Monthly Archives: April 2013

{Real Jewish Weddings} Chicago, IL

Jessica and Dima had a nice family oriented Russian-Jewish wedding. La Mirage Banquets on the outskirts of Chicago is known for hosting European style weddings where the dinner hour is not an hour at all, but the entire evening of dinner, dancing, singing, and toasts.

Prior to the wedding, the Jessica and Dima spent time with their photographer for a two-hour indoor portrait session, and it helped loosen the couple up as there were some pre-ceremony nervous butterflies flying around. Jessica’s biggest fear? That she would trip or stumble while walking down the aisle.

European style weddings differ a bit from what we often see in an American wedding because there’s no set dinner hour. Typically guests will enter and be seated at a table that’s already pre-set with appetizers and salads. The couple is introduced and after a toast or two, the dancing begins. After 20 minutes of dancing guests will have a seat, fill their glasses and their plates once again, and listen to a couple more toasts. This continues through the evening until it gets closer to midnight when it’s time to cut the cake. That’s right! The cake cutting is toward the end of the evening rather than during the dinner hour.

The best way to describe their wedding would be a family and friend celebration full of laughs, guest singing appearances from distant cousins, and a lot of happiness and love.

Mazel tov, Jessica and Dima!

Chicago Jewish Weddings

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Photographer:  Michael Novo Photography
Venue: LaMirage Restaurant
Submitted via Two Bright Lights

  • skin growth says:

    Excellent post! Keep writing.

  • Michael Novo says:

    Fun way to kick off the wedding season :)

Your Wedding Photos Last A Lifetime

As many friends of The Wedding Yentas community know, my grandfather passed away on April 3 and even though it was expected and he was 92 years young, it’s still a difficult and sad time for my family. He was an accomplished man who ran a successful business, was a father to three daughters, loved his five grandchildren, and enjoyed his three great grandchildren (one of them is Baby Yenta!), indulged in chocolate, cheered on his favorite baseball team, and kept an orderly and organized home.

He lived a very full life. He served as a mail carrier in the army during World War II and was involved in some of the most historic battles and landmarks. He traveled extensively and was extremely philanthropic, especially in the Jewish community and within the synagogue he heavily funded.

If there’s one thing the Jewish people know how to do, it’s a funeral. Two days after my Grandpa passed away, all the people who loved him — and it was a lot! — filed into the chapel of a well-known Los Angeles Jewish memorial park. After some Jewish prayers, heartfelt eulogies, and an Honor Guard that presented my Grandma with a commemorative flag for her fallen soldier, it was all over and everyone caravanned back to the home my grandparents shared to partake in — no surprise here — a perfect and delicious deli spread. The remainder of the afternoon and evening was a wonderful party filled with good conversation and good food, an event my Grandpa would’ve definitely enjoyed. The Jews do it right: mourn, bury, eat. It’s comforting, socially and emotionally.

Besides the people, the one thing that traveled from the funeral to the “after-party” was a science fair-like poster board filled with photos from my Grandpa’s life and the people who loved him. I love looking at the photos of him as a strapping young man in the army, near the age he met my Grandma. I also love revisiting memories for which I was present in photos that memorialize him the way I remember him as a little girl.

Old Wedding Photo

And even with a rich life of experiences and crowds of loved ones, what’s that one photo in the middle of the poster board?

His wedding photo.

Taken April 20, 1947 by a now unknown photographer, never blogged, never shared on Facebook. This photo is the center of a poster board which is meant to recap his full life. Without even strategizing or analyzing, it was understood that the most important photo to represent his life as we knew it was the photo that showcased him next to his bride, my Grandma.

People, this is important: why am I telling you about my Grandpa who passed away? Because your wedding photos will be a recap of what’s considered the most important day of your life. You will have many important days: the day you get promoted at work; the day you run your first marathon; the day you receive the key to the house you just bought. And if there is a camera available on those other important days, will the output of the camera be at the center of your funeral science fair poster board?

It’s no secret I’m a wedding junkie and I’m lucky enough to review hundreds of weddings a year to publish on The Wedding Yentas. I have many friends in all fields of the wedding industry. I love flowers like the next girly girl and I think music makes or breaks your party. But let me be real for one second: your photographer better be good. You must love your photographer so that you are comfortable getting all nakey-nakey before you put on your dress and feel totally cool with kissing your partner a zillion times throughout the day on camera. You have to adore your photographer’s work and trust the technical and artistic credentials that sealed the deal for you. Do not try to save money on your photographer. Save money elsewhere. Or, choose a photographer within a reasonable budget. But do not hire a photographer based on dollar signs — or lack thereof — alone. Choose your photographer because you are obsessed with your photographer. Hire a trained professional who specializes in weddings (and bonus points if he or she has shot Jewish weddings!). Be absolutely sure that any money exchanged buys you the most phenomenal wedding photos.

What I love most about my grandparents’ wedding photo is that it could be anybody, really. Go look at your grandparents’ wedding snapshots. I bet they look just like mine. There are variations on the location and the dress, of course, but I think that’s the special part about Jewish families: everyone’s photos look the same; the people are just swapped out. Is that my Aunt Frieda or yours? Who knows. All Uncle Louises look alike.

I love my grandparents’ photographer because he captured them in a magical time during which all members of The Greatest Generation seemed to sparkle. That “I just got back from war not too long ago and I am ready to conquer the world with this pretty lady by my side” look. There was no Photoshop. There was no Instagram. There was no blogging. It was just a photographer, his camera, and his subjects. And from that came a handful of photos of a young couple in love.

That young couple aged and the bride remains with us. The groom, that handsome son of immigrant parents groom, is no longer alive, but his face lights up the photo the way it did throughout his whole life.

