Category Archives: Tales from the Veil

An American In Jerusalem: Falling In Love In Israel

Anna Abramzon StudioToday, Anna Abramzon of Anna Abramzon Studio chimes in as a ketubah expert on The Wedding Yentas! They say she started drawing before she started walking, but that may be an exaggeration. As soon as she did start walking though, Anna started traveling, sketchbook in hand. She has lived all over the place and her travels have infused her artwork with color and life. Anna specialize in mixed media, combining collage with gouache, watercolor, pencil and ink. Anna met and married her husband in Jerusalem, Israel, and thought their wedding was a wonderful opportunity to create some love-inspired art, so she painted their ketubah, their invites, their thank you notes, and pretty much everything else that she possibly could for their wedding. Next thing she knew, other people started asking her to create artwork for their weddings. And that’s how Anna became a ketubah artist. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and daughter. Shop for your ketubah and keepsake art at Anna Abramzon Studio.

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One of the strangest phone calls I’ve ever had to make was to my parents to tell them I was getting married. The ultimate weirdness of this phone call can be summed up with my mom’s response… after a tense pause she said, “to whom?”

So here’s the story:

Once upon a time, an oblivious Russian-American Jewish girl spent a summer in an office in Jerusalem at a desk next to an Argentinean-Israeli boy who kept trying to get her attention. The girl was so oblivious, that even when the cute Argentisraeli asked her on a “date,” she eagerly accepted and even brought a friend along. But in her defense, the plan for this “date” was to go hear a panel on Palestinian Reform at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) — not exactly your typical dinner and a movie, so no wonder the girl was confused! The boy, however, was right in figuring that this kind of unusual event was the only way to get the Russian space cadet’s attention. During that non-date, the Argentine boy casually joked that he was eventually planning on marrying the girl, who at that moment finally realized that the boy might be interested in her as more than a coworker who shared his interest in Mideast politics. The third-wheeler friend tactfully made her exit right around then, and the boy and girl spent a lovely evening in a Jerusalem coffee shop, talking about life and finishing each others’ sketchpad doodles (they also both loved to draw). After the boy walked the girl home, as a perfect finish to a perfect non-date, the girl got a flu and left Israel without ever coming back to the office. To her dismay, the cute Argentisraeli boy never called.

One might think the story would have ended there, except that Fate intervened. The girl left Israel and spent that year in New York, becoming somewhat of an expert JDater. Her dream was to move to Israel, so she found every excuse not to get too attached to any local boys and to fly to Israel as often as possible. About a year after the non-date with the Argentinian boy, the girl was on another visit to Israel and was walking down the boardwalk in Eilat (a southern resort town) with her girlfriends and her little brother who had come on the trip with her.

It is important to this story to mention that the New York year had not been kind to the Russian-American girl and in her struggle with conquering the Big Apple, she had gained twenty pounds. It’s also important to mention that her skin was not reacting well to travel and was therefore beginning to resemble a greasy slice of NY pepperoni pizza, and due to the very tight travel budget of a recent college grad trying to live in Manhattan, she had also not showered in a little too long.

It was probably the last possible moment that she would have wanted to run into the cute boy from the summer before, but as fate would have it, they literally bumped into each other on that boardwalk. She quickly noticed the statuesque model-thin, blonde, Goddess of a girl accompanying the boy, which of course made her feel all that much more frumpy. The boy, however, quickly introduced the Goddess as his sister, visiting from Argentina (what a relief!) and suggested that they meet back on the boardwalk at 9 o’clock that evening. The girl gladly agreed. (As a side note, in her future life together with an Argentinian boy, the girl would learn that all Argentine women look like Goddesses. She still doesn’t know what unfair distribution of genes causes this effect, but it’s a fact).

At nine o’clock that evening, the freshly showered and shaved boy waited at the meeting point for what he thought was his second date with the oblivious cartoon and politics-lover from the summer before. To his dismay, the girl showed up freshly showered and made up (a good sign), but with an entourage of her two girlfriends and eleven year old brother (surely not a good sign). The boy was starting to wonder what exactly was wrong with this girl and why she felt compelled to bring backup to every date. The girl on the other hand, was wondering where the boy’s sister was? She had assumed that when he suggested “they” meet up, he had meant all of them.

Lucky for him, it didn’t take long for the girl’s friends to sense the situation and claim “sudden, overwhelming and inexplicable exhaustion,” retreating to their hotel and taking her little brother with them.

That night, over red wine on the white sands of an Eilat beach, under a full moon (I am not making this up!), the South American professed his plans to “wait for her,” and threw around words like “destiny” and “forever” while his cynical, Ukranian-American date, struggled desperately to shut out the earsplitting warning sirens in her head (not to mention the overwhelming gag reflex).

