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Destination Wedding Trends: Israel Edition

Destination wedding trends

Take a look at any wedding blog or celebrity magazine these days and you’ll see a common trend:  the destination wedding. Inviting guests to a unique or meaningful location is fun and adventurous, and can be a light-hearted start for the new couple. While this popular alternative to the traditional wedding venue takes a considerable amount of planning and organization, the right guidance from an event planner at the destination will have you enjoying your dream event, while all the details and logistics are perfectly executed for you. 

In the past few years, Israel has become one of the most requested locations for destination weddings for couples from around the world!  As an event planner in this incredible country, I love being in the center of it all. Israel has something for everyone: You can choose to have a wedding by the sea, overlooking the vineyards and mountains in the North, on an active archeological site, or at the most glamourous wedding hall.   

If you are considering your own destination wedding, here are some trends to keep in mind: 

Smaller Weddings

Destination weddings in IsraelMore and more couples are choosing to step away from large events. Smaller events are more intimate, less formal, and more fun for family and guests. Smaller events also mean more room in the budget for culinary delicacies and fun additions, like group tours or games, that would be more difficult to execute with a larger crowd.

Weekend-Long Wedding Celebrations

Couples are opting for weekend-long celebrations. This means hotels, food, and entertainment are taken care of for their guests. Weekend-long weddings fit perfectly with destination weddings; guests may be more excited and willing to fly to the wedding location if they know additional activities are planned around the wedding. 

Henna Ceremony

Henna

A common and increasingly popular Middle Eastern custom is the traditional Henna ceremony, hosted by the couple a few days before the wedding.   During the ceremony, the grandmothers mark the palms of the couple with henna, leaving a temporary tattoo and marking the couple for easy identification under the chuppah. The henna ceremony is often the first time the two sides of the family come together as one and is an opportunity to bless the new couple with health and happiness.

A growing number of non-Moroccan families are embracing this beautiful tradition, opting to throw a henna party to add some of the local culture to their destination wedding, and to get the party started!

Out-Of-The-Box Venues

While there are many great reasons to choose Israel as a destination, the next step is finding the perfect venue for that special day.  Israel offers a wide variety of stylish and original wedding venues: A Bedouin tent in the desert; a terrace overlooking the Western Wall; the historical fortress of Masada; a beach wedding under the open sky.  Israel offers the right setting for your perfect destination wedding.

Pay It Forward

The act of giving back is a foundation of our Jewish values, and a weekend-long destination wedding means a lot of programming. Couples are choosing to include a meaningful volunteer activity for their wedding guests, such as helping lone soldiers, kids with disabilities or packing food for needy families. These projects fill part of a long itinerary with a meaningful and memorable bonding activity for everyone.

I am thrilled to go into 2020 discovering new trends that I can use to plan unique and special events for my clients!  My prediction is that wedding trends will continue to utilize the increasing number of options to personalize just about everything. One “trend” that will always remain is planning a wedding day that’s a reflection of YOU, one that is authentic, meaningful, and filled with people who build you up and love you the most! 

Isn’t this just giving away all of my secrets?

Isn’t this just giving away all of my secrets?Several weeks ago, I encountered an interesting post on a Facebook group for event vendors and planners. One of the participants in the group posted:

“For all of the event planners in the group… do you tag your vendors when you share about your events on social media? Isn’t that just giving away all of your secrets?”

I was completely taken aback. This is so diametrically opposed to my professional approach.

If vendors bring the magic, why do I need an event planner?

A great event planner is like a superhero (it’s true!) but one of our superpowers is choosing amazing vendors. 

So you might be asking yourself, if the magic of the event comes from the vendors, why do I need an event planner? Read More

Israel is Not Second Best… Anymore

Remember the days when anything Israeli was considered second rate? Restaurants were inferior, homes were inferior, clothing was inferior, heck – even toilet paper was inferior.

Glamorous events in IsraelThe fast-growing trend for Jews living abroad to hold their family events here in Israel, is one sign of many that that “inferiority” is simply no longer the case. People choose to marry in Israel for many reasons, and not just for the special holiness only found here.

There was a time when families and young couples chose to get married in Israel knowing that their event would be less elegant, a less “regal affair”, and were told to simply count their blessings and enjoy the holy atmosphere. What we used to have to “sacrifice” in terms of style and class by having an event in Israel is simply not true anymore.

There is an unbelievably high caliber of hotels, designers, chefs, gown designers, even makeup artists available today that were not available as recently as ten years ago.  And the level is ever rising, even surpassing those abroad. Events in Israel are coming into their own, with their unique style and endless possibilities.

Israel has become a veritable culinary ‘light unto the nations’. Israelis have known this for a long time, and now the world has finally realized it too, thanks to the many internationally bestselling Israeli cookbooks and award-winning Israeli restaurants.

Israeli wedding dress designers are taking over Bridal Fashion shows worldwide with their stunning collections.Read More

The Event Planner Culture Melder

The Event Planner Culture Melder | A to Z Events Israel Blog“Event Planner” may be a somewhat misleading title.

Of course I’m the one hustling behind the scenes making sure what you see is your beautiful, shiny, magical celebration, and that you remain blissfully unaware that the florist was late, that I had to stitch up a seam on a bridesmaid’s dress, or that the tables were not set up according to the original plan. I am there to take care of it all so it’s not even on your radar and you can enjoy your day.

I can see how you would think that that’s the biggest part of what I do.  However, if I were to add a secondary job title I think it would be “culture melder.” People come to me from all over the world to join together in Israel to celebrate their marriage and I am the one who bridges the cultural gaps between two spouses-to-be, two families, and even between children and their parents.

Mix and match as you like, I have seen it all: South American and Dutch, Israeli and American, Cuban and Moroccan, Russian and Japanese, Australian and Canadian, just for starters. As we know, in this day and age the culture from your country of origin is hardly the only determining factor. Very often the level and style of Jewish observance of the bride and groom reflect very little on how they each grew up. I have planned Modern Orthodox weddings, Chassidish, weddings when one (or both) are converts, baal teshuvas, and combinations of them all, so you can imagine that this is where things can get complicated when it comes to communicating between two families. Read More

Betraying Brides with Bankruptcy

Betraying Brides with Bankruptcy The news has broken this week that the Israeli company “EasyWed” has gone out of business. Declaring bankruptcy, they have shut down their website, closed their offices, erased their Facebook page…. And kept deposit checks. The CEO’s phone has been shut off. While the economic press in Israel is all aflutter, the brides are, well, understandably bereft. For some, it may mean having to cancel all of their wedding plans, as their bookings were all through the site. For some, it will mean starting their new life with financial uncertainty due to the loss this causes them.

It’s tragic for customers whenever any business closes. But there is something particularly depressing about lovebirds losing the wedding of their dreams, and finding out on Chanukah.

EasyWed provided “group rate discounts” and promised brides and grooms a savings of hundreds of shekels by using their site, rather than hiring service providers directly, or using a traditional wedding planner.

While we of course sympathize with the couples who lost a ton of money while planning their dream weddings, we need to think about the huge loss to the vendors as well. While the Hebrew press completely ignored this part of the story, I have spoken to many of the photographers, bands, and other service providers who were in contract with EasyWed, some of whom lost tens of thousands of shekels because the company declared bankruptcy. Read More