Category Archives: Planning

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue: What’s It All About?

Monica: Okay, come on, I can’t get married until I get something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

Chandler: Okay, all right, all right, all right! Okay! (Picks up a blue sweater.) Okay, here’s something, here’s something blue and new.

Monica: You’re so efficient. I love you!

Chandler: Let’s go! (Starts to leave.)

Monica: No-no-no! We need something old!

Chandler: Ohh, great, I have condom in my wallet I’ve had since I was twelve.

Monica: That’ll work!

Chandler: I don’t think so.

Monica: Okay, now we just need something borrowed!

Chandler: (looks around) Here just…take this. (Hands her the sweater.)

Monica: That’s stealing!

Chandler: No, we’ll-we’ll bring it back! Just put it under your dress.

It’s a fun little diddy to say: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” You are told you’re supposed to have one of each of these things on your wedding day, but what the what?! Is this rhyme fo’ real? Does it make sense? Why does it exist and do you have to oblige?

The whole phrase comes from an Olde English rhyme: “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe.” Back in the day, all these things were given to the bride just before walking down the aisle in order to wish her good luck.

It’s definitely not a requirement you follow this and there’s also nothing particularly Jewish about it for your Jewish/interfaith/Jew-ish wedding, but as far as old — I’m sorry — olde traditions go, it’s kind of a fun and cutesy initiative. It’s kind of like the not-yet-married version of traditional anniversary gifts; Mr. Yenta and I enjoy the challenge of satisfying the traditional gift each anniversary as it gives us a boundary for a present in addition to giving some history to our modern, mainstream marriage. So for the first anniversary of paper, I gave him concert tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. So, in theory, the old/new/borrowed/blue initiative is good practice for selecting items that coordinate with categories!

Jason Kaczorowski Photography

Jason Kaczorowski Photography

So, what does each “something” refer to?

The “something old(e)” is meant to represent moving on to the future as you say bye-bye to the past. Keepsakes that have rich history in your family, like heirloom jewelry or milestone accessories can fulfill this category. Think of things like bubbie’s earrings from her wedding day or mom’s dress made into a hankie.

The “something new” is all about looking ahead and the fresh start you’re about to have with your new spouse. Usually this can be achieved easily. You’re wearing new shoes? Your dress has never been worn and is straight out of the boutique? Think about something purchased exclusively for your wedding day and there you go!

A “something borrowed” is supposed to be a little nod to happiness and luck. Usually, you’ll borrow something from a friend or relative who is also happy or is in love. This concept is to say that they are lending you an item that will give you happiness because it came from their life which is also happy. You can think of a “something old” that you didn’t use and apply it to “something borrowed.” These things aren’t always exclusive, so something that is borrowed will probably also be old, which is unavoidable. Don’t fret too much about this. So borrow a friend’s bracelet or an aunt’s hair clip.

“Something blue” is in reference to friendship, love, and purity. Or maybe it just rhymes with “new,” I don’t know. But in order to go with it, you may consider wearing jewelry with a blue stone like a sapphire, cute light blue lacy panties, or maybe sport some bright blue shoes to peek out from under your dress (which, by the way, looks great in photos, especially during your Horah!).

The whole thing with the sixpence is obviously a British thing. It’s supposed to symbolize prosperity. You know, because if you walk on money, your bank account will grow??? Sure, why not? But I’ve seen American brides adapt with a penny in their shoe or even decorate the bottom of the shoes with rhinestones or glittery markers.

If all of this seems like hooey to you, then do whatever you think is appropriate. I just wouldn’t necessarily follow Monica and Chandler’s M.O.!

Including People You Love On Your Wedding Day

This is a very good problem: You have childhood pals you’ve known since nursery school and you have sorority sisters from your time away at college. You have a cousin who’s like your clone and you have high school friends who you are still in close touch with. And then you and your partner both have siblings and they’re also in your inner circle. Poor you! You are loved by too many people and you can’t possibly have them all in your bridal party. Well, you could, but not only would your processional be longer than your ceremony, but your photographer might kill you. (Am I right, photographers?)

First, pick your bridal party. This may be difficult because you really have to narrow down your fan club, but check out this post that may help you feel better about it. After you’ve secured a reasonable amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen, then think about who else you’d like to honor with VIP status.

Is one of your favorite people a good singer, speechmaker, or musician? Ask them to “perform” at some point during your wedding weekend. You may ask someone close to you to give a speech or sing a song at your rehearsal dinner. There might be a point in the ceremony that someone could recite your favorite poem, or sing as you walk down the aisle. Someone special could also do the motzi over the challah or the Birkat HaMazon, the blessing after meals, thanking God for the food and His support in general. You’ll want to limit the amount of speeches during your reception (too many makes it a snoozer!), but think of other special times during your wedding event that can include putting your favorite people in the spotlight.

