Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wedding Review!

Last Thursday night we went to JewishGuy's friend's wedding in Toronto.  It was really great and especially interesting for me, because I've never really been to a traditional Jewish wedding.  (Well, I think I went to one when I was younger but I don't remember)

So here's the summary of what happened:

It was at a synagogue - most of the interior was decorated such that you would not know you were in a synagogue (aside from the posters for events and whatnot that managed to peek through).  There were hors d'oeuvres all along the hall, with multi-colored martinis and interesting things on plates circulating.  Everything was delicious but unfortunately I didn't see all of the food, because I missed some little meat things people were talking about before that were apparently hidden somewhere.  Everything was pretty fancy.  JewishGuy went up this huge staircase to the room where the groom and his men were.

This is from JewishGuy's retelling:  In the groom's room, he was giving a little sermon about the week's Torah portion (for non-Jewish readers: Jews read a selection of the Torah every week, it's standardized so all Jews are reading the same selection of Torah at the same time, and we get through the whole thing in a year).  He barely could get out a sentence or two before the rabbi would interrupt him by breaking out into song.  This is apparently standard, for the men to heckle the groom before the wedding.  Also, there was drinking.

Then the groom was escorted out of the room with dancing and a clarinet player, down the huge staircase into a small chapel where his bride waited, and everyone else was allowed to enter to watch.  The dancing was pretty hilarious.  The bride sat in this huge white chair while the men sat at a table and signed marriage contracts, including the civil marriage (she signed them as well but she was on her own separate chair).  Then the groom put the veil over his bride and we all left to get some more food and then take a seat in the main sanctuary.

The main reason why I'm not a huge fan of weddings in synagogues is because it's hard to hide the fact that you're in a synagogue.  Mostly, this wedding was able to accomplish this, except the main sanctuary still pretty much looked like a sanctuary.  But what are you going to do.  The chuppah was beautiful, it was basically a simple frame with white cloth draped around it and a chandelier hanging from the middle.  There were little tree branches on the four posts with candles and beaded details on the cloth.  Very nice.

The procession, the circling the groom 7 times, the blessings, etc.  The cantor was very ornate with his singing.  The cup they broke was a kiddish cup that the groom had gotten for his bar mitzvah, which was cute.

Then they walked out for their time alone together, we went back out for more food and drinking before going into the hall.  The hall was really well decorated, I think you wouldn't have known this was in a synagogue if we hadn't just been in the sanctuary.  The centerpieces were tall so that you could see everyone at the table, like they were on little glass pillars.  My only complaint about the hall was that the band was a little too loud (also we were positioned right next to them), so it was very hard to have conversations and JewishGuy's voice became hoarse by the end of the night.  However, everything was beautiful, from the silver chairs to the white drapery on the windows.  This was actually the same color theme as our friend's wedding in Houston, which was basically purple, green and white.  The kippot at this wedding actually matched the dress I was wearing!

The bride and groom entered the dance hall under arches held up by the wedding party with flowers on them, and then we did some circle dancing and lifted them up on chairs.  They even did the thing where the bride and groom hold a piece of cloth between them as they're lifted up on the chairs, like the very religious people do (because they aren't allowed to touch in public).  It was funny.  There was separated dancing for this part, but it was spontaneous I think, as the men were all dancing around the groom and the women were dancing around the bride.  The rest of the time it was mixed dancing.

Also at one point the bride was up on a chair again holding an umbrella with multi-colored strings hanging off of it and people were holding the strings and dancing around her.  I thought that was cute.  I don't know if I would do it at ours but it was definitely funny and cute.

The bride and groom were glowing!  They were really eating up the attention and you could tell they were having fun.  That was the best part.  They were going around and we actually got to talk to them for a couple of seconds as they made their rounds (there were over 300 people there so you know they must have been busy).  JewishGuy and his friends from university took some reunion shots, which was funny, although some random guests decided to jump in for some reason.  I met a lot of JewishGuy's friend's significant otherseses, usually because the guys were taking pictures or drinking together and we were at the table ABANDONED. (hahaha)

All in all it was a very fun evening.  I wish my dress hadn't been so tight at the top, I was somewhat uncomfortable for about two hours during the evening, but I got used to it.  I felt like a victorian lady.  Now I realize for my wedding dress that I'm going to have to sit down and really push out my stomach as big as I can and see if I feel comfortable like that.  I was fine until I ate, and after I ate (when my stomach was a little bigger) I was uncomfortable, but after a while it was fine again.  SO.  Lesson learned.

I'm not sure when I'll be going to my next wedding!  We have been invited to two weddings (one in August and one in October), but I don't think we will be able to make either of them because they are on Shabbat and they are far away.  We'll see...

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