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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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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Destination Wedding Activities

As brides get more and more creative in planning their weddings, locations weddings are becoming more and more popular. Although this might result in a smaller guest list, it can also result in some fun opportunities for activities.

Many brides like to have their weddings seaside, so they move the festivities to a beach locale, either on their local coast or somewhere more exotic like Jamaica or the Bahamas. In any event, there are several activities that can be planned around this theme. If the wedding is also a weekend event where guests will be around for more than just the wedding, the bride can plan a sailing excursion. Charter a boat for a day and bring your guests out on the water to relax, rejuvenate, and perhaps enjoy a meal.

If the wedding is in the Caribbean, how about a cooking demonstration? The bride and groom can arrange for the wedding guests to enjoy a complimentary cooking demonstration put on by the hotel or a local cook. Since much of the food the guests eat while visiting for the wedding will be different than what they eat at home, they might enjoy learning how to prepare it for home enjoyment.

Say the wedding is in Hawaii, another popular destination wedding location. Here, you can plan several activities around the location. For example, what about a luau? This could even take the place of a more formal or conventional sit-down rehearsal dinner.

In Hawaii, guests will enjoy a hula lesson. Depending on the age of your guests, be sure there is enough time between the wedding and the lesson for the resting of aching bones, in case there are any.

At the wedding itself, there are many ways to incorporate the location into the ceremony itself. At a beachside reception, you can play “pass the shell”, where a large shell is passed around and guests “listen” for some advice from the other world. Once they get a piece of advice (really something they think of themselves) they share it with the bride and groom, either verbally, or it can be written into a book for the couple.

Other pre-wedding activities can include guided tours, shopping excursions and wine tasting activities (if applicable). If you choose to include any of these activities keep in mind that the bride and groom (or their families) are expected to pay for the bulk of them. If you arrange a sailing excursion, for example, you are expected to pick up the tab for the trip. Do not tell people ahead of time that the activity will be x dollars. It’s likely that won’t sit well with them.

Since one of the great benefits of the destination wedding is that only your closest friends and family will likely surround you, you can plan some meaningful activities that you wouldn’t plan if the wedding were a larger event. For example, you might plan a slumber party night with close friends that includes movies, popcorn and drinks in your hotel room, villa or cottage, depending on where the wedding is held.

Of course, if you plan a destination wedding, for some people this might double as their vacation. In that event, you might not want to schedule too many activities but instead let people find their own activities and entertainment both before and after the wedding.

Dance Floor Activities

Dancing is an essential component at most wedding receptions. We look forward to the couple’s “first dance” and the bride’s special dance with her father. It’s also a place to get loose and funky, if you’re a guest or a member of the wedding party.

But what if the wedding planners decided to add some fun and surprise to the dance floor by adding fun activities there? This doesn’t mean a rousing version of the “Bunny Hop”, which, while maybe essential, is hardly unique.

There are, however, many fun games and activities you can add to your dance floor activities that are sure to be a hit.

Try a fun game of the “chicken dance”. Ok, so that doesn’t sound too original. But if most of your guests are just sitting at their tables, watching a few brave couples dancing, or just finishing their meals, you might want to get everyone up and having fun. Try this game.

The DJ announces a number. Everyone looks under his or her chair, where there is a number. Depending on the number of guests at the wedding, there might be only numbers “1” and “2” or more, up to 5.

So, say the DJ announces number “4”. Each person checks under their chair to see what their number is. These numbers can be written simply on a piece of masking tape and affixed to the underside of the chairs when the reception is being set up. Each “4” in this scenario will head to the dance floor to do the chicken dance with the other “4s”. Not only does this get people out of their chairs and on to the dance floor, they get to know other wedding reception guests they might not otherwise know.

One dance floor activity that’s gaining popularity is to bring in a dance teacher for the wedding reception. As a kind of pre-dance activity, the teacher will quickly walk people through their paces on the dance floor, perhaps teaching a bit of the waltz or, for something completely different, a little bit of the tango, before the music officially begins and dancing commences.

Having a dance teacher do a bit of teaching not only livens up the reception right from the start, but it gets people out on the dance floor who might otherwise be too self-conscious normally to get out there and let it all hang out. And practically speaking, it will likely make the wedding guests feel more confident in their skills before the “official” dancing begins.

Another fun activity to get everyone on the dance floor, including even the most reticent, is something you can refer to as the “snowball” dance. This is a good way to jumpstart the dancing at the beginning of the evening.

Here’s how the “snowball” dance works. The wedding party, bride and groom included, will head to the dance floor for a fun dance. The music for this dance should be fast, something with a disco beat or a fast song that most people have at least a passing familiarity with. After a bit of wedding party dancing, the music stops. The female members of the wedding party move into the crowd and bring back one male each. The male members of the wedding party do the same, but they bring in female guests. The dancing then begins again. This is repeated until all the guests are dancing. It’s truly a snowball effect!

Centerpiece Activities

The question of who will get to take home the centerpiece can sometimes be a central discussion at reception dinner tables, particularly if the centerpiece is particularly pretty or original.

Making a game of who gets the centerpiece, then, can be an amusing diversion and one many guests will enjoy participating in. Here are some ideas for giving away that reception table centerpiece.