And that’s how the relationship continued, with the boy always a step ahead. While the girl was comprising schemes to find out if they were “exclusive” and if she could consider him her “boyfriend” (she was too American to flat out ask), the boy casually told her that he was planning to marry her (for the second time since they met). It didn’t take long for the girl to catch up, though, and to realize that this romantic, strangely decisive, macho teddy bear of a man was the one for her. She moved to Israel two months later and within six days of her arrival they were officially engaged.

That’s when I had to make the crazy phone call to my parents.

Anna Abramzon Studio

Engagement Photo Shoot With A Four Legged Loved One

Today, The Wedding Yentas is excited to have Peggy, a beautiful bride-to-be, share her experience posing for engagement photos and how she prepared for them. Peggy and her fiance, Dave, are planning a wedding in the mountains of Southern California in beautiful Big Bear. Their June wedding is a celebration of two people from different backgrounds coming together to live life as one. Peggy is looking forward to partaking in Jewish traditions from Dave’s heritage and loves the many special chapters of Jewish weddings.

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The day was finally here! No, not THE Big Day, but the other big day. The dress rehearsal with the wedding photographer, otherwise known as the engagement photo shoot! Let me tell you, it was a busy time leading up to the shoot: scouring over ideas for engagement pictures, sorting out props, searching for the perfect outfit, working out (uhh, OK sort of). Well, amidst the engagement shoot preparations, Dave and I knew one thing was certain: our dog was going to be part of it.

His name is Ali. He is our three-year-old German Boxer and he stole our hearts the minute we laid eyes on him. We couldn’t imagine taking pictures without him because he is such an important part of our lives. We aren’t unlike many couples who decide to include their beloved furry friend in the engagement session. But, like the old-time movie actor W.C. Fields once said, “never work with kids or animals” because they are unpredictable! And it’s not that the photos turned out badly — they’re great! — but working with an animal definitely adds another level of stress and complication. But that doesn’t mean I regret including our dog in our shoot or that I suggest you leave your pooch at home.

This begs the all-important question: how do you create the optimal photo session for your dog while letting your pet’s personality shine?

No one knows your pet better than you. But here are some “ohhh, I wish I would have thought of that” tips to ensure some amazing pictures with your favorite four-legged friend:

  • Start your photo-shoot with your pet. Interacting with your fur ball relaxes not only you, but sets a fun, comfortable atmosphere for the rest of the session.
  • Go to your local thrift store to find items that reflect your pet’s personality. Resist the urge to spend an entire doggy arm and a leg on your pet’s accessories or outfit. There is no need! I picked up a Boy Scouts bandana for our little boy from a thrift store.
  • Pack a bag of snacks for your pet. Not only will it help get his attention, but it’ll make your life easier in case the shoot runs late.
  • Pack a bag of snacks you and your dog can share. Put the snack in your mouth and have him sniff your face. It’ll make for a perfect puppy kiss photo.
  • Understand the leash policy. Is your location in a public place? Can dogs be off leash? The beach may be your favorite place in the world, but having a dog off leash at a “no dogs allowed beach” might cost you a pretty penny in penalties. Don’t spend any time worrying about spotting a police officer because you’re unsure about the policy. It will show in your pictures. Research in advance any prohibitions against pets. You wouldn’t want to cut your photo-shoot short; your session will be over before you know it!
  • Arrive to your location at least 30 minutes early. Play with your dog and let him run around and explore the area before the photographer arrives. It’s the perfect amount of time to let the dog’s energy out, yet not enough to wear him out.
  • Bring a friend to take care of your pet while you take pictures for the rest of the photo shoot. Imagine a picture of you and your fiancé with a basket full of puppies or kittens? It would be adorable! Make sure someone, other than the photographer is there, to take them once you’re done. Leaving them in the car unsupervised isn’t a good idea. You wouldn’t want to have Sunny the dog chew and tear the inside of your car, would ya?
  • Let the photographer know you will include your pet so he can accommodate Fido. Ask your photographer to bring noise-makers he or she usually uses to get a baby’s attention during photo-shoots. Dogs love sounds. Don’t you love the look on your dog’s face when he hears something funny? He stands alert, ears perked! These made for the perfect pictures with our dog.</li)
  • Pack your pet’s bag of props and goodies the night before. I know you are thinking, “I’ll have time for this before the photo-shoot.” Trust me; you will be pre-occupied, rushing to get everything perfect. Save yourself some anxiety and pack the night before. It’s one less thing to think about.
  • Most importantly… enjoy it! Be yourself! It’s all about you, your fiancé, and the furry friend that furtively snuggles into your bed while you sleep!

Engagement Photos with Dogs

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  • sharon says:

    Great advice! Your tips are very helpful! Your photos are beautiful & fun. And Ali is adorable. Congratulations!

