What’s the best thing about a Jewish wedding?

Jewish-Wedding
We’re all here for the same reason: we love Jewish weddings – and at STG, it goes without saying that our family of Smashing Suppliers are no exception. But what is it about a Jewish wedding that makes everyone want to be a part of the tradition, whether they’re Jewish or not?


We put the call out to our Smashing Suppliers to tell us their favourite element of a Jewish wedding and explain why it means so much to them – and they certainly had a lot to say on the subject! So take five minutes out of your day, sit down, relax and enjoy a verbal highlights reel of our suppliers’ favourite things. Oh, and don’t forget the most important thing of all:  

The Tisch

We love the Tisch – it’s a fantastic moment, a totally kosher excuse for a last-second boisterous boys’ club for the groom and his crew to knock back some whiskey and get pumped up for the occasion. You can read more about the Tisch here.

Rahul from F5 Photography said:

“One of my favourite parts of a Jewish Wedding is the Tisch, it’s amazing to see all the ‘boys’ get together and celebrate the groom getting married, whilst singing songs and having a few shots of whiskey! The camaraderie is amazing to witness and photograph, it’s also really cool that the Rabbi often joins in too and has a drink with the groom.”


The Badeken

We had a first-look tradition before it was cool. That’s right, the Badeken is that touching moment when the bride and groom lock eyes for the first time before the ceremony. It’s moving, intimate and special – and, of course, our suppliers adore it.
 

Debbie from Qube Events & Productions said:

“One of my favourite parts of a Jewish wedding is the Badeken. I love seeing the expression on the brides’ and grooms’ faces when they see each other before for the wedding; usually very emotional and lots of happy tears.”

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What is a Jew-ish wedding? It’s whatever you want it to be…

lauren-intro-image
In my opinion the important part of any wedding is the actual ceremony itself. Many people can get lost in the details of the party that comes after and the ceremony just happens through the guidance of a rabbi, priest or registrar. However when you are getting married to someone of a different faith (or no faith at all) then there are some significant choices to be made.

This was something John and I discussed before we were even engaged and knew there was one non-negotiable element to our wedding day. We wanted a chuppah. I had discussed the Jewish wedding ceremony with John who is atheist (unless football is considered a religion??) and we both loved the chuppah’s representation of our first home together, supported by our family and friends. It is universal and whilst it comes from a practice of my Jewish heritage, it also will represent the joining of our two families.

interfaith-jewish-wedding
Missy & Yoni’s Jew-ish wedding ceremony. Click here to read their wedding story

Jew-ish wedding ceremony options

One thing we weren’t certain of was what the ceremony itself would comprise of. I knew that there wouldn’t be an affiliated rabbi (someone connected to a synagogue organisation) in the UK who would be able to conduct a ceremony or a blessing under a chuppah. Initially I was very frustrated by this. I felt that it was ridiculous that a non-Jewish couple could choose to get married under a canopy after seeing it at a Jewish wedding and liking the symbolism, but I was not able to have a legal wedding or blessing conducted by a rabbi under the same symbolic chuppah.

We could easily have had a civil wedding and then a Jewish blessing straight away, but I didn’t want a long meaningless ceremony followed by a Jewish blessing AND not under a chuppah. Our guests would get bored and so would I for that matter! Many options were bandied about. A civil ceremony earlier on in the day with close family and a blessing that we would invite our guests to? Just a civil ceremony with some sort of Jewish readings? But we didn’t like any of these ideas, they didn’t mean anything to us and I felt like me, my bridesmaids and my mum might need that extra time earlier in the day to put on our war paint! We wanted our wedding to mean something special to us and represent who we are. We said no to the two ceremonies in one day and no to the rabbis.

We decided that we were going to get married legally a few days before our wedding day in a registry office near where we live, just with our close family, and then have a ceremony that truly represents us. This meant that we would be able to get married under a chuppah, with whatever elements we choose and get our family and friends fully involved.

