A Casual Outdoor DIY Wedding in California
Molly and David
When her matchmaking mom called in January 2002 to say she'd met the perfect guy for her at the local kosher deli, Molly Stern was skeptical. But David Schlussel, the pastrami guy (now a screenwriter and director), soon won her heart. When David invited Molly to his apartment for a traditional Shabbat meal, he handed her two candles to light. Molly reminded him that only married women light two; since she was single, she should light one. As they were eating, the candle suddenly split in half and the wick unraveled, creating two flames. Says Molly, "For two very spiritual people like us, it was clearly divine intervention."
A fashion designer and makeup artist, Molly created the fabric flowers for the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. Each was shaped by hand and had a copper-wire stem.
Richard Soclof, a childhood friend of David's, signed the Ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract) as a witness while Molly's father, Andy Stern, and David looked on.
Before the ceremony, mothers Jackie Stern (left) and Rosie Schlussel -- both wearing outfits made by Molly -- broke a plate, symbolizing the irreversible agreement between the two families.
The bride designed her own dress with a bustle composed of 10 different fabrics; her headpiece included lace that belonged to David's grandmother.
The couple was married under a huppa made from a veil worn by the groom's mother and grandmother.
Large banners explaining the wedding rituals were displayed throughout the wedding site.
For their interpretation of a mechitza (a curtain that separates men and women during dancing), the couple suspended several canvas panels between fabric-wrapped birch branches.
More panels decorated with handwritten words signifying what marriage means to the couple hung from the trees.
A klezmer band played traditional Jewish music at the ceremony.
Molly sat as female guests danced the hora around her.
In keeping with the casual setting, some guests sat on quilts and pillows; others gathered at tables.
For favors, rugalech (wrapped in cellophane) was tucked inside simple sewn bags tied with lace trim.
Chocolate-iced cupcakes stood in for wedding cake. "I just love cupcakes," says Molly. "Everyone gets their own." They were made festive with little flags (created by folding paper around short skewers and securing with double-sided tape); each was printed with a monogram, a palm tree, or polka dots.
Parasols, paper fans, and bottles of sunscreen were set out on a table near the entrance for guests to use. The parasols were held shut with paper bands displaying the icons that also decorated the cupcakes' flags; the bottles were wrapped in the same fabrics used for other details of the wedding.
Cocktail napkins were customized using rubber stamps.
The flower girls -- David's nieces, Meredith Berlin, left, and Claire Schlussel -- wore outfits and carried bouquets made by Molly.
Guests watched the toast while relaxing on cozy quilts.
Chocolate and cinnamon rugalech were on the dessert buffet, which also included brownies and biscotti.
Cloth and ribbon were used to make a label for a jar of flavored water that was part of a self-serve bar with Molly and David's favorite drinks; other jars held iced tea, lemonade, and sangria.
As the sun went down, the cliffside setting became even more magical.
Location: Wright Ranch, Malibu, California
Wedding Planner: Yifat Oren & Associates Special Events
Photographer: Lara Porzak
Rentals: Regal Rentals
Bride's Dress and Veil: Molly R. Stern for m.r.s, 323-782-0480
Hair: Jay Diola from Goodform, 323-658-8585
Makeup: Jillian Dempsey, from Delux Beauty Products
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