Jewish Wedding Traditions

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The Jewish faith is one that is deeply rooted in tradition. A traditional Jewish wedding follows a number of beautiful traditions that date back for thousands of years. The traditions include the signing of the Ketubah, the use of the chuppah as well as traditional dances that are performed at the wedding. The rings exchanged during a Jewish wedding also have traditional connotations.

The signing of the Ketubah is the traditional start to a Jewish wedding ceremony. The Ketubah is a written agreement that not only asserts that the bride is not already married but also outlines the expectations that the couple hold for each other in the marriage. This ornate document can later be framed and prominently displayed in the couple’s home as a reminder of their commitment. After the bride and groom have signed the Ketubah, the groom takes one final look at his bride before lowering her veil and beginning the wedding procession. This tradition has biblical roots and recalls the story of Jacob who married the wrong woman because she was veiled and he did not realize his mistake in time.

The wedding party traditionally precedes the couple in the wedding procession. The bride and groom then proceed down the aisle together accompanied by both of their parents to symbolize that their union includes the union of both families and not just the bride and the groom. The couple ends their procession under a traditional canopy called a chuppah. This canopy symbolizes that God is present and that he is sheltering and protecting the couple.

After the couple exchanges their wedding vows, a Rabbi reads 7 traditional blessings. After the blessings the groom steps on a wine glass to break the glass in a symbol of human frailty and the suffering that members of the Jewish faith have endured and this with a final blessing from the rabbi concludes the ceremony. Unlike other traditional weddings, there is usually not a receiving line at the conclusion of a Jewish wedding. Tradition holds that the couple spends a few minutes alone immediately following the wedding so many members of the Jewish faith honour this tradition by leaving the ceremony immediately and waiting until the reception to offer their well wishes to the couple. This togetherness time was traditionally an opportunity for the couple to consummate the marriage but in modern times it is more of chance for the couple to reflect on their wedding ceremony and the start of their life together before the chaos of the wedding.

Even the rings that a couple exchanges during a Jewish wedding have traditional values. Tradition holds that the couple exchange very simple rings that are devoid of gems, engravings or other distinguishing marks. With nothing to distinguish the beginning or the end of the ring, it is a beautiful symbol of a love that endures forever with no clear beginning or end. This symbolizes both the couples love for each other as well as Godís love for his people.

A traditional Jewish wedding reception features many dances. An energetic dance called the Hora is performed at many traditional Jewish weddings. In this dance the bride and groom hold a handkerchief between them while they are seated in chairs and hoisted into the air by their guests. This dance is a celebration of the bride and groom and recognizes the significance of their union.  If this wedding represents the last son or daughter of one of the parents to be married there are a few more traditional dances that may take place. If the bride was the last in her family to be married, she and her sisters may honour their mother in a tradition known as Krenzi. The mother is crowned with flowers and her daughters honour her in the form of dance. Also, if either the bride or groom was the youngest to be married both of the parents will be honoured through the Mizinke dance. In this tradition all of the guests circle the parents and shower them with flowers and praise.

The Jewish faith is a faith that is full of history and tradition. Many couples and their guests choose to honour these traditions by incorporating them into their wedding ceremony and reception. Many of these traditions are the defining moments of the celebration and they lend an atmosphere of historical significance to the wedding.

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Walking Down The Aisle

Walking down the aisle

Another dilemma that often comes up when planning a wedding is who will walk who down the aisle. Although traditionally it is the father that does this, the plethora of step-families has made it a more difficult decision. This is especially true when the step parents have been in the children’s lives for a long time.

Breaking tradition

A bride that has both a step father and a biological father may opt still to have her biological father walk her down the aisle. This can be a way to show her family bond as well as stick with tradition. In the case of a bride that hasn’t been close to her father, she may opt to have her step father walk her down the aisle. This is a newly emerging sight at weddings, and quite touching.

Of course, if the bride loves both of the men and wants to include them, there’s nothing wrong with having both walk her down the aisle. It honours her relationship with both men and lets them have the chance to hold her arm.

