THE JEWISH WEDDING


TRADITIONAL JEWISH WEDDINGS 

I have an expression! How do you get eight opinions from seven people? Simple, book a Jewish Wedding! Now I can say that because I am very Jewish by birth, follow traditions, formal Bar Mitzvah and all with a Rabbi in the family.  

Another favorite expression of mine, I got from the Carnival people since I live near Gibsonton, Florida, the winter home of the Circus and traveling Carnival folks.  It’s in here a lot.  

They find out ahead of time “Who is the stick”!  The stick is the boss, not the mock boss, the real boss.  In the old day’s bosses carried sticks and used them.  Five bucks says it’s not the father. Its Mom. Get all that out of the way fast before you sign contracts. 

Simply ask “who is the person here that I am contracting with?”.  Coming from a typical Matriarchal Jewish family, I can tell you they are either open in conversation about Weddings in front of you and twice as vocal after you leave, the truth might come out.   

I called it "Yenterism”.  My beloved mother had a master’s, possibly a doctorate in reading through things.  It will get passed around the table and input is allowed, sometimes softly, sometimes screaming and yelling encouraged and insisted by Moms, Aunts, Friends, Upstairs Neighbors and anyone who will listen. That’s why I say get it done up front. 

If you charge by hours or time, get the overtime in writing and explain that to them three times and have them all sign it.  Otherwise, you will lose. You are outgunned and out maneuvered at every step.

Other strongly family oriented groups present the same situation. Now therefore I insist “That you explain that the decision maker (the boss, the stick) at the Wedding is the Bride and she has the final word. Legally, spiritually, emotionally, she is the one you will do business with”.   If not, and you have clearly not designated this, I wish you well. (Get it in writing).

If hell breaks loose and something goes wrong she will go crying to ... her mother. You will be the next in line if there is no official Wedding Planner.  That’s why you must read BRIDEZILLA and follow these lessons. 

 

THE GREAT SIDE


Once the plans are down pat and signed for and all grey and dark areas are covered, be ready for a good ride.  The Jewish Wedding can be very, very photographic. Some of the customs such as the vows under a small open tent and the breaking of the glass are very symbolic and offer some good chances of a winning shot.  Then at the reception be prepared to move quickly as the traditional circle dances and the rest of the wedding party and guests get into the act. It grows and builds. You will be busy trying to catch the action. 

This is the time for the second shooter to come alive and tell him or her to get as much as they can.  The action is fast you need a strobe at half power on manual and get in tune with the dancing.  Don’t get in the middle, a couple all-star male dancers with chairs for the Bride and groom will jump in and a football gear won’t help you


BEING PERFECTLY CLEAR

Just so you understand, I’m not picking on Jewish Weddings. Again, I am Jewish and naturally have shot many.  That’s why my wife and I eloped, my brother and his lovely wife did the same.  It’s seems a TRADITION in our family to elope. 

TRADITION, TRADITION!

In the traditional Jewish ceremony, it is highly representative of the sentimental rites laws brought down for centuries. The center is the marriage contract, the Ketuvah. There are many significant rites such as the two-mothers of the bride and groom, smash a dish wrapped in a towel to officiate the marriage of the families. It represents a broken dish can never again be united. 

Their children should only know unity—with no breaks in their relationship.  Later on, you realize broken dishes are a Jewish Tradition. I can think of many my dear mother threw at me.  She only threw the older miss-matched ones for effect.  But not the English China she adored.  

 At my nephews wedding, they are standing under a Chuppah, four poles and a very ornate covering.  The Chuppah is open on all sides representing open skies. In his temple, there are skylights as you will find in most temples to be under open skies and this means you better be thinking light balance.

His was a nightmare of lighting.

For the groom in the more orthodox or conservative movements the groom will wear a kittle, a white cotton cloak-like garment and the Bride will enter and the groom will bring her to the Chuppah. At this time, the bride will slowly circle the groom seven times. 

It is followed by blessings, seven usually, toasts, mazel tovs and then the groom gets to smash a glass, carefully wrapped in a cloth napkin, so as to prevent injury, under his shoe, which according to my nephew who happens to be a Rabbi, a solemn reminder of the destruction of King David’s temple, and to modernists it represents the breaking of all bonds of the past with others (Old Girlfriends, Great Fantasies, Wild weekends, etc.) 

Now, in my opening remarks I told you about opinions. That’s a sub-chapter!  A Jewish wedding can fall into one of the three major categories of Judaism which are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. Not Reformed, its correctly Reform. 

That will determine partially what you are up against. The soon to be newlyweds' families will tell you what they are,  but you have to ask about, seating, dancing, and recitals, because in the Orthodox men and women do not participate in some of these customs, they are basically separated. 

They sit apart and if you are not accustomed to very proper people and by chance walk into an Orthodox wedding, get help. I avoided doing them, they are very strict.  They are my people but at times very tough to deal with. I left it for others.

 

MY JEWISH NON-JEWISH WEDDING

Many years ago, early in the morning I asked my significant other if she should could get a few hours off on next Thursday and she asked why?  I thought and explained marriage was a good idea, we were soul mates, had been together for the longest time, I knew there was no one else.

 She said yes, I had planned and it was less than 48 hours later, it was over at 11:00 am at the courthouse.  All these years she was alive she never regretted having the big wedding day, I always asked her. “No way” she says.  She added, we worked and attended many weddings, she helped and we saw the good, the bad, and the ugly, we saw the beauty, we saw hate and the bad things.  We didn’t need it.

 We were together thirty-one years till illness took her.  Other than yearly trade shows we never spent a day apart and she attended and assisted many stressful weddings I got called to do. That was her reason for not having one. 

As my partner, she was my right arm and best friend and I have ever had.  With all the stress and strain of my business, she was an Oasis in the Desert, an Island in the Ocean.   She is the good thing about marriage, it lasts more than just one day. I’m old school, you married and meant it, good and bad, richer or poorer... in good health or bad... life is way too short. Ok before you all start crying, on to the next one.  This was before I lost her in August 2007 to Cancer, life has never been the same.