Dec 30, 2007
Wedding planning's taking its toll on you. This video may cheer you up. It's an actual video wedding invitation that is also an animated reminder of how some things can get out of hand. In the clip, Jeff and Natasha are trying to select their wedding invite. Natasha is the star and she tries to come up with the perfect wedding invitation.
"We burned this animation onto DVD's and sent it out as our actual wedding invitation. It took nine months to complete, and was produced entirely as part of a group project class at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco where I'm an instructor of animation." - says Jeff, who posted the video on YouTube.
Dec 25, 2007
Have you ever thought about saving those glass shards as a keepsake of that wonderful moment, the exact second that your ceremony was complete? But, what will you do with shards of glass?
This is where the crafty folks at MazelTovGlass.com come in. What they do is give you a special hand blown glass to break under the Chuppah; afterwards you ship the shards back to them (make sure to write 'Fragile' on the box.) MazelTovGlass then molds them back together with clear glass for an unique Mazel Tove Glass Heirloom. Whole again and better than ever. (At least until the time your kids will get to it.) They offer many design options and colors. You could make a vase, wine glasses, or fruit bowl. Take a look at their site for more info.
Here are just some examples of the finished product:
Dec 23, 2007
Many modern couples find that flaunting the 'oh-so-obvious' Jewish symbols is a bit cliche. But with the recent Heeb hype, some folks (especially younger ones) like to show off their stars. For these, as well as the more traditional folk that find affinity in all Jewish symbols, these 'Star of David' place-cards (that guests can take home with them) might be of great interest. They are available at Moments of Elegance.
Have you ever heard of a groom eating a carrot at the altar? Find out why he does this at Lisa and Dave's spectacular and fun New York City wedding ceremony!
Dress: redesigned by Alex Teih
Band: Peter Greco
Flowers: Flowers of the World
Photography & Videography: J Michaels photography
Reception venue: Museum of Jewish Heritage
Dec 22, 2007
For some couples it's a matter of practicality, since many of their friends and relatives may reside in Israel or Europe. There's also the weather. Between April and October, Israel receives virtually zero rainfall, which makes weather issues a non issue. Other couples that are primarily interested in the exotique know that there are no shortages of dazzling and breathtaking venues in Israel. With views of the Mediterranean ocean, the Dead Sea, or the Red Sea, and in places like Ein Gedi or Eilat, Israel abounds with settings for exciting and unique wedding ceremonies and receptions.
How about a Kibbutz?
A very popular destination for Tourists and Israelis alike is the Havat Ronit Kibbutz. With large, spacious ground, this location lends itself to a variety of moods. Day or night, indoors or outdoors, Havat Ronit has the capacity and also the staff to create a wedding to remember. Here are some images to give you a glimpse.
Dec 19, 2007
There are many articles online describing the proceedings at a Jewish wedding. As you very well know, however, a picture tells a thousand words. Here's a visual overview of the main elements of a Jewish wedding. (All images are compiled from Flickr.com)
Ketubah is signed before the ceremony. In this picture, one of the two witnesses is signing the Ketubah.
Following the completion of the Ketubah and amidst vivacious (except for Liubavitch Chassidim who sing the Alter's nigun) singing and dancing, the Groom is lead to the Bride for the Bedeken - the Veiling ceremony, whereupon he will place her veil over her face.
After the Badeken, its time to walk down the isle to the Chuppah, which is symbolic of the new couple's new home that will have its conception here. The image below is of the groom (who is wearing a white Kittel) being waked by his parents with candles in their hands to the Chuppah.
Under the Chuppah, the Bride walks around the Groom seven times.
At this point we're going to need some wine. Wine is used for the blessings recited under the Chuppah by officiating Rabbi and some honored guests.
A Chuppah can be nothing more than a Tallis held up by four poles (as in the image below), under which on of the relatives is saying a blessing in Hebrew over a cup filled with wine.
The Bride and the Groom are given to drink from the Cup with the blessed wine.
All that's left to complete the ceremony is to break a glass as a sign that the destroyed Temple is always in a Jew's heart. The glass cracks at exactly the same instant as the guests scream out 'Mazel Tov' (perhaps it's the other way around.)
