Category Archives: Jewish Wedding Planning

Our Top 7 Jewish Wedding Planning Articles

Jewish wedding New York park ivory silk chuppah

Planning your Jewish wedding? Start here, with our top 7 Jewish wedding planning posts:

1. 7 Ways to Decorate a Wedding Huppah

2. Our 100 Favorite Backyard Wedding Themes

3. 21 Things Rabbis Wish Wedding Coordinators and Couples Knew About Planning a Jewish Wedding (Huppahs.com)

Free printable wedding favor card4. 7 Tips for Designing Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget

5. Kosher-fied Royal Wedding Hors d’Oeurve Reception Menu with Recipes

6. What do the Jewish bride and groom wear?

7. Free printable charity favor cards (Huppahs.com)

And if you’re thinking about making your own huppah, take a look at Sew Jewish, a collection of 18 Jewish sewing patterns and projects. It comes out soon…and includes instructions for sewing a huppah canopy! Get details at SewJewish.com…

Sew Jewish Book Huppah

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Restaurant Weddings Are Getting More Popular

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY
Over the past year, we’ve seen a real increase in the number of clients who ask us to ship their huppahs to restaurants. Restaurant weddings are a great idea because they simplify planning, and our hand-held huppahs work great for restaurant weddings because you can easily move them into the room for the ceremony and then out of the way for the party. And the appeal of restaurants goes beyond simplified planning: Matthew Yglesias at Vox explains why restaurants have an incentive to provide you with a wedding that’s cost effective, whether your budget is big or small:

Restaurants are great integrated service providers — a location, food, beverages, staff, and decor all in one nice package. And the great thing about restaurants is that people eat in them all the time.

Of course the restaurant wants to pluck your wallet for as much cash as possible. But they’d also like you to come back for dinner. And they’d like your friends to come back for dinner. Compared to most weddings, it’s a much more natural, normal business arrangement in which the incentives are aligned correctly. Money is made by providing good service at a reasonable cost. And the great thing about restaurants is that they exist at all kinds of different price points. Set your budget. Find a place you like that fits it.

(Photo: My sister-in-law Alanna and my brother Joe at their wedding reception at the East River Bar in Brooklyn. Photo by Jacob Arthur)

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Our Top 10 Jewish Wedding Blog Posts this Season

wedding chuppah from lace tablecloth
We’re gloriously deep into wedding season. Here are our top 10 wedding planning posts on the blog so far this summer:

1. What do the Jewish bride and groom wear?
2. Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Garlic for 50 (Parve)
3. How tall should the huppah (chuppah) poles be?
4. Vintage Wedding Punch Recipe (Non-Alcoholic)
5. Groom’s Mom Creates Beautiful Wedding Chuppah from Vintage Tablecloth
6. How Big of a Wedding Cake Do I Need?
7. 7 Tips for Designing Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget
8. Our 100 Favorite Backyard Wedding Themes
9. Can a Backyard Wedding Be Glamorous? Hang a Crystal Chandelier in the Tree and You’re on Your Way…
10. The New King of Spain Is Going to Show Us All How to Throw a Frugal Reception

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For Wedding Planning Sanity, Limit Your Options


Kelly Faircloth over at Jezebel, who got married a month ago, recommends limiting the number of options you consider when making wedding planning decisions:

…Do not let yourself get bogged down in any single decision. I spent weeks scouring New York City for wedding shoes and a hair comb. My mistake was ever considering more than five options in the first place.

(Video: Bridesmaids trailer via YouTube)

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Look what our silly grandparents thought our parents should wear to their weddings

how to dress for wedding

My sister shares this chart from a 1960 pamphlet of wedding tips, published by an apparently now non-existent Miss America’s Wedding Invitation Line. Actually, men in straw hats and bow ties for a garden wedding? That’s kind of cool.

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Give Your Ketubah VIPs Time to Track Down their Hebrew Names

Illustrated ketubah
Will the people who sign your marriage ketubah use their English or Hebrew names? It’s worth thinking about before everyone takes pen in hand on your wedding day. If it’s Hebrew, keep in mind that not everyone knows their Hebrew name off hand. They might need to pull out their bar or bat mizvah records or check with someone in the family. They’ll also need their father’s Hebrew name and, in some egalitarian communities, their mother’s name as well. Don’t forget to give your ketubah VIPs the time they might need to track down the info.

