Today I have such a treat in store for you! I’m pleased to introduce bride extraordinare Amy – who will be guest blogging throughout the day about Jewish wedding traditions. Amy emailed me about her beautiful chuppah design, and her wedding slide show moved me to tears! She generously wrote an explanation of each of the traditions they used in their wedding. I’ve added definitions for you, and informative links, should you want to read more. This is unbelievably helpful to me, since I come from a non-Jewish background, and we are having a full Jewish wedding. It’s funny, I’ve posted before about our approach to traditions we are ditching and traditions we are keeping, but we are actually planning on having a ceremony that is rich with tradition. You’ll see how many we have to draw on today. Thanks to Amy, and I hope you all enjoy these posts as much as I do!
I have to write about this first, because it was absolutely the most spontaneous, thrilling moment of the day! It’s traditional at Jewish weddings for guests to entertain the bride and groom (in fact it’s considered a special honor blessing – a mitzvah) but it’s my understanding that this is mostly done in Orthodox weddings, and we hadn’t planned it into the evening’s happenings. Our guests completely took us by surprise and put on an incredible show! They sat us in the middle of the dance floor and did all kinds of magic tricks, juggling, chicken fights, dancing, and even push-ups in between rounds of the hora! The energy and love was so incredibly festive and celebratory and joyful. All 150 guests were cheering and laughing and it totally epitomized what I had hoped the day would be like.
Another one of my very favorite things about the day. Andy’s father is a well-known Jewish composer (I knew his music growing up, and even had it on my Ipod before I met Andy!). The ceremony centered around original music he wrote especially for our wedding. It was played by graduate students from the music department at the University of Oregon, and was conducted by Andy’s cousin. It was such an immense honor to have the traditional words and order of the Jewish ceremony set to this music.
We brought in a Klezmer band from Seattle for the reception, Shawn’s Kugel. The music really provided the festive, celebratory vibe we wanted. I was skeptical about having organized Israeli dancing, but it was a huge hit…people are still talking about it!
Photos by Joseph Milton