Archive for the ‘ceremony’ Category


HORAH PERSONALIZED WALL ART | Jewish Wedding Gift | UncommonGoods. $300

I -so- wish that I could afford this piece for our walls. It is customizable with the text color (though I like the green best), and you can pick the bride and groom’s hair and skin colors. It would be 100% perfect if the artist could add glasses and a halter top to the bride!

We don’t even have a single wedding print up on the wall, the only photos we have at all are from some of my world travels in the study, the rest of the art on our walls are prints, paintings, and embroideries from all over the world. We’re so weird about our wedding photos. I made an album out of the proofs, but we STILL haven’t finalized our wedding album for printing (it has 2 too many pages and we’ve needed to thin it and thin it for the last 18 months, this is the 3rd or 4th round of edits!).

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A friend filmed our ceremony with a very fancy camera, in PAL format. He does not have the equipment to transfer his tape to DVD for us and has been flailing about it every time her remember, for the last 6 months. I’m not quite ready to give up, but I’m not going to hold my breath either.

A family friend of Ben’s recorded bits and pieces of our ceremony on a FLIP camera, but missed most 1/2 of the guts of the ceremony (got the processional, 7 blessings in English, birkat cohanim, and then the glass smashing and recessional) followed by 4 minutes of his pocket. Oops.

Someday,  hope to see the entire ceremony, including the secular reading and listening to Rabbi Marc’s intro. Oh well, a girl can hope, right?

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Rabbi Marc blessed the wine and then we gave each other a sip before passing the wine to each other’s parents. Then I guess we were all a family? I think the photo of Ben giving me a sip of wine (the one in the middle) is so cute. He was terribly afraid of spilling on me!

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I know I’m a good planner/organizer but I even blew myself away with how well everything came together visually. Plus, the balloons make me smile. The blue accents on the grab-bag of “white” kippot, the balloons, the white fence and the chuppah ties it all together.

I know that I didn’t really get a chance to notice how wonderful everything looked until we were walking down the aisle, towards our yihud (seclusion). FYI, everyone should take at least 10 minutes to themselves after the wedding. Time to squeeze their new spouses hand, squeal and jump up and down saying “we’re married!”, have some water and a snack, and finally to go to the toilet before rejoining their own wedding party/charade.

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ceremonial observers

Our parents walked us down the aisle and our siblings stood by us in the corners of the chuppah. Both of us had a single grandparent in attendance and they participated in the ceremony as well.

I know that I TOTALLY strong-armed Daniel into getting his hair cut (it was about 6″ longer 48 hours before this photo was taken), but I have to admit that he cleans up nicely. Coming off of a 6 month job as a park ranger at a Civil War memorial site, he looked a bit too “rustic” for most of the family to appreciate. Mark, my pseudo foster brother, cleaned up nicely as well. I think my dad bought him a new suit for the wedding because 2 weeks previously he’d been fretting that my younger brothers were wearing matching suits and he wasn’t. On the wedding day, he matched too.

I love how proud Ben’s mom looks in this photo, Becca and Ben’s uncle Park look proud too. I wonder at what point in the ceremony these were taken. Something with words I’m guessing, since both Ben’s Grandpa Bob and Aunt Terry are reeding their programs

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After the bedekin it felt like everything went on warp speed/auto pilot and I was just along for the ride. MiMi helped me make sure my veil would stay on, tied our rings onto a ribbon so that they weren’t loose in Ben’s pocket, and our parents helped Ben into his kittle. The same kittle my mom spent 2-3 days making for him after my attempts were thwarted by my fuzzy bridal brain (never ask a bride to do arithmetic or cut fabric).

Before walking down the aisle, I wish I could have heard the ceremony music better but because it was so chilly and damp out I was sequestered behind closed doors. When I did try and crack the door open to listen, our DOC pushed the door shut again, saying that it wasn’t my turn yet. :( Oh well, it sounded great through the doors!

Here’s what happened (from the program). Remember, all the music was by La Bella Brass Quintet:


Great Gate of Kiev Mussorgsky

Shepherd’s HeyGrainger

Quintet No. 3 movement IEwald <-they ended up playing the entire piece because the bedekin took so much longer than expected

Kiddie Parade

Carnival of The Animals, Royal March of the LionsSaint-Saens

Processional and Circling

Western Fanfare Ewazen (grandparents and siblings)

Earl of Oxfords MarchByrd (Ben, AKA the groom)

Les PreludesLiszt (me, AKA the bride as a I processed w/ my parents and then circled Ben 7 +1 extra time for no reason)


lighting a memorial candle

Kiddushin (or Erusin)

blessing over wine and marriage and betrothal and ring ceremony

Reading of the Ketubah


I Like You (excerpt), by Sandol Stoddard


reading the Sheva B’rachot

Oseh Shalom

traditional Jewish song

Birkat Cohanim

priestly blessing

Breaking the Glass!