Find a lot of great info about signing the ketubah from the author of The Everything Jewish Wedding Book, Rabbi Hyim Shafner, here.

And here’s The Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Step by Step.

(Image: Illustrated ketubah dated pre-1911 from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University {PD-1923} via Wikimedia Commons)

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Vivacious? Koi? What Colors Fit Your Fall 2013 Wedding Mood?

Pantone Colors 2013
Here are your official colors for Fall 2013, as decreed by Pantone. Which means you can expect to find lots of wedding items –and clothes and appliances– in these colors. Pantone, the company that defines color standards and tries to capture the state of the world in its yearly and seasonal color choices, says autumn 2013’s wide-ranging palette will enable us to service our changing moods throughout the season. Emerald, samba, vivacious, Mykonos blue…What colors suit your wedding mood? Color me koi.

Fun fact: Koi fish are symbols of love and friendship in Japan.

How Big of a Wedding Cake Do I Need?

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Same-Sex Marriage, Same-Sex Ketubah

Same-sex wedding ketubah for two brides

Legal hurdles to same-sex marriage are falling across the country, but how do same-sex Jewish couples handle the Jewish legal marriage document, the ketubah, which traditionally lays out a man’s obligations to his wife? I asked Aliza Boyer, a Brooklyn-based ketubah artist whose clients increasingly include same-sex couples. She shares this:

In my experience thus far, same-sex couples gravitate to texts such as Rabbi Gordon Tucker’s Egalitarian Text, Rachel Adler’s Brit Ahuvim text, or any other text wherein the language is inherently more egalitarian, less gender-specific in nature–which in general tends to be more contemporary, less traditional texts. Even to the heterosexual couples I work with who express interest in less gender-specific and/or more egalitarian wording, I always suggest taking a look at the same-sex texts I offer because they are inherently moreso. Also, as far as I’m concerned and in my own practice, any text can be changed to read Bride/Bride or Daughter/Daughter, Groom/Groom or Son/Son, Partner and Partner, or anything else with which a couple–same-sex or otherwise–feels most comfortable. That being said, I do hope that new texts continue to be written especially for same-sex weddings.

A big thanks to Aliza for also sharing the photo above of a ketubah for two brides.

(Photo: Aliza Boyer, Ketubah Graphia)

Free Printable Templates for Tzedakah (Charity) Favor Cards

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Listen to a Little Jewish Wedding Music from The Huppah Project (Video)

Aviva Chernick and Aaron Lightstone, The Huppah Project, perform “Yishakeni” from their CD Under the Canopy:

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Why Most Couples Spend Way Less Than the Average Wedding Cost

bride and groom
You don’t need to be involved with wedding planning very long before you run into quotes for the average wedding cost, which these days hovers around $27,000 to $28,000. Turns out, most couples spend far less than that. As Slate’s Will Oremus explains, a small number of mega-expensive weddings skews the average upward pretty heftily. The typical American couple actually spends something like $15,000.

Oremus’ takeaway:

Once you realize that the typical American wedding costs closer to $15,000 than $30,000, it becomes that much easier to say “no” to things you don’t need and embrace the expenses that are important to you.

(Photo: By Jason Hutchens (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons)

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“Gee, Pops, Everyone Has a Wedding Cake These Days” [Video]

Elizabeth Taylor and
That’s one of my favorite lines, at least the way I remember the line, from the 1950 movie “Father of the Bride.” The bride-to-be, played by Elizabeth Taylor, says it to her father, played by Spencer Tracy. They’re meeting with the wedding planner, and Dad is just not keeping up. You’ve probably seen the 1991 remake of the movie with Steve Martin as the father. But the original is less silly and more, well, charming.

As in the modern version, Dad ends up in the middle of planning for a wedding that is bigger than he counted on and nearly more than he can wrap his head around. But instead of the bevy of swans that trip up Steve Martin, the symbolic over-the-top extravagance here is a tiered wedding cake, which, as Elizabeth Taylor’s line seems to indicate, was a relatively new addition to the list of wedding must-haves. It’s a reminder that a lot of today’s wedding expectations arose over a fairly short span of human history, and that a lot of must-haves are things people didn’t even know they needed just a couple of generations ago.

