Category Archives: Featured

From The Expert: Perfecting Your Jewish Wedding Registry With The Perfect Guide

From-The-Expert

Today’s Expert: Dena Siegel of Chai & Home: Jewish Life, Beautifully Lived

I didn’t listen to my mother when I was setting up my wedding registry. My mother had a reputation for expensive tastes and spending quite freely, especially other people’s money: at least that is what Dad said. Anyway, when she expressed dismay at my registry full of general household goods and encouraged me to remove that stuff to instead list a proper set of china, crystal, and a real silver set, I was incredulous.

When I was setting up my registry, my fiancé and I were very aware that we didn’t want other people to see us as money-grubbing and desirous of expensive gifts. We placed practical items on the list: a wok, lamps, some small cooking appliances, towels, and the like. It was stuff we really needed everyday and most of it was inexpensive. I thought the guests would appreciate my practicality and see items they could easily afford.

Fast forward 10 years. Do you know what I have left from those gifts: One set of crystal candlesticks — and these weren’t on my registry! They were given off-list and I can only assume because the giver wanted to give me something that would last and they didn’t see anything like that on my registry. Since then, the wok and towels wore out and the lamps and electric items were left in England when I moved back home to Los Angeles. But I use the candlesticks regularly for Shabbat and now I know what my mother meant.

Here is what I know now but didn’t know then:

1. THE WAY YOU LIVE AND ENTERTAIN NOW ISN’T NECESSARILY HOW YOU WILL ENTERTAIN IN 5 AND 10 YEARS. You may not hold Passover now or many other formal dinners. But when you have kids and a beautiful home and your parents are older, by golly, you will be doing just that.

2. YOU THINK OF THE GIVER AND YOUR WEDDING DAY EVERY TIME YOU USE A GIFT FROM THE REGISTRY. This is really true so most items on your registry should be beautiful and elegant because that is how the giver will be remembered, and they know it.

3. YOUR GUESTS (PARTICULARLY YOUR RELATIVES) WANT TO GIVE YOU TIMELESS ITEMS. They have the wisdom to know how important these gifts are and they don’t want to be the one remembered by the vacuum cleaner because they know how temporal and banal the vacuum cleaner is.

4. YOU MAY NOT BE IN A POSITION TO BUY FINE ITEMS LATER. You may be feeling flush now because you have two incomes and no children, but when you are starting a family and establishing a home, it might be years and years before you are in a position again to buy a gold-rimmed set of china. And it might never happen.

So do your future self a favor and listen to this yenta: plan your registry very carefully.

Here is a tool to help. Chai & Home’s A Very Jewish Wedding Registry. This is a downloadable and printable guide to all the key items you will need in establishing a beautiful, Jewish home. With it you can create a meaningful wedding registry that your guests will be pleased to contribute to and that will set you up for your future household.

You will see there is an emphasis on Judaica and tableware and almost no cookware or appliances. When chosen wisely, the Judaica and tableware should last you lifetime. Not only do cookware and appliances not last, but they have an air of mundane practicality that most givers don’t want to be associated with.

May the gifts of your wedding registry display the joy and love your family and friends have for you during this magical time in your life.

L’Chaim!

Download the full registry checklist now!
WeddingRegistryGuide

Dena SiegelDena Siegel writes Chai & Home, a style blog about elegant, modern Jewish living. Through Chai & Home, Dena shows how Jewish life is beautifully lived by bringing you the best in accessories and Judaica available today. New ideas mixed with centuries old traditions will enliven your practice and stimulate yourself, your family, and friends. Visit Chai & Home or swing by to “Like!” the Facebook page.Visit Chai & Home or swing by to “Like!” the Facebook page.

All this pretty stuff! After you’re finished making some additions to your wedding registry based on the tips from Chai & Home, try to get your hands on MORE pretty stuff! Enter for a chance to win the grand prize of our current sweepstakes, sponsored by Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design!

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GIVEAWAY!! Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design Wants to Make You Look Purty!

I seriously have to pinch myself when I have the opportunity to share such wonderful wedding vendors and products with you! And providing you an opportunity to win stuff? Well, color me giddy!

