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Ethel & Jonathan

With inspiration from afar and a helping hand from the bride’s mother, a New York couple transformed a Palm Beach landmark into a North African party palace.

Ethel and Jonathan, cheek-to-cheek.

Orchids festooned the seating areas and chuppah

The bridal party decked out in the couple’s favorite hue, emerald green

Flower girls beamed in floral dresses

The finished ballroom was decorated with painted murals, gilded artifacts, and filled bowls.

The finished ballroom was decorated with painted murals, gilded artifacts, and filled bowls.

The finished ballroom was decorated with painted murals, gilded artifacts, and filled bowls.

“Being very go-with-the-flow, I yanked the veil out of my hair, shrugged my shoulders and kept walking. The whole crowd gasped as if it was the scariest moment, but for us, it was one of those moments that brings you back to reality and reminds you never to take yourself or your situation too seriously. We just had to laugh it off.”

Ethel’s no-bridezilla attitude is refreshing, and enviable. But, then, the couple has plenty of practice running events. She is a senior development executive at UJA-Federation of New York, while Jonathan is a real estate salesperson with The Corcoran Group. They met at a birthday party through friends.

Perhaps one of the reasons Ethel was able to be carefree at her own wedding was because her mother helped with the decor. Ethel’s mom knew well that her daughter has always loved the patterns and colors of Moroccan art and architecture, and that the couple dreamt of visiting there someday, so, with the help of Michael Ereshena from The Special Event Resource and Design Group, they “turned the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago into another land,” Ethel says. “Walking into that room felt like we were transported. It was really incredible.”

The fresh, exotic decor felt appropriate for this newly joined multicultural family. Ethel is Canadian, and Jonathan, though a native Manhattanite, has an extensive Persian family on his mother’s side. The widespread family is only one reason why they chose to have a destination wedding in Palm Beach.

Here’s how the two became one. Ethel recalls that one night, two years ago, Jonathan insisted she watch a magic trick. He produced a paper flower and asked her to light a match. She held it up to the flower and, as the flower burned, the engagement ring was revealed. She says, “I was completely shocked and dropped the lit match on our couch!”

Indeed, it sounds like they will be celebrating for quite a while—with and without magic tricks—and maybe, soon, in Morocco.