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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish wedding’

I got a DM on Twitter a couple of weeks ago from Liuba, at surviveweddingseason.com, asking me if I’d be interested in writing some tips for her website, and I’m super excited to say that my blog entry was published today!

Please head on over – not just to see my post, but to check out all the great information Liuba provides on her blog.  It is actually written to appeal to the guests of the wedding, which is a pretty unique perspective –

So, if you like what I wrote – please drop me a note – and Liuba, as well.  Or, if you like Liuba’s site – let her know that too.  I love supporting my peers through social media!

Thanks, Liuba!  Stay tuned for “What to expect at a Jewish Wedding”…soon to follow!

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This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of marrying Jerry & Audrey, in a simple, private, and meaningful wedding ceremony at Winters Park, in Pompano Beach, Florida.

With Jerry and Audrey on the water

From the moment Jerry emailed me, several months ago, I knew this was a couple I was really going to enjoy getting to know better.  In the first email he wrote me, from the way he spoke about Audrey, I just knew this was a man who adored the woman he was about to marry, and he was such a mensch!

Jerry adores Audrey!!

It took us some time to carve out an opportunity for an in person meeting, but we finally arranged to meet one Saturday at a bagel shop in Coral Springs.

Of course, I was right about Jerry.  Total mensch.  The kind of man we all want to come home to.  He obviously did adore Audrey, and I knew why.  She was as adorable as he was, and they were clearly in love with each other.  We sat for a couple hours at the bagel place, and they told me some incredible stories about how they were destined to be together.  We even realized we knew some of the same people, and that even WE had a great connection, but..it got even better as time went on.  They told me that some of the stories that many might consider as “coincidences” were what they called “Godwinks” and I couldn’t agree more.  They actually had read a book titled Godwinks, and they felt that so many of the stories they shared were clear examples of the stories they were reading.

We met again at another breakfast spot in Sunrise, and I felt so close to them, that I actually shared one of my own secret stories with them, because I knew they would really appreciate it, and they did.  We knew we had a special connection going on between us, and I was so happy they came into my life.

When it came time to plan the ceremony, they were pretty adamant about one thing – including their older children in their vows.  Jerry was a widow, and before Audrey came into his life, he was pretty lonely, as his boys were grown, and he missed having someone to share his life with.  Audrey was divorced, professional, self sufficient, and a strong, capable woman, raising 2 children, but she was lonely in that area as well.  When they met online (Audrey emailed him, and told him that she liked his attitude!) they just knew immediately that this was the one.

Since then, they have been inseperable, and I know why.  They truly were meant to be together.  In writing the vows, Jerry and Audrey not only made a commitment to each other, but to be great parents to each other’s children, and committing to make a new family by bringing theirs together.  But there was something else that was really special about this wedding, too.  Even Jerry’s Father in Law, and Sister in Law, from his previous marriage were there attending the wedding, for he had worked hard over the years to maintain a relationship with them, after his wife passed away.  I really respected that.

It was important to note, in their ceremony, that they had finally come together at just the right time, and it was the paths that each of them had taken that brought them to each other, so I wanted their past to be noted, and respected.  They made the ceremony personal for their children as well, as they were the 4 chuppah holders – and that chuppah was something else!  It was really a family affair, and I was so hoping it would be perfect for them.  According to Jerry & Audrey – it was, and I couldn’t be happier.

Under the Chuppa!

Once again, I have another couple I hope I stay very close with, as I really want to follow their Godwinks, for a very long time.  Jerry & Audrey – I consider myself so fortunate to have had you for clients, and I wish you and your family the most amazing and beautiful lives together.  WINK!

My guitar, waiting for its song..

B’Shalom,

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I’m up bright and early to finish off this Thanksgiving weekend with quite a bit of activity.

I’m getting ready to leave for Orlando, where I will be co-officiating the wedding of Megan and Michael tonight at the Winter Park Civic Center.  The wedding is a Catholic-Jewish wedding, and I am co-officiating with Father Tim.  The ceremony is a great blend of traditions, and I look forward to writing more about it when I return.