Emily Kuvin and I agree on a lot of things. We agree that you deserve to look maaaaahvelous on your wedding day. We also agree that you should continue looking maaaaaahvelous on every other day, and especially on future special occasions, which is why you deserve to have jewelry that’s unique and personal, made with only the highest quality bling, and created by a true artist who knows her stuff.

Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design Wedding Jewelry

Here’s the thing: You spend hours and hours and hours shopping for THE DRESS. You look through a zillion magazines and web sites, you visit all kinds of stores and boutiques, you try on gown after gown, picking through miles of fabric until you find THE DRESS that makes you weep with joy. This is something you wear on your body, to represent your bridal style, and, unfortunately, only gets worn for the duration of your wedding day. If only it was socially acceptable to don your wedding gown in the frozen foods section of Trader Joe’s! (I’m not kidding. IF ONLY! Sigh.).

So if you spend that much time and thought and decision-making on your dress, shouldn’t you treat your jewelry with as much respect, especially since you can wear it over and over again through life’s special occasions? Fact: I still wear my wedding day earrings to most formal events I attend. It makes me feel happy to give myself a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge that those puppies still look great and are artifacts from one of my most favorite days ever. And hey! They’re the last of my wedding gear that still fit! (I have not gained any weight in my ear lobes! Can you believe it?!)

So this is why I want you to look your best and feel your best, knowing you are wearing jewelry that’s been commissioned JUST for you! Who says only movie stars and first ladies should get this kind of treatment?

Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design Wedding Jewelry

Here’s where winning comes in. Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design wants to give you a chance to win a $250 credit toward a custom designed necklace. The winner will also receive 10% off additional jewelry designs for your bridal party because, yes, jewelry makes for awesome bridesmaids and mothers gifts! What a great way to tie in your wedding look!

And, because Emily and I think you’re all winners — awwww — everyone who enters automatically gets 10% off toward their custom jewelry purchase.

Get inspired now. Visit Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design on Facebook (“Like” the page!) and browse her web site. Pretty stuff!

So, nuts and bolts:

From now until January 15th at 11:59 p.m. PST, enter for a chance to win a detailed consult to discuss your jewelry dreams with Emily which includes tons of thorough communication and designs, a $250 custom necklace, and 10% off your wedding party suite.

All entries are automatically awarded a 10% off coupon code which will be emailed on January 16th after the completion of the giveaway and after the winner has been announced. Winner will be notified via email and announced by The Wedding Yentas on Facebook and Twitter. This sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents. Entries do not have to be Jewish or a bride in order to qualify.

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Good luck, Yentas!

Custom Wedding Jewelry

  • Ashley says:

    How amazing! Would love to win!!!

  • Kerri says:

    beautiful jewels!

  • Justyne M says:

    beautiful jewelry!

  • Christina C says:

    I love all the real weddings. Especially the ones in Florida since that’s where we live!

  • Nani says:

    I’m not a bride but I enjoy your work on our mom’s group site. ;) Would love something to make this hard working mama feel like a princess!

  • sharon says:

    I’d love some custom jewelery :)

  • Michelle says:

    Beautiful! I could use some beautiful. :)

Modern Weddings: Hooking Up and On The Grid

No, today’s post is not about a subject involving friends, alcohol, and late night shenanigans. We are finding, though, that modern weddings are hooking up — to the Internet!

Are you and your partner Facebook-a-holics? Did you meet online? Did your proposal require Twitter? These days, it’s not uncommon to see tech savvy couples include social networking and media on their wedding days. If you’re wondering how much is too much or if it’s easy to pull off, keep on reading for some tips and guidelines to, literally, hook up at your wedding.

hooking-up-at-your-wedding

If you have a big bridal party or lots of out-of-town family coming together for the first time in a while, it might be fun to set up an online “tailgate party” for your wedding day. Facebook has a “groups” function and you can set up your own wedding group for those who may want to connect before showing up for the big day. This is also an easy way to communicate to your guests and/or bridal party. Also, your group can chat and get to know each other before they meet IRL (in real life) at your wedding. This ice-breaker style function allows for photo albums and chats just like a personal Facebook page!

