Ilana and Josef’s unique downtown St. Pete wedding included a mix of cultures, the bride comes from an Israeli family and the groom comes from an Orthodox Jewish family.
“We had a traditional Orthodox Jewish ceremony, as we wanted to enter our marriage in the same way our parents, grandparents, and ancestors had. We wanted our guests to feel the magic and spiritual nature of a traditional ceremony so we created programs that explained the Jewish traditions and had the Rabbi explain what was happening as it was happening,” the bride explained. “We had 260 guests of all faiths, backgrounds, and beliefs present, which made this moment so special.”
The Tampa couple chose a timeless black and white color palette for their wedding day, which was on one of the most celebrated dates of the year.
“The fact that it was on New Year’s Eve made it unique and a very special experience for our guests. At midnight, we did a NYE countdown and confetti drop, and the St. Pete fireworks were visible from inside our venue!” the bride beamed. “Although we got married on NYE, I knew that I didn’t want the wedding to have a NYE theme. I wasn’t going to put clocks on the tables and start gluing glitter to champagne bottles. I wanted the wedding to look as if it could have been on any weekend, and I wanted it to be simple and elegant.”
To add to the glam of a New Year’s Eve wedding the added volume to hair through extensions and accented her features with a dramatic eye.
“I wanted to look like myself just a bit more formal. I didn’t want anything drastic,” Ilana explained. “Michele Renee The Studio was incredible! Many artists are good at making brides look good, but the women at Michele Renee are good at making you feel good too. I knew that the most important thing for me was to feel comfortable with the person who was going to be spending hours right next to me the morning of my wedding. Jessica was an angel that day. She made feel so at peace and beautiful.”
To capture the movement and sound from their multi-cultural wedding the bride and groom invested in a St. Pete wedding videographer who had an artistic “eye.”
“I hired Bonnie of Bonnie Newman Creative because I loved her work, and it was within my budget. Now that I’ve worked with her, I have so many more reasons!” the bride gushed. “She is so accommodating, professional, and kind. I would hire her again in a heartbeat, and I certainly recommend her to anyone looking for a videographer.”
Looking back, the ceremony stood out as one of Ilana’s most memorable moments.
“It felt so warm, spiritual, and peaceful. I was really blown away with how everything happened so smoothly and meaningfully. Our Rabbi even paused the ceremony at a certain point to allow time for everyone there to pray silently. It was the most beautiful moments of the entire wedding.” the bride reminisced.
What did you look for in a wedding videographer?
Someone who was going to take high-quality videos, had an eye for “it,” and wasn’t ridiculously priced. Every time I came across a videographer whose style I liked, I would get disappointed because their prices were insane…until I discovered Bonnie Newman Creative!
I Want to learn more about Videography from Bonnie Newman Creative
I hired Bonnie because I loved her work, and it was within my budget. Now that I’ve worked with her, I have so many more reasons! She is so accommodating, professional, and kind. I would hire her again in a heartbeat, and I certainly recommend her to anyone looking for a videographer.
In February, Josef told me we were going to meet his new boss for lunch at Ulele. When we arrived he received a text from his “boss” (his brother whose name he had changed in his phone) saying that he was running late. Josef suggested we walk down to the river while we wait, which I thought was a bit strange because Josef would never choose walking over sitting. As we reached the river, he got down on one knee and proposed. Within minutes his friends pulled up to the dock near Ulele on a boat and took us down the river, where we picked up my family. Even my brother had flown in from NY to be there! I was very impressed with the execution of his plan. It really was flawless.
How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Although we got married on New Year’s Eve, I knew from the start that I didn’t want the wedding to have a NYE theme. I wasn’t going to put clocks on the tables and start gluing glitter to champagne bottles. I wanted the wedding to look as if it could have been on any weekend, and I wanted it to be simple and elegant. I love black and white, they are basically the only two colors I wear, so picking a color palette was very easy for me. The entire wedding was black and ivory, which just a small hint of gold (the charger plates). I felt like that simplistic elegance would be timeless and represented my style.
What was your wedding beauty inspiration?
I wanted to look like myself just a bit more formal. I didn’t want anything drastic. I knew I wanted my hair down because I always wear it down, so to add a little excitement I got extensions. I knew I didn’t want heavy face makeup, but I was comfortable with more dramatic eyes.
I want to learn more about hair and makeup services from Michele Renee the Studio
Michele Renee The Studio was incredible! I hired them after I had a successful trial with Jessica. Many artists are good at making brides look good, but the women at Michele Renee are good at making you feel good too. I knew that the most important thing for me was to feel comfortable with the person who was going to be spending hours right next to me the morning of my wedding. Jessica was an angel that day. She made feel so at peace and beautiful.
What did you look for in a wedding DJ?
We wanted someone who would keep people on the dance floor all night. We wanted the reception to feel very club-like because it was New Year’s Eve. We also wanted someone who had experience with culturally diverse weddings because we also played traditional Jewish music and Israeli music at various points.
I want to learn more about DJ/Lighting services from Grant Hemond & Associates.
I hired Grant Hemond & Associates because they had amazing reviews and several vendors recommended them specifically. Eric was our DJ, and he was great! All of his equipment worked well during the ceremony/reception, the uplighting was beautiful, and he kept everyone on the dance floor all night!
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
I have emotional advice and practical advice.
Do what makes you feel comfortable. Don’t feel that you have to stick to a “traditional” wedding. My husband and I chose not to do any of the typical formalities during our wedding or our engagement period. We didn’t have a wedding cake or first dance, we didn’t write each other love notes then read them out loud in front of a video camera, I didn’t have a bridal shower, and we didn’t take engagement photos prancing around a field. It just isn’t us. What we did have was an amazing time at our wedding, during which no part felt forced or disingenuous.
My logistical advice has several suggestions to it. It takes a lot of organization to plan a wedding, and if you don’t feel that you’re able to manage it, get a planner. Take your time researching and find someone who you mesh with on a personal level. Regardless of how organized you are, get a day of coordinator. Every wedding day needs a behind the scenes person managing it. Agree on a vision you want for your wedding and commit to it. The more you go back and forth and the more you scroll through the Pinterest the more you will begin doubting yourself. Find vendors who are nice and accommodating. I don’t care how talented they are, if they are not someone you would want to spend your wedding day with don’t hire them. Look at photos of brides walking down the aisle! I totally didn’t think to do that until after I got my photos. I fully linked arms with both my parents and held my flowers…not cute, trust me.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Mahaffey Theater
Photographer: Kristen Sloan Photography
Videographer: Bonnie Newman Creative *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Planner: Flawless Fetes
Florist: 2Birds Events
Caterer and Dessert: Lynn’s Catering
Rentals: A Linen Valley
DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates – Eric *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro
Officiant: Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski and Rabbi Yossi Dubrowski
Invitations: Invitation Galleria
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus – Tricks of the Trade Black Maxi
Hair & Makeup: Michele Renee The Studio *Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pro