...MAZEL TOV!!!! Let the party start!
Dec 18, 2007
This video features Lipa Shmeltzer, a star on the chassidic music scene known for a variety of music styles that includes rap and techno among others, doing more or less the 'Standard Second Dance' - (second music set at a Jewish wedding, usually reserved for those who have not died out after the first dance.) This video is quite representative of the tempo of Jewish wedding music. It's fast. Sport photographers, who are pro at capturing fast action, would probably have a hard time shooting at these speeds. This video is from an orthodox Jewish wedding, hence the separate dancing for men and women.
This is another video with Lipa. This one is from a wedding in London. In this clip Lipa is performing his own stuff and it looks more like a concert than a wedding.
Dec 17, 2007
Other coulples begin their search for the perfect setting through their caterer. A caterer will generally have a broader menu selection than a standard wedding hall, and will pay more attention to food display as well. (Although, it must be noted that an inquiring and informed consumer can have his or her requirements accommodated by most halls, should he or she directly, and in detail, express them to the hall administrator.) A caterer will usually have a few exclusive locations where it operates, but will also have a larger list of venues that it has worked at. Almost any non-kosher venue can be Kashered (made kosher) by a professional caterer. (A list of Kosher caterers can be found on koshercaterers.info.)
Some of the more edgy couples, who like to be totally and utterly original, will let their imagination run wild and will scout out a location that is, shall we say, completely 'raw'. Any place - given sufficient funds and creativity, can be transformed into a breathtaking and unique wedding venue. Here, a wedding planner's assistance will be of necessity. A wedding planner will have experience in 'dressing up' rooms and metamorphosing raw and untamed landscape into beautifully lit, tastefully decorated, and overall put-together event settings.
Whichever way you will go about creating the appropriate stage for your wedding, first identify your needs, wants, and priorities, like kashrus standards and financial constraints, then set your sights on the location that's right for you using a method that's right for you. But remember to keep your mind OPEN.
Dec 12, 2007
At every Jewish wedding, a marriage contract, Ketubah, is signed by the groom, bride, and witnesses. The Ketubah outlines the basic financial (and otherwise) obligations of the husband to his wife and the amount of money he will owe the woman he is about to marry in case he'll decide to untie the knot he's about to tie. One might say that such matters are not apropos at a time like this. The sages of the Talmud, who instituted the Ketubah, believed that security that comes with the Ketubah contract only woks to further strengthen the bond that is in the process of being formed. In fact, it was prohibited to finalize the wedding ceremony without a Ketubah contract. In most Orthodox circles, Ketubah is read under the Chuppah by an honored guest. Throughout history, the Ketubah document was very adorned and skillfull calligraphy was applied when drafting it. Some hang it up on their wall as wall art and a memento of their wedding.
Here are some random images of the Ketubah being signed at various Jewish weddings.
First you'll need to find a venue that would accommodate an unpredictable amount of people that belong to your Chassidic group, lets say 10,000 to 20,000 people that would love to share the wedding joy of their beloved Rebbe. In addition to the Bobover Chassidic community of Boro Park, thousands from Antwerp, Lakewood, London, Monsey, Montreal, Toronto, Williamsburg, and elsewhere will be in attendance. And of course, you can expect another couple of thousand people who are likely to drop by just to see what a twenty thousand people wedding looks like.
Floyd Bennett Field, the no-longer-in-use airfield adjacent to the Marine Parkway Bridge in South Brooklyn was the venue of choice for this couple. The airfield’s two gargantuan cement runways, each nearly one-mile long, were the largest in the world when built in 1929. The airfield and its hangars are likely the largest usable open spaces, both indoors and out, in New York City today.
When your wedding is of such proportions, it is, for all intents and purposes, a concert. (And if you don't do it right, it may very well turn into a cirus, too.) It is not exactly clear, though, who the audience is. Are they the friends and family, are they the guests (invited and the uninvited). Shall you want to find out, browse the videos for this wedding on YouTube.com and you'll see that the roles change and everyone is entertained at some point and time.
