THREE FACTS: THREE FACTS: (1) Alexandra and Ian are planning an intimate black-tie destination wedding for 60 of their nearest and dearest in Puglia, Italy. (2) Alexandra is Jewish, and Ian is in the process of converting to Judaism. (3) Alexandra is a member of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club!
My fiance and I are pretty up on the major Jewish holidays. When we scheduled our wedding on May 10th, 2020 in Ostuni, Italy, we thought it would be the perfect time to find an officiant; we were wrong. Most rabbis in Italy are Orthodox and we are getting married during the counting of the Omer when weddings aren’t conducted.
If you are like me, you may not know what the forty-nine day period that constitutes the counting of the Omer is all about. It begins on Passover and ends on Shavuot and we are getting married in the middle of it. The idea of counting each day between the two holidays represents spiritual preparation and anticipation for the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
It is considered a time of semi-mourning. During this period, Orthodox Jews are forbidden from getting haircuts, shaving, listening to instrumental music, or conducting weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing.
Image by Maloman Studios from Lindsey and Corey’s wedding
I thought I had avoided any Jewish timing issues by getting married on a Sunday, I was obviously wrong!
Since we couldn’t find an officiant in Italy, we began looking for someone in New York that we could fly to Italy to conduct the ceremony. When we told people we were rabbi-less they all said they had someone, but no one did in actuality.
Image by Susan Shek (STG Recommended Vendor) from Sara and Eric’s wedding
We turned to Unorthodox Celebrations which helps couples who are having unusual weddings find officiants. They have been amazing. Unorthodox Celebrations sent us a list of eleven potential officiants ranging from rabbis to cantors.
We have slowly been making our way through this list since September. We wanted someone who would conduct an egalitarian ceremony and all of these officiants are open to this.
This process has been really great for us because it has made us think about what we want from our Jewish lives once we are married. For example, I learned that my fiance would like to have observing Shabbat be a more active part of our married life.
Image by Ruthless Images from Emma and Joseph’s wedding
I have also come to realize that I would like to more actively celebrate the lesser Jewish holidays — but not the counting of the Omer. Another element in this rabbi choosing process is that my fiance is the midst of conversion so we are working on that as well.
The officiants had a wide range of personalities, practices, and prices, but hopefully we will choose one in the next week or two.
The next step after that is to find a Ketubah artist!
Image by Fred Marcus from Vlada and Joshua’s wedding (Ketubah by STG Recommended Vendor Melanie Dankowicz)
Click here to read all Alexandra’s planning posts to date.
Alexandra and Ian’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Venue – La Corte Dei Messapi