On Sunday morning, upon my return, I am leading a memorial service for a wonderful man who was a legendary father and grandfather.  The stories I have heard about him made me remember my own, and reminded me that even though I had a short time with him in my life, he left me with memories I will cherish forever, and a legacy that leads me through life even today.  How fortunate we are if we have parents and grandparents who shower us with unconditional love.  I know that this man’s presence was terribly missed at the family’s Thanksgiving this year, but they remembered him with joy and happiness, a true testament to the legacy he left behind.

Shortly after I return, I will be leaving for St. Maarten, where I will be officiating the wedding of Keith & Faith.  This is an amazing power-couple!  I cannot wait to spend time with them and their families, and I know this trip is going to be another life-changing experience.  I love my job!

Stay tuned, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Oh – PS – GO GATORS!

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Gee, another month I just pulled down from the calendar.  It seems like yesterday I was getting ready for Rosh Hashanah, but a full month has flown by, and the end of the year is coming up so quickly.  I couldn’t step into November, without writing about the rest of October.

Last weekend, I officiated my first double-wedding-weekend.

Saturday night, I performed a wedding for Sebastian and Moran.

Sebastian and Moran

Sebastian and Moran

They were the sweetest young couple, and as always, the experience of working with them brought incredible joy and happiness to my heart.  Sebastian contacted me from my website, and he told me that he was looking for the perfect person to officiate their small, intimate wedding ceremony.  I thought he sounded so young!  (he was!)  But, we met in Aventura one afternoon, and I began getting to know this couple, and we were connected right from the start.

They have the cutest story – He is from Argentina, she was from Israel.  They met while he was traveling in Israel, and then, they bumped into each other again a few weeks later – 200 miles away from where they met.  They carried on a long distance relationship for a while, and then, Moran moved to Florida.  She really didn’t know anything about planning a wedding (who does??) but, over the time we worked together, Moran really did a great job and learned so much, and she and Sebastian made the most lovely wedding ceremony at The Bath Club, in Miami Beach.

It was a small, intimate ceremony, and I’m so excited that because they didn’t really have a chuppah, I decided to make one of my own, so, at their wedding, we used my beautiful, handmade chuppah for the very first time.  This is one more couple that really became very special to me, and I hope we all stay in touch for a very long time!

My chuppah

My chuppah

Sebastian & Moran’s ceremony

So – at about 8:30 p.m., when the ceremony was over, I jumped in the car, and drove to Jacksonville, for the wedding of Ian & Lindsay, at the Ramona Pavilion in Jax.  (of course, the ceremony was the next morning)  The weather was beautiful, and it was such an amazing day.  Lindsay also worked so hard on making her day just right, and she did a great job.  Ian and Lindsay’s wedding was an Interfaith wedding.  He was Jewish, and she was raised as a fairly devout Christian.  We wanted to make sure we incorporated the fundamental Jewish rituals, without being too over the top for the non Jewish guests.  We incorporated a sand ceremony, adapted the processional a bit to meet everyone’s needs, added a few non Jewish traditions, like giving away of the bride, etc., and the wedding was great.  Everyone felt comfortable, and was so happy with the turnout.

Ian & Lindsay’s ceremony

It’s not easy to create the perfect service for everyone.  I really believe that while it is about the bride and groom, it is also about respecting their immediate family, and making sure everyone can be comfortable with the outcome.  Even in a full Jewish wedding, like an Interfaith wedding, both sides often have different expectations, and it’s important to consider and balance everyone’s needs.  It can be done, and it can be fun!

So, for November – a wedding in St. Pete (David and Katie), another Havdalah Bat Mitzvah (Rachel and Mara), a trip to Punta Cana (Yelena & Lenny), an Orlando wedding on Thanksgiving weekend (Michael and Megan), and a Memorial service here at home.  Another busy month to come, which I am so thankful for!

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This has most certainly been a whirlwind 2 weeks! I just returned from Aruba, and WOW – was it an amazing trip, for so many reasons! First of all – I simply cannot believe that I forgot my camera, so before I even start writing – I want to say THANKS to Vlad for copying his pictures to my computer last night so I didn’t have to come home empty handed.

So – let me start with some background. I did the wedding for Felix and Evelina at the Riu Palace, Aruba.

