Wednesday, October 14, 2015

the wedding

So, I married into a large family, my husband is one of 20 first cousins on his mother's side. That's large to me who has 1, yes, that is ONE, first cousin. My mother had two childless sisters, my father had one sister for whom one child was enough. And this family loves to get together and celebrate the life cycle events and while not every bris/naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and wedding is a lavish affair, many of them are and while there are still a few of the cousins' kids who aren't married, this was probably the last of the lavish weddings until the next generation gets old enough. But before then, there will be a round of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

The groom, Joe, is the youngest child of a first cousin. He married into a family that is bigger than his but just as loud and boisterous so it was a great event. And a good match I think. Their story is kind of sweet. They met in pre-school but then Joe's family moved to Dallas when he was 9 and they didn't reconnect until college at UT in Austin. That was some years ago and they have been living together for a few years and finally decided to have a wedding since they were already about as married as you can get.

Anyway, it was a great weekend. Since it was a Jewish wedding, nothing could be held between sunset Friday to sunset Saturday so therefore the rehearsal dinner was Saturday night at a small restaurant Joe's family rented for the night with an open bar, a buffet of good food, and the mingling of the two extended families. Marc (my husband) and I along with his sister and her husband from Dallas sat with the bride's grandmother and one of her cousins and his family. After dinner the roast and toast began. Mostly they toasted Melanie, the bride, and roasted Joe.

It was late by the time we got home and then had an early morning as the brunch for the out-of-towners and the wedding party was Sunday morning. It is only about an hour's drive for us so we opted not to stay at the hotel. We spent the day with Marc's sister and husband which was nice since we only get to see them about once a year and then went upstairs to get ready for the main event.

The wedding was to start at 5 PM so we wandered down to the banquet room about 20 til and milled around, met up with our daughter and son-in-law and got seated.

Jewish weddings are full of rituals and symbolism. 

The bride and groom are each escorted down the aisle by their parents, the groom first and then the bride each preceded by their attendants. 

The groom waits for the bride in front of the chuppah (canopy) which symbolizes the new home they will make together but before he escorts her under it, she circles him 7 times symbolizing the new world or life they will build with each other (seven times just as the world was built in 7 days).

Two cups of wine are used, the first with the blessing of the betrothed, as wine is a symbol of joy, and they drink from the cup. Then there is the giving of the ring (traditionally only one and to her though she may give him a ring afterwards) and vows, then the reading of the Ketuba which is the marriage contract and spells out what is hers and his and what each is promising the other. After that comes wrapping the couple in a tallit (prayer shawl) symbolizing the two becoming one and the seven blessings over the second cup of wine from which they drink.

The final ritual in a Jewish wedding is the breaking of a glass which is wrapped in a piece of cloth that the groom stomps on and which symbolizes that even in the midst of happiness they should not forget that sorrow and death is ahead. Sometimes a light blub is used because they are easy to break and break with a loud pop. Apparently Joe and Melanie used a real glass as it took Joe three tries to break it.

Mazel Tov!

The bride and groom's first dance together was the last picture I took because after that I was too busy eating, drinking, and dancing.


  1. Oh, sometimes it is just great fun for us country mice to dress up and go do something fancy! You look so beautiful in that dress! What a fine wedding and I wish much happiness and joy for the couple! There is a lot to be said for ritual.

  2. I haven't been to any wedding in a long time. I always enjoy the fun and also watching people. Your dress is lovely and I bet this was a terrific time. Congratulations to the newly weds.

  3. Fun! I've never been to a Jewish wedding, in fact hardly to any weddings at all. So this was fun. But I bet I could smash a glass on the first try.

  4. I am past all weddings I think, love going to them.

  5. This looks like a beautiful ceremony. I've been to a few Jewish weddings and I always enjoy the traditions, food and energy.

  6. Weddings are beautiful, and you and Marc look pleased to be there.

  7. I love going to weddings. I'm waiting on a few, but the wait may be awhile..hahaha. I did enjoy your descriptions, as I've never been to a Jewish wedding. I love traditions... Thanks for sharing this one. Best Wishes to the bride and groom...

  8. I love to look at wedding pictures and this one appeared to be a wonderful event. You looked lovely in your very pretty black dress.

  9. Terrific pictures, Ellen. That's one killer dress you have.
    Also very helpful to me. Next June our son is getting married (finally!!!!!!) to a delightful girl who is Jewish. We did attend one Jewish wedding this summer, but I'm not sure how much of the traditional ceremony they'll choose to incorporate.

  10. Regarding your question, Tara is a Syrian name for a woman.

  11. I have only been to one Jewish wedding. I remember that it was simple and classy.

  12. You really did find the perfect dress. Looks like a wonderful celebration ~


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