Tali and Jesse had their small Jewish Wedding amongst the snow-covered grounds of Columbus Centre. Regal art gallery, statuesque fountains, charming gazebos and a luxurious ballroom. As far as wedding venues go, Columbus Centre was a sight to behold. This spectacular wedding venue has beautiful landscaping and was an inspired choice for this elegant wedding.
I was introduced to this couple from a groom whose wedding I photographed a few years ago. However, Tali and Jesse only reached out to me a few weeks before their own wedding day. Within a matter of days, we had coordinated all the little details regarding their wedding. Most of it was done via video chat to save time as they were super busy with last-minute planning.
Their portrait session was very different from most weddings I do. Since we just had a fresh snowfall, they didn’t want to risk getting the wedding dress dirty before the ceremony. So the couple opted to wear informal attire for their outdoor wedding portraits. In turn, the bride’s wedding dress remained a surprise until the wedding ceremony.
Like a cake, the basic ingredients of a Jewish wedding stay the same. But everyone has their own personal take on the recipe. The foundations include the Ketubah, ring exchange, and the seven blessings. The Ketubah is a signed and witnessed marriage contract. The ring represents an exchange of something of value. And the seven blessings each thank God in a different way.
There are so many variations to this structure. For example, when I work more conservative Jewish Orthodox weddings, they have a Tisches. This is a separate pre-party before the ceremony where the men and women celebrate separately. The ceremony itself happens in a chuppah which the family holds up.
While the first kiss would normally be the highlight of most western ceremonies, with Jewish weddings it is the breaking of the glass. The breaking of the glass serves as a reminder of all the struggles Jewish people have faced in the past. It’s loud noise also serves to scare away any demons who may be lingering over the wedding day. This is very similar to Greeks breaking plates, or Muslims making their war cry.
The reception kicked up with a group dance. The couple dances with their families in large circles periodically working their way through the crowd. The highlight of this event is the famous chair lift. The bride and groom each sit in a chair lifted by their family members. This particular couple wasn’t planning on having this experience however it seems they didn’t really have a choice when the family is involved.