Evelina contacted me several months ago, because she had heard that I had done the wedding for Dan and Rita in Mexico, and she is very good friends with Rita’s sister, Yelena. Oddly enough, while Dan and Rita had their wedding at the Riu in Mexico, Felix and Evelina chose the Riu in Aruba. And it was a great choice!

I arrived in Aruba at 3pm. Evelina was greeting some of her friends on the front steps of the hotel as I arrived, and we knew each other immediately! We all got introduced, and I went to settle into my room, before our scheduled meeting together. We had lunch, and sat down to discuss the details of the wedding ceremony, and since they hadn’t ever sent me their profile, we had some catching up to do. But, even in the first five minutes of knowing both of them, I knew this was going to be a weekend to rival Mexico! (Sorry Rita!!)

They are the cutest, sweetest couple, with SUPER fun friends, and beautiful family. The family dynamics were a bit different than Mexico (and I suppose I should stop comparing at all) but, there were so many similarities as well. We connected instantly, and it was a really great chance for me to start getting to know Felix as a person as well. I had more opportunities to talk to Evelina, so it was bonding time for Felix and me! And I really enjoyed that opportunity to get to know him better.

We were very happy because they had an island DJ, but, the DJ didn’t have the traditional Jewish music medley that we typically play, and with some hunting, I was able to get them a copy of the tunes. We quickly sent the music to the DJ, and went on with the night. We all met in the Don Nicolas restaurant for dinner (27 of us) and I got to meet all the family and guests. Later that night, I had been in the lobby checking email, and on my way through the lobby bar to the elevator to my room – I bumped into F&E, and their good friends Vlad & Tanya, Shilana, and Max & Anna. They were having some festive cocktails – and they invited me to join them. We had so much fun, and I felt like we really had a great time connecting together!

Saturday was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed the magnificent pool and beach before getting ready for the wedding. We signed the ketubah in the small gazebo, and then the processional followed out to the chuppah on the beach.

It was breathtaking. The best part??? They found a steel drum player that learned the melody to Sunrise Sunset, the traditional song from Fiddler on the Roof. He played the song while we walked down to the chuppa. By the time we were all gathered, there were probably a hundred people gathered outside to watch the wedding, and they stayed and listened to the whole thing!

We almost had a small problem, though, during the ceremony. It was HOT – I mean H-O-T, and Evelina was getting a little light headed. I thought she wasn’t going to be able to make it – but thankfully, an amazing cool breeze came along, and saved the day. I sang the Priestly blessing, recited the 7 blessings, and overall, it was a beautiful ceremony. What made it even more beautiful was that the sun was setting just as the ceremony was over. We enjoyed a champagne toast on the beach – and then it was on to the pool deck, for a private reception.

The rest of the weekend was fun and relaxing. By the time today rolled around, I felt like I had made amazing new friends, and was sooo sad to leave them. Both Evelina’s and Felix’s parents were so lovely, welcoming, friendly, and incredibly kind to me. They both made it a special point to let me know how happy they were that I was there, and I felt great about our connections. F&E’s friends – well, what can I say? I had some VERYYYYYYY interesting conversations with them all, (Russian summer camp was quite a different experience) and I was so impressed at how classy, bright, and beautiful (inside and out) they all were. Vlad, Tanya, Shilana, Max & Anna – you all made my weekend such a beautiful memory! I hope you all keep in close touch, and let me know when those next 2 proposals happen! I’m going to be looking for them.

But, the most beautiful part of all, was Felix and Evelina, themselves.

This morning, as we took our last dip in the water, Felix asked me if I had a good time. “Of course!”, I said. “I had a simply amazing time”. But I knew at that moment, that he was really concerned about my happiness, and he told me that it really mattered to him that I enjoyed myself. And I thought – how amazing is that? He was worried about ME having fun? They opened their hearts to me, generously included me for 3 full nights, and Felix was worried that I was having fun? Yes, Felix. I had an amazing time. And yes, definitely one of the best! And once again, my life is richer for having you and Evelina in my heart, and for having shared your most incredible memories with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Please send my love to your families, and know that our special memories will live long in my heart. I am so blessed to have known you all.
Love, Peace, and Blessings,

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