Matthew and Laurie first realized they were perfect for each other on a group trip to Israel. The couple quickly found out that they shared a passion for Israel, and there couldn’t have been a better way to start a relationship than by being there together. A year and a half later, they were engaged and making plans for this stunning traditional Jewish wedding at Temple Emanu-El of Closter, NJ. Photography by Brett Matthews Photography.
Even though Laurie is a Long Island girl, she fell in love with the beauty and ambiance of New Jersey’s Temple Emanu-El of Closter. The bride and groom were blown away by the sanctuary’s breathtaking stained glass dome, and its perfect blend of tradition and elegance. According to Laurie, “it was the first place we looked at and didn’t look much further after that.” Northern Valley Affairs, the temple’s exclusive caterer, matched the setting with exquisite kosher cuisine.
The bride sensed something magical in the air, since the wedding fell on the 5th night of Chanukah! Laurie and Matthew lit the menorah with all of their loved ones. Guests took home jelly donuts, in honor of Chanukah, with hot chocolate and apple cider.
Laurie and Matthew made sure to showcase their Jewish culture and customs throughout the day. They did not see each other for a full week before the wedding, so their first look was even more exciting. They had a traditional bedeken, which Laurie describes as the most fun part of the wedding! “Matt was marched in alongside my Dad and his Dad and everyone was singing and going nuts. I was ear to ear smiles and screaming along with the crowd. The best thing was seeing my introverted husband dance his way over to me and loving all the excitement.” They had a traditional ceremony where the bride circled her groom 7 times, “and balled my eyes out the entire time.”
The couple chose a chuppah with soft, sheer fabric. The delicate draping exuded romance and elegance.
Following the ceremony, heat lamps warmed up the already mild winter evening and welcomed guests to enjoy their cocktail hour on the patio. Demitasse cups filled with soups were perfect hors d’oeuvre for the occasion.
After the guests picked up their escort cards, they were treated to glasses of prosecco with frozen berries, and lemon & lime flavored sparkling water prepared by the in-house caterer, Northern Valley Affairs.
The party was high energy from the start, with this exciting hora played by Nafshenu Orchestra being one of the couple’s favorite moments. Laurie raved about how the live band and DJ kept their guests dancing and happy all night. The band’s repertoire of music included Jewish/simcha music, Israeli hits, classic rock as well as Top 40!
The only thing distracting guests from the dance floor was the delicious food beautifully presented by Northern Valley Affairs. Fish tartare in savory cones, and braised short rib sliders paired well with a flavored Vodka Ice Bar were a few of the guests’ favorites.
With all the dance floor’s excitement, Laurie was thrilled to have chosen these comfortable, custom made TOMS from Etsy. According to the bride, “I did not stop screaming and jumping all day and was laughing and going nuts. If you are that way everyone will be too! I think I looked like a mess after our long hora, but it didn’t matter because I was truly enjoying every second.”
What better cake to accompany a winter wonderland theme than this one? Elegantly frosted with a chocolate chip and tiramisu filling, a specialty of the caterer, this kosher wedding cake was the perfect ending to the couple’s fairytale day.
Venue: Temple Emanu-El of Closter, New Jersey
Caterer: Northern Valley Affairs
Photographer: Brett Matthews Photography
Florist: Atlas Floral
Chuppah Singer: Yonatan Shlagbaum
Band: Nafshenu Orchestra
Invitations: Party Panache