This also holds true for the groom. He can choose to escort both a step mother and his biological mother down the aisle at the beginning is she should choose to. Or the best man can do so, as is tradition.

If the father has passed on, the bride may opt to have an older brother or an uncle walk her down the aisle. Likewise, if the mother of the groom has passed, then a sister or an aunt may want to walk with him.

Dealing with difficulties

While this all seems like a loving and simple solution to include everyone in the wedding, some parents may still have issues with their ex-spouses. And this can lead to bitter feelings about your choice in who walks who down the aisle.

Should you fight for what you want? That’s entirely up to you. If walking with both fathers makes you happy, then you should do that even if the opposite partners are not pleased for whatever reason.

If you feel that it may cause more trouble than it is worth, then you may opt to stick with tradition. Just be sure to include your step parent in some other part of the wedding so they don’t feel left out because of biological status.

In the end, remember that it’s your day and your decision.

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Paying For Your Wedding

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Many couples are opting to pay for their weddings themselves. Some couples decide to pay for their own weddings because they have not other choice, some do so as a matter of choice. The best reason to pay for your own wedding is because you do not want to compromise on how, when and where you get married and you are ready to pay for it all on your own.

The average cost of a wedding in the North America is over $25,000, so financing your wedding requires a serious financial commitment. The sooner you start planning and saving for your wedding, the more time you have to come up with the necessary funds. The average time between the engagement and the wedding day is 12 to 18 months. Such time frame gives you an opportunity to plan and save for your wedding. The most important task you have is to determine the total amount you wish to spend on your wedding. Then, divide the amount by the number of months to determine how much money you need to put aside each month to meet your goal. If you estimate that your wedding will cost $25,000, and you have two years until your wedding, you need to save about $1042.00 per month. Realistically, not everyone can put aside a thousand dollars each month. If you are unable to save enough to cover all the costs, you may need to start cutting costs until you come up with a figure that you can meet. Aside from cost cutting, you can do a lot by saving one everything you do. You can save by taking your lunch instead of going out, spend less on clothes and entertainment. You could also, take on a part time job to help you with your budget. You have many options.

Opening a separate savings account for your wedding may help enforce the need to save. Even if you start with a modest amount a special wedding savings account should help you make the right spending and saving decisions.

You can find ways to save money by learning as much as you can about the products and services you need for your big day. The more educated you become about prices, the more you can bargain with vendors to make sure you get the best possible deals in town.

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Catering the Wedding Shower Yourself : Easy Tips to Stay Sane

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Planning a wedding shower can be frustrating, especially if you are planning on catering the event yourself. When you are getting ready to host a shower, it is important to take some time for planning and relax. Wedding showers should be a fun time to socialize with friends and family and should not cause stress.Here are ten easy tips to keep you sane when you host and cater a bridal shower.

Number of guests: When you get ready to host a wedding shower, the guest list will determine just about everything about the wedding shower. Work with the couple if you are planning a shower that will include both partners. Find out ahead of time, before you begin planning, how many guests they want to invite. The number of guests will tell you where you can have the shower and how many you need to plan for. You might find it necessary to rent tables, chairs and serving platters or plates depending on the number of guests.

Time of day: Another tip for catering a wedding shower by yourself is to determine what time of the day the shower will be held. This can be a huge help when you are planning for food. For example, a brunch will be easier to plan than a shower that is held late in the evening when a dinner is expected. In addition, if you hold a shower in the late afternoon, you will not be expected to cater a large meal. You can plan for simple fare, such as fruit and finger sandwiches. Decide in advance what time of day the shower will be held and it will help keep you sane during the planning process.

Budget: Before sending out any invitations, know your budget. If you are on a limited budget, know what you can spend and stick to it. It will not be fun if you overspend and are left with a huge credit card bill after the shower. Let your couple know your budget and work together to plan a shower. It is possible to plan an elegant shower without spending a lot of money.

