Restaurant steps up to host wedding for couple unable to travel to Israel

Mazal restaurant in Camden Market hosted the wedding of Ellis and Shira


Newlyweds Ellis and Shira were married on Tuesday in an Israeli restaurant overlooking a London canal after they couldn’t travel to Israel to be wed because of the Hamas terror attack.

Mazal restaurant in Camden Market, was hired by the couple. The bride-to-be mentioned how she wanted a taste of home, so they cleared furniture to make a dance floor and the restaurant hosted the wedding with only a week’s notice.

Neta Nel Segev, 36, founded the restaurant with friend and head chef Aviv, 32, four months ago.  

Neta said: “The groom’s father, Gerard, who drives a London black cab, dropped off clients at the restaurant and saw our kosher sign. He knocked on our door and explained the situation. He told me that the couple were determined to get married and unable to travel to Israel. So I said: ‘We can make this work.’” 

An extensive kosher menu was prepared, including baba ganoush, humus and Israeli salad, so that the Israelis present, including Shira’s parents and two siblings who flew in, could be made to feel in “a home away from home”. 

“I found myself as an event planner for the first time in my life,” Neta said.

To secure the event and make the guests feel comfortable Gerard hired security. The Israeli community hub Shelanu UK provided speakers and a PA system. Neta approached a friend of his at nearby Three Locks Brewing Company, who agreed to hold the reception in his indoor space with a view over the canal.

Neta said: “Even the management of Camden Market were very cooperative and offered to help in any way they could. Everyone wanted to make this wife and husband-to-be as happy as they possibly could.” 

Over 70 people attended the wedding in person, and a big screen and projector were brought in so it could be live-streamed for all of Shira’s extended family and friends in Israel. 

The groom, Ellis, said: “We managed to keep to the original date set for the wedding. With only a week’s notice, we stripped back our original plans and concentrated on the fundamentals of a wedding ceremony, which made it even more special for us. For the chuppah, we tied a tallit to four poles which were held up by four close family members. This was our Chuppah.”

The groom’s mother, Karen, who is from Essex, said: “Neta went above and beyond to create an unbelievable night, beyond amazing, on such short notice. The Rabbi said a prayer for Shira’s three brothers and for his own son who are currently serving in the IDF. It was Israel and England in a room together, in solidarity and defiance, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” 

Neta, who has increased the restaurant’s security measures since the outbreak of the war, said: “It’s so important that we stay open. The terrorists lose when we are not afraid and we continue to celebrate and live our lives. Our strength comes from our people being united, showing our enemies we are open and proud.”

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