For this event, which by the way, took place on May 27, 2007, not one, not two, not even three photo crews were commissioned to photograph the happenings of the day. No, it took five photography teams to document this affair. Hirsh Rosner Studio of Boro Park was the leader of photography pack, who, by the way, has plenty of such weddings in his porfolio.
On the bright side, when you are a leader of a huge Chassidic group there are plenty of helpers (and those helpers have more helpers...) to take care of every single detail of the event planning - no wedding planner necessary.
Dec 5, 2007
Today we bring you Robyn’s small town lodge wedding. She cut costs by having family members contribute services, skipping favors, and having a Sunday wedding. This way Robyn was able to pull together a lovely, warm affair for 70 guests for under $15,000.
Date: September 2, 2007
City: small town 70 miles north of Seattle, WA
# of Guests: 70
Ceremony/Reception Site: $1795. Our venue was a private lodge on 70 acres, with beautifully manicured gardens and a large pond in the center of the property. The ceremony and reception both took place outdoors. Included in the price were all tables and chairs as well as 3 separate rooms for getting ready and a gourmet kitchen used by our caterers. Because we chose to get married on a Sunday (the Sunday of Labor Day weekend), the regular fee for the venue was reduced by $200.
Caterer/Food/Drink (per person if available): $5850 or ~$78/person (this number takes into account feeding our DJ, photographer, and day-of coordinator as well as all 70 guests and the bride and groom). Ravishing Radish did our catering and they were wonderful. Catering was one of the expenses we didn’t want to skimp on. For $5200 the food total included tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, an 8 item buffet, pre-set tables, coffee, all linens, plateware, silverware, glassware, delivery fees for rentals, and floral arrangements for the buffet tables. We provided beer, wine, champagne, water, and iced tea for a total of an additional $650.
Service Charge/Gratuities: The above food total includes 18% gratuity and all service charges for 1 event manager, 2 servers, 1 kitchen staff, and 1 bartender. The above is also inclusive of all sales tax.
Bridal Gown & Alterations: I purchased my dress at Nordstrom.com for around $450. It is by BCBG. The gown did not require any alterations. I thought I might eventually regret my decision to buy such a simple, inexpensive dress, but I didn’t. It is totally me and I still had the opportunity to dress it up by adding fun accessories like a poofy pink sash and animal print heels.
Bridal Accessories (Veil, Undergarments, Shoes, Jewelry): I purchased a pink silk sash from Saeyoung Vu in New York during their February sale for $45. My Kate Spade shoes were purchased from smartbargains.com for $120. I wore diamond earrings given to me by my parents for a birthday. My bracelet was $25 at Macy’s. I made a Grecian-inspired headband using a plain silver faux-leather headband from Old Navy for $4 and an elaborate trim costing around $20 for 18 inches. My veil was ordered at a heavy discount online for $20.
Groom’s Attire: After trying on countless suits from Hickey Freeman to Hugo Boss, we ended up going with the best-fitting suit, which also happened to be the most reasonably priced! My husband’s suit was $280 from H&M. His shirt, shoes, and tie came to around $150.
Stationery/Postage: $477. Includes DIY STD and thank you card materials, invitations, and postage (for STDs, invites, and thank you cards). Fifty invitations were custom designed by mmmPaper of Seattle for around $250.
Photography: $1800. Our photographer, Ron Wurzer Photography, despite working as a photojournalist for many years, is relatively new to wedding photography. His prices are very reasonable, but you’d never know it looking at his work. The $1800 included 6 hours of shooting, a CD of all images, and 150 4×6 prints (a custom package). Ron ended up being our favorite vendor not only because of his brilliant and beautiful work but also for his laid-back, friendly personality that put everyone at ease.
Videography: n/a. I regret not hiring a videographer. We should have at least asked a friend with a camera to set up a tripod and film the ceremony.
Ceremony/Reception Music: $710, which included a $60 tip. Our DJ, Emerald Forest Productions, is local to the area in which we got married. His services included 6 hours of music plus set-up and break-down, extra speakers for the outdoor ceremony which took place in a different location than the reception, a wireless microphone, and his entire music library. We chose this company because they didn’t charge us a travel fee and were familiar with our venue. He did a great job band kept the dance floor packed.
