Quirky New York City Elopement

Luda and Ayal NYC elopement by Niv Shimshon Photography (72)

When they discovered that their country’s laws prevented them having the wedding they really wanted, Israelis Luda and Ayal decided to elope in NYC.

“We couldn’t get married the way we wanted in our own country (in Israel only religious marriages are legal)”, explained the bride. “So we’ve decided to get married in New York City. It was a natural choice for us since Ayal is an American citizen and he used to live in Williamsburg. Some of Ayal’s family still lives in the US, and they were able to make the trip and attend the City Hall wedding. If we were to have any theme I guess it was the city itself!”

Luda and Ayal NYC elopement by Niv Shimshon Photography (29)

The bride designed her own dress with help from a fashion designer friend. “I designed the dress and a good friend of mine who is the owner of an underground and street-style store in Tel-Aviv, helped me with the final design and the sewing. I also made my own wedding bouquet. I wanted white flowers with black feathers. We thought that it will be easy to find someone who could make it when we arrived in New York but we couldn’t! The white flowers were easy but we couldn’t find anyone that could add the black feathers too. So we improvised. Ayal bought a feather duster from Kmart, took the feathers out and made the bouquet I wanted!”

Luda and Ayal NYC elopement by Niv Shimshon Photography (55)

“Our favourite part was walking all over the city with our photographer and the photos we got after it. I have never been to New York City, and Ayal was so thrilled to show me around. The amazing part of all is that we didn’t even plan to have a photographer with us. It was Ayal’s sister who understood that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so she and Ayal’s mother decided to hire a photographer for us as a wedding present. We are forever thankful for that and can’t imagine having to go through this amazing experience without having all these beautiful photos of our wedding day.”

Luda and Ayal NYC elopement by Niv Shimshon Photography (89)

“Our biggest expense was our flights to New York, but we saved on everything else. Ayal’s mom even gave him the cake topper from his grandparent’s wedding in New York 70 years ago. Our ‘cake’ was a stack of pancakes while having brunch in Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg. We love how the two worlds came together – the old cake topper on our version of wedding cake.”

Luda and Ayal NYC elopement by Niv Shimshon Photography (67)



  1. Georgia

    Oh this is just a joy to read about. I absolutely love the feather duster story 😀 you guys rock!!!

  2. DeeDee Lynn

    So fun and specials. Good for them!! Will the wedding be legally recognized back in Israel??


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