Ashleigh Levison, 24, married Daniel Wiseman, 27, at Blake Hall in Ongar, Essex, on 24th June 2018. She says:
We decided to keep our ceremony as traditional as possible with most of the service delivered in Hebrew. We knew keeping tradition would make our grandparents happy and that they'd feel even more pride watching us marry! However, Daniel and I simultaneously wanted to incorporate unique elements that would reflect us as a couple and keep things contemporary.
Music was an important feature throughout the day – and a way to incorporate our Jewish heritage into our current musical tastes. We hired XS Showband, who helped curate every musical note from start to finish! During the ceremony, we had a saxophonist playing on the mezzanine as guests entered. We also had two singers, one male and one female, performing. Both of them stood right beside the chuppah, beneath which we married, which meant that our guests were able to clearly see them and listen. As our bridesmaids entered, one of our singers sang A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, but in Hebrew. As I walked down the aisle, the male singer performed John Legend's All of Me in Hebrew. Both pieces were so heartfelt and beautiful. I think that, even though our guests recognised the songs, because they were in Hebrew, they were more able to appreciate the moment without getting distracted by the lyrics. All of the prayers were sung in Hebrew, of course, and the final one, Im Eshkahech Yershalayim, brought a tear to my eye just before we smashed the glass.
XS's two evening sets were just as brilliant! We had three singers (two male and one female) performing alongside a five-piece band. The first set included our beautiful first dance. The second set was orchestrated for a lot of traditional Israeli dancing, of course! The band was amazing at getting everyone on their feet around the tables and singing along to all the classics we'd chosen.
I really struggled to find the perfect wedding dress, as I’m quite curvy with boobs and a bum. When I first started looking, I couldn’t find a ‘classic’ lace wedding dress that didn’t swamp or make me look too mature. Then I came across my Tarik Ediz gown and instantly fell in love. It was exactly what I was looking for with its low back and fishtail shape in plain fabric. But, from the waist up, it was ornate and delicately detailed. Just the touch of embellishment I was looking for. I knew from the moment I tried it (four sizes too small!) that it would be perfect.
My bridesmaids' outfits were just as tricky to choose. So many bridesmaid styles are made from synthetic, uncomfortable fabric but it was really important that my bridal party would look and feel their best, too. After a long search I came across an elegant powder-pink dress from Ted Baker. It suited all of their skin tones and body shapes and they said they felt super comfortable wearing them throughout the day.
Even though it was a summer wedding, I didn’t want to just feature pastel colours. I imagined a boldness in our day's palette, particularly for my bouquet, which I wanted to stand out against the white of my dress. We chose a combination of creams, peaches and blushes with deep burgundy and fuchsia tones. Sally Murray at Halo Blossom created incredible arrangements for everything – from the buttonholes to the wedding cake. Sally used Vendela, White O'Hara, Menta, Quicksand, Amnesia and Blueberry roses, as well as miniature ivory, blush and marsala spray roses. Astrantia, peonies, hydrangeas and dahlias in the same colours were incorporated into various displays. Huge burgundy and blush protea decorated the chuppah at our ceremony. There were so many varieties of flowers (and foliage), I can hardly list them all! We also matched our stationery to this. I already knew that flowers were going to be a bold statement on my wedding day, so wanted everything else to be floral and colourful. Nicole Donaldson at Marry Me by Amoretti helped us design the perfect motifs.
Photographs by Andy Bennett