Bring on the magic
She turned Jewish wedding planning on its head, taking her blog from zero to hero in under a year. Now, Smashing The Glass serves as the most diverse resource for contemporary Jewish wedding planning. Here, Blake Ezra meets Karen Cinnamon, the founder and editor of STG…
It’s mid-morning and Blake has just arrived in Kentish Town, where Karen’s loft apartment – converted from an old piano factory – awaits. With it’s exposed brick walls, floor to ceiling windows and eclectic mix of ultra-cool furnishings, it is a sumptuous home belonging to somebody clearly obsessed with detail.
We take a seat on one of the transparent ghost dining chairs under the bright white island that divides the kitchen to the open plan lounge area, and we try to tear our eyes off the beautiful chandelier to get down to business.
Karen Cinnamon has a huge smile on her face. It’s really no wonder. Having only launched STG in June 2013, the blog has grown into an absolute behemoth – with over 43,000 unique hits per month – featuring Jewish weddings so diverse it’s difficult to believe some of them exist.
Blake Ezra Photography are utterly privileged to be the most featured photographers on the blog. And as you’d expect, Karen is as passionate about weddings as we are.
But how did it all start?
“I was planning my wedding in early 2013 and I began pouring excitedly over books, blogs and magazines to piece together ideas and inspiration to create my perfect day. And that’s where, to my huge disappointment, I found there wasn’t any one place that brought together creative, original and downright super cool ideas for Jewish (and while we’re at it, ‘Jew-ish’) brides and grooms.
“As I went along planning my wedding to Jeremy, I decided to start up my own website documenting fabulous wedspiration. SmashingTheGlass.com was born and became the UK’s only Jewish wedding blog, and the only one worldwide focusing on creative, original and unusual Jewish weddings. I’m happy to say it still covets that achievement to this day.
Where did the blog take you?
“When I started STG, I was running a freelance design and branding business, but from day one, the blog received monumental traction from brides and suppliers alike. Within a year of launching, STG became my full-time thriving business, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be spending day and night working on it, showcasing everything from the latest bridal gown trends, to dream gift lifts and cool Jewish wedding music.
Karen explains that one of the things she is trying to do with STG is to encourage couples to have the wedding that they want.
This is a key theme in your blog. What led you to focus on this concept?
“The most surprising thing I have learnt since launching the blog is that so many Jewish couples feel they have to follow a typical Jewish ‘wedding by numbers’ formula, or that they have to hold the wedding their parents want them to have.
“I would love for couples to tap into the key idea that it’s THEIR wedding, and they can do whatever they desire. That’s what I try to channel in my blog, presenting unique ideas and features to help couples find their way through the monumental task of planning their big day with unique elements to wow their guests and create spectacular memories to last them a lifetime.
“It’s heart-warming when couples email me after their big day to say that STG helped them have the wedding they truly wanted.”
Blake couldn’t agree more. That’s why he recently wrote a nine-part series for STG called ‘Jewish Wedding Traditions Explained’, exploring how any Jewish wedding tradition can be personalised.
So what ingredients do you think make a wedding truly magical?
“Number one is the atmosphere, and that is created by inviting the people that truly mean the world to you. The ones whose hearts will be singing with happiness on your wedding day.
‘I’m personally not a fan of huge weddings with a guest list running into the hundreds. Fewer guests, closely connected to the Bride & Groom, works better than inviting a cast of unknowns. Selective inviting makes for a far more meaningful, intimate atmosphere.
“Also don’t follow the crowd! Be true to yourself and have the confidence to do things your way, whether that means incorporating something non-traditional into your ceremony, picking a crazy theme or wearing a gown so impractical you can barely move!
“Your day should unquestionably be a reflection of YOU and the things that you love, and if you can introduce one or two unexpected elements that will have your guests giggling about your wedding for years to come, all the better!
What is your top tip?
“Hire a fabulous wedding photographer. It’s crucial for capturing the essence of the day and preserving the emotion and joy that was felt by you and your loved ones.
“A great wedding photographer has a trained eye and extensive experience photographing special events. And without top quality wedding photos, how am I going to feature your wedding on Smashing The Glass?!
With hindsight, would you have done anything differently at your own wedding?
“I wouldn’t change a thing and I really mean that. We made the decision to get married in London so that my husband’s 97-year-old grandmother, who meant the world to us, could be a central part of our celebrations. I cherish our memories of the day and wouldn’t swap them for anything in world.
“If we ever renew our vows, I would opt for a celebration abroad, outdoors, in a warm climate.”
Any golden advice for brides-to-be, currently in the throws of organising their wedding?
“It’s all too easy to get caught up in current trends so if you find the abundance of theming and styling options overwhelming, simply tap into your everyday style, home decor, favourite songs, colours, movies, moments and quotes. Make decisions based on what makes you happy, not on what others recommend or what is perceived to be sensible, or the done thing.
“Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to planning your big day. You can collect beautiful images, wedding design tips and other inspiration all in one place.
“Your boards will also help give guidance to your suppliers, but if you don’t want your whole social network to see the details of your wedding before the big day, use one of your private boards for your favourite ideas.
“Finally, do try to include the pure and sacred side of a Jewish wedding as much as possible, as the spiritual significance is often lost in all the madness of putting it together.”