A Romona Keveza Bride for an Elegant Jewish Pandemic Wedding at the South Congress Hotel, Austin, Texas, USA

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA

We could not be any more delighted to be sharing the gorgeous Jewish wedding of Smashing The Glass Brides Club member Maiya, the executive director of Texas Hillel, and Jerry, a physician in the US Army and a fellow in gastroenterology in San Antonio.

These two firmed up their plans for a wedding showcasing Austin at its finest in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit the US. Even as the situation worsened, they were always clear that they wanted to wed on their original December 2020 date, at their original venue, the South Congress Hotel in Austin, TX.

In the end, while Maiya and Jerry did have to drastically scale down their in-person guest list, they were still able to throw a celebration that was nothing less than fabulous. We’re obsessed with their exquisite Ruth Becker ketubah, purchased from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Ketubah.com, and TwoFish Weddings’s luminous photos are positively magical.

Maiya and Jerry also set up a livestream for their family and friends who couldn’t be there in person, and over 150 ended up tuning in. We love that the week prior to the wedding, the couple mailed boxes filled with wedding goodies, including baked goods from the venue, favors, and personal notes, to their long-distance VIPs – what a fun way to make virtual guests feel a part of the action!

Now over to the bride, who looked super chic in Romona New York

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
How we Met

Maiya, the bride: We met in 2018 in San Antonio at the Historic Pearl.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
An Austin Wedding

We got married at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, TX. We got engaged in mid-January 2020 and finalized our venue about a month later – so before COVID shut down the world and we knew how much of a factor it would be in our wedding plans. We chose to get married in Austin for a few reasons – practically, it made planning easier since we live in Texas, and Austin is an incredibly fun city that we knew our family and friends would love to explore and experience. When we started looking at venues, we knew we wanted a place with a ton of character that felt unique to Austin – we wanted it to be unlike anything you might find in another city. Since our wedding was going to be Saturday night, after Shabbat, we wanted to be convenient to downtown.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
We loved South Congress Hotel right away. It is situated on South Congress Avenue, one of Austin’s landmark streets filled with great shops, music venues, and restaurants. The boutique hotel has a very local feel and gave the fun, festive vibe we were looking for. We frequent the neighbourhood and the bar and restaurants at the hotel often, so it felt very comfortable to host our wedding there. When we began planning, we anticipated a number of family and friends traveling from out of town. We both grew up in other parts of the country and have close relatives and friends scattered throughout the United States, in Israel, and England.

Once the pandemic reared its head in the US in the Spring, we waited a bit to see how it would develop, since our wedding was scheduled for mid-December. We were committed to getting married on our original date but understood that we might need to drastically change what the wedding looked like in order to keep it safe.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Eventually, we elected to host our wedding with a much smaller in-person crowd than initially planned, comprised mostly of our immediate family and local friends who could attend safely. We worked with our lighting designer to set up a livestream, and over 150 people tuned in from around the US and the world. The week prior to the wedding, we mailed boxes filled with wedding goodies, including baked goods from our venue, favors, and personal notes, to close family and friends who could not attend in person. We were sad to be missing so many of our nearest and dearest, but we were glad to provide some joy in such a dark time, and happy that we were able to get married.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
What ‘Smashing The Glass Brides Club’ Did For Us

Brides Club was an incredibly helpful venue to ask specific questions that other people or groups might not have the answer to. Particularly in the times of COVID, there were so many considerations that were unique to this time. I asked several questions of the group and received really helpful responses on topics ranging from invitation etiquette to chuppah design using our own tallitot, to technology questions in setting up our livestream with some of the unique elements of a Jewish ceremony.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
A Pearl of a Planner

One of the best decisions we made was to hire a planner – Pearl Events Austin, working with coordinator Lexie Perez. Pearl has an excellent reputation and they made the process a breeze. They helped us identify what our priorities were and how we wanted the wedding to look and feel. We got engaged on top of a glacier in Argentinian Patagonia, and we wove the visual image of the mountain range where the proposal took place into several parts of the wedding, such as the logo for printed items and GOBO light.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
We love climbing and having outdoor adventures together, and we wanted that to have a place in our wedding, even though it was black tie optional and at an urban hotel! We used a palette of navy blue, light blue, silver, and white for our florals, linens, signage and attire. Both Jerry and I feel very close to our college experience, and while we went to different schools (Jerry went to the Citadel and I went to Columbia), both of our schools have light blue as a color, so we wanted that to have a strong presence at the wedding.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Invitations / stationery

Our invitations were from Designers Fine Press and we worked with our friend Cindy Spechler, based in Dallas, to help us design them. We wanted to have both Hebrew and English text and have a classic, simple design that was festive and gave the feel of our Saturday night wedding. The beautiful silver stock on a black backing did just that. For other stationary needs, we worked with local Austin vendors Jen Krause Paper Co (personalized masks, hand painted calligraphy signs) and The Inviting Pear (programs, koozies, hand sanitizer favors, escort and place cards).