Pick your ketubah signers! Typically, there are two of them, and this is a huge honor. Their signatures will be on your beautiful ketubah forever and if you choose to hang it in your home, you will be reminded of these people whenever you look at it. They are invited into the room where you sign the ketubah and this is usually a private event before the chuppah ceremony. I’ve personally signed the ketubah twice for my two best friends and it was a joy to be part of the official Jewish marriage portion of the day. Remember, the ketubah signers must be Jewish and not be blood relatives. Your ketubah signers should be able to tell your rabbi or cantor their Hebrew names, and can receive help on the wedding day if the ketubah calls for writing their name in Hebrew.

Choose your marriage license witnesses. These can be the same people as your ketubah signers or you can extend the honors to two separate people. These people don’t have to be Jewish and are there to sign the marriage license that you must have with you on the day of your wedding. Your officiant should mail it in for you, and after the wedding, you should receive the certificate of marriage, but you’ll need two witnesses. This is also a really big deal for the signers since the document makes the marriage official in “the system.”

For fellas who are close to the bride or groom, there is a job for them that makes them some of the most popular men at the party. Designate some hefty dudes to hold you two up in the chair during the Hora. This doesn’t always have to be an invitation-only ritual, but it might be a fun way to honor some men who didn’t make it into the wedding party. Plus, they’ll be in all the fun photos of the chair lifts!

There are always the more job-like honors: ceremony ushers, guestbook facilitators, and escort cards host. These really are more like tasks, though, so think long and hard if it’s more of an honor or a chore for the people you ask to do this. Depending on the size of the wedding, and the style and locale, you may or may not want to ask people to do this. Sometimes it’s not necessary, but you know your wedding and your friends best, so make the decision based on the facts. These are just last-ditch ideas.

Think outside the box, too! Perhaps there are fun and unique details you’re choosing to include in your wedding day. Ask yourself how you might weave in your favorite people to honor them and then create an exciting way to ask them. Hopefully, this solves your terribly unfortunate problem of having so many wonderful people in your life!

  • Deb says:

    I think these are great ideas! We also have a lot of people who are important, but do not want to have a large bridal party. My fiance is the youngest of 6 brothers and there is a significant age difference (they are 10-20 years older). We decided to have each of our siblings and their respective families walk down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony as a way to honor all of them as people who are very important to us, but are not actually in the wedding.

Tales From The Veil: Saying Yes To The Dress

Remember real bride Jordan? She’s back to share her moment when she said “yes!”… to the dress!

After visiting Kleinfelds and Gabriella Bridal Salon in New York, I came home and started visiting places here in LA. I went to Saks Bridal Salon and a famous boutique in the valley, and at each place, I found beautiful dresses that looked really, really nice on me. I loved a Reem Acra strapless ballgown at one shop, a beautiful embroidered Kenneth Pool at Saks, and a lace trumpet gown at another shop… but they weren’t The One, and deep down I knew it. So I kept looking!

Jordan and her mom and sister at Kleinfeld in New York. Fun experience, but no luck with saying "Yes."

Jordan and her mom and sister at Kleinfeld in New York. Fun experience, but no luck with saying “Yes.”

Literally the day after we got engaged, my sister was so overwhelmed with excitement she started sending me a million different links to a million different web sites. I clicked one of them, which was an article about wedding cakes, and after reading it through, I randomly clicked on the tab marked “Wedding Gowns” and there in front of me was a gorgeous dress. It was seriously stunning. I pinned it to my secret “I DO!” Pinterest board and went about my day.

From then on, every time I went to a bridal salon, I’d show them the picture of this dress and try on similar ones, but none of them were it. Finally, I realized I was being an idiot; why hadn’t I tried on that exact dress yet? I started calling around and by some miracle, the designer was having a trunk show at a nearby dress salon two weeks from my phone call. I made an appointment for this past weekend and enlisted my friend, Greene Bean, and my mother to come with me.

The moment I walked into the store I saw the dress hanging on the rack in front of me and I gasped. It was even more beautiful in person. I asked to have it added to my dressing room, and spent a couple more minutes looking around the store and adding other dresses to try on, but I kept thinking about that first dress! Then I went into the dressing room with the consultant. I had planned on trying on some others and was going to lead up to it, but she said “This one is the prettiest. Try this on first!”

She put it on over my head and as soon as I saw it on me in the mirror, I gasped and turned bright red. It was STUNNING. I wiggled around impatiently while she zipped and buttoned me up and then after a billion minutes, she opened the door so I could go out and show my mom. I took two steps out of the dressing room and my mom started CRYING!!!!! She knew it just like I knew it. It was The One!!!!!

