The Wedding Yentas was one of the inaugural editors of Two Bright Lights. For non-industry folks, Two Bright Lights is a fabulous site that connects photographers and their works with many different kinds of blogs, allowing for quick and easy transfers of photos and info. In fact, over half the weddings published on this here little blog have been matches made by Two Bright Lights, so it’s a system I’ve been loving since Day 1.
On Two Bright Lights, there’s a little profile for The Wedding Yentas — it explains that it’s a wedding blog for Jewish and interfaith weddings and then also includes info about what’s required for submissions. It’s pretty simple, but it’s no secret that it’s a Jewish wedding blog.
I love getting new submissions and it’s so exciting to pour over a batch of photos, getting to know a couple through the photographer’s point of view. Once in a blue moon, I’ll get a submission that’s a tease — a beautiful wedding, great details, wonderful vendor info… but it’s not a Jewish wedding. The wedding is usually submitted to 50 other blogs and you can tell that the photographer took no time to personalize the submission, pretty much just clicking a bunch of boxes to see what sticks. These photographers are lazy jerks.
But then I just decline the submission, click “Not a fit” and “Submitted to too many publications” and hope they understand what they did and learn a lesson.
Last week, I received a submission from a photographer and like all the other times for the past three years, I opened it up, excited to see what I might be able to share with all of you!
It was tagged as a Jewish wedding and it was only submitted to The Wedding Yentas. This was a good sign.
I looked at the names of the couple. Hmm… not exactly a Silverstein or a Goldenberg, but OK, Judasim and its affiliations can cross over many cultures, right?
I waited for the photos to load and while my MacBook gave me Pinwheel shpilkes, I looked at my editorial calendar to see when I had an opening to publish this wedding. Two weeks. Perfect.
Finally, I worked my way into the album. Good looking couple. Brunette. Very elaborate details. Gorgeous dress. Beaming family of women surrounding the bride as she got ready.
Indoor ceremony. Big crowd sitting in… pews? Hmmm. OK, they must be in a synagogue but the photographer didn’t list it as a venue. Must remember to follow up in an email about that for proper credit.
The decor inside had a stained glass window like so many synagogues have and then my eye skimmed down to a wall of gold plated murals of — record screech — Jesus?
Lots of Jesus and Jesus-like figures. Lots of crosses. Lots of not-a-Jewish-wedding symbols.
The wedding officiant was definitely not wearing a yarmulke and his version of a tallit had even more crosses on it. This was no rabbi.
It was then that I recognized the setting from a fabulous and funny movie that starred Aidan Shaw when he wasn’t Aidan (and yes, I was Team Aidan and not Team Big. Sue me). And it was confirmed when I saw the beautiful wreaths draped over the bride and groom’s head — the Greek Orthodox crowning ceremony.
This was not a Jewish wedding. It was a beautiful wedding. It made me wish I was the publisher for a Greek wedding planning blog. It was a lot of things, but it was not a Jewish wedding.
But you know, ethnic rituals, big family, lots of celebrating… sure, why not intentionally submit to a Jewish wedding planning blog and even tag it as a Jewish wedding?
This is not OK.
And this is why I tell you: make sure your vendors — ESPECIALLY your photographer! — know you’re having a Jewish wedding. Or another kind of wedding. Or is clued into what you’re doing at your wedding if it includes any other wedding tradition than a kiss.
You are paying someone a lot of money to follow you throughout the day. This vendor will use you for marketing tools (which is fine) and will blog about you and put your face on social media pages. This vendor will spend time with you and get to know your likes, dislikes, quirks, and family (sometimes the former two can be redundant — ha ha). Do you really want to hire someone who isn’t even going to understand the values and traditions on which your marriage begins?
I don’t know if this photographer was trying to pull one over on me or if the photographer was actually just really ignorant about cultural differences among the many different wedding ceremonies that photographers have the privilege to document. I also feel badly for the couple, who was clearly not respected enough for the photographer to even know the uniqueness and traditions of their special day and their heritage that fueled it.
Most of us are required to practice cultural sensitivity in the workplace, whether it’s at school or a corporate environment. Shouldn’t it be the same for professionals in the wedding industry?
Luckily, this was the first time I’ve come across something like this in the life of The Wedding Yentas, so I suppose that track record is pretty good. But all it takes is one. So that’s why I beg all of you to not only get to know your vendors, but make sure your vendors get to know you! You deserve it.