Oh, but that wedding dress. Who would begrudge Elizabeth Taylor that dress? See it in action in the official movie trailer, below.

Here’s to fathers.

(Photo: Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy in a promotional image for the 1950 film ”Father of the Bride” by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons | Video: “Father of the Bride” trailer, YouTube.)

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Mazal Tov! Rituals, Customs — and Readings — for Jewish Weddings

mazal tovIf you are looking for Jewish readings to incorporate into your wedding, Rabbi Michael Shire’s Mazal Tov! The Rituals and Customs of a Jewish Wedding includes a section of meditations about love and marriage collected from across the Jewish universe in. One of my favorites comes from The Baal Shem Tov, the great 18th century teacher of Jewish mysticism:

“From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.”

Same-Sex Marriage, Same-Sex Ketubah

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What’s Going On? This Jewish Wedding Program Explains [PDF]

Jewish wedding program
While reorganizing my office this week I came across the program I wrote for my wedding to explain Jewish wedding traditions to the guests who weren’t Jewish (since I come from a large family of people who are not Jewish, that was a lot of people). I thought I’d share it, especially for couples putting together something similar. One of the best things I did was to include in the heading the phrase “Consider it an invitation to join in the celebration,” because that’s just what people did. See the program…

7 Ways to Decorate a Wedding Huppah

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Pre-Passover Is a Great Time to Choose a Kosher Wine for Your Jewish Wedding

When we asked a group of prominent wedding rabbis to give us their tips for organizing a Jewish wedding, one of their comments was that couples and wedding planners should make sure that the wine used for the huppah ceremony is kosher. If you don’t know a lot about kosher wines and aren’t sure what’s available in your area, then this is a great time to check out your options. In these last weeks before Passover, lots of kosher wine shops, synagogues, and Jewish organizations offer wine tastings and special sales.

If you’ve missed the special wine tastings in your area, experiment during the Passover Seders. After all, if we’re drinking four glasses of wine during each Seder, you can make each round a different variety. Not many options available locally? This is also a good time to order great kosher wines online so that you can have them in hand in time for the holiday.

Can you recommend a wine? Share it in the Comment section!

wedding bar kosher beerTAKE A LOOK AT:

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A Wedding Chuppah for All Venues: The Simplicity Huppah

Simple elegant huppah

While finalizing the reservation of a Simplicity Huppah yesterday, I realized that of all our rental huppahs, we’ve probably shipped this style huppah to the widest variety of wedding venues, from backyards to bistros and hotel ballrooms. Its clean, classic design fits just about any setting (and like all of our huppahs, it’s easy to transport and set up anywhere).

Just for fun, we went back through the files and revisited some of the varied venues where couples have wed under Simplicity Huppahs:

You can check the availability of our Simplicity Huppahs for your wedding day or get more details at Huppahs.com. Or see all our huppah designs.

Wedding DIY wedding gown patternVISIT:

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Colorful Ketubahs, Eco-Friendly Kippot, Re-Invented Cake?! Mazelmoments.com Lays Out the 2013 Jewish Wedding Trends

2013 Wedding Trends Report Mazelmoments

Want a quick overview of the smoking trends for Jewish weddings in 2013? Mazelmoments just released their 2013 Wedding Trends Report. The folks at Mazelmoments filled the report with colorful, informative snapshots of what we’ll be seeing a lot of at Jewish weddings this year, including decor, catering, ketubahs, and huppahs (Spoiler alert: just like Huppahs.com, Mazelmoments finds that couples are having a love affair with organza huppahs).

To get the report you’ll need to sign up for Mazelmoments’ newsletter, but if you’re planning a wedding or if you’re a wedding vendor, their mailing list is a good place to be. Sign up and get the report.

