I met Rebecca & Craig literally 2 weeks ago for the first time. We wandered around the Gramercy grounds and spoke about their wedding day. I had never photographed a wedding like this before, a very traditional Jewish wedding with customs I have only ever read about. I had envisioned it in my head but it was so much better in person. Rebecca & Craig were wed yesterday at the Gramercy Mansion in Baltimore surrounded by their two huge families and tons of caring and supportive friends. I have had the toughest time narrowing down these photos for the blog, so bear with me as I tell the story of their wedding day. For those of you who actually read these instead of just look at the pictures, I will be explaining some of the Jewish customs you will see in the photos below.
Rebecca & Craig – if I ever forget what love is, I am just going to look at your wedding photos again. You two seem so loved by so many people that I am super proud and honored to have photographed your wedding. I truly hope we keep in touch and that our paths cross again. 🙂
Before the wedding, there is the tradition called the Kabbalat Panim where the bride and groom do not see each other for a whole week prior to the wedding. So, the excitement was intense when the bride and groom saw each other for the first time. Some traditions are of course the same, there is still a pretty white dress – but at least during the ceremony your shoulders have to be covered.
This is Craig, praying prior to the ceremony.
Three brides within the last month have worn Badgley Mischka’s. I really must check them all out.
So much to poof!
Prior to the ceremony the groom and men are typically in one location and the bride and women at another. At some point before the ceremony there is what is called the badeken where the men dance the groom over to the bride and he veils her, which is done for two reasons – 1. I don’t know if you remember the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah from the bible, but in Dani Leigh words – Jacob loved Rachel and ended up working for her father for 7 years so he could marry her only on the wedding day there was a veil covering “Rachel’s” face and it turned out he had married Leah, so to marry Rachel he had to work for her father for another 7 years! So they do it to 1 – make sure it the right bride and two to symbolize modesty and convey the lesson that no matter how beautiful the bride may be soul and character are more paramount. I loved the sequence of photos below and to be a part of that was incredible.
YAY!!!! So much happiness!!!
The family and friends are then escorted to the ceremony site. The couple is married under the Chuppah which is meant to protect and cover the couple and is the symbol of the home that the new couple will build together.
When the couple is under the chuppah they are treated as king and queen. This is Craig’s mom putting on the kittel which is worn to signify purity, holiness and new beginnings.
Once the bride is under the chuppah the bride circles the groom seven times. While the bride circles the groom, the groom prays, it is believed that as the groom stands under the chuppah on his wedding day he is closest to God. Often times friends will asked the groom to say a special prayer or he prays for someone who is sick or all his friends who are not yet married. The reason the bride walks around the groom seven times comes from when Joshua walked around the walls of Jericho seven times and the walls fell down, it is symbolic that the walls between the bride and groom will fall and their souls will be united.
After the ceremony, the couple is escorted to the Yichud room and left alone to signify their new status of living together as husband and wife.
The crazy thing about Rebecca is that she doesn’t even know she is stunning. Absolute crazyness.
AND THEN PARTY TIME!!!!