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Hair + Make-up

My curly hair is a feature that has always been a part of my personality and my look – so I felt strongly that I wanted my curls to show on my wedding day! I wanted my hair pulled back off my face, and our hairstylist (Terra Pierce from Adore Makeup Salon) was able to put together a look that let my curls keep their integrity and pulled my hair back. Our makeup artist (Shirley Cox from Adore Makeup Salon) was so good at listening to what each person wanted and helped enhance everyone’s natural features. It was such a fun experience!

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
A Romona Keveza Dress

My dress was Romona Keveza – from the Romona New York line – style RB014. I tried on several dresses with different styles, but when I put this one on – I just knew that the clean, classic lines were what I wanted. I didn’t want to take the dress off. The large, asymmetrical bow in the back added a fun detail – even though I’m not usually into bows, I loved what it added to the dress!

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Accessories

I kept my hair free of accessories and wore a fingertip veil for the bedeken and the ceremony designed by Promise Couture and purchased off Etsy! I kept my jewelry classic and simple – Kate Spade earrings and a Kendra Scott necklace – our venue is next door to the Kendra Scott flagship store in Austin. My mother wore a beautiful earring and necklace set that belonged to my grandmother. Our wedding rings were custom made by Gurinsky’s Jewelers in San Antonio and came from the original mold of a floral design Jerry’s parents used and created for their rings.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Shoes

My shoes were Badgley Mischka wedges in ivory with jeweled and beaded detail on the toe. Wedges meant I didn’t need to change shoes for the reception!

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
The handsome groom

Jerry wore his mess dress military uniform for the ceremony. The maroon color on the lapels is the official color of the Medical Corps. The uniform was ordered from Marlow White – it’s such a special form of dress and we knew it would add an appropriate amount of gravitas to the ceremony. For the reception, he changed into a white jacket tux from The Black Tux. The white jacket was fun and fit our venue – he looked like James Bond! He wore the Flintlock bowtie from Brackish Bowties, a Charleston-based company that specializes in unique feather bowties and jewelry. He gifted his groomsmen matching bowties, which they wore as well.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Bridesmaids

I had four bridesmaids, but due to COVID, three were unable to travel to the wedding in person but joined virtually and were a huge part of the pre-wedding celebrations and process. Jerry’s sister was our in-person bridesmaid and she wore a navy blue gown to fit our color palette.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Ceremony

Our officiating rabbi is a close friend and was one of my roommates at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Having someone who knew us personally officiate was very special, and she was able to weave in our stories so beautifully. She was sensitive and inclusive in her explanations and framing of the various parts of the ceremony, which was wonderful both for the group attending in-person and the many people (and their children) watching online.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
We used two kiddush cups that had relevance to our families – both came from our grandparents – for the ceremony. Our rabbi had us write letters to each other, and she wove them into her remarks so beautifully. Before the chuppah, we invited guests (online and in person) for Havdallah, ketubah signing, and the bedeken to begin the night. It was very intimate and special.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Ketubah

Our ketubah was designed by Ruth Becker and was purchased from Ketubah.com. It brought in the colors that we love. We worked with our rabbi to learn about and understand the text and used the egalitarian version accepted by the Conservative Movement that enabled us to exchange rings under the chuppah.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Chuppah

We both wanted our chuppah to feature our tallitot and symbolize our two lives merging together. The cover on the chuppah was Jerry’s tallit and my tallit, side-by-side. The floral accents enhanced the beauty of the chuppah, but we wanted to keep it simple and have our tallitot be the feature. Since our ceremony was well after sunset, the use of uplights illuminated the chuppah at each corner. Our ceremony took place outside, under a clear structure tent with string lights, which was magical.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Our Music Choice

We had a string quartet, Terra Vista Strings, for the ceremony and opted for a DJ at our reception. Our processional featured ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong, and I walked down the aisle to the classic Israeli folk song ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’. The strings used a mixture of contemporary, classical, and traditional Jewish melodies during the prelude and recessional. At the reception, our DJ was able to play a mix of the kinds of music we love, including country (we are in Texas, of course), Motown, Israeli pop hits, Latino music, and favorite dance songs from the 2000’s.

