Are you thinking about making your own huppah? Or sewing your own veil? You’ll find instructions for these Jewish DIY wedding classics, as well as 16 other essential Jewish sewing projects, in the new PDF book Sew Jewish: The 18 Projects You Need for Jewish Holidays, Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations and Home by Huppahs.com founder, Maria Bywater.
Get it in the SewJewish shop on Etsy!
One of my favorite Huppahs.com stories is about the couple who rented one of our huppahs for a wedding in their tiny apartment. They raised the huppah on the balcony and threw the reception inside. Slate’s latest party planning video, How to Entertain with Very Little Space or Cash, reminded me of that story. You might want to plan a wedding with a few more frills than the party in Slate’s video, but if you’re ready to get married, and you’re working with a small apartment and a small amount of cash, this quick video can show you how to make the party happen. And we’ve got your huppah.
[Image: Screenshot of Slate.com]
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)
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?
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.
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)
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.)
When we saw this beautiful lace, we knew we it was the perfect finish for our Battenburg Lace Huppah. It’s substantial and sophisticated, with beading and just a light touch of iridescent sequins – so light that it’s hard to see in the photo. To preserve the quality of the lace, we sewed it to the canopy’s valances by hand.
Get more details here. Check rental availability for your wedding date here.
Photo Huppahs.com | Photography Jason Weil, Maryland | Location Woodend Nature Sanctuary, Audubon Naturalist Society, Maryland
And see more huppahs:
When my parents got married, they didn’t know that 55 years later their wedding style could be referred to as “vintage”. But check out the details in these photos; they make great inspiration for today’s 1950’s vintage-inclined bride. That’s my mom in the wedding dress, and Dad is the handsome fellow standing over her left shoulder. I put a framed copy of this photograph on a table at the entrance to my own wedding.
My mom wears a dress influenced by Grace Kelly’s gown, with a nipped in waistline and bodice with a lace overlay, details that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge adopted more recently when she married Prince William. I’ve always loved the tea length skirt. Mom carries a bouquet of daisies. Forty years later, these daisies inspired the theme of a surprise anniversary party my brothers and sisters and I threw for my parents.
The maid of honor, my mom’s sister and my Aunt Mary, wears the same silhouette as the bride, but fashioned from silk satin in the perfect shade of blue. The skirt has an overlay of what looks like fine tulle. Check out Aunt Mary’s pillbox hat with tulle veil–caught here by a light breeze–and the dyed-to-match satin pumps.
The moms of the bride and groom are perfectly coordinated to the rest of the party but show their personal style. I’m loving their hats, gloves, and corsages. That’s Grandma Gethard on the far right and Grammy Bywater on the left. (By the way, that’s not Grandpa Bywater standing next to her. When everyone got to the park to take pictures, they realized that Grandpa Wally had been left behind at the ceremony. No one remembers whose fault that was; at least it doesn’t seem to bother anyone any more. It’s not even clear that anyone got particularly worked up about it at the time. Standing in for Grandpa Wally on the far right is Cousin Raymond.)
I don’t know most of the women in this photo, but I wish I did. They look strong, even formidable, and they seem to get along well. They know how to wear hats. And gloves. And pearls. I’ve often studied this photo trying to work out the shapes of the hats on the gaggle of women in the background. You can’t see them totally, but we’re clearly talking textured tulles and pastels. Two of the women are my Grandpa Wally’s sisters: Nelli Forcino on the right, and Aunt Minnie, in the purple print dress on the right, who I knew from many childhood trips to Groton, Massachusetts. I don’t know the young woman in the foreground, but I’m sure that in the movie version of my parents’ wedding she would be played by Winona Ryder. Well, a young Winona Ryder. Time does fly.