Plan ahead and ask the couple : Planning well in advance is the key in hosting a wedding shower. After you have talked with the partners and set a date, you can begin making preparations. If you plan on catering the event, never wait until the last minute. Delaying can cause a lot of stress. Instead, use an event planner or a notebook to record all the of the wedding shower details. Remember that a shower usually takes at least eight weeks to plan, so give yourself plenty of time to make necessary preparations. When you cater the event, know beforehand how many guests you will serve and if there are food allergies or other preferences, such as the bride being a vegetarian. Make detailed shopping lists and know what you will need to buy before going to the grocery store.

Make ahead and get help: Catering a wedding shower can be easier if you know what you are serving in advance and prepare dishes ahead of time. If you are serving casserole dishes, look into making them a couple of weeks before the party and then freezing the items. You can also do this for certain desserts and appetizers. The night before the party is a great time to cut fruits and vegetables, decorate a cake and make finger foods. Making food ahead of time will help cut down on the amount of stress on the day of the shower. Also, consider getting help from others when you plan to cater a shower. It is perfectly acceptable to host a potluck style buffet where everyone brings their favorite dish. You can also enlist help from close friends or family members to help you cook and prepare dishes.

Theme: If you have a theme for the shower, such as brunch, bbq or partner’s day at the spa, you can prepare dishes to fit the theme. This will make planning easier and everyone will know what to expect. Having a theme can also help you choose decorations and tableware with ease.

Keep it simple and relax: These are two tips you should remember when planning a shower. Most guests will not remember the lavish dishes it took you all day to prepare. Instead, they will remember the time they spent visiting with the couple . Keep the menu simple and everyone will enjoy the shower and you will not become stressed. Last of all, remember to relax. Take a deep breath and have fun. Do not ruin the shower by obsessing over every last detail. Have a good time and your guests will, too.

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Ceremony Music

Toronto Wedding Ceremony
Toronto Wedding Ceremony

A processional song is that music a couple and the wedding party will walk down the aisle to . You can have a single song for everyone one or chose a separate song for you and your partner.

Wedding processional songs that are commonly used range from Air on a G String by Bach , Concerto in D Major by Vivaldi and of course Wedding March by Mozart. Although there is something to be said for tradition those songs have all but been “played out “. Being in the industry for over three decades I admit that I have heard, and played, them hundreds of times . I don’t doubt that you have heard at least one of them in every wedding that you have been to .

One of my most daunting tasks is to help couples be original and put their stamp on the wedding day by updating the music to represent their personalities . When we design music for a wedding ceremony the first thing that we remind couples is that there is nothing wrong with something new .It tends to make things more memorable . You spend a long time discussing the first dance and maybe even the parent’s dances but don’t neglect other important pieces of music that you will need for your wedding day.

Some of our current favourites are

Overjoyed – Stevie Wonder, Shining Star – Boyz II Men, Ribbon in The Sky -Stevie Wonder, All of Me – John Legend, Marry Me – Train, and Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

Wedding Ceremony music is available as an add-on and is included in a few of our packages .

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Post Wedding Activities

For many couples, the wedding is not over once the reception is. Depending on the location of the wedding and the couple’s relationship with their families, often there are other activities that follow the main event.

One of the most obvious is a breakfast the day following the wedding. This is a time for everyone to touch base with each other, check in on how everyone did and perhaps share memories of the night before. This breakfast activity can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Some people like to have this breakfast at a relative’s house because that is friendly and familiar and more conducive to everyone hanging out and enjoying themselves. It can be potluck style or catered. You can also meet up at a restaurant.

Many families like to have the bride and groom open presents the day after the wedding. There are many who believe the bride and groom are required to open presents in the presence of family for good luck. In that case, building in the opening of presents is essential. This can be a simple gathering of friends and family or you can turn the present opening into an all-out activity, where each item is opened, demonstrated or displayed and discussed in great detail.

Opening gifts doesn’t have to a dry activity. You can add some silly fun. How about starting with the smallest and moving to the largest gifts? Or working in the reverse order? You might even create a game. Everyone has to guess what’s in each gift prior to its being opened. (Of course, people can’t guess on their on gifts.) Someone can be in charge of keeping a tally and whoever gets the most right, wins a small prize.

