…
Anyway, as we were supposed to have a room at the Intercontinental for the wedding night (it was on the caterer package), and they decided to stay closed, the caterer booked us a room in a different hotel 400 meters away from the Intercontinental, called the Hotel Indigo Paris : If one day you go to Paris for holidays, this hotel is in a perfect location and the room was very beautiful, we had a giant room where I got ready the day of the wedding, with a beautiful view on the Eiffel Tower. So it was our Mini-mini moon
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
I know how difficult it is right now to plan with so much uncertainty due to the pandemic. I won’t tell you to stress less, because I was the worst. We changed plans every other week with the new information and restrictions in France, and even a few days before the wedding we weren’t sure we could get married. So my advice is to keep in your head your own wedding essentials. We had a plan B, C, D… with those essentials always there.
As everyone is saying, time flies on the day itself, so really try to enjoy every minute : Put your phone down when you get ready, put great music on, and just breathe and look at the people around you and feel all their love.
With your vendors, always trust your gut, and if you hesitate between two vendors, choose the one who makes you the most comfortable : You will talk a lot with these people, you will see them a lot, and you will spend one of your most beautiful days with them, so choose people with good vibes. Some vendors are more difficult than others, and always keep that in mind when you choose, it does count.
If what they do is great but you don’t get along very well, then choose someone else, because with the stress growing it can be very difficult sometimes when you’re not on the same page from the beginning, or you don’t feel comfortable saying what you think.
Tell them what you like and dislike, even if you look crazy because you want to control everything, at the end if these things are important to you, you will be happy you spoke up.
LAUREN & EITAN’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography and Videography – Sprod Events
Venue – Intercontinental Paris Le Grand
Bride’s dress – Pronovias
Bride’s shoes – Adidas
Bride’s accessories – Etsy
Hair + Makeup – Shirley Samama
Flowers – Jardin d’Ambre
Band – Dreamers Band
Catering and Cake – Daliah Reception
Stationery – Greenvelope
Wedding favors – Arree Succulentes
Mini-moon in Paris – Hotel Indigo Paris
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.