The Wedding of…
Ahava Smithi & Neil Bodner
Ceremony & Reception: Northern Valley Affairs at Temple Emanu-El, 201.750.0333, northernvalleyaffairs.com
Gown: Bridal Secrets
Tux: Vera Wang
Photographer & Cinematographer: Binyamin Korn Photography
Makeup: Tamika Smith
Hair: Rena Greenlinger Furst
Florist: Papaya Events
Cake: Northern Valley Affairs
Band: Ruli Productions Inc.
Party Planner: Rena Soclof Events
“The Best of Everything”
Ahava: One of my close friends met Neil before I did. They’d gone on a couple dates, and my friend called me saying he was perfect for me. On our first date, we discovered we both like to order a bunch of little plates and try different things. It seems it was a small, early sign we were meant to be!
Neil: I proposed during the pandemic and it took some extra thinking to make it perfect. We go to these events with secret locations, only known to you an hour before. I sent Ahava’s friend an email with an invitation to a faux-event. I made the email look really official. Ahava’s friend told her they should go, and I pretended I had a work dinner.
When Ahava arrived at the brownstone I’d rented for the “event,” she walked in the back to find the yard decorated with lights, our family gathered, and me with her engagement ring. The song “She is Love,” played, as Ahava’s name means “love,” and she had always wanted this.
Ahava: There are so many reasons we chose Northern Valley Affairs. When we arrived for our tour, there were beautiful tents set up on the lawn showcasing a forest backdrop. Here we could have an outdoor connection with nature as well as a top-of-the-line event. Marty Maged, the general manager, and Les Friedman, the owner, were so attentive and eager to please us. They made us feel really special, and that continued every time we visited. When we discussed our vision for our day, they were always positive and creative. They’re very detail oriented and perfectly executed the vibe we wanted.
Neil: Throughout planning, Temple Emanu-El felt like a safe haven during a time of turmoil. When we had questions we were able to talk to them, be reassured, and take a breath. Ahava and I are laid back by nature, and it was wonderfully low pressure for us, knowing everything would be taken care of by Marty and Les.
Ahava: Our outdoor ceremony was classic and traditional, but with a very cool wooded backdrop. We may not have thought to be married under the sky had it not been for Covid, but we feel like we got the best of everything.
Neil: We actually chose to have our cocktail hour before our ceremony, and loved the flow of the day. Everyone was able to fill up, have a drink, then enjoy the ceremony. When dinner came, guests could enjoy the meal without feeling too full. Everything was delicious, as we knew it would be!
Ahava: Walking into our reception, everything was set up perfectly, and everything was made so easy for us. Our natural vibe was achieved with greenery, bistro lighting along the roof of the tent, and green vines along the walls. Our florist did wonderfully creative centerpieces of all greenery and no florals. She incorporated moss, little candles, and tall candles. Some were high, some were low, and all were unique and special.
Neil: Throughout, Les and Marty kept telling us they could “make it happen,” no matter what “it” was. When we saw the venue the day of the wedding, we saw their promises fulfilled. Every idea we brought up, like a clothing line with table assignments, was produced beautifully.
Ahava: At a Northern Valley Affairs event, you should arrive hungry because the food is exquisite. My mom couldn’t get over lamb chops being passed around for people to pick up and eat. For our wedding cake, Northern Valley made us a beautiful naked cake that went perfectly with our rustic, simple scheme. We had a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, which our florist decorated with flowers. It was perfect.
Neil: Everyone complimented the love, the food, and the dancing at our wedding! Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves, our band did a wonderful job keeping everyone on their feet.
Ahava & Neil: Les was really, really fantastic. He and Marty are excellent at what they do. Thank you to our parents, who are amazing. Our families getting along so well is an immense joy for us and we feel so blessed to have parents who only want our happiness. Thanks to them, Northern Valley Affairs, our vendors, and guests, we had the wedding of our dreams!
Northern Valley Affairs at Temple Emanu-El, Closter, NJ