For more comprehensive pre-wedding tech, create a wedding website to provide information to your guests, introduce the wedding party, link to your registry, and even receive messages through a guestbook. There are varying versions of wedding websites available, and our favorites are found on MyWedding.com. With a plethora of templates to choose from, you and your partner are in control of what you want to share on the Internet!

hooking-up-at-your-wedding

Now, as far as being a techie on your actual wedding day, you and your posse can be linked in various ways. Have a tech-happy member of the wedding party be your Chief Of Tweet. If someone has a Twitter account, it’s more than appropriate to Tweet about the day’s events.

“11:25 a.m. Makeup artist is here! Sarah is lookin’ hot”
“2:08 p.m. Just arrived at venue – chuppah looks fab & sarah’s crying already”
“5:15 p.m. It’s almost go-time. Sarah’s gonna be a Mrs. in 15 mins!”
“6:00 p.m. Holy wow. these appetizers are delish. Oh and happy bride & groom!”
“7:24 p.m. 1 more drink then it’s MOH speech time. Wish me luck. GULP.”
“9:30 p.m. BOUQUET TIME. It’s all mine ladiessssss”
“11:00 p.m. Happy Honeymoon Sarah and David. Okay, time for afterparty”

You can even let your guests know upon arrival that if they want to Tweet or Instagram about the wedding day as it happens, they can use a common hashtag so that all the Tweets related to the wedding day are bunched together. The hashtag suggestion (#SarahandDavidsWedding or #Oct10SarahDavid or #DandSWedding, etc.) can be noted in the program or on a notice that guests can see as they enter the ceremony space. And while it takes more than 140 characters to describe how simply perfect the day is at every point, the Twitterverse will be lucky to have in-the-trenches updates about each milestone from your nuptials.

Your friends and family who are unable to travel to your wedding will no doubt be disappointed to have to miss the big day. Well, don’t let them! Set up a livestream of the event so that they can attend in their PJs from their living room across the country. They won’t be able to sip your signature drink, but at least they can toast to you as it all happens. Ustream is a site we recommend and all you’ll need is an Internet connection and a camera. With a little prep in advance, this should be cake to set up at your venue. You’ll need to provide a link to your at-home viewers and just like that, your attending list can be global. And if you’re a little weirded out about anyone in the world being able to access your wedding online, you can password protect it and still keep the intimacy of your special day. Is that ridiculously cool, or what?!

In the 90s, THE thing to do for weddings was to provide disposable cameras on each table for guests to document their wedding experience. More than likely, couples would return from their honeymoon and develop half-used film that showed Uncle Larry drunk off his tushie or fuzzy images from little cousins snapping away at anything sans flash. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that not only is this costly (cameras and developing aren’t cheap!) commodity tacky, but it’s passe and irrelevant! Why litter your tablescapes with old fashioned disposable cameras when most of your guests are toting their own digital cameras and documenting the entire day for themselves? So, instead, include a small card on each table that tells guests to upload their digital photos to a common Flickr account so that all the images can be compiled in one place for you and your attendees to view and share. While you wait for your pro pics to come in, it’ll be fun to watch your account grow with your guests’ images and you’ll enjoy seeing the wedding through their point of view.

Lastly, get excited to note your marriage online! And no, that doesn’t mean you can change your name at the DMV’s or Social Security Office’s websites. We’re talking about making your marriage Facebook official. It’s never too soon to change your status from Engaged to Married and bask in the Internet glow of newlywed bliss!

Wedding Gown Photo Shoot

Your wedding gown looks most stunning when you’re in it. Duh.

But, before you slip on/tie up/button down your gown, your wedding dress should get its own personal photo shoot as it basks in its glory. After all, besides your husband, when it comes to the difficult act of choosing, your dress is The One.

Here’s a collection of dress shots that come from the file of “Must Have Photography.” After all, on your wedding day, you’re never fully dressed without a… dress.

Photographers:
Chelo Keyes Photography
Amanda Hein Photography
Armor & Martel
Ashleigh Taylor Photography
Callaway Gable
JBe Photography
Jen Huang Photography

Sponsored by Blue Nile: Use the Leave Nothing To Chance Style App and Win Diamonds or a Gift Card!