One day, you’re going to die. There will be a deli platter. And hopefully, right smack in the middle of a science fair poster board, there will be a photo of you and your life-long love taken on your wedding day by the best photographer you knew.

Old Wedding Photo

{Real Jewish Weddings} Chicago, IL

I am so excited to share the wedding of one of my best friends! Alison and Jordan’s vision for their winter-in-Chicago wedding was was classy, romantic, and warm. It may have been c-c-cold outside, but the warmth was felt all around inside!

They tried to keep the theme classical to fit with the history of the venue, which was the Chicago History Museum. Alison and Jordan really envisioned making it a “destination” wedding since so many people were coming from out of town, especially Jordan’s family and our friends from Los Angeles. They accomplished this by providing Chicago-themed welcome bags at the hotels, a deep dish pizza rehearsal dinner event, and a morning after brunch to show appreciation for everyone’s attendance during the holiday season. Since Alison and Jordan are foodies, they were really focused on having good food throughout the weekend and a party where people danced the whole time. Toward the last hour of the reception, servers tray-passed mini Chicago dogs to guests who were already stuffed from the delicious smorgasbord, but were happy to enjoy a gourmet version of a Chi Town delicacy. The energized band was well-recommended and they really rocked all-night, including a really awesome Horah!

Prior to the wedding, Alison and her dad were going back and forth sending each other youTube videos of potential father-daughter first dance songs. Both were pretty picky and it took a while to agree on one. Meanwhile, Jordan went to Chicago for business and saw Alison’s family without her. Alison’s dad shared a song he wrote for Alison and the two of them covertly worked with the band to surprise Alison with it for their dance. Alison’s dad worked with the band in their studio to score and perfect the song. At the wedding, Alison was super shocked and was very touched by the presentation of this original song. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house (this Yenta cried big happy tears, fyi!).

Alison and Jordan are proud of their heritage and wanted to make sure their wedding day was filled with Jewish traditions. They used Jordan’s maternal grandpa’s tallit in the chuppah and Alison’s parents’ kiddush cups. They both circled each other at the beginning of the ceremony and stood with both their parents, Jordan’s sister (also a bridesmaid), and Alison’s brother (also a groomsman) under the chuppah for the ceremony. It was a truly beautiful and unique wedding day that Alison, Jordan, and all of their friends and family enjoyed!

Mazel tov, Alison and Jordan!

Chicago Jewish Weddings

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Photography: Jason Kaczorowski Photography
Ceremony & Reception: Chicago History Museum
Event Coordinator: Big City Bride
Dress: Panache Bridal
Makeup Artist: Amy Spagnoli
Floral Design: Kehoe Designs Floral Design & Event Decor
Transportation: Chicago MiniBus Travel
Band: Becca Kaufman Orchestra
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design
Catering: Blue Plate
Cinematography: Highway 61 Films
Preparation Hotel: The Drake Hotel

  • sharon says:

    Everything about this wedding is beautiful!

{Real Jewish Weddings} Tampa, FL

After meeting on a blind date in Los Angeles, Tamar and Paul had a feeling that this was going to be something very special. Meeting just four days later for a second date proved that this couple was meant to be and Tamar and Paul became inseparable, engaged, and married!

Tamar and Paul were married in Tampa, Florida at the Tampa Marriot Waterside Marina and Hotel. Their wedding was filled with love and happiness. Families and friends traveled near and far to help the lovely couple celebrate their special day.

Mazel tov, Tamar and Paul!

Tampa, Florida Jewish Weddings

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Photographer: Aaron Lockwood Photography
Venue & Caterer: Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
Videographer: Dunn Right Films
Music: Bob Macar with Southtown Fever
Makeup Artist: Linny Correa of Colours by Linny
Invitations: Nancy Shaw
Ketubah: MP Artworks
Yarmulkes: Greenfield Judaica

Editorial Partner: Two Bright Lights

{Real Jewish Weddings} Kansas City, MO

It could have been fate… Or possibly JDate! Dara and Michael met online in June 2010. It began with Dara messaging Michael “Are you really here?” She was sure that there were no Jewish men in Kansas City that either A) she didn’t already know or B) that would meet her standards. But there was Michael (or should we say ‘one hot doc’ according to his Jdate name?). He was in his second year of residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dara, having been born in Kansas was working in medical sales, praying she would meet a doctor. Her mother is still kvelling.

It only took a little over a year for Michael to propose to Dara. He said he knew the day they met. She on the other hand, took a little more convincing. But luckily Michael is very persistent and Dara is grateful for that.

Dara and Michael were married in Kansas City and it was a true fairy tale wedding. They had family and friends in from all over the world and were honored that Michael’s childhood friend, Rabbi David Baum, officiated the ceremony. Between the three piece trio, DJ, and band, the night was full of action and excitement. Unfortunately Michael had a lot of family in Israel that were not able to make it to the United States, so one month after the wedding, Dara and Michael went to them! They had a reception at the Dan Carmel in Haifa. It was absolutely breath taking. (And of course, Dara was so happy that she got to wear both of her wedding dresses twice!)

Mazel tov, Dara and Michael!

Kansas City Jewish Weddings

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Kansas City Jewish Weddings

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Venue: The Intercontinental Hotel
Photographer: One Tree Photo
Florist: The Fiddly Fig
Cake: Icing on the Cake
Videographer: Baysinger Films
Jeweler: DigsRox
Entertainment/Music: DJ Ashton Martin and The Patrick Lentz Band
Dress: Maggie Sottero (Adeline)
Bridesmaids Dresses: Nordstrom
Bride’s Party Dress: Black Tie Optional
Yarmulkes: Best Kippah