The women in the bride’s family might want to help her pack up her gown (or send it to the dry cleaners) and preserve her wedding bouquet. This can easily be done at home and the women (particularly those who are crafty) might want to get started on preserving the flowers as well.

In the crafty light, some brides might want to plan a scrapbook party for after the wedding. You won’t have photos back from the photographer, but you can scrapbook many other wedding events, such as pre-events like manicures, various parties and the candid photos take by wedding guests the night before. More than being focused on the photos, this activity gives the women a chance to reflect on the events of the wedding, laugh at all the fun ties and journal and preserve memories before some are lost. It will also help the bride feel as if she’s partly in control of all those photos before she leaves on her honeymoon and takes yet more photos.

If gifts were opened on this “day after the wedding”, crafty groups might want to make thank you cards. Choose a design long before the wedding, perhaps even making a prototype as well. Then have all the supplies on hand and give everyone good ideas about how the cards should be made. Even the men can get on this act, helping to fold the cards, perhaps handling any computer work and even getting their fingers on glue and scissors. Send the bride and groom off with these homemade cards so when they get back from their honeymoon, all they have to do is jot off a quick note.

Some brides and grooms plan activities the day after the wedding that are designed to help everyone calm down, relax and unwind after what has likely been a busy weekend. In this light, you can plan a picnic at the park and bring along games to play. You might pack a football, a volleyball net or items to play baseball. You might bring along water guns or a dartboard. Whatever it is, the idea here is to have some fun and blow off steam. Make your own rules when playing the games. It really doesn’t matter. Today is about relaxing, unwinding and spending some quality time with friends and family before the special weekend is over.

Overnight Wedding Reception Ideas

Some brides these days are turning wedding receptions on their head and creating super long receptions that run through the night and into the morning. If this is you, planning some activities for those long nighttime hours is essential.

Generally, if an all-night reception is planned, it goes something like this: the wedding is held in the early evening and reception follows. By about midnight, many of the guests will have left and the group that is remaining (generally the younger guests, but not always) will continue to dance and party and revel into the early morning hours. At some point, breakfast will be provided and everyone will go home to crash.

Why do you need activities for such a reception? The answer is simple. You want to keep people entertained through the nighttime hours, you want to keep them at the reception and not let them give in to driving home to crash and sleep and you want to provide them with a real party. Let’s face it: if they are willing to hang in with you for the duration, they deserve something for their effort.

First, you need to be fairly organized about the activities you plan. Consult with your DJ about these activities and leave it to him or her to keep things on a schedule. Do not plan to cut cake in the middle of the night. That activity should take place during the more traditional evening hours, so those not intending to stay all night can leave. However, if you’re determined to keep your guests all night, you could hold one activity back with the hope it will keep guests in the house longer.

Depending on your guest list, you might hold off on the father-daughter dance until after midnight, or you could save a few toasts for the late night hours. In any event, having some other fun events is a great idea.

As guests begin to fade, bring in a pinata, which you can find shaped like a wedding ring, a bridal dress or a champagne flute. Fill it with a variety of goodies. Candy is always popular, but you could also fill it with silly toys found in the carnival section of the party store. Have the DJ play a spirited song and let everyone have a chance at the pinata. Do this on the dance floor and really let people have a swing at it. There should be plenty of room. Once the pinata breaks, everyone can enjoy a taste of sweet candy or can enjoy some silly little carnival game or toy.

People who stay for the duration of the wedding are going to need a rest. Plan a photo presentation or video viewing for this purpose. You could have someone who’s familiar with PowerPoint create a photo presentation or have someone  put together a video of photos. Do this around 2 or 3 am and have it last a good half hour to 45 minutes. This gives everyone a chance to sit down and relax and also gives the DJ a chance to sit, have a rest and rejuvenate for the next round.

