Anna and Ran’s story is a special one. Ran was born in Haifa, Israel, and grew up in San Diego, while Anna calls Manitowoc home. Their paths crossed in the summer of 2013, during a 10-day Birthright trip to Israel. “We instantly connected. We spent the entire trip getting to know each other while traveling and learning about our heritage.” Once back in the States, Ran and Anna decided to try a long-distance relationship, trusting in their commitment and communication. They dated for a year and a half with frequent visits back and forth. In December of 2014, the two moved together to Salt Lake City.
Four years after their Birthright trip, Anna and Ran traveled back to the place that started it all. “In Tel Aviv, Ran and I decided to take a walk on the Tayelet to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea,” Anna remembers. “We talked about the memories of Birthright and how far we’d both grown in our four years together. It felt like everything came full circle. Music was playing from a nearby restaurant, and just as the sun hit the water, Ran got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said yes, and proceeded to cry and laugh the whole walk back.”
Ran and Anna planned an elegant, romantic wedding at the Osthoff Resort on August 19th, 2018 — five years to the week of having met for the first time in Israel. “Many of our guests came from out of town, so we wanted it to be almost like a destination wedding. Friday night we planned a welcome bonfire. Saturday night after the rehearsal dinner, we went to a tiki bar and listened to music all night. Sunday was the wedding, and Monday morning wrapped up with a farewell breakfast. It was so special to have spent such an extended period of time with our guests!”
Both the ceremony and reception were held at the Osthoff. “It was a traditional Jewish ceremony filled with tons of symbolism,” Anna explains. “Our parents both walked us down the aisle and stood by our sides underneath the chuppah (wedding canopy) as we said our I Do’s. Ran was so nervous, but he said his anxiety completely subsided when he noticed our Rabbi’s fly was down the entire ceremony!”
For photos, the bride (in her Sofia Tolli gown) and groom worked with Twig and Olive to capture the day. “The Osthoff property had beautiful blooming flowers and trees, lots of green bushes, and the lake as a backdrop. But our photographer could have shot us anywhere and the pictures still would have been beautiful.” Anna says she vetted tons of photographers. “I was drawn to Twig and Olive’s candid style. We opted not to have a videographer, so I wanted to be sure that most of our shots were natural and organic instead of posed.”
Anna says she and Ran were determined to eat their own food at their own wedding, which was catered by the Osthoff. “We’d heard horror stories of couples not eating on their wedding day,” she says. “After pictures, my matron of honor snuck us behind a bush and brought us a plate full of appetizers. She saved us!” During cocktail hour, guests enjoyed tuna tartare, antipasta skewers, and salmon lox. For dinner, they had their choice of Filet Mignon, Almond-Crusted Chicken, and a vegetarian/vegan option. Drinks included traditional Wisconsin beers like Spotted Cow and Summer Shandy.
Dessert hailed from Simma’s — a marble cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache. “It was absolutely divine.” As an extra-sweet touch, Anna filled favor bags with handmade chocolates from an old soda shop in the town where she grew up. “I Do” Decorating helped set the scene with linens, napkins, chargers, chair sashes, centerpiece elements, and backdrops throughout the room.
To kick off the dancing, Ran and Anna turned to a close family friend to lead the way. “She’s an Israeli dance instructor in San Diego. Ran’s parents still go to dance classes and events in San Diego, so we knew we wanted to incorporate that into the evening. We had her hand-select a few songs she thought would get the party started — and they did! She did such a great job showing everyone the steps, and after a few beats, we all seemed to get the hang of it. It was so heartwarming to see our guests on the dance floor having fun. Our favorite part was the hora!”
Another moment that sticks with Anna: “The Yichud — a Jewish tradition that calls for a short 10-minute period where the bride and groom spend time in seclusion immediately following the ceremony. It was our first moment alone that day, and the first time alone as a married couple. It was the perfect time for us to reflect together, take a breath, and prepare for the night ahead.”
Anna wants to remind future brides that things may not always go as planned on your wedding day, but it will work out in the end. “I left Ran’s bowtie and shoes at my parents’ house, a 45-minute drive from our venue. My wonderful dad drove back to get them. My mom was out running last-minute errands the morning of the wedding and got pulled over for speeding. Our DJ’s car broke down on the way to the venue and they had to push it. Our flower girl almost had a meltdown seconds before walking down the aisle. Despite all of these hurdles, the day turned out more beautifully than I ever could have imagined — and it all makes for a great story to tell!”
Did you hire a Wedding Consultant?~ No, my Mom and I worked together from 4 states away. We drove each other crazy at times, but at the end of the day we both had the same vision – a beautiful celebration with family and friends. She gave us the best gift of all – a memory we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives. We couldn’t have done it without her.
Make-up Artist:~ Locks + Lashes
Hair Stylist:~ Locks + Lashes
Rehearsal Dinner:~ The Paddock Club in Elkhart Lake, WI
Ceremony & Reception Location:~The Osthoff Resort
Caterer & Bartending Service:~The Osthoff Resort
Cake Designer/Dessert:~ Simma’s Bakery, cake florals by Courtney Joy
Flowers:~ Courtney Joy Floral
Music/Entertainment: ~Midwest Sound
Photographer:~ Twig and Olive Photography
Wedding Dress Designer:~ Sofia Tolli – Loraina
Bridal Salon: ~ Harlow Brides in Salt Lake City, UT
Party Rental Company (linens, tents, chairs etc.):~ “I Do” decorating