Jewish Destination Weddings / Jewish Rustic Weddings

Sara & Elliot | Scottish Castle Jewish Wedding, Dundas Castle, Edinburgh

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In today’s castle weekend wedding we have bagpipe players, custom made Gina shoes, a seriously breathtaking castle venue, and the best favours / name plates I have ever seen: personalised tubes of chocolate Rolos with each guests’ name on them. I’d have loved one of those!

For this wedding, I’m thrilled to welcome photographer extraodinaire, Claudine Hartzel, to Smashing The Glass whose wonderful images capture the occasion perfectly. Happy Monday all, I know you’re going to enjoy this one.
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VENUE
Sara, the Bride: We didn’t want a typical “Jewish Wedding” as we both aren’t religious. We wanted something different and also wanted to try and make a weekend of it. We didn’t wanted to get married in London and had gone to Edinburgh for Hogmanay in 2009 and loved it there. I started to research castles and stately homes to get married in in Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.
Dundas Castle in Edinburgh was the first venue that appeared in my search and nothing else came close to it. When we visited it, we both fell in love with the Castle and not just because everyone who worked there was incredible and couldn’t do enough to help, which made organising a wedding quite far from where you live hardly stressful at all!
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CEREMONY Our Rabbi had us facing the guests during the whole ceremony which was lovely albeit a bit scary! We didn’t know he was going to do this and had he suggested this beforehand, I probably would have said no, but in the end it was a very special touch. We wanted our wedding to be really modern and not be long and bore anyone but also have some traditional touches like me walking around Elliot seven times (with the giggles!).

For me, my favourite part of the ceremony was the badeken as it was so personal and emotional. Also our Rabbi was amazing with his brilliant sense of humour, his personality and the most incredible voice you have ever heard. I don’t think there was a dry eye whilst he sang.
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CHUPPAH
I looked at so many chuppahs online and tried to find companies where we could hire them in London to get to Edinburgh but it turned out to be quite tricky to sort out. Our florist Gemma, from Planet Flowers, was a life saver, not just with the flowers but also with the chuppah and many other things. With the help of our Rabbi, we managed to borrow the frame of a chuppah from Edinburgh Synagogue and Gemma designed the chuppah for us with a couple of ideas thrown in by us. It was only the second time she had created a chuppah and it was stunning.
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DRESS My dress was from the amazing Suzanne Neville. It was a one off. I tried on a dress in there and liked it but wanted different things to be done with it. Katherine (Suzanne’s incredible PA) told me that Suzanne was able to design and create a dress for me from scratch. I met with Suzanne and explained what I wanted and within 10 minutes she had sketched out my dream dress.. ‘the one’! I wasn’t sure what type of dress I wanted when I first started looking, but once I had been to Suzanne I knew exactly what I wanted.
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ACCESSORIES
I didn’t really want to wear any jewellery but was ‘ordered’(!) by my mum that I had to wear at least drop earrings. I chose some beautiful drop earrings from Carat that were a simply classic drop “diamond like”. I also knew that I wasn’t wearing my hair up and wasn’t keeping my veil on but had to have something on my hair. I had six beautiful diamante hair pins to hold my braid (going around the front of my hair) that I bought from ChezBec.
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SHOES
My beautiful bespoke shoes were from Gina. They were a 4inch closed in heel. Since the colour I needed didn’t come in their bridal range I had to order them and in doing this I was able to cover the shoes in beautiful Swarovski crystals.
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HAIR + MAKE-UP
My hair was done by Karen Bowen and my make-up was done by Jodie Thomson who are both based in Scotland and were recommended to me by Dundas Castle. As I don’t live in Scotland I had to have my trials two days before the wedding. Beforehand, I had gone to Selfridges and had a makeover at Bobbi Brown so I knew I wanted to go for a natural look with smoky eyes and I also knew I wanted my hair down. I wanted to look like me. When I had my trials (both at the same time), it was so good to see the hair and make-up together before the actual day. Both Karen and Jodie were excellent, not just with me but with the maid of honour and also the bridesmaids and flower girl.
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FLOWERS
We chose dark red roses (the bacarra rose). Especially with it being an autumn wedding and in a castle, we wanted warm colours and also for the flowers to have a romantic feel. We met with Gemma at Planet Flowers who, again, was incredible. A total calmer. Her guidance and knowledge were immense, not only with the flowers but also when it came to the lighting and all sorts of other details. Gemma even created a chuppah for us from scratch even though she had never done this before. She was amazing all round and definitely my calmer!!
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THE DAPPER GROOM, GORGEOUS BRIDESMAIDS, FLOWER GIRLS AND PAGE BOYS
We were lucky as Elliot’s dad has a suit hire shop so Elliot, the fathers, best men and ushers were all kitted out in morning suits and changed after the ceremony in to black tie. All the men except Elliot had gold cravats – Elliot had the deep red which tied in with our colour scheme. The bridesmaids and flower girls were dressed in beautiful dresses from ilovegorgeous. They were very romantic looking and apt for a Castle. I was able to get ribbon that matched our colour scheme (deep red and gold) to use as a sash around the dresses. The little pageboys were dressed in adorable two piece silk trousers and shirts from Little Bevan who specialise in mini luxe childrenswear for special occasions. Little Bevan were able to source for me the same rich deep red for sashes for the page boy outfits. My gorgeous maid of honour wore a deep red long chiffon dress from Dessy. Again, it was a romantic style dress.
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PHOTOGRAPHER
I had one of my oldest and dearest friends (Claudine Hartzel) as my photographer. There was no choice at all who to have and I wouldn’t have had anyone else. She is incredible and also made it a lot easier for me to relax. Also, having one of my oldest and dearest friends as my photographer eased the nerves and she didn’t stop for the whole weekend! She was a total star and went beyond the call of duty!!
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CAKE
Our cake was from 3D Cake in Edinburgh. The original cake that we wanted was very modern but since our wedding was very romantic and in a castle, we decided for a different style cake. In the end we went with a 6 tier round cake in ivory. We were going to have fresh flowers on the cake but we decided to have them made and 3D were able to make replicas of the Black Bacara Rose which were used. We had two tiers of carrot cake, two tiers of chocolate mint and two tiers of Victoria jam sponge.
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MUSIC
We were always going to have a live band but we couldn’t decide who to have. We looked at many bands but decided that this wasn’t us and that we wanted something different and we ended up finding a Scottish band called Ernest. They are a three piece group who were incredible. We went to Glasgow to see them showcase and knew that we had to have them. What also sold them to us was that they were able to do two Jewish songs. Not having a very traditional Jewish wedding, we did want to incorporate the best parts of a Jewish Wedding and that included the songs, the hora dancing.