Flowers: $400 (wholesale price). My mother offered to pay for our flowers but I’m including it in our total. This covered enough flowers for 11 centerpieces, cake flowers, 2 bridesmaids bouquets, my bouquet, 2 sprays for the chuppah, 2 very large accent pieces for the greeting table and cake table, 10+ corsages, 10+ bouts, and flower petals for our flowergirl. My Aunt is a florist and she offered to both use her wholesale license to purchase the flowers and to do all of our arrangements as a wedding gift. I couldn’t have been happier with her creations. We’re still receiving compliments on our flowers!
Cake: $300. My husband is a food blog fan. He worked up the courage to ask a local pastry chef if she would do our cakes and she agreed. We had a very simply decorated white lemon cake with buttercream frosting that served 50+ and a chocolate/rosemary/honey groom’s cake that served another 30+. Both were heavenly and I can’t believe we convinced a very experienced up-and-coming pastry chef to make our cakes!
Officiant: $0. We asked my husband’s uncle, a very charismatic, funny and intelligent guy to officiate. We signed him up for online ordination with the Universal Life Church. He did a fantastic job and made everyone laugh, while making us feel totally comfortable. He’s since been asked to officiate another wedding!
Coordinator: $400, which included a $100 tip. I lucked out on this one. A former knottie advertised her desire to build a portfolio in wedding planning by taking on local clients for a nominal fee. She did an amazing job and it was the best decision we made! I wish her the best of success with her new business!
Hair/Makeup: $50 for new makeup. Otherwise, my hair and makeup were both DIY thanks to my bridesmaids!
Wedding Party Gifts: ~$400. We purchased gifts for our bridesmaids, groomsmen, both sets of parents, our ceremony readers, all individual family members involved in any aspect of the planning day-of (~6 people), our flowergirl (and her brother!). We didn’t purchase gifts for each other.
Transportation: $200, which included a tip. This was for transportation home in a private town car after the wedding (~70 miles).
Misc: $250 for manis and pedis for me and my 2 bridesmaids (this included a 15% tip). ~$350 for all ceremony and reception decorations, including wallpaper for DIY placemats and napkin rings, glass votives and candles, centerpiece vases, string lights, materials for DIY chuppah, paper materials for DIY escort cards, DIY programs, and DIY table #s, shepherds hooks, floating pond lights, and DIY guestbook table materials.
WEDDING DAY TOTAL: $14,096
COST PER PERSON: $201.37
………………………………………………………………………………………………….Thanks for sharing Robyn!
As you can see they certainly cut a lot of corners, that you may not be able to do. However, they also spent a reasonable amount on the catering together with the venue. If you have your wedding at a wedding hall this cost may be significantly lower. Also, the price for the photography above does not include a keepsake album which the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives together. Album can cost anywhere between $800 to $3000. Many couples also get albums for their families and even friends. GraphiStudio makes nice albums. Robyn with her CD with images that she received from the photographer can purchase an album herself at alater date.
As you can see for yourself good planning and attention to detail goes a long way.
"They Just got married - they're breaking dishes already?!" was my thought on the act of Breaking of the Glass that is at the very end of any Jewish wedding ceremony.
'No, it's a symbol' - someone said, 'Everything in a Jewish wedding is symbolic.'
'I see... what could better symbolize marriage than broken glass.'
After asking around some knowledgeable friends of mine as to the nature of this curious symbol, after all how can 'breaking' of anything be a positive sort of symbol, I got a number of answers. The source for this ceremony dates back to Talmudic times, specifically to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Yes, in fact, it is a symbol of sadness. Based on the verses 5 -7 in Psalm 135: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy", breaking the glass ceremony sets the memory of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem above even the highest Jewish joy, namely the Jewish wedding.
