Venue: Brazilian Room
Caterer: Deborah Joost
Florist: Sheela Meskin
Cake: Torino Bakery
DJ: The All-Stars
Transportation: Michael’s Transportation
Ariel and Ira met on a very hot day at the Oakland A’s game. Ariel’s friend had invited Ariel to come meet the new, cool Temple Isaiah Youth Director, and Ariel decided to join along with her friend and little sister, Maia.
They met up beforehand at Ira’s apartment, where upon entering, Ariel felt instantly at home. She felt so comfortable in fact, she asked Ira if she could use his face wash to wash her face and asked if she could check out his refrigerator for snacks! Ariel and Ira immediately hit it off, and Ira knew he had to see Ariel again!
Ira asked Ariel to join him at the drive-in movie theatre to see the summer blockbuster, Cars 2 (although it is important to note that neither one of them had seen Cars the original). From there, Ariel and Ira continued to go on a lot more dates. From dinners at La Mediterranee, to hikes in Tilden; from afternoons spent in Napa, to youth group events all over the Bay Area, Ariel and Ira continued to share many wonderful memories together. And the rest is history!
It was December 30, at 4am. Ira couldn’t sleep, and therefore, when you share a double bed, neither could Ariel. They spent about 30 minutes talking, snapchatted Maia (not knowing this would be the last photo of the them as an unengaged couple!), and although Ira was clearly nervous about something, they eventually both fell back asleep smiling.
When Ariel woke up, Ira was already awake – this never happens. Ariel could sense that Ira was still stressed, and offered to go get food to make breakfast. Ariel thought it was odd that Ira asked her to go to Berkeley Bowl (the grocery store that is 20 minutes away) instead of Trader Joes (the grocery store that is 5 minutes away). But, being the wonderful girlfriend Ariel is, she did what Ira asked. When Ariel got back home, Ira opened the door, took the groceries out of her hands, and led Ariel into the apartment. There were flowers leading into the kitchen, which stopped at our coffee table. There were dozens more roses on the table, as well candles and pictures of Ariel and Ira from over the years. Ira got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked Ariel to marry him. Of course, Ariel started crying (happy tears!) and said yes!
We wanted our wedding to be have both a romantic and natural feel to it. We both love outdoors, and spent many of our first dates exploring the many Bay Area parks. After we got engaged, it seemed to be a no brainer that we would get married at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Going with the nature theme of our wedding, we wanted to incorporate blues and greens and whites into our wedding. Our chuppah, built by Ariel’s uncle, was built with beautiful birch poles, and decorated with eucalypts leaves, making it the perfect addition to the trees and mountains in the backdrop. To add a romantic feel, the bouquets had touches of blush pink. We also added touches of gold throughout the decoration, adding to the romantic vibe. We wanted simple, but beautiful decorations at our wedding. Our families are big parts of both of our lives, and we wanted to incorporate them as much as we could into our wedding. We had photos of our parents and grandparents in frames next to our wedding cake and we incorporated our family members into most of the elements of our Jewish wedding. The most special moment for us was hearing family members share personal blessings for us on our wedding day.
I wanted my outfit to incorporate the four traditional elements of a wedding. My something new was my dress. I fell in love with the first dress I tried on. I knew I wanted something ivory, but never thought I’d end up buying a strapless dress. I wanted something with lace – similar to my mom’s wedding dress. Her dress was beautiful, but wasn’t quite the style I was looking for. However, I wore her veil which was a huge honor for me, as I was her first daughter (of 3) to get married. Since I have 2 sisters who also want to wear the veil, the veil was my something borrowed. The veil was mantilla style, and the lace on the veil matched perfectly with the lace of my dress. I wore simple aquamarine teardrop earrings as my something blue (the stone also happens to be my birthstone), and a white opal necklace that my mother-in-law received as a gift from her mother-in-law as my something old. My husband wore a grey suit, as did his groomsmen. Since blue was a prominent color in our wedding theme, we chose blue Joanna August bridesmaid dresses and blue bowties for the groomsmen. To make Ira stand out, he got a fabulous bow-tie from J.Crew that was navy blue with small white polka dots and blue suspenders.
We both don’t have much experience with flowers, but we love succulents. We knew that we wanted that to be a prominent plant in all of our florals. Our florist, Sarah’s Garden, did an excellent job of bringing together beautiful florals in green, whites, pinks, and blushes. My bouquet was decorated with my late paternal grandmother’s brooch. We wanted flowers that would keep with our natural theme – since we were getting married in a park, we chose to incorporate lots of greens and whites.
We chose Tilden Park because that is where our relationship began. We spent so many days wandering the trails, talking and eating, getting to know each other in that park. One perk of being engaged for 18 months, is that you can secure any wedding venue you want. The natural backdrop of the Brazilian Room is gorgeous. It overlooks the Berkeley hills – and on a clear day, there is a beautiful contrast of blue sky behind plush, green trees. We lucked out and got married on one of those beautiful summer Berkeley days! My uncle built our chuppah out of birch poles, and the chuppah was covered with a tablecloth from my grandmother. We both come from big families, with a lot of tradtions, so it was important to incorporate different elements of our family into the ceremony. The aisles were modestly decorated with a few buckets of flowers on the chairs – we let the natural setting take center stage in terms of decorating. We had a Jewish wedding ceremony, which included a ketubah signing, traditional circling, the seven blessings, and breaking of the glass. Ira and I bought our Ketubah in Israel (where we lived for the past year). We incorporated kiddush cups from both of our families for the blessing of the wine. We invited family members to come up and share personal blessings for us on the day of our wedding which was very special. I walked down the aisle to a traditional Israeli song, Jerusalem Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold), and we recessed to Siman Tov – a classic celebratory Jewish song. We created a program that explained why we participated in the Jewish traditions we did – I think that made for fun reading material before the wedding, and taught our guests a little bit about why we do what we do at Jewish weddings.
It is a family tradition to write a song for all big family events – so my aunts, cousins, and sisters wrote a song for our wedding. Hearing that song was SO much fun! We had a photobooth, which I wish I got to take advantage of more. Centerpieces were flowers, surrounded by votive and floating candles. We wanted to make sure our guests were well entertained, fed, and had enough to drink – so, we put most of our energy into an amazing caterer (Trumpetvine) and an amazing band (KJ and Allstars). By the time the night was over, almost everyone was still dancing and begging for a few more songs.
Our cake was simple, but delicious. After tasting 13 DELICIOUS cakes at Torino Bakery, we were sold. We couldn’t decide on just one flavor, but were able to settle on two – mint chocolate chip and raspberry creme. The cake was simply decorated with white buttercream frosting and decorating with a few succulents. It was displayed on a table with pictures of our parents at their weddings, as well as photos of our grandparents. It was a nice way for us to honor the families at the reception. The stationary, in keeping with our naturally romantic theme, was simple – an ivory invitation with a green olive branch at the top. We chose wording that was fun and light – words that reflected us as a couple. Our favors (which doubled as place cards) were mini potted succulents. My grandmother spent 3 hours potting all of the succulents a few weeks before my wedding. With lots of love and water, by the time our wedding day arrived, the succulents were fully bloomed.
We are kind and patient with each other. We want each other to succeed in all that we set out to do and we are each other’s support system. We plan time during the week to spend quality time together, as a way to escape the business of both of our lives. We want to build a home and a family based around love, support, and kindness. A wedding isn’t the end of the process, it’s just the beginning.