SCOTTISH CASTLE JEWISH WEDDING 14FIRST DANCE Our first dance was “I cant help falling in love with you”. We both love U2 and our first choice was to have ‘one’, but the more we listened to the words, the more we thought they weren’t very apt. One day were were watching, of all programmes, XFactor when “I can’t help falling in love with you” came on. At the same time we both said how much we loved that song, how it was our favourite Elvis Presley song and how perfect it was so that became our first dance song.
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FAVOURS We really wanted to do something different. One of the favours was antique gold little photo frames which we used as the table plan. We printed off each persons name and the table where they were sitting  and put them in reception for people to take before dinner. The other favour was used as the name plates on the table. We got rolo covers reprinted with peoples names on and then, one by one, unrolled the original Rolo cover for it to be replaced with the new covers with each name on.
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DECOR
As I mentioned above, Gemma at Planet Flowers was amazing and with three weeks to go before the wedding, we suddenly realised that we didn’t have any lighting in the main pavilion where the main part of the wedding was taking place. One of Gemma’s amazing ideas was to have spot lights on each table which highlighted the incredible flower displays. We spoke to Finix regarding the lighting and it was all sorted. Not only did everyone comment on how beautiful the flowers stood out (thanks to the spotlights), we also had fairy lights on the whole of the ceiling which made the room look incredibly magical.
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Everything looked amazing, from the flowers to the table linen and chair covers and ribbons to the lighting to the hair and make up to the incredible music also the string quartet we had. who played beautifully during the ceremony and reception, the most delicious food by Prestige, to our Rabbi who married us. Rabbi Roddel had the voice of an angel, the bagpiper and master of ceremonies Major Iain Grant, the amazing Claudine Harztel with her photography and not forgetting Dundas Castle and the team, whose precision throughout the whole weekend was second to none.

What made our wedding extra special, our family and friends who made the huge effort to travel up from the South!!
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ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Enjoy the planning, it’s only stressful if you allow it to be. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do, do what you want your way, otherwise you might look back and realise that you didn’t enjoy this one special and magical day.
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SARA + ELLIOT’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Venue – Dundas Castle
Photography – Claudine Hartzel
Florals – Planet Flowers
Bride’s dress – Suzanne Neville
Bride’s shoes – Gina
Bride’s accessories – Carat + ChezBec.
Hair & Makeup – Bowenthomson
Bridesmaids, Pageboys + Maid of Honour – lovegorgeous + Little Bevan + Dessy
Wedding cake – 3D Cake
Band – Ernest
String Quartet – Cairn String Quartet
Lighting – Finix
Event Design – 88 Events
Catering – Prestige Scotand

The detail and effort Sara went to is phenomenal. How about those custom made Gina’s?! And her dress is so elegantly stunning. I love all the Scottish scenery backdrops, the glorious November sunshine, the deep red roses, and the fun these two obviously had. What’s not to love? A super gorgeous day that is so true to who Sara and Elliot are… truly their day their way.


> VIEW MORE REAL JEWISH WEDDINGS ON SMASHING THE GLASS

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