Ever since she was a little girl, Simone Harouche wanted to get married at her parent’s home. “I grew up in that house,” she asserts, “and I had also been to a few weddings that took place in individual homes and I really enjoyed them. There is something very personal and intimate about that type of setting.” The designer and fashion stylist incorporated many of her own design ideas into the planning so every element of the wedding would represent a piece of her or fiancé Marc Bretter. “Because ‘The Look’ of the wedding was a combination of our personalities and travels, the theme was kind of free flowing – a mix of eclectic, bohemian, classic, and quirky,” she says.
A custom invitation and stationery suite was the first order of business, and Simone found a wonderful artist who was perfect for the job. However, the stationer was based on the east coast and too busy to take on personalized invitations. “Her standard invites were great,” says Marc, “but we really wanted her to make it personal. I called her every day for a week and was able to convince her to work with us, even though she didn’t have the time. Simone told me it was the best wedding present I could have given her, because the artist’s work is simply unreal.”
Guests were greeted on the day of the wedding by exotic strains of music provided by players of the Indian sitar and tabla. Framed photos of family were affixed to a towering bird cage that was artfully decorated with cascading ivy and other foliage. A beautiful antique carpet with an ornate Moroccan design paved the aisle, at the foot of which stood Indian uruli bowls containing floating flowers and candles. To ward off the August heat, fans featuring whimsical drawings of the wedding party were offered to guests. An organically sculptured chuppah made of branches, moss, and an array of greenery had been molded into a masterpiece for the Jewish vow exchange, with fabric from the bride’s collection of vintage textiles providing the crowning touch.
Although he had been instructed otherwise, Marc ventured from his station on the platform after being escorted by his parents. “When I saw people walking down the aisle, I decided to take my own advice and do what I wanted to do. Individually greeting each member of the wedding party turned out to be a wonderful decision. It made seeing Simone walk towards me even more special because I felt so happy to be there with all my family and friends.” The bride wore a stunning Carolina Herrera gown, and carried the prayer book from her father’s Bar Mitzvah with her delicate bouquet of valley lilies. The tallit (Jewish marriage shawl) from the wedding of Marc’s grandparents was incorporated into ceremony, as well as the wedding ring of the mother of the bride. “I wanted to use as many things with personal history to our families as possible,” says Simone.
The dazzling details of the al fresco reception created an ambiance that was pure magic. “I didn’t want to cover the sky, but instead try to incorporate the moon and outdoor environment while also creating a warm and intimate space,” says Simone. A mix of spectacular chandeliers featuring vintage crystals or Moroccan beads was suspended overhead from a maze of wooden beams. “It was so well done that most people thought it was part of the house and not created for the wedding,” shares Marc. Tables in different sizes made of wood and wrought iron were set with an array of floral arrangements composed of stark white roses, tulips, and hydrangea blossoms placed in short sterling vases.
A buffet of delicious comfort foods was offered so guests could have their choice of dishes in the amounts they desired. The couple’s marble wedding cake with chocolate-chip frosting (Marc’s favorite) was crowned with a topper from the 1950s that the bride found at an antique store. The groom’s cake was shaped like an armadillo, an ode to Steel Magnolias (a favorite movie of Simone’s), and both cakes were presented on a table draped with vintage piano shawls from the bride’s personal collection.
The Rick Cowling band and a quartet that sang Motown hits provided music for dancing, followed by sets from hip hop producer DJ Premier (who offered his own remix of “Hava Nagila”). “There were some unbelievable things that happened on that dance floor,” recalls Marc. “I don’t want to get specific, but things got very interesting!” Appropriately enough, guests went home with mix CDs containing songs compiled by Marc and Simone. “On the inside jacket, Marc used the song titles to recap ‘the story of us,’” adds Simone.
Reflecting back on the beautiful day, the bride contends that every fantasy she had as a child was fulfilled. “My wedding was something I had always thought about, ever since I was a little girl – and it all felt perfect. I was marrying my soul mate, and I was just really overwhelmed with happiness.”