In that same vein of allowing the guests a little relaxation, one activity that some brides employ is a non-activity. If the wedding is outside, you can provide inflatable mattresses and have some torches lit. If guests want to sit down and relax, they can do so on the mattresses and still be part of the activity while resting. If it’s been a long day and someone needs to rest, those reception room chairs don’t seem the most comfortable. If the reception is indoors, think about providing large pillows for guests to sit on or create a corner with inflatable mattresses and lots of fabric. This can be a chatting area where people can go to rest but still be part of the fun. They can chat and catch up with other guests and then head back for more partying when they’re rejuvenated.

Outdoor Wedding Reception Activities

If you are having your wedding reception out of doors, that opens the door for many activities that would be hard to pull off indoors. You can plan games and activities based on the outdoor theme and carry that theme indoors if part of the reception is inside as well.

Depending on where the reception will be held, you can plan many activities based on the setting. Whether it is the park or on a farm, there are a myriad of activities you can plan.

Let’s start with some basics based on popular wedding locations. One fun game for a winery wedding is a blindfolded wine tasting game. If the bride and groom are wine drinkers, this might not a game the bride and groom should be a part of, but instead guests and wedding party members. Blindfold perhaps a half dozen volunteers and have them do a blind taste test (provide something to clean the palate between sips). The volunteers should guess which wine is the pinot noir, which is the Cabernet, and so on. A bottle of wine is the obvious prize for the winner of this game.

Say you are having a reception at a country club on a golf course. It’s possible your theme will include golf elements, so why not include golf in some reception activities or games? You certainly could head to the golf course for a “hole in one” contest, or have a driving contest to see which guest has the best stroke. As a simple, “who gets the centerpiece game”, you could have people guess how many golf balls there are in the floral centerpiece (which could decorate a plain large glass vase filled with flowers). Similarly, there could be a large vase or other clear container filled with golf balls at the reception somewhere and guests could guess how many golf balls are in the vase.

A silly game could be made on the dance floor by asking everyone to include their best golf swing into their dancing for one particular song.

Now, if your reception and ceremony are both to be held outdoors and guests will be milling outdoors, think about games or activities that can take place outdoors and still keep to your level of formality or informality. For example, if the reception is being held at a park, perhaps guests might enjoy a “walk down memory lane”. Prior to the reception, someone can use potted plants or arbors to create a little private lane, which guests can walk through. Along the path, guests will find pictures of the bride and groom at various stages in their lives. There should be a place for guests to record their thoughts and memories along the way as well.

If your wedding and reception are fairly casual, you can always tell guests ahead of time to prepare for a ball game or some other fun outdoor activity. Women can bring a pair of sneakers. Just imagine the fun photos you’ll get out of a rousing game of football or baseball played by women in dresses and sneakers and men in suits and sneakers!

You can provide a challenge activity involving barefoot dancing in the grass or a Frisbee toss in the backyard. Is there a pool in the yard where the reception will be held? Why not have a swimming activity for after the whole of the reception is done?

Nice Bachelorette Party Games

Planning a bachelorette party is one of the easiest parts of a wedding to plan. There are literally hundreds of ideas for things to do and a myriad of options for games. Many of those ideas are a bit on the racy side, but there are plenty that that are just plain clean fun.

For example, one popular bachelorette game involves asking the guests to become poets. Ahead of the party, take 50 index cards and on half, write romantic things, like “roses”, “cuddly”, etc. On the other 25 cards, write very non-romantic words or phrases, like “nose hairs” or “ironing”. Then have each guest draw one card from each pile. They should then create a silly poem based on the two very different words or phrases they have chosen, for example, “Roses are red, your nose hairs are ewwwww.”

One fun game that is sure to engender at least a few laughs is “name that item”. Take a paper bag (a fabric bag is better if you have one) and fill the bag with typical “male items”. The items might include a razor, a money clip, a tie, shoe polish, etc. Seal the bag, or fold it over really well. Then have each guest feel the bag and try to guess the contents. Have them write their guesses on a piece of paper. After everyone has had a chance to feel the bag, the contents are shown and the person with the most number of correct guesses gets the bag of male-oriented items.

Here’s a fun idea. This game might take the whole of the bachelorette party, but it’s a fun one that involves all the guests, helps them get to know one another and provides video proof you all had a good time. You need video cameras for this game, so if the host only has one camera, be sure to ask guests to bring more video cameras. Make sure you also have enough blank tapes for this game.

