Serendipity on Russian Jewish ceremonies– Gila and Alex

The wedding of Gila and Alex took place on a beautiful October day in 2011. Spring was truly in the air as the couple carried out their traditional Russian Jewish ceremony in the picturesque grounds of Kimberley Gardens, a perfect backdrop for beautiful wedding day photographs.

The Proposal

It’s always a special honour to hear the story of how the couple met and the proposal. Gila shared with Serendipity her tale of romance: “We met during our driving lesson. I had a lesson starting with my driving instructor and he had his lesson finishing with the same instructor… We met in the car when my driving instructor asked me to drop him home… I did and then a week later he contacted me and we started going out. Six months later he proposed at a nice  restaurant during dinner. We then had our engagement party and started planning the wedding. A year and a half later we had ceremony and our wedding at Kimberley Gardens on Inkerman Street.”

The Dress

One of the biggest decisions a bride will make in the lead up to the wedding day is undoubtedly picking her dress. Finding the perfect gown takes time, passion, patience and even a bit of intuition! It’s not uncommon for tears (of despair and joy) to be shed in the process, but your dedication will be worth it in the end. Gila shared her experience with us at Serendipity: “My dress, veil and jewelry all came from the same place: Dannis Bridal in Maribynong. It made sense to hire the dress for the wedding. I picked a beautiful boob-tube flowy dress, with silk on the bottom and diamantes on the top part. I bought the veil, jewelry and head piece/ crown from Dannis. My shoes were my sisters wedding shoes (something borrowed) Fortuitously she wears same size shoes as I do, and she had her shoes from 10 years ago from her own wedding, which still looked like new because she only wore them once.” Have a look at Serendipity’s recent post on wedding day tips– planning and style, our page on wedding dresses, or our main website tips page for more planning information and inspiration on wedding dresses.

The Flowers

Flowers play such an important role in wedding ceremonies. Gila was wise with her planning and organised the perfect bouquet ahead of time. “My bouquets and main table decoration flowers were from Bunch after Bunch flower shop on North Road.  The flowers were great and the price was reasonable. They have great specials, for example if you order $500 worth of flowers, you get the throwing bouquet for free.”

For more inspirational links to flowers and weddings have a look at Serendipity’s new post dedicated to florals here.

The Ceremony

The ceremony and reception were held at Kimberley Gardens, which Gila describes as being: “very elegant and cosy.” The couple were impressed with the atmosphere and features of the venue “we were very pleased with the service, food, decorations, cocktail party, reception and hotel room.”

In the Russian Jewish faith this main component of the wedding ceremony is called Chuppah. Chuppah (the bridal canopy) is symbolic of the couple’s new home. Traditionally the groom enters the Chuppah first, here he prepares to welcome his future wife into the home. As Gila enters, she follows the sacred custom of Russian Jewish brides by circling her groom 7 times, which symbolically encloses the couple’s home; protecting it from outside harm and illuminating it with warmth and love.
The couple’s friends and family were witnesses to the intricate religious proceedings which followed. The traditional events were accepted lovingly by Gila and Alex and included: the blessing (Kiddushin) uttered over wine, the exchange of rings and vows, and reading of the marriage contract. Spirits soared when the glass was broken under foot in this beautiful garden setting. Mazel Tov!

 The Locations

The couple chose to extend the picturesque quality of their day by visiting some gorgeous photographic locations during the day. Kerford Road Pier proved to be a highlight. The vibrant blue skies extended panoramically around the couple, contrasting superbly with the rustic timber of the pier and the golden tones of the shore.

The elegant architectural exterior of the South Melbourne Town Hall was the next destination. The subtle tints of the sandstone beautifully complemented  Gila’s gown. The architectural harmony of the building is clear in the subtle dialogue between the large Corinthian portico of the symmetrical Bank street façade, and the well resolved northern elevation. The architecture also has strong reference to the French Second Empire Style, which was popular through the mid 1800s, when many of Melbourne’s official buildings were being constructed from sandstone, perfect for creating monumental backdrop, which are reminiscent of Italianate and Gothic Revival style.

The Reception

Celebrations continued with cocktails and wedding reception also held at the exquisite Kimberley Gardens. This St Kilda reception centre (located on Inkerman Road) was a fantastic choice for the couple. Some of the best (and convenient) features of this venue include: ample on-site parking, Kosher menu, 2 acres of surrounding gardens and a gorgeous selection of diverse function rooms  Serendipity love that versatility of Kimberley Gardens is matched by its beautiful aesthetics. After enjoying the lush greenery and grand trees of the gardens, plenty more photographic potential can be found inside. Where details such as delicate glass chandeliers, high ceilings, expansive dance floor and floor to ceiling pane glass windows offer a stunning backdrop for wedding day photographs, making the celebrations a truly memorable experience both on the day and in the personalised album.

The Music

Gila and Alex were overjoyed with the atmosphere their well chosen music provided: “From the first song to the last it was amazing — our band was great. They sang mainly dancy and happy songs. We booked 2 musicians from Matrioshka Bogdan who sang and brought instruments. Veronika sang and danced, and we had one more singer from russian accent — she was a great singer and an MC.  They all did a great job together — very organised and flexible guys.”

Have a look at Serendipity’s new pages on Russian Jewish weddings (part of our focus on tradition and culture) and Kimberley Gardens reception centre, for more useful facts and a great selection of wedding day photography or more useful facts and a great selection of wedding day photography


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