Take a look at the newest Weekly Wedding Tips enewsletter:
- No-Cost Tips for Great Wedding Organization
- Sneak Peak: Huppahs.com’s Facebook Page Launches This Week! With an all new summer wedding punch recipe featuring watermelon and Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin and a fantastic DIY decorating project featuring gorgeous ruscus garland from wholesale flowers purveyor FiftyFlowers.com
- Special Deals on Wedding Items Going on Now
See the whole newsletter…
Photo: Jason Weil for Huppahs.com
A wreath marks the entrance to the garden ceremony. Location: Oxon Hill Manor, Maryland. Wedding coordinator: Pavaune Pearson.
As you plan your wedding, keep in mind this idea: Your guests will enjoy themselves most if they always know where they are supposed to go and what they are supposed to do. It sounds obvious, but as the event organizer it can be easy to forget that the guests don’t know the venue and the program as well as you do. Put yourself in your guests’ place; feeling confused or being afraid of doing the wrong thing or going the wrong way is not fun. Help avoid confusion and make way for joy.
The big idea here: manage transitions.
You need to manage transitions in space — moving from room to room — and transitions in time — moving from one part of the program to another.
Managing Transitions in Space
- Mark entrances clearly. Give guests an indication of where the entrance is from as far away as is reasonable, given the space. Even if you think that the entrance is obvious, a large or colorful gesture tells guests that they are headed in the right direction and sets the tone for the celebration. The gesture can be as simple as having someone standing near the door or some decorative element. For weddings, hanging a garland above the door or a wreath on a garden gate are great ways to say, “Wedding this way!”
- Let people know they’ve arrived. Station someone at the entrance to each new space to say “Welcome” and hand guests a program, or offer a drink from a tray, invite guests to the hors d’oeuvres station on the far side of the room, point them in the direction of their dinner table, or just be available to answer questions.
- When the event moves from one space to another, station people along the route to point the way. Even if people are only moving through a small vestibule between the chapel and the social hall, have someone standing in that space to gesture in the direction people should move. Some people will still be looking for direction and assurance. Seeing someone point the way will put their mind at ease let their thoughts return to enjoying themselves. Using staff from the venue or the caterer for this role can be expensive, so if your wedding coordinator doesn’t have enough staff to do this, consider asking an outgoing friend or family member to do it.
- Signage, signage, signage. Good signage eliminates guests’ anxiety and helps the event run smoothly. One of my proudest event planning moments came when I lived in Kuwait and planned a large formal dinner attended by a large number of military personnel. As a protocol officer who was widely appreciated for his superlatively organized events arrived, he told me he liked my signage. I do pride myself on good signage.
As you approach the final weeks of planning your wedding, think through how guests will move through the event space, what they will be looking for, and where they might get confused. Create signs, preferably in a style that fits the venue and your wedding, to show people where to go or give them information they will need:
- “Bride’s reception in Dumont Room.—>”
- “Additional ladies room in upstairs lobby.”
- “Please have your coat check ticket ready.”
- Give special consideration to people with mobility issues. If you know that some of your guests have difficulty walking or need an elevator, be sure to scope out the ramps, elevators, and other accommodations that the venue offers for people with mobility issues. If you can, provide details about the location of these features to guests who will need them before the wedding. Advise your staff and vendors to be on the lookout for these guests, and make sure the staff can point guests in the direction of these features and know how to get any additional help the guests need.
Next post: Managing transitions in time…
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“21 Things Rabbis Wish Wedding Planners and Couples Knew About Planning a Jewish Wedding” is now available as a flyer in printable PDF format for you and your wedding planning clients.
For help locating a rabbi and other wedding planning information, here is the contact information for the major Jewish religious movements in the U.S.:
Conservative Movement: The Rabbinical Assembly, 3080 Broadway, NY, NY 10027 (212) 280-6000
Interfaith Couples: InterfaithFamily.com, 90 Oak Street, Fourth Floor, P.O. Box 428, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464 (617) 581-6860
Orthodox Movement: Rabbinical Council of America, 305 Seventh Avenue, NY, NY 10001 (212) 807-7888
Reconstructionist Movement: Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, 1299 Church Road, Wyncote, PA 19095 (215) 576-5210
Reform Movement: Union for Reform Judaism, 633 Third Avenue, NY, NY 10017 (212) 650-4000