Who could ask for anything more? A romantic proposal story, overwhelming emotions and classic wedding traditions …

Sent to us by Kerrie and her fab team at Platinum Weddings by Kerrie ~ Tamara & Zev’s wedding!

Zev proposed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at one of our favorite neighborhood places – the Brooklyn Promenade. It’s a boardwalk that has a view of all of downtown Manhattan, the East River and the Statue of Liberty. We live close by, so we will often stroll down the Promenade on our way home from errands, or go running along the path, or just spend some time sitting on a bench when the weather is nice. On one of our typical Sunday afternoons that included errands and a trip to the nail salon for me, he asked if I wanted to walk the long way home (along the promenade). He led me to a spot at the end of the promenade under a tree, and gave me a small blue box. I had been anticipating the proposal for a while, so I figured this was it: he was just going to hand me a blue box and not say anything. I nervously opened it, and inside were two tiny chocolate truffles. I was so relieved that it wasn’t the actual ring because I was hoping he would say something romantic when he gave it to me. Instead, he sufficiently threw me off, and just as I was ready to go home, he pulled the ring box out of his pocket, got down on one knee and proposed. The rest is a bit fuzzy! – Tamara

We both are very connected to our Judaism, and wanted a traditional Jewish wedding that incorporated many of the customs of our heritage, from the pre-ceremony rituals to the dancing at the reception. Our main goal in planning our wedding and coming up with our vision was to have it reflect our personalities as much as possible. We are both very down to earth people, but at the same time have somewhat sophisticated taste. We knew we wanted our wedding to have an elegant feel to it without being too stuffy. I would say when it all came together the ultimate ambiance was an approachable elegance. We chose plum hues as the main color to weave through the day – from the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen ties, to the bouquets, and centerpieces — because it has such a warm, inviting feeling. Because our wedding was in the summer, our florist helped us keep the overall color scheme from feeling too dark by interspersing lots of ivory, and even some light blue florals.

We have to give our Rabbi, Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, an amazing amount of credit for making our ceremony so personal. When we first met with him, it was apparent how much thoughtfulness he puts into the wedding ceremonies he performs by personalizing it for every couple. In addition to the kind, meaningful words of our rabbi, we added a lot of our own personal touches to the ceremony. We used family ritual objects like two kiddush cups for wine — one from my grandfather, and one that was Zev’s grandfather’s. We also tied together two tallit (prayer shawls) from both sides of the family to form the canopy of our chuppah. At the end, the rabbi gave us a special blessing while we were wrapped in a prayer shawl, and we used the one that my maternal grandfather wears everyday when he prays the morning service. He is a Holocaust survivor, and always shares how his faith is what got him through and gave him the will to survive. We also knew we wanted to honor as many of our friends and family as possible by giving them roles in the ceremony. Judaism has 7 blessings that are read during the ceremony, and we had a different family member or friend come up to read those. One of our close friends also worked with us to design our own original ketubah (the marriage contract), which is read under the chuppah and signed before the ceremony. Another close friend crocheted Zev his own kippah (head covering) that incorporated our color scheme. And, on the secular side, my sister who is a graphic designer created and put together our beautiful ceremony programs, and took a lot of time to come up with a unique design that wasn’t just a folded over piece of paper. In it, we described each aspect of the ceremony, so everyone would understand the meaning behind everything we were doing.

I grew up in LA, but we really liked the idea of having a destination wedding somewhere in California. Since we currently live in New York, and most of our friends and a lot of Zev’s family are scattered across the country, we wanted to find a place where our guests could come and also enjoy the benefits of a beautiful vacation. San Diego is a place that has a lot to do without being too expensive, and is very accessible from anywhere in the country. And, it almost always has perfect weather! We looked at several beach locales because we really wanted to have an outdoor ceremony. We saw a lot of great venues, but few could accommodate our kosher requests. We had the unique challenge of finding a venue that would also allow us to do kosher catering. After seeing 12 venues in the San Diego and Orange County areas, it was clear that the Hilton La Jolla had everything that we wanted. They had the capacity to operate a kosher kitchen, which saved us the unnecessary expense of bringing in an outside caterer, they had a perfect outdoor ceremony location overlooking the 18th hole of the famous Torrey Pines golf course with lush greenery and ocean views in the distance, and their Fairway ballroom was very modern with a wall of windows that allowed guests to feel like they could still enjoy the beauty outside, even when they were inside during the reception.

What I remember most from our reception, and what made our wedding day so fun, was how much dancing there was throughout the night. Our band, Rembrandt was unbelievable and exceeded all our expectations for the music. When Zev and I talked about what we wanted our wedding to be like, we always said that as long as people were constantly on the dance floor, we would be happy. Besides the energy in the room, the other really special thing was the overall decor concept. Many of our guests came up to us throughout the night and told us that our wedding was the most elegant and beautiful that they had ever been to. One of the coolest moments of the night (we were told, since we were taking pictures when it happened), was the “reveal” of the room. Our cocktails were held on the patio directly outside the ballroom, in front of the windows. The hotel kept the shades down during cocktails so no one could see into the room. At the end of cocktails, to invite everyone into the ballroom for the reception, the shades were raised, and everyone got a first glimpse into the room from outside, and said that it looked magical.

While Zev and I had a very traditional Jewish wedding, we are quite untraditional when it comes to our style, and we wanted our wedding to be unique. We are not really DIY people, but we were able to incorporate several unique aspects into the overall look of the ballroom. One thing that we really wanted to do was use square instead of round tables. We felt that shape makes it easier for people to talk across the table and connect with more people. We also worked with our florist to come up with three different centerpiece designs — a low, medium, and high concept, that alternated around the room and really made each one stand out. Our florist used unique shapes like apothecary jars in one concept to give the decor a chic feel as well. To top it all off and really add to the classiness of the night, we had a white seamless dance floor. It was one of those things that was so simple to incorporate and yet made a huge impression.

My advice?  Stay true to yourself. There is a lot of noise and opinions that come into the picture when you’re planning, and a lot of people, even vendors, will try to persuade you to do things a certain way. It may feel hard sometimes to tell people that you love that you aren’t going to do things exactly the way they pictured them, but in the end, you will feel so much happier and more fulfilled when your wedding is a true expression of who you and your fiancé are. It’s important to remind yourself throughout the process that the day is about the love that you and your fiancé share, and all the details that go into the planning are just another way to express that love to everyone who attends.


Wedding Planner: Platinum Weddings by Kerrie / Photographer: Christine Farah Photography / Cinematography: Garner Films / Floral Design: Adorations Botanical Artistry / Ceremony and Reception Music: Rembrandt / Officiant: Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Valley Beth Shalom / Hair: Beauty Ever After / Make-up: Kiss and Makeup / Lighting and Dance Floor: Platinum Pro / Linens and Chairs: Fusion Linens / Paper Details: Kiwi Cards / Wedding Cake: Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines / Bridal Salon: MaryLinn’s Bridal / Bridal Designer: Watters (Style: Dallas) / Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Alvina Valenta / Groom’s Tuxedo: Bespoke by Michael Andrews / Ceremony/Reception Location and Catering: Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

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