Simmon Tov u Mazel Tov!



Die BankelsangerliederAnonymous

Quintet No. 3 movement IVEwald

Ben looks so serious in the above photo! But, I’m glad his parents look so happy. It looks like less of a gangplank walk this way :-P

This is where my mom told me to think of my HS graduation, and be glad that it wasn’t snowing at the wedding too.

And I laughed down the aisle. I wish I’d remembered to look at Ben before circling him. Whoops.

At least I got to look at him at the end of the aisle, that’s what matters. Poor, cold guests. There were blankets for them to use on their laps, but only my girlfriends whom I’d mentioned the blankets to took them and then wore them like cloaks!

Also, see those 2 video cameras? Why haven’t I seen ANY video yet? I know my friend Miri taped it for us, but it’s in PAL format and she needs to find someone to convert it to regular DVD for us. Someday, it’ll make a great belated wedding gift.

Ceremony to be continued….

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Like I said earlier, I was in denial of the weather and no one bothered to correct me. I guess they expected me to be bridezilla or something. I’m glad we had the wedding outside, umbrellas are much better looking than a glowing exit sign behind the chuppah! No one complained more than I did though, so that’s a good thing. I may have had more skin exposed than anyone else too…. As cute as my little sweater was, it was silk and cotton, not very warm at all.

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Bedekin, um I’m not sure what the official translation is except perhaps maybe “veiling.” As in when the bride’s veil is pulled down over her face by the groom. The historical reasoning for this is so that the groom knows who is behind the veil and isn’t tricked into marrying the wrong girl.

BEDEKIN, from our wedding program:

This tradition of veiling the bride is derived from the biblical story of Jacob’s wedding. Jacob did not see his bride before the wedding ceremony, and was tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel.

The bedeken is a private ceremony at which the groom is escorted to the bride before her veiling. As the groom lowers the veil over the bride’s face, he is formally acknowledging his choice of bride.

As you can see, our bedekin wasn’t private, but that’s OK. It meant that our families were able to witness it, stay warm and dry, and add their blessings as well.

Hehe, my mom hugs just like my youngest brother, like a big lump. I’m not sure I’d noticed that before.

I’m not sure if my grandmother reads this blog, but I’ll say here: I’m disappointed that she was late because she missed the reason I have a wad of kleenex in my hand: my uncle Charles (my late grandfather’s youngest brother) gave us a blessing and said that he wished my grampa was able to be there. Thankfully, that’s the only time I cried all day. Maybe it’s better that my gramma wasn’t there, she’s not a very public person with her emotions.

Neither of my aunts were their either, that was kinda disappointing too, but none of them are into public emotions or really Jewish stuff either. Oh well. They can look at these pictures and wonder “why was I outside, freezing my tush off for a good seat and missing this whole thing?”

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on here. I was too high on adrenaline. There was something about taking Rabbi Marc’s tallit with intention and that meaning that I want to take Ben as a husband. Or something like that. I’m not sure.

Then, it was time for our male witnesses to sign our ketubah! Ari, Ben’s friend on the left, Ben peering over their shoulders, Rabbi Marc in the middle, and my oldest friend, Michael on the right. I’ve know Michael since we were THREE at Temple Rodef Shalom preschool in McLean, VA. He didn’t have a beard then :) Oh, and I’m obviosuly the marshmallow in the background. I wanted to see too!

I think that photo was taken when Rabbi Marc was explaining that the last letter of the ketubah was intentionally left 1/2 written so that the contract would be written, right there in front of us all, on the wedding day. I thought that was pretty neat.

The reason we wanted male, Jewish witnesses is that we wanted to make sure that our ketubah would be kosher and accepted in Israel. It’s a traditional text with a flowery English translation that we’re both fond of. [We even got it framed over the weekend and should be able to pick it up in 2 weeks!]

KETUBAH: from our wedding program:

Before the ceremony, two witnesses under the supervision of the Rabbi will sign the ketubah, the Jewish wedding contract. The ketubah is a legal document, written in Aramaic that specifies the bride’s rights and the groom’s obligations to the bride. Traditionally, there is no need for the bride to sign the ketubah because according to Jewish law the ketubah is her property.

Ben and I signed our names on the bottom, in English (mine looks like a 12 year old, I was kinda spacey), but there’s no religious obligation to do so. It was my contract and Ben let two witnesses sign it as a way of saying that he accepted it. That’s how a Jewish court (Bet Din) would see it anyway. If Ben had objected, the rabbi wouldn’t have let 2 guys sign it as his representatives.

