It took traveling thousands of miles and some perfect timing for Judith and Aarao to meet. "I'm from Philadelphia and went to school in New York, and he's from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil," Judith says. "We met in August 2007 on a study abroad program in Israel, and dated for eight months until we had to go our separate ways to finish our degrees." The couple broke up and fell out of touch but, in December of 2012, Judith decided to email Aarao to see how he was doing. They reconnected quickly, and Aarao came to Philadelphia to visit Judith. "I wouldn't let him leave!" she says, and six months later he proposed.
On August 10th, 2014, a year and a half after the couple found each other again, they wed at Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Hotel in a Jewish ceremony, followed by a vibrant Moroccan-themed celebration. "I thought I wanted something simple, but we ended up with a lavish, eclectic bash — and it was fabulous," says the bride.
Keep reading to see Judith and Aarao's colorful wedding, photographed by Asya Photography!
For Judith, choosing a wedding dress was easy. "It was love at first sight! I bought the first dress I tried on," she says. She paired her long-sleeved lace gown with a beaded illusion neckline, by Pronovias, with shimmering Jimmy Choo flats. Aarao wore a classic tuxedo with a gold tie, which perfectly complemented Judith's mis-matched bridesmaids.
While her bridesmaids' bouquets were all hot pink, Judith carried a pink-and-orange combination of roses and orchids.
The ceremony took place beneath an ornate chuppah of hot pink and orange blooms. "It was intimate under the chuppah, which made it much less intimidating to be in front of 200 guests," says the bride. Her husband's family rabbi from Brazil recited the Ketubah in Portuguese, then Judith's family rabbi in Philadelphia performed the ceremony.
After a Moroccan-inspired meal of cucumber salad with tahini and Dukkah-crusted branzino (a nut and spice blend), all paired with caipirinhas in honor of Aarao's Brazilian roots, the bride and groom went even more global with dessert, serving a croquembouche surrounded by a cloud of spun sugar.
The newlyweds honeymooned in Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil. Says Judith, "Try not to fight with your fiancé (or your mom!) while you're planning. The details aren't worth being unhappy. And don't forget to thank your bridesmaids for supporting you, whether it's with a gift or a handwritten note. On the day of, have a glass of champagne, let it all go, and make sure you have a great photographer!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Rittenhouse Hotel || Bride's Wedding Dress: Pronovias || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy Makeup & Hair || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Barsky Diamonds || Floral Design: Beautiful Blooms || Invitations: Amit Yaffe || Music: West Philadelphia Orchestra, Philly Bloco || Catering: Rittenhouse Hotel || Videography: Studio Nine Photography || Photography: Asya Photography
Did you love this Philadelphia wedding? Then check out another wedding in this city in the video below!