Ruti and Spencer in Jerusalem, Israel

A multicultural city is the background for one couple's vibrant festivities

Ruti Mor was volunteering for Dor Chadash, a New York City-based organization that brings together Americans and Israelis, when the founder asked Israeli-born Ruti if she might be willing to give his friend Hebrew lessons. The friend was Spencer Kupferman, and before the first lesson was through, he had asked his teacher on a date. Later in their courtship, Ruti and Spencer traveled to Jerusalem together for New Year's Eve. They visited the King David Hotel and fell in love with its dramatic setting, facing the Old City, and its beautiful gardens. They imagined what an amazing wedding they could have there. “We talked about where we would get married before he proposed,” Ruti says. So when they did decide to wed, their sights were set on the King David.

Although Ruti and Spencer made several trips to Jerusalem during their engagement, they relied on the eager assistance of Ruti's relatives in Israel to bring the event together. “I have a dozen family members who were actively involved in the planning,” she says. One advised the couple on Israeli wines, for instance, and another lent his expertise to the musical aspects of the wedding.

The couple were married by Spencer's lifelong rabbi as the sun set over the Old City. The focal point of the outdoor site was the wrought iron chuppah, which was festooned with flowers and draped in white gauze. During the service, the classical musicians who played the processional changed clothes and reemerged just in time to begin playing traditional klezmer music as Spencer stomped on a wineglass, marking the conclusion of the ceremony.

At the reception, the couple and their guests feasted and danced in the hotel's beautiful French-Art Deco ballroom. The band played everything from the hora and Persian folk songs to salsa and reggae. The musicians finished their last set at 1 a.m., but the revelry continued. “We started dancing again,” Ruti says. “We were just singing and dancing.”

Ruti and Spencer's chuppah is open on all four sides as a sign of hospitality; the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem are visible from the ceremony site.