Category — Jewish Wedding Traditions

To Lift or Not to Lift? That is the Question.

Posted by The Mrs.


I was recently interviewed for this article on the chair lift – you know, that part of the horah dance when you and your new husband are lifted up high in a chair by your wedding guests. Being that I did not have a Bat Mitzvah, I saw the chair lift as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I did however make a concerted effort not to make that face, that really unflattering face that is an expression of the unbelievable fear that you might fall right out of the chair.

It seems as though there is a new backlash against the chair lift.  Some couples are choosing to omi this tradition from their wedding celebration. What do you think of the chair lift? Have you ever witnessed a chair lift mishap? Do you plan to include the chair lift at your wedding?

Photo credit: Carla Ten Eyck

October 6, 2009   4 Comments

Sunrise, Sunset

Posted by Mara O.


I’ve never been a girl with a million wedding fantasies. No, really! When my fiancé and I got engaged, I believe my first wedding venue idea was “picnic in the woods?” That didn’t fly… but once we started planning, I realized that what I did want was one heck of a party with everyone in our families in attendance. I never imagined  that a  matter of a few minutes could make the difference between my fiancé’s family attending our ceremony, or not.

See, Adam and I looked up what time sunset was on the day we booked our venue because we knew that his family wouldn’t ride/carry/travel/work etc. before the end of shabbat on Saturday night. Sunset is at 4:46 p.m. the day we’re getting married so we booked our ballroom for 4:30, which left just enough time for our relatives and guests to get from the hotel to the venue in time for the start of the ceremony at around 4:50. The contract got signed, and the time was set. But we forgot about one thing: havdalah.

Apparently, havdalah ends 15 minutes after sundown, and THAT marks the point at which riding/carrying/traveling/etc. is again “OK.” Adam and I are both reform, and neither of us have actively observed havdalah since we were small children.  My thoughts turned to “what ifs”… What if they’re late? What if they don’t make it? What if they get angry if we start without them? What if we HAVE to start without them?

Adam and I thought we were being observant enough by waiting until sunset for our ceremony… but now we realize that we weren’t and we can’t move the time of the ceremony. Now his entire family, including his 85 year old grandmother, are planning to walk over a mile from the hotel to our wedding venue to get there in time. I’m truly thankful that they’re willing to do that for us, because the day wouldn’t be the same without them.

September 18, 2009   No Comments

DJ and Yoni: Our Bedecken and Ketubah Signing

Posted by DJ

We finally got our professional wedding pictures back! I’m going to start from the beginning and work my way through the event post by post, so as not to overwhelm you with photographs.

The first ceremonial order of business was the bedecken. The pre-ceremony traditions seemed very casual to me, but festive at the same time; a lot like a bris that takes place in someone’s kitchen (except  that everyone left with all their body parts in tact!)

Somehow, I look dazed and confused in almost every bedecken photograph, so these are the best I could post without embarrassing myself!


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August 18, 2009   9 Comments

The Wedding Inyan

Posted by Elisheva S.

n504316233_1353082_2498Group shot Bais Chana Snorkel & Study ‘09

Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time trying to prepare for…cue the music maestro…life after the wedding. Granted, I haven’t been the most productive; although any day now, G-d willing, we’re going to sign a lease on the apartment we found in Brooklyn. Otherwise I’ve been scoping out jobs and (very leisurely I might add) doing absolutely nothing. A little bit of reading here, a lotta bit of sleeping there, praying for a job, twiddling my thumbs, pondering the more meaningful things in life, such as why a minute seems like three hours when you’re waiting to get married, and how they fit all of that toothpaste into one little tube.

Part of the reason for all of this free time is the Orthodox inyan that a chosson and kallah shouldn’t be involved in the physical preparations for their wedding, but should instead occupy themselves with spiritual preparation. For everyone this is different: for some it means taking on a new mitzvah, for others it may mean adding a prayer or Torah class to their schedule, and for someone else it may mean increasing the amount of tzedakah they give.
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July 13, 2009   5 Comments

Hair Apparent

Posted by Elisheva S.

sheitel1My new wig (aka “Sheitel”)

Sheitels. Scarves. Snoods. Wigs. Tichels. Hat Falls. Band Falls. Double coverings.

After an orthodox woman gets married, she covers her hair at all times in public.  Unlike many of my friends, I never really dreaded this mitzvah.  It’s pretty straightforward, right? Our custom is to only wear a full sheitel outside of the home. Simple enough–at least that’s what I thought until I started shopping for one!  I’ve estimated that there are at least 567,354,678 different companies, sheitel machers, and brands to choose from. Everyone you speak to has their own preferences and experiences and half the time they’re contradictory. There really aren’t any guarantees–when you buy a sheitel, you don’t know, really know if the hair was processed to make it look that sleek and shiny. You don’t know if it will frizz if it gets wet. Or if it’s actually wavy hair they processed to make straight, or straight hair they permed.  Oh, and they’re really, really expensive. Understandably so, since they’re made from human hair. I guess I didn’t realize what a big process shopping for a sheitel would be.
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June 29, 2009   10 Comments