How about a game of 20 questions? Give each guest a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. The MC or DJ asks a series of 20 questions, but first gives the guests the basic background information, that is, that the answer is an animal, place, person or thing. Once that’s taken care of, people can shout out questions and the MC or DJ will answer yes or no, and whoever figures out the answer first gets the first centerpiece, and that particular table is done playing. The game is repeated until one person at each table has won the centerpiece.

One of the most popular ways brides give away the table centerpieces is to put a number on the bottom of the centerpiece and give each guest a number. At some point in the evening, a number is called, each guest checks his or her number and whoever has the called number gets the centerpiece. There are many ways to put a twist on this traditional activity.

For example, you might provide each table with a number, but make it a lower number (ie. between 1 and 10) and the DJ or MC could move from table to table and have each guest do something a certain number of times. So, at the first table, for example, the guests might need to do “head, shoulders, knees and toes” six times and whoever does it first gets the centerpiece. Or, at the second table, the guests might be required to sing the alphabet 3 times or sing “twinkle, twinkle, little star” three times and whoever does that first get the centerpiece.

Another fun activity for divvying up the centerpieces is to require guests to produce a certain item. The DJ or MC moves from table to table, announcing what guests at that table will be required to produce in order to get the centerpiece. Maybe it’s a Georgia quarter or a mint, or a doctor’s appointment card. Whatever it is, the guest at each table who produces the requested item will get the centerpiece.

You can always make it easy and offer the centerpiece to the oldest person at the table, or the one who took the most number of years to finish college. Perhaps you could create an activity where the person who has the strangest talent (as voted on by the tablemates) wins the centerpiece. Then, if possible, that person might show off the talent for the entire reception party.

If you like musical chairs, you can play a game of musical dollar bills in order to give the centerpiece away. Someone takes out a one-dollar bill and music begins playing. Everyone at the table passes the dollar bill around the table and when the music stops, whoever is left holding the bill gets the centerpiece. Or this game can be played a bit more traditionally with the person with the bill being eliminated, and the game continuing until only one person is holding the bill. That person can then be awarded with the centerpiece. Or, for a fun twist, the bill can be passed around and when the music stops, the person holding the bill is told to return it to the person who first supplied it. That is the person who gets the centerpiece.

Some fun, and fairly traditional, ideas include the birthday person getting the centerpiece. At each table, the person who has a birthday closest to the wedding gets the centerpiece. Or if there are married couples at the table, the couple who have been together the longest can get the centerpiece, or the couple who were married most recently. Perhaps the centerpiece should go to the person with the longest hair, or the strangest shoes (again, this would be voted on by tablemates).

All Weekend Wedding

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All weekend weddings are becoming more popular, particularly as families are spread further apart. They usually begin on Friday night, continue with the wedding Saturday and conclude with a post-wedding breakfast on Sunday before everyone returns home.

Planning activities for these weekend-long celebrations doesn’t have to be difficult; in fact, it can be quite a bit of fun if you keep everyone’s needs in mind. First, consider the wedding. Will this be a formal wedding with a sit-down dinner at its center? If so, you might want to ban a formal rehearsal dinner and replace it instead with an informal barbecue dinner or picnic.

But how will you keep people occupied during the long weekend? There are many activities to consider. Will the wedding be near a lake? How about planning a day at the lake on Saturday, filled with pre-wedding activities like swimming races and beach volleyball.

One popular pre-wedding activity is a scavenger hunt. Prior to the wedding weekend, a list of meaningful items should be drawn up, and guests placed in two teams. The list should include things like “get a brochure from the jewelry store where (groom) bought (bride)’s ring” or “take a picture of the group at the location where the couple got engaged”. You will have to tailor the scavenger hunt list to the location of the wedding and the energy of the guests who will be participating.

You can even offer lavish prizes for the team that wins the scavenger hunt, such as gift certificates or gourmet food and wine baskets. It might seem an obvious choice to divide the teams into groups who know or are related to the bride and teams who know or are related to the groom, but it might be a little more fun to mix it up a bit. You can create teams of friends versus family, or men versus women (always a popular choice).

Another activity that’s popular during wedding weekends is a competitive sport activity, such as baseball or flag football. Again, add a special twist. Offer prizes for performance (first home run gets a kiss from the bride) or make silly rules, like members of the bridal party have to wear tiaras while running bases or members of the groom’s family should always have their shirts on backwards.

It’s important that during the wedding weekend, planners keep in mind that the weekend itself might be expensive for some guests, particularly those who had to fly in for the occasion and many of the activities should be free, or inexpensive. If they are more expensive, and planned for the entire group, they should be paid for by either the bride and groom or their families.

But there are plenty of activities that don’t have to be expensive, but can provide big bang for the little buck, such as the scavenger hunt suggested above. If the wedding weekend guests will mostly be family, you can schedule a home movie-viewing event, including home movies from both the bride and groom’s families. For even more fun, consider an activity where the movies are mixed up and the guests have to guess which family’s videos they are watching. This might sound easy, but depending on the contents, it could be hard, particularly if the bride and groom are babies in the photos. We would love to hear your thoughts . Please comment below, stop by and check out www.djxtc.net . Follow us on twitter @weddingdj1