Are you loving a trend that you’re seeing? Shout it out in the Comments section.

kissYou might like:

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How to Safely Use an Older Tallit for a Huppah

Simple elegant huppahAre you thinking of making a wedding huppah from an older, well-worn tallit, like a grandfather’s tallit, but concerned that the tallit is too frail to be tied to huppah poles? No one wants to risk damaging such a special heirloom. I thought I’d pass along great idea from one of our Huppahs.com clients who faced the same dilemma.

Our client rented a Simplicity Huppah and laid his grandfather’s tallit over the top of the canopy without tying to the tallit to the poles. The ends of the tallit draped over the edge of the canopy, so the fabric and fringe were visible.

The couple were able to wed under the tallit worn by the groom’s grandfather free from any concerns about damaging the tallit.

Thanks for sharing, Robert, and Mazel Tov!

Huppahs.com free place card templateVISIT:

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Wedding Huppah Rentals “as Easy as Zappos.com”

Lace wedding huppah

Lace Wedding Huppah

We love all the positive reviews we get for Huppahs.com, and one of my favorites said we “make it as easy as Zappos.com to receive and return your chuppah.” Zappos is a company that we thought of as we designed our services. We try to make it as easy to rent and return a wedding huppah as it is to buy and return shoes for Zappos.

Here’s how we do it:

  • We ship the huppah by FedEx to arrive by the Wednesday before the wedding so you can be confident you’ll have it when you need it.
  • We provide simple instructions for attaching the huppah canopy to the poles. It takes about three minutes.
  • When it’s time to return the huppah, use the box the huppah arrives in and the pre-paid FedEx return shipping label we send. You can drop it off at a FedEx location or call for FedEx to pick it up, which ever is easier for you.

For more info: Huppahs.com | Check huppah availability for your wedding date

Is there a way we could make huppah rentals even more convenient for you? Send us an email.

RELATED:
Real Jewish Wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park
Real Life Jewish Wedding: Under an Organza Huppah at Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Boat House
Free printable templates: Do a favor for your guests and a good cause: Give a charitable donation instead of wedding favors

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Recipe: Baked Pears for an Autumn or Early Winter Wedding (Parve or Dairy, Vegetarian)

wedding dessert recipeThese pears work for both elegant and rustic menus. Add homemade berry sauce and serve them as an accompaniment to a slice of light wedding cake or as a side dish for a wedding brunch.

Today my daughters and I packed a brunch and brought it to my parents’ house to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The planned menu included poached pears, but last night, when I should have started the poaching, I hung out with a bunch of brothers and sisters and in-laws instead, talking about, among other things, Bill’s latest ice sculptures. So this morning, my daughters and I prepared the pears by baking them. The prep for baked pears is less fussy and less time-consuming than than for poaching, which makes them an appealing dish not just for easy-going family weekends, but for small self-catered weddings, too.

Serve these baked pear halves with a slice of light wedding cake and homemade berry sauce for a complete wedding dessert, or include them as a side dish for an autumn or early winter wedding brunch. We’ll make the berry sauce recipe our next post.

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

BTW, here’s a pic of the Hanukkiah ice sculpture Bill carved today during a demonstration at Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Manhattan.

Ingredients for Baked Pears

Serves 24

  • 12 Bosc or Anjou pears
  • Cooking oil spray
  • ½ cup butter, melted (or for a pareve version to serve with a meat meal, use non-dairy margarine)
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions for Baked Pears

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  2. Lightly spray the bottom of two 9″x13″ baking pans with cooking oil.
  3. Cut pears in half, cut out the core, and peel the pears.
  4. How to bake pears

    Make 4 slices in each pear half, stopping about a quarter inch from the narrow end of the pear.

    Optional: Make four slices in each pear half, stopping about ¼” from the small end. This will enable you to fan out the slices on the plate when you serve it. Or leave the halves unsliced for a more rustic presentation.
  5. Place the pears flat side down in the baking pans.
  6. Mix the melted butter, honey and spices. Drizzle the mixture over the pears.
  7. Cover the pans and bake for 40 minutes or until the pears are tender.

The pears can be stored overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Martha Stewart Wedding Online Expo on Demand thru April 22

martha stewart expo 2011
Martha Stewart Wedding’s 2011 Online Luxury Expo, which was held last weekend, can be seen on-demand now through April 22. Register online >

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