THREE FACTS: (1) Jennifer and Charlie first met when they were just 17 years old! (2) They are planning an intimate elegant black tie trad(ish)ional Jewish wedding incorporating plenty of personal touches, their sense of humour, and love of all things rose gold (3) Jennifer is a wedding photographer herself so is planning her wedding as an industry insider!
An egalitarian wedding
I have always had a very strong sense of my Jewish identity. I grew up as a member of Belsize Square Synagogue (editor’s note: see the wedding published yesterday at Belsize Square Synagogue, here). I sang in the choir, taught in the Cheder and really understood what it was to be part of a community.
Belsize Square is an independent Synagogue, with a modern, egalitarian approach to Judaism, which is important for Charlie and I to reflect at our wedding. Charlie joined at the beginning of this year and has also fallen in love with the unique character of the Synagogue.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have a Jewish wedding, and this is something I love about our religion, it can be interpreted whilst respecting tradition. For us, having an egalitarian wedding is paramount.
Image Richard Payne by from Phoebe and Ben‘s wedding
Close Friends over Bridesmaids
One of my first decisions was that I would not be having a maid of honour or bridesmaids. I simply could not choose between all of my wonderful friends or choose all of them and have a huge procession! Instead, I asked each of my closest female friends to do something specific for our wedding that played to their strengths.
I have a friend who knows everything about fashion and she has helped me find the most beautiful wedding dress. Two of my most wonderfully organised and fun girls are planning my hen, and I have other friends signing our ketubah and Civil Registry.
My sister will be with me the night before the wedding and when I get ready in the morning, as I was at her wedding. In this way, I feel that everyone who is important to me has an active role, and hopefully something to look forward to!
Our wedding, our way
We spoke with our Rabbi and he reminded us that this is our wedding; our commitment to each other and however we want our day to be is up to us! We started to look at all the elements of a Jewish wedding, in order to decide how to represent our personalities and beliefs within it.
Charlie and I poured over hundreds of ketubah texts, but could not find one that truly suited us. They were either too religious, or too liberal! So we decided to write our own and it could not have been a more connecting or emotional experience, especially when it arrived from Jennifer Raichman. I cannot wait to have it proudly displayed in our home.
Image by Ronen Boidek from Robyn and Josh‘s wedding
‘Veiling’ The Groom
I had read a wonderful article on Smashing the Glass with ideas for an egalitarian wedding and I loved the idea of ‘veiling’ the groom.
Our Rabbi had already suggested instead of buying Charlie a watch or cufflinks for the big day, to purchase something more meaningful, such as a new tallit.
When he said this, I had a wonderful vision of Charlie seeing me for the first time in the badeken, veiling me and I in turn ‘veiling’ him in his tallit. I bought him a beautiful tallit from Jerusalem The Golden and I have to admit we have been practising the veiling! It is much harder to put a tallit onto someone else than yourself!
Just Us Under The Chuppah
When I imagined getting married, I always heard beautiful, traditional music being played during the ceremony. We are very lucky that our cantor Paul Heller will be singing for us. Charlie is a huge classical music fan, so we have been working closely with the cantor and the director of music at Belsize to ensure the melodies we both love are married together perfectly.
During the ceremony, we only wish to stand under the chuppah with the Rabbi. For us, it is very meaningful that the chuppah represents our Jewish home and we will be inviting our parents into it for Kiddushin.
I’ve read about so many different ways that circling can be done. Charlie and I did think about circling each other and in the end we decided it wasn’t an element that applied to us, especially as everyone knows I wear the trousers in our relationship (or at least Charlie does an excellent job letting me think that I do). We do have an equal relationship and although there are many interpretations of what circling means, we feel it doesn’t reflect our dynamic.
Image by Adam and Hannah from Becky and Adam‘s wedding
Traditionally at a Jewish wedding, only the groom gives his bride a ring. We both wish to exchange rings and have bought a beautiful pair from a small independent jeweller, Posh Totty Designs.
Children are welcome
We have also made the (somewhat) controversial choice of not having children as part of the ceremony. This is mainly because I have photographed so many weddings where the little ones (understandably) have become restless and start to cry or act up.
I find this to be distracting, so we have made our guests aware that their kids will be having a much more fun time with the fantastic Safe and Sound Events, another great STG Recommended Vendor. We also want our friends to be able to party at our wedding without worry.
I don’t want to give too much away about our big day, and there are lots of fun surprises in store for our guests. This is merely a slice of our trad(ish)onal Jewish wedding.
Image by Andy Tyler from Tash and Ian‘s wedding
Click here to read all Jennifer’s planning posts to date.
Jennifer & Charlie’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Photography — Paul Toeman Photographers
Videography – Denee Motion
DJ Live – The Function Band
Hair + Makeup – Camilla J Collins
Childcare – Safe and Sound Events
Venue – Dartmouth House
Design – Event Bureau
Toastmaster – Jamie Paskin
Cantor – Paul Heller
Ketubah – Jennifer Raichman
Tallis – Jerusalem The Golden
Rings – Posh Totty Designs