Bianca and Izhak had a summertime wedding in south Florida. She tells us about their first date and the wedding!
Our first date was on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach in 2012, and we both brought our dogs. Izhak told me later that it was important that his dog like my dog, because he is very grumpy. They were not best friends, but respected each other’s territory from day one.
On our second day we went snorkeling and all of our belongings were stolen, phones, keys, wallet, everything. After an entire day of getting locksmiths to let us into our respective apartments and cancelling credit cards, we were notified that a random person found my purse with our keys and wallets. From that day on we realized that in that type of high stress situation neither one of us would have tolerated 99% of other people we knew to deal with the situation. We both had our guards up and that day brought us together.
Very few of our family and friends actually reside in Miami. My extended family is all in Brazil and Izhak’s family is all in Israel. We set our wedding date over a year in advance to give our guests a chance to make travel arrangements. We chose the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale because of the location and the resort itself.
With so many people coming from abroad, we wanted to give them a hotel that offered everything, including restaurants, spa, beach, pool etc, but also was located in an area with a lot of activities. The service quality was also very important to us because we knew that dealing with this large a room block would be a challenge.
The Ritz helped us welcome each guest with welcome bags that we had printed and stuffed with snacks, water, and of course a schedule of the festivities. Our hashtags were #MeetTheMuslis (Izhaks’s last name) and #BiancaIzhak. We encouraged people to use them the whole weekend!
The hotel was the central location for all of the wedding activities. Thursday we had a joint bachelor-bachelorette party, where all of our siblings, cousins, and closest friends could kick off the weekend and start getting to know each other.
My brother organized a party bus that was crazy fun. Imagine a bus full of people from ages 21 to 35 from all over the world that had come just to celebrate our wedding! On Friday we had a shabbat dinner for close friends and family, which turned out to be 100 people. We were not allowing toasts, except from the father of the bride, on the wedding night, so Friday was a chance for people to come up and give small speeches. My brother gave a heartfelt speech.
Since some of Izhak’s extended family could not come from Israel, they sent a sweet and funny lip-synched video. My dad sang and played ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ on his guitar while a slideshow of pictures of Izhak and I played in the background. It was a very special and memorable night for everyone.
Fast forward…After my first look with Izhak and taking pictures with him around the hotel, I had my first look with my father. Then we took posed photographs in front of the chuppah with close family and my 2 grandmothers. We wanted to take these pictures before the ceremony, so that following the ceremony we could start the reception right away.
Once we finished the posed photographs we stepped out of the ballrooms into the corridor which is lined by windows overlooking the Atlantic ocean. THERE WAS AN ACTUAL RAINBOW arched across the whole ocean. We were able to take pictures outside on the balcony literally, under the rainbow… just like the song my dad had sang to me the night before in the shabbat dinner. We felt like the day had been truly blessed.
The chuppah was one of the most important elements of the ceremony and the reception. I wanted a chuppah that matched the feeling and decoration of the reception, but that was also mobile so it could be placed in the ballroom after the ceremony. The chuppah was placed in the back of the ballroom in between the two dessert tables, and the beautiful wedding cake was placed underneath. The wedding colors were white, gold, and touches of lavender.
Cocktail hour started and was located in the corridor outside of the ballrooms with floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the ocean (one of the main reasons I chose this hotel over other options in Miami beach). We had an open bar but we served a signature cocktail to introduce the wedding colors which was a blueberry infused prosecco drink.The wedding theme was supposed to be formal and traditional. Although we opted out of black tie, guests were asked to wear dark suits and long gowns on the invitation.
The flower girl was Izhak’s niece from Israel and the ring bearers were his nephews, who carried ring security lunch boxes :)
We had a somewhat traditional Jewish ceremony with the Rabbi singing and praying in Hebrew and English so our traditions could be understood and shared with all our guests. I also provided kippahs with our names and a program with a brief explanation of the meaning behind elements of the ceremony.
The ceremony began and we stood in the chuppah with our nuclear families. Once Izhak broke the glass it was time for the party to start! When we entered the ballroom to ‘Love Generation’ by Bob Sinclair, all of the wedding guests were surrounding the dance floor and the DJ played the first dance song ‘Never my Love’ by the Association.
We had tried to choreograph something simple, but we decided to just slow dance, because it felt more natural to us. In the middle of the dance, everyone joined in to the slow dance. After that, the DJ kicked off the party with ‘Kuduro’.
We really spread the dinner courses out to ensure that our guests would stay until the end of the evening. While guests had their salads and entrees we had the father of the bride toast, in which my dad welcomed our loved ones from all over the world. He spoke in English, Portuguese, and actually prepared a small paragraph in Hebrew that surprised everyone.
Then we had the father daughter dance to ‘I hope you dance’ by Leanne Womack. When I was in high school my dad gave me a little book with the lyrics to the song. I was very shy then and he wanted me to really get out there and enjoy life. This was my little way of telling him I had finally taken his advice.
Izhak’s mother is very shy but we wanted to honor her as well so she danced with her son to ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’ by Bette Midler. After those slow dances the rest of the night was all about dancing. We still had about 20 people around 4am when we finally had to turn off the music!
We handed out all kinds of noisemakers and glow sticks, and of course flip flops that were lavender.
Photographer: Jeff Kolodny Photography, Inc//Cake Designer: Sweeter Days Bake Shop//Dress Store:Bijou Bridal//Ring Designer:Blue Nile//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:Calvin Klein //Floral Designer: Dalsimer Atlas Floral & Event Decorators//Cinema and Video: Jeff Kolodny Photography Inc.//Photo Booth Equipment:Kiki Booth//Makeup Artist: Kiss This Makeup LLC//DJ:Serge Ramirez Entertainment//Cake Designer: Sweeter Days Bake Shop//Reception Venue: The Ritz-Carlton //Bakery:Vanessa’s Fine Pastries//Event Planner: Your Special Day by Joni