We had everything from Pitbull to Kenny Chesney to Omer Adam to Marvin Gaye! Our first dance was the Israel K. version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. We had a private last dance to Pat Green’s ‘Wave on Wave’ which was really special.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Flowers

Bouquets of Austin was our local florist and they were a dream to work with. The bridal and bridesmaids bouquets featured white florals with pops of blue, including white roses, anemones, eryngium blue bell, miniature calla lillies. Groomsmen wore boutonnieres featuring ranunculas in classic white, and Jerry’s boutonniere had an anemone with the dark blue in the center. Our tables featured a couple different styles, including a tall arrangement of calla lillies, and another arrangement with small vases of mono-botanical white floral arrangements mixed with floating candles.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
The head table used bridesmaids bouquets and clusters of candles. Our chuppah featured white florals with some greenery to enhance our blue and white tallitot. In general, with flowers, we wanted just the right amount to add beauty, but not to overwhelm the tables or the chuppah. Using candles added beautiful flickers of light around the room and illuminated the flowers.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Photographer and videographer

We worked with TwoFish Weddings, a wife-and-husband team based here in Austin, for both photography and videography. We loved their prior work, and from our first conversation with them, felt at ease and that they would help capture the essence of our wedding and be able to tell our story. They were able to capture details, candid photos with tons of emotion, and beautiful portraits. We did an engagement photo shoot at a local brewery and farm in May, which helped us get to know Jamie, our photographer, so by the time we saw her at the wedding it felt like we were seeing an old friend!

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Food and Cake

South Congress Hotel  catered our reception and baked our amazing cake! Food was an important element for us since we love cooking and hosting people. Café No Se, one of the hotel’s in-house restaurants, features food with great flavors and lots of fresh ingredients. Some favorites from the night were Parmesan tuiles with whipped goat cheese and grapefruit, brandade fritters, grilled salmon with quinoa, and a mocha custard with whiskey and bananas.

We worked with their beverage team to add a special Argentinan malbec with emotional significance for us to the menu. The hotel’s pastry chef, Amanda Rockman, is amazing (she beat Bobby Flay on the show Beat Bobby Flay!), and designed a cake featuring three different flavors, one per tier.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Entertainment

Our DJ, DJ Gatsby, provided great music! We had lots of space for people to feel comfortable dancing with their partner or small group and keep social distance from others. We wanted people to be able to have a good time but keep it safe.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Favors

In true 2020 fashion, we gave our guests personalized masks that said “Mazel Tov!”, and mini hand sanitizer bottles with our wedding logo and the message “Spread Love, Not Germs”. We also gave out light blue koozies for people to take home as a keepsake.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Extra details

During our cocktail hour, we displayed a set of old family photos and invited our guests to sign a photo guestbook of some of our favorite photos together. Jerry’s siblings gave wonderful, funny toasts, and one of the bridesmaids who could not attend in person recorded a video toast which we were able to share via screen to our in-person guests. Being able to have the Zoom link, and subsequently receiving screenshots and texts from people all over the world who were able to tune in, was very special and made us feel that all of the people who could not be there in person were a part of our celebration.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Honeymoon

We are waiting until the pandemic subsides before taking our honeymoon! We are very glad that we made the trip to Argentina, where we got engaged, when we did (January 2020) and did not delay it.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USAMaiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding

The experience of planning a wedding during COVID put perspective on what is important – the meaning of the ceremony, making the day special and significant, and starting your lives together. So many of the small details that could add stress just didn’t seem as important. Hiring a planner and working with her on where we really needed her help and what we could do on our own was huge.

As a couple, talk through what elements are most important to each of you and what your “deal breakers” are, and revisit those throughout the process. There are so many decisions to be made, and you have to decide which are worth sweating over and which don’t matter tthat much in the end.

Maiya and Jerry, South Congress Hotel, Texas, USA
MAIYA AND JERRY’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK

Photography – TwoFish Weddings 
Videography – TwoFish Weddings 
Ketubah – Ketubah.com {offers 10% discount to all members of Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club}
Wedding planner – Pearl Events Austin 
Venue – South Congress Hotel 
Bride’s dress – Romona New York
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Bride’s Accessories – Promise Couture via EtsyKate SpadeKendra Scott
Groom’s attire – The Black TuxMarlow White, Brackish Bowties 
Hair + Makeup – Adore Makeup Salon 
Flowers – Bouquets of Austin 
String Quartet – Terra Vista Strings  
DJ – DJ Gatsby 
Catering – South Congress Hotel 
Cake – South Congress Hotel 
Invitations – Designers Fine Press
On-the-day stationery – The Inviting PearJen Krause Paper Co 
Rabbi – Rabbi Gail Swedroe, Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, TX
Custom wedding bands – Gurinsky’s Jewelers


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 Romona Keveza Bride for an Elegant Jewish Pandemic Wedding at the South Congress Hotel, Austin, Texas, USA appeared first on Smashing the Glass | Jewish Wedding Blog.

A Romona Keveza Bride for an Elegant Jewish Pandemic Wedding at the South Congress Hotel, Austin, Texas, USA