We had 2 girlfriends (Becca, who introduced us at Hillel, and Andrea, who was my first friend at Interlochen) sign our Colorado license. The third document we had, which was actually signed first, was an pre-nuptial agreement of sorts; it said that if I should ever ask for a divorce from Ben (in a religious court) that he would be required to give it to me. Otherwise, a Jewish divorce can only be initiated by the husband. We had two family friends who are both young and divorced, although one is remarried and the other just recently engaged, sign it for us (Mark the Russian, and Ethan).

That was it, we were 1/3 married (rings and yihud were to come shortly). Then, there was lots of singing and I think someone tried dancing but no one else went along with it. Once all the guests had gone out to the ceremony site my mom and Ben’s dad helped Ben into his kittle (the one my mom spent Wednesday->Friday making).

To be continued…..


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I Like You

I think we're all trying not to cry, courtesy of M. Coblenz

Becca is like a sister to me, only we never really get “sister PMS” towards each other. She is my best friend in Colorado. I’m not always sure that she knows/gets that, so I’m saying it right now in this blog. I doubt she reads this blog, she introduced Ben and I to each other and has listened to me babble about wedding crap for over a year while working on her PhD in biology and redoing a foreclosed townhouse she bought with her parents. She also helped me pass Spanish 3 so that I could graduate from college. I owe her so many favors and groceries and bottles of wine that it’s not even funny. THANKS, BECCA, WE LOVE YOU!

Oh, and here’s the awesome poem that Ben edited for her to read during our wedding ceremony. It was the only reading we had (other than the egalitarian translations of the seven blessings).

I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg (abridged by BKS)

I like you
And I know why

I like you because
You are a good person
To like

I like you because

When I tell you something special
You know it’s special
And you remember it
A long long time

You say remember when
you told me
Something special

And both of us remember
When I think something is important
You think it’s important too

We have good ideas

You know how to be silly
That’s why I like you
Boy are you ever silly

I never met anybody sillier than me
till I met you

I like you because
You know when it’s time to stop being silly

Maybe day after tomorrow
Maybe never

Oops too late
It’s quarter past silly

If you go away then I go away too
Or if I stay home
You send me a postcard
You don’t just say
Well see you around
Some time

I like you a lot because of that
If I go away
I send you a postcard too

And I like you because
If we go away together
And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
You are the one that is yelling for me

Hey where are you

Here I am

I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too

It’s awful when the other person isn’t

They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could
just about punch them in the nose

If I break my arm and
If you break your arm too
Then it is fun to have a broken arm

I tell you about mine
You tell me about yours

We write our names and draw pictures
We show everybody and they wish they had
a broken arm too

I like you because
I don’t know why but
Everything that happens
Is nicer with you

On the Fourth of July
I like you because

It’s the Fourth of July

On the Fifth of July
I like you too

Even if it was the
nine hundred and ninety-
ninth of July

Even if it was

Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January

I would go on choosing you
And you would
go on choosing me
Over and over again

That’s how it would happen every time
I don’t know why
I guess I don’t know why I like you really
Why do I like you

I guess I just like you

I guess I just like you

Because I like you

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auf ruf

Our friends, D and J,  had their auf ruf (calling up) where they were called up to the torah for an aliyah (an ascent to the bimah to say the prayers before/after reading the torah) on Saturday at services. We were asked to hold two corners of the rabbi’s tallit (prayer shawl), to represent the chuppah they’ll be standing under this coming Sunday. Ben read torah for them between their blessing over the torah, then Rabbi Marc said some prayers for them, and finally the congregation pelted them with candy!

I’ve never been at services when someone had their auf ruf who was a friend, or at all connected to me. It was kinda awesome, especially when thinking that it will be our turn in less than 4 months.

Our auf ruf will be the day before our wedding, and I hope that everyone we know through the congregation can come! If we have people that are meaningful to us, and our families there, I’m going to cry the second I make eye contact with anyone; I just know it. Adrenaline will keep me from being too emotional on our wedding day I expect, not unlike during my recitals (when I’m sick as a dog, but play to the best of my ability anyway).

A smaller, more day to day, way that I’ve been preparing for our wedding is drinking lots of water and trying to watch my tan lines (something I’ve been failing miserably at). I apparently suck at putting on sunscreen and have blochy blobs of sunburn on my arms and that little white triangle above my boobs, and various strap marks. I’ve either got to go out more with a strapless top on, or stay indoors/covered in SPF 100 for the rest of the summer. I think I’m going to go make myself some more strapless shirts.

my tan line/sunburn fears realized


PS- want to see some funky tan lines? Click here, I think they’re beautiful.

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