A thank you letter
Last week my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. My sister and I planned a surprise party for them and we decided to decorate the house with photos of their lives together. Sifting through the hundreds of photos made me realise how important my family is to me and also what an incredible relationship my parents have. It got me thinking about what makes a wedding so special. What can possibly make one day something you remember for an entire lifetime? And I realised that the answer is family. Our wedding isn’t just about celebrating our love for each other, but celebrating the love we’ve both been blessed with from the day we were born. Love is what makes the day special, it’s what binds soulmates, families and friends together.
I started to think about our wedding and the role that my family and Gideon’s family have had and will have in our wedding. From dress shopping to checking out the venue; from supplier searches to food tasting our parents have been involved every step of the way. For us it is really important that this wedding celebrates Gid and I just as much as it celebrates our two families coming together as one.
At our last meeting with Rabbi Miriam Berger who is marrying us, we went through each part of the ceremony. As we are having a reform wedding we are able to choose different components and mix and match traditions. One thing that featured throughout the discussion was the importance of the role our parents and family will play in the ceremony. Gideon and I are walked down the aisle by both our parents. Unlike in other weddings where it is just the father I love the idea that both our parents present their child to everyone and we walk down the aisle as a family unit. Both parents play an equal role in our lives so both parents should be by our sides when we marry each other.
Together with them walking us down the aisle they also stand under the chuppah with us. I love the idea that the chuppah is meant to represent our first home together and I love that we stand under it with our parents. To me it symbolises the importance they have played in helping Gid and I actually get to our wedding day but also the bringing together of both families in our home where both families are always welcome and a central part of the building of it.
When choosing my bridesmaids I made the decision to have only family members. Just my sister, Gid’s sister and Gid’s cousins who I consider family. Having them as the central people on my wedding day is really important and again symbolises to me the importance of family within our Jewish wedding. Of course I have the most wonderful friends who would make the most amazing bridesmaids but to me keeping it within the theme of family allows for everything to be close and really makes it feel like two families are coming together as one.
As our parents have been at the centre of our wedding planning this has at times caused some conflict and disagreements. As is the case in most Jewish weddings our guest list is split three ways; my family, his family and Gid and my friends. With a maximum capacity of 160, two semi large families this has been a sticking point throughout the process. Despite lists, new lists, and new new lists being produced we know that as long as our nearest and dearest are with us it will be an amazing day and as long as the list is sorted by the time we send the invites out it will be all be wonderful in the end.
Whilst having a conversation with a friend who is getting married shortly after us we were talking about our guests and our families. She told me that most of their guests are made up of friends as she has quite a small family and his family is a bit bigger but not that big. It got me thinking about our families, dispersed across the world, constantly reproducing so there seems to be a never ending list of cousins and cousins children, some who’s names are unclear (we have one cousin we are unsure of their name so we just called them child B on our wedding list) but it is so important to both of us that everyone who can come is there to celebrate with us.
I love that in every Jewish wedding I have attended the father of the bride always starts by welcoming everyone from the countries they have come from, I love how the list is always fairly long and always spans the breadth of the world and how incredibly proud everyone is that they are there to celebrate together. For Gid and I this is no different and we can’t wait for everyone to come from Israel and America and up north to celebrate with us! Unfortunately my Uncle will not be able to attend as he lives in America and is not well enough to travel. However, once again the importance of family pulls through and he will be featuring at the wedding ceremony on FaceTime.
For those couples, who like us, have family who are unable to come due to travel or illness remember that people who are there on your wedding day are there to celebrate the start of your married life but those who are unable to be there will still be part of your lives together as this is only the start of it all!
Of course every family has their disagreements and conflicting views on how a wedding should go but I have to say that in all the stress of ‘wedmin’ Gid and I always say to each other how lucky we are that we are inheriting each other’s family as we really do believe we both have the most incredibly supportive and welcoming families.
This Rosh Hashana having both families come together to celebrate was so amazing and showed me that family really is so important. In the year of planning that has just gone our parents have been incredibly supportive and a constant ear to rant in and a shoulder to cry on. They have also been there with buckets of excitement and enthusiasm for everything as well and for that we are both eternally grateful.
This post is all about saying thank you to our families and to say that without them we would be completely lost. At Rosh Hashana we hear the story of Abraham sacrificing his son to G-d and it made me think of the sacrifices our parents have made for us to ensure we have the most amazing wedding and for that we will always be grateful. I love that in Judaism family is at the forefront of everything and I can’t wait for our two families to come together in a Taubman-Golstein bundle of love and happiness.
Fran Taubman (the author)’s family photos
You can read all Fran’s wedding planning posts so far here.