Depending on the number of guests at the party, you’ll divide the party into two or more groups. It’s best to divide the group into teams small enough so that the whole team can get into one car. So you’ll have maybe five women on each team. You’ll give each team a video camera, blank videotapes and a list of “scavenger hunt” type activities they must perform and tape.

Some video scavenger hunt ideas include having a complete stranger sing the national anthem, having a member of the team sing “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer hot dog” in the meat section of the grocery store and taping a stranger who can do a good impersonation of John Wayne.

The teams should be given a specific amount of time in which to complete their assigned tasks and then return to the party location (ideally, a home, in this case). The videos are viewed and the teams vote on the team that did the best. Bonus points are given for the team that creates their own stunts.

Bachelorette party games are not only designed to bring fun to the party, but sometimes to help people get to know one another. This might be a good opportunity for the bride’s best friend to get to know the sister of the groom, or for the bride to get close to the groom’s cousin or niece. So an icebreaker game isn’t a bad idea.

This isn’t perhaps the most intellectual of an icebreaker game, but it will likely break the ice early in the evening before you head out to other events. Play a game called “I never…” and see who takes the most drinks. So the first woman says, “I never…” and completes the sentence. The women who have done the thing the first woman says she’s never done take a drink. Then the next woman claims to have “never” done something.

Some suggestions for this game are: “I never …”
*Lied about my age
*Lied about my weight
*Shoplifted
*Got a speeding ticket
*Ran naked through my house

Naughty Bachelorette Party Games

If you are planning a bachelorette party and want to include some naughty games, the possibilities are endless. The games and activities can just barely stretch into the naughty category or they can be all-out embarrassing dirty games.

Before planning any of these games, make sure the bride is willing to play long with them and is outgoing enough for the “public naughty” games. You don’t want to put her on the spot or make her feel uncomfortable. However, if she’s game and willing, many of these games are very popular and extremely fun for girls who enjoy a good time.

First up is “Suck for a buck”. Buy a plain white T shirt and letter on it with fabric paint, “suck for a $”, attach Lifesavers candy to it and have the bride-to-be wear it. When you go out that evening, try to solicit men to suck the lifesavers off the T-shirt. At $1 a man, this is a nice way to pay for a few drinks while you’re out as well!

If the bride isn’t comfortable with the Lifesaver idea, have her wear a candy necklace or bracelet instead and have the men simply bite off a piece of the candy necklace/bracelet.

How about the game where you ask the guests which of them would like her virginity back? The women who say yes line up and are each given a maraschino cherry in a bowl. They are told they have to eat the cherry without using their hands. Doesn’t sound so hard, right? In fact, it gets a little tougher and messier when the host then adds a squirt of whipped cream to each bowl and the women have to find and fish out the cherry all without using their hands.

This activity isn’t quite so naughty, but it could be, depending on the bride’s expressions. As she opens her gifts, and this is assuming there are gifts at this bachelorette party, someone writes down all her expressions as she opens each gift. So there might be “oohs” and “aaahs” and “how cutes” coming from the bride. Once she is done opening gifts, someone says, “If we were outside (bride’s name) hotel room on her wedding night, this is what we’d hear” and you then list the various expressions and comments she made while opening her gifts.

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of products you can buy for steamy bachelorette parties. From fake parts to pin on pictures of hunks on the wall to portable stripper poles, it’s all out there. How about a piñata? You could make a game out of who gets to hit the piñata. Turn any drinking game into the piñata game. For example, if the guest would normally take a drink, instead they hit the piñata. You could fill the piñata with the always- popular candy, but you could also fill it with sex toys, just to add to the spiciness of the game.

If the bachelorette party is going to be held at a bar or somewhere other than home or in a hotel room, there are a myriad of activities you can come up with to entertain the girls. For example, create a series of challenges. One challenge might be to wander up to a man at a bar. If he were munching the bar-supplied nuts, the challenge would be to say, “Mmmmm. I love a man with salty nuts”.