Traditional Jewish weddings are usually great fun and embrace a range of Jewish Law and traditions.
Here’s some advice on how to plan a great Jewish wedding, plus tips on getting the most from your wedding photographer:
Finding the perfect Chuppah:Jewish weddings usually take place under a ‘Chuppah’, a simple wedding canopy comprising draped fabric and four wooden poles. The chuppah represents the new home the couple are building by becoming husband and wife. Some couples like to incorporate a family tallit (prayer shawl) or a special table cloth passed down the generations into their chuppah. Others ask family and friends to contribute personalised fabric squares which are sewn together to form the canopy. This is a lovely keepsake to have after the wedding.
Whether you want to make your own chuppah or have one created for you (several companies offer bespoke chuppahs) make sure it’s roomy enough to avoid being too huddled and so that your guests can see what’s going on – the recommended length of poles is approximately eight feet.
Breaking the glass: At the close of the religious ceremony, or after the bride has received the ring, the groom stamps on a wine glass covered by a napkin. The breaking of the glass is a renowned Jewish wedding ritual and marks the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Tradition has it that the groom shatters the glass, but in some families, the bride and groom do it together. You can even have the glass shards fashioned into a keepsake as a reminder of your special ‘Mazel Tov’ moment.
Photographing a Jewish wedding: Ensure your wedding photographs live up to your expectations with this brief checklist for booking a Jewish wedding photographer:
- Short-list two to three photographers you like – Take time to study their photos and what it is you like about them. If there isn’t a full album online, ask to view a complete series to see how the photographer approaches an entire wedding.
- Arrange to meet up – Your photographer will be you throughout the day so it’s important you get on well and trust them. Arrange to meet up and chat through your wedding photography in detail. Ask them about their methods and how they go about getting the best photos. If there’s something you like (or don’t like!) you can talk about it now so that there are no surprises.
- One or two photographers? Jewish weddings are often action-packed with lots going on during the ceremony and reception. Add in factors such as separate bridal and groom preparations, plus a big guest list, then you may want to have another photographer to capture everything. Ask your photographer about their arrangements for having a second shooter and request samples of their images too.
- Length of coverage – Traditional and modern dancing is a key feature of Jewish weddings. Check what time your photographer is planning to stay until and whether they offer extended photography coverage so that you don’t miss any of those fab Hora (chair dancing) shots.
I shoot weddings throughout London, Surrey and am also an overseas wedding photographer. If you’d like to know more about my award-winning wedding photography or would like to meet to chat through your wedding plans, please send me a message here.