But I couldn’t say yes without showing my sister, so I posed for a billion photos from all angles and my mom texted them to Bailey, off in NYC. A few minutes passed — with me prancing around staring at myself in the mirror — and then Bailey called back. “It’s amazing and you look beautiful,” she said.

“Are you saying yes?” asked the consultant. “YES!!!!” I said. DONE AND DONE. They brought out a bottle of Champagne and everyone clapped and toasted. It was seriously like out of a movie!

A rack of beauties.

A rack of beauties.

If I could have imagined my dream dress, it would have included an illusion neckline, some lace, an unusual shape, a sparkly belt, and a LOT of shimmer and sparkle… and by some miracle of God my dress has ALL OF IT. And the best part: since it was at a trunk show, we got it for 10% off PLUS you know the consultant was a sassy gay who fell in love with me, so he GAVE me the matching VEIL as a gift!!! Every time I think about it I start smiling.

I wish I had some fun pictures to put in this post but you know I can’t ruin the surprise. Suffice it to say, on October 25, 2014, I’ll be wearing the most beautiful dress in the world and marrying the cutest guy I know. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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IMG_0675_2Jordan Silverman is a newly engaged bride-to-be who works in nonprofit marketing & communications by day and blogs at Queen of LA by night. A native of Los Angeles and a proud Arizona Wildcat for life, Jordan has always loved to write and host fun events, so it goes without saying that she is very excited for wedding planning! Jordan lives with her fiancee, Rami, in Brentwood, California. When they are not watching reruns of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, attending alt-comedy shows, cooking, traveling, or watching movies, they’re dreaming about their future purchase of a French bulldog puppy.

How To Choose Your First Dance Song

Jessie and Zack by Mi Belle Photography

If you’re having tsuris about narrowing down and choosing a first dance song, I don’t blame you. There’s, like, a bajillion songs in the world, and agreeing on a tune that’s also “appropriate” for a wedding is super stressful.

There could be a number of reasons why you can’t settle on a song. Maybe you both met doing a super romantic dance crazy of our late 90s/early 2000s college days like, um, “grinding” to Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” at the go-to college dive bar. Or maybe you guys have polar opposite tastes in music since you love Martina McBride and he has Flo Rida plugged into his Pandora station. Another possibility is that you are both scared out of your minds to have 200 of your closest friends and family watch you figure out what to do with both of your left feet as you attempt to partake in a age-old tradition and stumble along to a song that should make you look like the Hough duo.

These are all very legit reasons to roll your eyes about your first dance. Just take comfort in knowing that your first chance is yet another opportunity for you two to show just why you’re a fabulous couple. Make it about YOU. Not the steps. Not the song. You.

How?

Well, obviously you have to pick the song that’s special for you both. There are different kinds of “special” and you haven’t come to The Wedding Mind Readers. You’re at The Wedding Yentas so let’s have an open discussion about what you need to actually ask yourself.

Is there a song that has a special meaning to your relationship? Was there something playing in the background of the place where you first met, and the music swelled as you laid eyes on each other and drums pounded as he took your breath away and a dramatic key change orchestrated your first exchanged smile? If so, you either met on the set of a Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie or you have a really cool life. And if that’s the case, well, there’s your song.

Also, there might be a song that reminds you of an event that you enjoyed together. Maybe a musical or a concert or a charity dinner. Perhaps you will enjoy dancing to a song that played during a special memory you made together.

Consider the style or theme of your wedding and think about songs that may fit in. For example, if you’re having a sea side wedding, a beachy song might be a perfect choice for your first dance (think: Beach Boys?). If it’s a destination, maybe choose something that’s from that geography’s culture or song book.

Be cheesy. Cheesy doesn’t equal tacky. Let’s face it, the first dance is a pretty romantic part of the wedding, so maybe brainstorm some super romantic songs. I’m talkin’ about the ones that are played on late night infomercials where the titles scroll across the screen and a washed up D-list actor describes the album while sipping a glass of wine. Yeah, that guy.

Crossing fingers here, but maybe you both love the same band or singer? If that’s the case, choose a song from that list. Say you guys are both Jason Mraz fans; there are definitely a few options that would work great for a first dance. Narrowing down like that makes selecting a single song much easier.