Some say, that the act of 'Breaking of the Glass' is related to the Kabbalistic concept called 'Breaking of the Vessels' or 'Shvirat HaKeilim' in Hebrew. Here's a partial quote from NewKabballah.com regarding this idea:
According to Luria, the ten vessels that were originally meant to contain the emanation of God's light were unable to contain that light and were hence either displaced or shattered.... The Breaking of the Vessels is, according to the Lurianic Kabbalah, a clearing of the decks, a fresh start...Why were the 'vessels' unable to withhold the Light of G-d? Because they were unable to unite themselves, to unify their efforts for this most incredible 'job.' So in this sense, 'Breaking the Glass' by the Chuppah symbolizes the new beginning of the couple as a single unit working together to bring G-d's light into the world and the shattering of their old 'single' and self-centered existence.
In other words: If you break the vessels by your wedding (i.e. if you understand that you now begin your life as two units working as one, and you take on to appreciate,to compromise with, and validate one another) then you're on the road to make your marriage a grand success. You'll also save your expensive china - you won't end up breaking dishes later on.
In some Jewish circles, single girls keep the broken shards as a segulah (omen) of getting married soon themselves.
Dec 4, 2007
Dec 1, 2007
Shostakovich was a Communist Party member and First Secretary of the Soviet Composers' Union, and his signature appeared on a 1973 letter attacking the dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov. Few doubted his tremendous musical talents, but there was little interest in the West for a composer who seemed such an obedient musical apparatchik.
Then came Testimony: The Memoirs of
The book's convoluted title was the first indication that this was not a standard autobiography. In fact, charges of forgery immediately began to surface among Soviet authorities and Western scholars. Volkov offered as evidence of
Shostakovich with Ivan Sollertinsky
Among the themes to emerge from Testimony was the central place of Jews and Jewishness in
These are among a dozen major works in which Shostakovich displayed an intense, sustained interest in the larger symbolic meaning of Jewishness and
Jewishfolk music has made a most powerful impression on me. I never tire of delighting in it, it's multifaceted, it can appear to be happy while it is tragic. It's almost always laughter through tears. This quality of Jewishfolk music is close to my ideas of what music should be... Jews became a symbol for me. All of man's defenselessness was concentrated in them. After the war, I tried to convey that feeling in my music. It was a bad time for Jews then. In fact, it's always a bad time for them.
Solomon Volkov with Shostakovich
...A substantial portion of his
James Loeffler is a musicologist and writer based in New York City.
Special: Simcha Factory: The Magic of OnlySimchas.com
February 23, 2006
The question is - how did we ever endure beforehand? Were we always on top of the most recent news in the community? Did it matter that we could go months before seeing photos of a new grandchild in Israel, or learning of a classmate’s engagement in Australia? Nowadays, even a three day yom tov can leave an enthusiast of the site feeling like he or she is out of the loop. It’s all part of the magic of OnlySimchas.com.
OnlySimchas.com is a photo sharing and browsing website for the international
How did the site begin? The legend, as retold by the site’s three founders begins with Dov Katz running a website development company in college. While attending Yossi Markovitz’s engagement party in February of 2000, he took photos with his brand new Sony Mavica and posted them on the web so Yossi’s sister in Israel could view them. Within a few days, other couples were asking Dov to add their images as well. Dr. Doron Katz, who is Dov’s brother-in-law, immediately knew this concept had huge potential in the early stages of the internet. Immediately, the three young entrepreneurs began developing the site’s technology and business operation.
The magic stems from many sources. Since all the content is user uploaded, the site is updated real-time with happenings from around the world. The staff monitors all pictures for suitability and refreshes the homepage at least once a day. The site offers listings of simcha vendors, advertisements for the latest products, and classified posting for real estate, jobs and local events.
Today, the site serves over 20 million pages per month, has over 40,000 posted Simchas, and caters to an international audience from Brooklyn to Bnai Brak, from Antwerp to Sao Paulo and everywhere in between. The
By now, everyone has a personal OnlySimchas story to tell. Last year, a newlywed couple was honeymooning in London when they accidentally left their
Set to open On December 1st, 2007, Another Bride Another Groom is a musical journey on a magic carpet back in time to that Golden Era of the
Drama, comedy, traditions and stories that were never told all unfold as the
“Another Bride, Another Groom” is a musical show that recreates a
"This really picks up where 'Fiddler' ended," Mr. Helzner says. "As the
"Another Bride, Another Groom" opens Dec. 1 at the Raymond and Miriam Klein Branch