Location, location, location

Celebrate in a land of contrasts


Whether it is the groom breaking the wedding glass under a moonlit sky in Jerusalem or the bride tossing her bouquet into the mesmerising Med, there is something extra special about celebrating in Israel. And whether you prefer an indoor post-chupah soirée or a feast outdoors, Israel’s top hotels are happy to oblige.

British families can’t get enough of the Israel’s spectacular Mediterranean coastline, as the backdrop for both the chupah and the celebratory meal. It is not unusual for celebrants to take a dip in the sea or pool at some point during the celebration.

Popular hotel simchah venues include the Ritz Carlton Herzliya, Tel Aviv Hilton and the Dan Accadia Herzliya.

The Ritz Carlton Herzliya can also host an aufruf, or Shabbat chatan (like an aufruf but often held the week after the wedding) and a cocktail dinner for up to 250 people. The cocktail-party concept is typically Israeli, but Brits love it because of its relaxed atmosphere in contrast to a formal dinner. A big trend in Israel is to invite a celebrity singer to either the chupah or dinner.

The hotel’s outdoor marina deck/terrace provides a gorgeous sea-view setting for a ceremony or reception, for up to 300 guests. The ballroom is ideal for indoor gatherings of up to 120 people.

The Hilton Tel Aviv has a distinctive location in the Independence Park, on the Mediterranean coast. In its 53-year history, countless luxury weddings have been held in its high-ceilinged, pillar-free Grand Ballroom with sea-view foyer. Next to the ballroom is the large ballroom terrace, overlooking the Med, a perfect venue for a sunset chupah, reception and outdoor dining.

“The sea view is magical and overseas guests are fascinated by this extraordinary landscape,” says Motti Verses of Hilton Israel.

Executive chef Rafik Jabarin creates menus centred on fresh produce from the Carmel Market, bringing together Israeli flavours and gourmet dining.

The hotel has won a big following among the very orthodox, thanks to its upscale glatt kosher cuisine.

At the Dan Accadia in Herzliya, receptions and chupahs again benefit from the Mediterranean backdrop. As the weather dictates, dinner can be served on the terrace or in one of the hotel’s banqueting halls.

Also on the seafront is the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv, where you can have your ceremony next to the pool or on the deck and then take advantage of the large conference centre for the dinner and dancing, for which the space can be divided into smaller areas if you wish.

Dan Hotels in Eilat, Haifa and Caesarea also attract British couples.

“The trend for couples from overseas to come to Israel for their weddings is as strong as ever, with many bringing large parties of their families and friends to join in the celebrations,” says Rafi Baeri, VP of the Dan Hotel chain.

“With eight months of guaranteed good weather, couples have the opportunity to hold part of the festivities outside. At the height of the summer, the reception and chupah can be outside, with the guests going into the air-conditioned interior for dinner and dancing.”

In Jerusalem, the David Citadel Hotel has cleverly designed modular reception rooms and banquet halls, giving the flexibility to entertain 20 to 500 guests. All event spaces have views of the Old City walls. The David Citadel’s sister hotel, the Mamilla, across the road, has a ballroom with Jerusalem stone décor, dark wooden tables and natural-toned wooden floors, large windows and a patio.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, with its gracious arches and majestic staircase, is also popular for weddings. The hotel’s Grand Ballroom is one of the largest in Jerusalem.

“It is a perfect venue for big banquets, up to 450 guests,” says Verses. The rooftop garden terrace is a great option for a summer chupah and reception, with cuisine by executive chef Itzik Mizrachi Barak.

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