Once you’ve decided on your song, make sure that your DJ can get it (if it’s obscure) or that your band can play it. For example, my husband and I danced to “For Once In My Life” which most people know as a Stevie Wonder song. But unless Stevie himself was going to play at our wedding, it’s one of those songs better left alone. For a jazzier and more romantic version, we asked our band to play it like Michael Buble performs it, and it sounded great. They did a little research and got their act together perfectly. I liked that it was a known song, but the version wasn’t as well-known so people weren’t as quick to judge or compare with the radio cut by Stevie.

Even after these pointers, if you’re still not obsessed with your first dance song and you don’t care to bathe in a pool of its sheet music, it’s okay. After all, it is just a dance and takes up approximately 3.5 minutes of your entire wedding day. No one is going to know if it isn’t the single song that exactly describes the way your heart beats for your partner. If you both just like it and it serves the purpose of a step-together-step-touch, then you’re good to go. It does not have to be the defining moment of the world’s greatest romance.

And if you’re not interested in doing a choreographed number and the idea of swaying back and forth like 7th graders gives you anxiety, choose something upbeat and fun! There are no rules. It’s your wedding day and your dance.

If you’re not even sure about being the center of dancing attention, you can always ask your MC to invite everyone to dance with you. One big group first dance to start off the evening and, oh look!, it just happens to be your first dance as marrieds.

According to Michael, a recent groom, “I think in the end you have to pick something that will just make the two of you happy. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect song.’ Too many variables. Do you like the song? Does it make you smile and think of your bride/groom when you hear it? Does it fit you as a couple? If the answers are “yes” then I think you’ve found your first dance.”

What first dance song did you choose? What are you thinking of using? Share some of your ideas here!

Rachel and Justin by Erin Johnson Photography

Wedding Advice From A Seasoned Mother of the Bride & Groom

ellenAs the mother of the groom five years ago and mother of the bride one year ago, Ellen has had in-depth experiences celebrating wonderful simchas. With this experience, she has cultivated wisdom about being a mother along for this wedding ride, and is happy to share her lessons with fellow Yentas!

I’ve been the mother of a bride and the mother of a groom! They are both wonderful things to be, but can be very different experiences, but it’s all about how you handle and choose to see them. I was the groom’s mother first, and although I never searched extensively for information about the etiquette or what’s involved in being the mother of the groom in terms of planning a wedding, I did do some reading, and first and foremost used my instincts.

Let’s face it, we mothers are all females first, and as such, we should understand how important weddings can be particularly to our fellow females! So, the first thing I did was put myself in my future daughter-in-law’s place. I knew that I would have wanted to make my own decisions regarding my own wedding, so I let her and my son plan the wedding of their dreams.

Of course there are factors to take into consideration depending on the families’ payment and hosting philosophies. Budget plays an important part in the planning of a wedding and everyone knows that the more money you have to spend, the more options you have. Here’s my thing, and I feel very strongly about it: Single-sided payment or hosting is a thing of the past in my eyes. The tradition of having the bride’s parents pay for the majority of the wedding dates back to the time of the dowry system. This custom began out of a desire to get the bride’s family to contribute a share of the costs involved in setting up a new household. For me, this is an antiquated tradition that really doesn’t apply to modern society. I found that working with the bride’s family and setting up an equal and fair budget that worked for both families took the pressure off of the engaged couple and gave everyone a voice in the decision-making.

The point is, if you’re involved financially, then it’s always nice for the “kids” to take your opinions into consideration, but just because that’s nice, doesn’t mean you should demand your opinions be heard. If you’re contributing with cash, it’s more than likely because it’s out of the goodness of your heart anyway, and you want for your kids to have a wedding day that’s in line with their vision.

I also trusted my son and his fiancée. They were certainly capable of making intelligent decisions about what they wanted on their day. In other words, as the mother of the groom, I basically chose to, for the most part, butt out! My husband and I were lucky in that my son and future daughter-in-law were great about including us in what their ultimate decisions were, and asked for our “OK” before we put any deposits down or paid for anything.

Photo by Eight20 Photography

Photo by Eight20 Photography

I think, though, that in part, this was because we never forced our opinions on them. They were free to make their own choices and just do a “double-check” with us. It made for such a smooth planning process and ultimately a spectacular wedding. As the mother of the groom — or bride! — it’s important to realize that the choices may not be exactly what you want, but it’s not your wedding.

MOGS, take it from me; the less you say, the better. You already had your day, and even if you might have missed out, your children’s wedding is not the time for you to try to have it vicariously through them. While I don’t suggest you do the old fashioned MOG behavior of “wear beige and shut up”, I encourage you to ask questions, be supportive, and ask “how can I help”? Trust me!

And by the way, followed my own advice when I was the mother of the bride as well. I was as supportive as I could be without being pushy, and it worked again! Find that middle ground! And mazel tov!

Photo by ES Photo

Photo by ES Photo