We decided that we wanted to have sheva brachot (seven blessings) written and given to us during the ceremony by seven members of our family and friends, so they will be truly personal to us, a chuppah that we will make ourselves that will showcase the family and friends that have helped to shape us individually until now and John will smash that glass at the end of the ceremony.

Other than that we were excited about all the extra details we would be able to add to our ceremony. But who could we get to ‘officiate’ this ceremony? So along came my charismatic brother Josh who we felt would be a perfect ‘officiant’ for a wedding with his witty banter and strong understanding of Jewish practice and ease of speech that would ensure that all our guests would understand what was going on. Josh has been instrumental in creating this ceremony, yet he still wants to keep a few secrets from John and I. Initially this scared the controlling me, but once I gave him a list of the basic bits we want included and the people we wanted involved, I realised my brother wouldn’t mess up such an important part of the day and let him carry on with his scheming.

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Top 20 songs to play immediately after smashing the glass at a Jewish wedding!

Breaking-The-Glass
Image by Dave & Charlotte

There’s no doubt about it, one of the theatrical highlights of any Jewish wedding is when the groom stamps his foot and smashes that glass (is it any surprise that it’s the Jewish wedding tradition this blog is named after?!).

For me, the breaking of the glass is THE moment of a Jewish wedding. With cries of ‘mazal tov’, cheering, clapping and hollering, it’s a great time to play your favourite party song to kickstart the celebrations, smooch your beloved for the first time as man and wife, and joyously embrace your loved ones.

You may want to choose a tune that’s personal to you as a couple, or perhaps something brilliantly traditional like Siman Tov U Mazal Tov or Hava Nagila, but if you want to pump up the party atmosphere, choose any one of following 20 songs.

The first 10 tunes are my top picks, whilst the following 10 come courtesy of Maya Bechor from Zebra Music, who’s an expert at gently encouraging couples to step out of their comfort zone of ordinary “wedding music”.

All 20 tunes are also handily compiled in this Spotify playlist for your entertainment pleasure.

Are there any other ‘breaking the glass songs’ you’ve you heard that really got the party started? Let me know in the comments section below!


1. Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder


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What’s the correct processional order for a Jewish wedding ceremony?

Jewish wedding question
To begin with, I want to say that “there is no such thing as a ‘generic’ Jewish wedding – no matter what the rabbi tells you, no matter what your mother tells you, and no matter what the caterer tells you”.

That’s not my quote, that’s Anita Diamant’s, from her wonderful book, The New Jewish Wedding. And I start with it, as it’s important to know that just like all other aspects of a Jewish wedding, the processional order will vary with how religious you are, and your local practices, but it will still follow this basic order:

The wedding party enters in this order:

  • Rabbi and/or chazan (cantor) on Rabbi’s right.
  • Bride’s grandparents (or they can choose to be seated beforehand)
  • Groom’s grandparents (or they can choose to be seated beforehand)
  • Ushers in pairs (shortest to tallest)
  • Best man and / or Best woman
  • The groom, escorted by his parents (father on his left, mother on his right)
  • Bridesmaids (individually or in pairs)
  • The bride, escorted by her parents (father on her left, mother on her right)

Jewish-wedding-ceremony-processional-order

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Top 10 cool Chuppah Entrance Songs for 2015

Chuppah-Entrance-Songs
Image by Elisabeth Millay taken from Tory & Brooks’ beachside Jewish wedding

The original Top 10 Chuppah Entrance Songs that was written in 2013 is one of Smashing The Glass‘s most popular posts, but having been published over a year ago, I asked Maya Bechor from Zebra Music who complied the original piece, to write a ‘part 2’ with 10 hot new songs including some recent releases from 2014.

What I love about Zebra Music is that they’re great at encouraging couples to step out of their comfort zone of ‘ordinary wedding music’. They know exactly how to get the crowd pumped and the party started! So here are the Top 10 cool, new , unexpected chuppah songs for 2015 weddings and beyond!

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