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Cultural Wedding Inspiration Project


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Cultural Wedding Inspiration Project | A Practical WeddingI haven’t mentioned it much on this site, but David and I are having a Jewish wedding. This means that we have a wealth of very rich traditions to draw on when we are creating our ceremony and reception. When most people think of Jewish weddings they think of a chuppah and the hora, but there are many more traditions then that. There is the Ketubah, the veiling, the circling, the seven blessings, breaking the glass, the chair dance, and the mezinka, just to name a few.

The challenge that I’m facing is this: fundamentally, Jewish weddings are a different kind of wedding then a Christian wedding, but they are also somewhat different from your average American non-religious wedding. When it comes to trying to plan a stylish and creative wedding the internet, and wedding blogs in particular are (at least for me) the place to go. But the internet has very little to help me plan a stylish Jewish wedding. I want stylish Jewish weddings to inspire me, and I’m working off exactly one: Randi & Jacob’s extremely awesome New York Wedding. You can’t even search The Knot for Jewish weddings, for goodness sake. I suspect the same is true of any other cultural or ethnic wedding: Hindu weddings, Muslim weddings, Chinese weddings.
Cultural Wedding Inspiration Project | A Practical WeddingSo, I throwing this out to you, oh internets, and to wedding blog writers, readers, planners, and photographers. Have you had a cultural wedding? Are you planning a ethnic wedding? Do you have pictures of inspiring cultural weddings? Would you be willing to talk to me about your experience of putting together a wedding that wasn’t classically American or Christian? I’d like to collect inspiration, images and resources for couples planning ethnic weddings. And of course, purely selfishly, I want stylish Jewish wedding inspiration.

If you want to help with this project please email me at practicalwedding at gmail dot com. Email me with pictures, thoughts, or if you’d be willing to do a short interview with me about your wedding or planning process. If you know someone who might want to help, send them this link. I’ll be linking to this project on the top right of my blog as well, so its easy to find.

Lets do this thing, Internets!

Top Photo, Martha Stewart Weddings (Winter 2007), Bottom Photo: Maggie Mason via Flickr

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Anonymous

    I am planning a jewish wedding. I started getting my information from Anita Diamant’s book “The New Jewish Wedding” It explained many things to me. We’ve met with our rabbi, so I understand a bit more now. I would be happy to share any information with you. Contact me at brettblair3@gmail.com

  • Naama

    Fully agreed! And also found Anita Diamant’s book incredibly helpful.

    Found the ketubot over at http://www.newketubah.com to be awesome. Ours will be based on those (my future sister in law is designing). We stole a tradition from the Quakers, and are having everyone at our wedding sign the ketubah (though everyone other than the witnesses is signing on a separate panel). There’s stuff out there, but I agree, you have to dig.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Thanks guys. I have the book, of course, and the Rabbi (well, a couple, really) so we know how its done. We are more then set on that front, and working on our service.

    What there does not seem to be a ton of is stylish visual inspiration (for example: how many letterpress invites have you seen using Hebrew? I’ve seen one, and we’ve designed one…) How many Jewish wedding inspiration boards have you seen? I’ve um, seen mine, but no others. I’m working to pull those sorts of things together for us cultural brides.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    oh, and that is really lovely about the Ketubah signing! We need more stories like that in the blog-o-sphere. I’d love the feature that on the site after the wedding if you are up for it! Drop me a email if you are.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14210699443333258235 Denise

    Hi Meg,

    I just found your blog and love it. I recently celebrated my own Jewish wedding (on a budget), in San Francisco,and it was very stylish (well, I thought so, anyway!). I am not Jewish, but my husband is and we figured out the way to do this that met both our needs, but that said, it was definitely more a Jewish wedding than anything else. And everyone had a great time. Regarding the ketubah — we splurged a little on that. We wanted something stylish that we’d like to hang on our wall and we found the perfect one at newketubah.com, which someone mentioned already. Tsilli was great to work with. Anyway, I’d be happy to share more details and photos when I get them. And by the way, I LOVED your favor post. We opted to do without them too, and I don’t think anyone cared or noticed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Denise! Please please email me! I’d love to interview you via email and even post some of your photos on the blog if you would be up for it (and it can be relatively anonymous if that is better for you). Anyway, I’d like to chat with you, regardless :)

  • m

    Hi Meg,

    My fiancĂŠ and I are getting married this October in Chicago. When we made our list of priorities for our wedding, shortly after we got engaged last July, we both wanted to emphasize several uniquely-Jewish wedding elements.

    First, we chose our Rabbi, who knew my fiancĂŠ for several years. Our Rabbi has been quite involved in our wedding planning process. We’ve had to meet with him for 6 or so sessions and write essays (some of which seemed silly to us since we’ve been together for 6+ years and figured out this stuff ages ago), but he’s been very helpful in guiding our Jewish choices. For example, we discussed which guests can/should be honored with what readings; I’m thrilled that one of my (non-Jewish) best friends/bridesmaids, who set us up, will be able to read the sheva berachot for us in English.

    We also found a wonderful local Judaica artist for several aspects. She’ll be making our ketubah. After talking with us, and I’m convinced that, years from now, I’ll look at it and find something in it that I hadn’t seen before, which is so cool. Also, my parents commissioned a chuppah that will grow with our family, and we will be having a chuppah where names can be added. For the cover of our invitation, we chose a Hebrew quote but decided that instead of translating it (which doesn’t sound nearly as beautiful and wouldn’t be as aesthetically-pleasing), we would have a visual, artistic representation throughout the Hebrew lettering. I am so excited to have such a unique invitation and cannot wait for them to be mailed.

    We also already wrote 95% of our wedding program. Given that we’ll have many guests who are unfamiliar with traditional Jewish weddings, we went into quite a bit of detail – but there is so much humor and puns in it too that I’m convinced that if a guest does get bored during our ceremony and starts to read, s/he’ll end up laughing out loud. This would thrill me – hey, as the Jewish custom goes: anything to make the bride and groom happy on their wedding day, right?

    If you have any questions, post back here with your contact information, and I’ll contact you :) Take care and best of luck!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Hey M-
    I’d LOVE to hear more about your wedding, and maybe post about it! In the meantime though, I’d love to pick your brain/ steal some of your resources for help with our wedding. email me at meg@apracticalwedding.com

  • http://smashingtheglass.com/ Karen Cinnamon

    Hi Meg

    Well I’m 5 years too late but came across this post and have to tell you that I felt EXACTLY like you about my Jewish wedding planning (I got married a few months ago in April 2013 in London, UK) so I decided to do something about it and have set up a Jewish Wedding Blog purely for stylish, creative and original Jewish weddings.

    It’s called Smashing The Glass (http://smashingtheglass.com/) and you can read more about why I set it up here: http://smashingtheglass.com/about/

    It’s only been going since May 2013 but there’s loads of content on there already as the reaction has been so positive and the momentum immense!

    Tell me what you think and what more you’d like to see and even better, how can we collaborate – could I write a guest post on A Practical Wedding potentially?

    Would love to hear from you (and I totally love what you’re doing here on APW – so very inspirational.

    Karen