This is a sponsored post and all opinions belong to Alison of The Wedding Yentas.

I love technology. We can talk on the phone while seeing others on the opposite end. We can communicate with friends across the world and stay in touch through social media. And now, there’s an application that analyzes your personality and declares what kind of jewelry your husband/mom/friend/boyfriend/sister/anyone-else-who-loves-you should buy you.

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Blue Nile, the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry, has just come out with a brand new platform that uses a scientific algorithm to analyze your responses and Facebook data to identify your fashion personality. It’s called Leave Nothing To Chance because, appropriately, when it comes to jewelry, you don’t want your gift-givers crossing their finger and hoping you’ll love what they buy you. When it comes to jewelry, let’s be real: hope is not enough.

You can find out if you’re a “Jet Setter,” “Queen Bee,” or “Understated Beauty” in order to see what kinds of jewelry pieces match that title. It will then issue a personalized infographic about your style along with a few gift recommendations, which you can customize and share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Or, you know, just absolutely leave open on your sweetie’s computer — OOPS! There are 30 different personalities and it is surprisingly accurate!

Here’s what my results look like and I pretty much agree.

BlueNile1

By now you should know I’m a big fan of comedy. If people or activities don’t make me laugh, forget about it; I’m done! But the Leave Nothing To Chance app made me laugh SO HARD. And I wasn’t even drinking!

Each question is worded very casually and fun, so it doesn’t feel like you’re taking the SAT (which would have been horrible for me because the guy behind me during the SAT had the most horrific nose whistle and I was distracted the entire time. Especially on the math section. Hmmm. But hey! I went to college and it all worked out. GO CATS!). It’s fun to be guided through a survey that asks tongue-in-cheek lifestyle questions, such as, “Skinny dipping at night with friends or a good book and a warm bath?”

After you answer each casual and fun question, there’s a segue statement and that’s where the comedy gold is. Snarky, sassy statements about my personality made my peacock feathers present themselves and I was satisfied with the zingers.

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I would say you should have fun with this app just for the sass factor alone, but that’s not the only reason.
Those who participate will be entered to win a three carat diamond tennis bracelet. The winner will be contacted by email on Dec. 30.

Did you read that right?

You guys. You could win diamonds.

OK, hear me out.

If you use the app — and you should because it’s more fun than a lot of the other things you do to procrastinate on the computer — you can automatically be entered to win a three carat diamond tennis bracelet.

One more time in case you’re squinting from the idea of shiny things landing in your lap for free:

You could possibly win a three carat diamond tennis bracelet.

I don’t know how to make this clearer!

BUT, because I love you so much and because Blue Nile thinks that The Wedding Yentas is the best Jewish wedding blog ever, all of you get discount codes to buy stuff. Discount codes are seriously my favorite thing in the world. Every time I buy things online, I Google a discount code for the store just in case I can save more cash. It’s always so empowering when I’ve searched high and low to find a code and it actually works! No searching high and low here. Just straight ahead. Or in the next paragraph.

*Discount Code: BNAPP2013
It’s good for 10% off Blue Nile jewelry from Nov. 29, 2013 – Dec. 31, 2013. Enter the code into the “Reference Code” box at checkout.

One more thing — because it’s the season of giving and Blue Nile and I feel extremely generous — you can also enter to win a $50 gift card to Blue Nile!

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Have fun! And I hope the jewelry you receive is JUST what you wanted!

*Terms and conditions: Valid on select regularly-priced jewelry excluding loose diamonds, settings and Build Your Own Diamond Jewelry™. Offer not valid on sale merchandise, gift certificates, Monique Lhuillier jewelry, back-ordered items, polishing cloth, and jewelry cleaner purchases. Reference code BNAPP2013 must be entered in cart or mentioned over phone at time of purchase.Offer may not be combined with any other offer, cannot be applied retroactively, and applies to US customers only. Void where prohibited. Offer expires 11:59pm PST 12/31/2013. The offer terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Other restrictions may apply.

Sweepstakes is open to all international buyers that BlueNile ships to. Winnings will be in the form of an online promo code that you can enter at checkout. Please check this link: to see if BlueNile ships to your destination country. Thanks & Good luck!