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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wedding Fun

I attended the wedding of a friend last night. It was a very fancy wedding out on Long Island. My friends and I got all dressed up, ate lots of really yummy food and then danced like crazy. We got home around 2:00 AM, so I'm a bit tired today.

It was one of the most interesting weddings I've ever been to.

Part of the reason it was so interesting is that the guy my friend married is a Sephardic Jew. The customs at Sephardic weddings are a bit different than at Ashkenazic Jewish weddings, and I had never before been to a Sephardic weddings, so it was cool to see the differences.

Most of the differences in customs happened at the chuppah (marriage ceremony). In contrast to Ashkenazic weddings, the bride and groom are allowed to see each other before the wedding. In Ashkenazic weddings, right before the chuppah, the bride sits in a beautiful chair with her family surrounding her and the groom is ushered in to see the bride and to put her veil over her face (the badeken). This is the first time in a week that the bride and groom have seen (and sometimes even spoken) to each other, and is usually a very moving moment. This isn't done in Sephardic weddings (though last night they did do this, because the bride is Ashkenazic and wanted to).

What was really different, though, was the ceremony itself. A large number of the bride's and groom's family members walked down the aisle and took place under the chuppah (canopy). (In Ashkenazic weddings, it's usually only a few members, and they don't stand under the chuppah.) At this wedding, there was probably 30-40 people standing up there. What I really liked was that when each person walked down, the crowd clapped for them. I had never seen that before, and it was so much fun. Also, the bride was walked halfway down the aisle by her parents and then the groom came down and escorted her the remainder of the way. The rest of the ceremony was fairly similar, with the exception of the absence of the bride circling the groom seven times

After the ceremony, the guests were invited to eat lots of food and enjoy great music and dancing.

While all these things made the wedding fun and festive and quite interesting, what made it so special was the diversity of the guests. Both the bride and groom have become more observant as adults. The bride is, as I said earlier, Ashkenazi and the groom is Sephardic. So the guests were from all kinds of backgrounds - all different observance levels from Chasidic to non-observant, Sephardic and Ashkenazic, from all over the United States. The music was a mixture of traditional Jewish wedding music and Sephardic music and some Israeli rock thrown in. And everyone danced together and made sure the bride and groom were happy and enjoying themselves. And it didn't matter that there were differences between them - we were all there for the same purpose.

I wish there were more events where Jews from all different backgrounds and customs and practices came together and enjoyed themselves so much. It was truly an example of Jewish unity in that room. And it was great.

6 Comments:

  • Sounds very special and cool! Any pics?

    By Blogger SaraK, at 5/15/07, 6:03 PM  

  • that sounds like an awesome wedding! i've been thinking the same thing lately - why can't we all just hang out together in our diversity? did they have an echar tallis (bride and groom under one tallis togther during kedushin)? that's a beautiful sephardic custom. did they have a henna party?

    By Blogger Maven, at 5/15/07, 7:28 PM  

  • Sara -
    I'll send you a link.

    Maven -
    They did have the bride and groom under one tallis, which was cool. No henna though :(

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 5/17/07, 12:45 PM  

  • That sounds truly beautiful (the mixture of guests.)

    My mother is Sephardi; they also had the bride and groom under one tallis at the wedding. :D

    By Blogger Chana, at 5/20/07, 1:36 PM  

  • "Also, the bride was walked halfway down the aisle by her parents and then the groom came down and escorted her the remainder of the way." My husband and I are both Ashkenazi, but we did the same thing at our wedding.

    Here's the explanation that we were given by our rabbi for this practice: At a traditional Jewish wedding, the bride and groom are escorted by their parents (in some circles, both mothers escort the bride and both fathers escort the groom) because they're consider king and queen on their wedding day and deserving of a royal escort. By contrast, according to the Christian tradition, the bride is "given away" in marriage (if I understand correctly), usually by her father. However, since, by Jewish law, a bride must give her consent to be married and is, in essence, giving *herself* in marriage, she makes this clear by allowing the groom to escort her to the chuppah, in addition to accepting the wedding ring in the presence of witnesses. My guess is that this practice probably developed in countries where the majority is Christian.

    That sounds like a wonderful wedding. May we all enjoy such simchas.

    By Blogger Shira Salamone, at 5/21/07, 5:54 PM  

  • Wish I could of been there, I have so many nice outfits to wear to a wedding...

    Good Yom Tov Shani

    By Blogger Shoshana, at 5/22/07, 5:36 PM  

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