Bliss Under the Chuppah
Cherie Sassoon & Philippe Bera
Held over four days in Israel, the lavish union of CHERIE SASSOON and PHILIPPE BERA involved a henna party, seven blessings, candy throwing, broken glass, feasting, dancing, and plenty of meaningful moments
Cherie Sassoon met Philippe Bera when he crashed a party her sister had hosted. During their introduction, the daughter of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf heads Michelle and Victor Sassoon learnt that he lived in Hong Kong, where he is the group development manager at Omtis Fine Wines. Coincidentally, she was to visit Hong Kong the next day. From there, their love blossomed.
While their first meeting was impromptu, the proposal was quite the opposite. Cherie, who is now studying clinical psychology in Hong Kong, reveals, “At the helipad on the rooftop of The Peninsula Hong Kong, Philippe got down on one knee and asked if I would make Hong Kong my home. After I happily agreed, we took a scenic helicopter ride around Hong Kong. He then surprised me with a lavish dinner where we were joined by both of our parents and my grandmother.”
THE THEME & CONCEPT
In an ode to their Jewish faith, the pair chose to marry in Jerusalem. It was also an opportunity to give their friends from across the globe—270 of the 740 guests were from overseas—a special experience that included city tours. The fourday festivity began with a henna party at Bait Al Hayam in Old Jaffa, Tel-Aviv on a Thursday. For the out-of-towners, it was a lovely introduction to an over-5,000-year-old pre-wedding custom said to bring the couple good luck.
Over the next two days, guests were hosted first to a Shabbat dinner then a Shabbat luncheon. In Jewish culture, Shabbat is a time of rest and celebration when family and friends unwind together. Beginning with the lighting of sacred candles before sundown on a Friday, a synagogue service, cocktails and dinner, the celebration continued the next morning with the groom’s Shabbat. During the synagogue service, Philippe recited verses from the Torah scroll before the customary throwing of candy to shower the couple with blessings for a sweet and fertile life together.
Olmaya, a popular event venue overlooking the city of Jerusalem, set the scene for the wedding ceremony which was conducted beneath a beautiful chuppah or canopy
symbolising the home the new couple will build together. From the Kiddush or blessing over the first cup of wine that the couple shares to the groom placing the ring onto the bride’s right index finger, the reading and signing of the marriage contract in Aramaic, the seven blessings and the final breaking of glass by the groom, each segment of the elaborate ceremony held deep symbolic meaning.
Cherie shares, “The sunset ceremony was very special for us. And because we wanted to create a vintage feel for our celebration, the place was decorated with baby’s breath while our page boys wore newsboy caps.”
The vintage theme continued at the wedding reception at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, but this time, quirky elements like mirror tables were incorporated into the decor to hint at the merrymaking that would ensue.
With the classic white bow tie on his tuxedo replaced by a spiffy red one, Philippe was ready to, well, paint the town red at the Waldorf Astoria. So that she too could party in comfort and style, the bride traded her daytime bolero for a Romona Keveza belt and jewellery from her parents. She says, “This was in contrast to the wedding ceremony where I chose not wear any jewellery, to symbolise purity and that Philippe was marrying me for who I am.”
Exquisite wining and dining was matched with impressive entertainment, like a rousing drums performance by Cherie’s uncle and her brother which quickly put guests in the mood for dancing. Very thoughtfully, the newlyweds provided flip-flops which ladies among the guests traded their stilettos for so they could groove to the music with ease.
While there are too many special moments in the celebration to list, one stands out. The bride shares, “Traditionally, a couple isn’t allowed to see each other for 24 hours before their wedding, so Philippe sent me this note on our wedding day: ‘Dearest Cherie, I can’t wait to see you walking down the aisle. I can’t wait to be yours forever. Love lots, Phil.’”