Planning a wedding is hard enough as it is but having to remember all the Jewish wedding traditions complicates things even more. Recently, couples have started adapting those traditions to suit their own dreams for their special day. Couples have evolved from die-hard traditionalists to aspiring trend-setters.
When making your very long list of things to do to tie the knot, you might want to start with assessing how you wish to blend Jewish tradition with contemporary pizzazz. Which traditions do you want to keep, you know, traditional, and which things would you like to add a special touch to?
Randi Steinhart, certified special event professional for RS Event Productions, has found recent wedding trends to revolve around saving an extra buck and unique branding for the bride and groom.
“Their names or initials [are printed] on everything from cocktail napkins, dance floors, bar fronts, walls and mirrors,” Steinhart said. “I’ve produced a lot of different styles of weddings and each has their own uniqueness designed with the bride and groom in mind.”
While keeping up with the times, Jewish brides and grooms add their trendy touches throughout their otherwise traditional Jewish weddings. After all, weddings are all about the bride … yes – and the groom.
Steinhart’s clients haven’t strayed too far from the traditional Jewish wedding. The events may incorporate different music genres to suit the happy couple or less flowers than you may imagine in order to stay within a smaller budget.
Jennifer Hines, special event professional for Tie A Bow Event Planning, has found similar trend-setting at weddings for her clients.
Hines has noticed weddings becoming more tailored to the digital age with wedding websites full of all the necessary information and digital invitations. Although she was quite surprised to find so many couples not wanting to send out paper invites, she’s intrigued to see the world of weddings evolving and moving online just like many other things. However, one can only hope brides stick to going to a bridal store to “say yes to the dress” instead of ordering online.
A Jewish wedding is still a Jewish wedding though. Hines said there’s no bigger and rowdier party than an Orthodox wedding. If you ever have the privilege to attend such an event, be sure to pay attention to every magnificent detail because you’ll never see a better party.
Keeping with tradition, you’ll still find kosher catering at Jewish weddings along with quite modest wedding dresses during the ceremony. The ceremony is the most structured and specific aspect of a Jewish wedding; and when you get to have a look at the rings, you’ll notice they still meet all the requirements for Jewish wedding rings.
On that note, you’ll find all the trendy and unique touches at the reception – the real party. Having a band is the standard, but many couples have switched to hiring a DJ to supply the tunes and keeping the party more casual.
Other big changes you may observe are the venues being chosen. Several years ago, every hotel would be booked during wedding season; but, now, venues have become the best way for a couple to plan a wedding that matches their personalities.
Weddings have moved away from hotels, churches and temples to venues designed for weddings that allow for the creation of a distinctive setting.
“Venues are very turnkey,” Hines said, “They’re made for weddings and reflect the bride and groom’s vision. Venues set the tone.”
This makes a lot of sense when considering how much effort a couple has to put forth to create their desired setting in a hotel ballroom. A venue is creative, more stylized and more special. A couple can decide on anything from a barn to a garden to a warehouse.
Additionally, Ruth Spirer, certified wedding planner for Weddings and Events by Ruth, has seen her own set of changes in the world of weddings. Couples have been leaning toward incorporating Orthodox traditions such as their separate, pre-ceremony receptions, “Tisch” and “Bedeken.”
Spirer says that “couples are adding important heirlooms into their Chuppahs such as a grandfather’s Talit or a grandmother’s dress.”
She works on a mix of Orthodox and Reform or relaxed weddings, finding increasingly popular reception additions at them all. Food stations are being chosen compared to plated meals or buffets; fun desserts are popping up along with the traditional cake; and, the sentimental, personal “first look” moment before the ceremony, showing the groom seeing his bride in her gown for the first time, are now trendy.
“The emphasis is on fun and [having] a party-atmosphere,” Spirer said.
You’ll find a lot of differences between the weddings you attend, as Randi Steinhart, Jennifer Hines and Ruth Spirer have described, but at least you know to expect a traditional ceremony at a Jewish wedding and one heck of a party that follows.
Today’s Jewish wedding trends showcase the bride and groom and what sets them apart from other couples. Unique touches will continue to be added to weddings, and you’ll just have to wait and see what people come up with next.