With her background in fashion and interior design, Emily Gerszberg, the founder of Yakira Bella women’s clothing in Teaneck, Cedarhurst and Brooklyn, knows how to create environments with personality and breathtaking beauty. So when her brother-in-law was getting married, it was a given that she would make the wedding. “We were honored to be a part of it,” she said. “We were really motivated to make it special for them—they’re such special people.”
The Gerszberg home, with a large backyard and pool, was the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding in the pandemic era. “It was a spectacular simcha, creatively fulfilling and exciting,” said Gerszberg. From that day, and even before when people came through and toured the grounds, I started getting inquiries: Would I consider doing a wedding for other
Gerszberg was intrigued. She loved doing the wedding and already had plans to make Yakira Bella a lifestyle brand, opening more stores and branching out to home goods and children’s clothing. “I decided this was an opportunity to gain momentum for this whole creative lifestyle brand, so I launched Yakira Bella Events,” she said.
With much of her time devoted to her stores, Gerszberg is limiting her events to three or four per year. “I’m really inspired to do it the way we did the last one, with a lot of time on the creative end conceiving, planning and implementing,” she said. “It’s a very big undertaking. Each wedding will be at a different location, entirely unique and no overlap one to the other.” Besides finding a location that can have an event like this, a whole new environment has to be built—and taken apart.
For her brother-in-law’s wedding, Gerszberg was excited to host the event at her home but didn’t want it to have a backyard feel. She spread out the wedding into three areas where people could gather without being on top of each other. To avoid the circus look of multiple visible tents, she built a tunnel pathway, filled with greens and flowers that led to a reception area. “You didn’t feel like you were in a tent. You knew you were inside because it was cool but you had a surreal feeling, not indoors or outdoors,” Gerszberg explained.
She built a circle bar with shelving around a tree, which was the original concept for the event from which everything else evolved. The idea came from an outdoor restaurant in northern Italy she visited that had an overhang of orchids. “That’s how I work,” she noted. “I look for one thing that speaks to me and it becomes the focal point for what we’re building.”
The doors of the reception area opened so guests could walk to the chuppah over a custom-built wooden bridge that traversed the pool. Surrounding the pool were four truckloads of flowers from Florida on a frame Gerszberg built that turned the area into a blush pink and white fantasyland. “We had to get them from Florida with the buds closed, and hope for enough time for them to open to get the burst of color we wanted,” she said. “I had people working through the night, opening 2,000 fresh flowers.” From there, through some trees, guests entered into the seating area for dinner. Further back on the property, a dance floor was bathed in white lights so it appeared to be floating.
For clients, Gerszberg said she will get her starting off point from the couple, like a certain color they love, but she will design and execute the plan. For other elements of the wedding—food, photography, music—she will work with her team of specialists.
Although these events will be completely custom, Gerszberg said they can be done in a timely fashion. “There are a lot of great people working in the event space today,” she said. “People are pulling off amazing things in a couple of days.”
By Bracha Schwartz