Tales From The Veil: She Said Yes To The Dress at Kleinfeld!

Lanae Brody hails from Scottsdale, Arizona and has lived in Los Angeles for 4 years. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Journalism in 2008. She and husband, Dennis, just got married in Arizona in November and enjoyed a stunning red, white, and black wedding that reflected their high taste for style and attention to detail. Lanae still loves to talk about weddings and is enjoying life as a newlywed!

Everyone knows that as a bride, saying yes to the the dress is probably the most exciting part of the entire wedding planning process. Since I am such a pop culture junkie, I knew that I had to go to the mother ship of wedding dress shopping: KLEINFELD!

Wedding dress shopping in Arizona and Los Angeles didn’t even compare when I got to New York City. By the time I arrived in New York, I had probably tried on about 50 gowns, and no, that is not a typo. Going into the process I “knew” all along that I wanted a princess ball gown. Well, once you start trying on gowns, your mind quickly changes. I think that’s why I tried on so many gowns!

Since “Say Yes to the Dress” started airing, Kleinfeld has become a tourist attraction. Because of this, appointments have to be booked months in advance. I got engaged on December 27, 2011 and the soonest appointment I could get was March of 2012! About two days after my now-husband proposed, I decided to just book the appointment at Kleinfeld. I had to put down a $50 deposit, which was the only place I had to do that! That was kind of unsettling, but hey, it was Kleinfeld and so worth it! Plus, it was just a holding fee, which meant I had 48 hours before the appointment date to cancel. So, I booked the appointment, naturally, before I did anything else wedding related, and crossed my fingers that I would even be able to make the trek.

After looking at flights with my mom, we found some cheap airfare and snagged it up quickly. This was actually going to happen! Their website suggests that brides try on several gowns prior to the big appointment. Because their inventory is the largest in the world, they recommend coming in knowing exactly what you have in mind since the appointments only last 90 minutes.

When I arrived in the city, I checked out some other New York staples like Amsale on Madison Avenue, Designer Loft, Lovely Bridal, and Gabriella. They all had that New York feel to them, but all I kept thinking about was Kleinfeld, and of course, I purposely saved the best appointment for last.

March 24, 2012 was came, and it was finally my turn to (hopefully say yes to the dress! My cousin and bridesmaid Melissa flew in all the way from Chicago to participate in the fun, and my childhood friend and bridesmaid who was a New York local, Rachel, also came. And, of course, I had my mother in tow. My sweet fiance flew in just for the weekend because he wanted to give me a giant hug and kiss after I said “yes.” So sweet!

I walked through the big doors and the waiting area was jam packed. I had visited ten to 15 bridal stores by this point, and I had never seen anything like it. I checked in and they directed us to sit down on a couch. There were framed photos of slogans such as “Just Say Yes” around the walls as well as several mannequins in their gowns. Some girls’ names were called for their appointments and I just sat there patiently. Several tourists had already come in and out just to take pictures. There were camera crews filming one bride inside the main show room. I kept crossing my fingers I got to go into that room. I had so many butterflies in my stomach!

Finally my name was called and I looked up to see a cute, smiling blonde woman named Jillian who was familiar. I was beyond elated that I was getting a consultant from the show to help me choose my gown! She sat my crew on the famed couches and took me back and slipped me into one of those famous Kleinfeld robes. She and her assistant, Jackie, talked to me about what I wanted. I showed them some photos, told her what I liked and didn’t like, and she said she’d be back shortly with some gowns.

About ten minutes later, Jillian and Jackie returned with some contenders. I was a little confused about why I didn’t get to help pick them out off the racks like every other bridal store I’d been to, but I was in the best of hands and just rolled with it. The first dress I tried on was a Monique Lhullier dress. It was pretty and I took the famous Kleinfeld walk from the dressing room out to the waiting area where my family was. I stood on their well-known pedestal and my entourage was on the couches. At this point, they had moved my family to a different couch. Kleinfeld keeps everyone bouncing around due to filming. The girls were kind of sick of playing musical couches by the time I got out there, too!

Jillian kept telling me, “If you don’t like it, tell me. It won’t hurt my feelings. I didn’t make it!” I was so comfortable after that because she did pick some that I found so God-awful. After I threw some of those dresses out, I decided I wanted more. When I walked out to my family to show them the Monique gown, another gown caught my eye. “You sure do have a wandering eye!” said Jillian. I asked her about that gown and she said, “I didn’t bring it to you because it was a corset and you said you didn’t want that.” She was right, but at this point, I decided to try it and just see. I tried on a few more and just wasn’t feeling “the” feeling. You only go out of the dressing room to show your family if you like the gown, so by that time, I had only gone out in the Monique.

Jillian brought in the gown my “wandering eye” found and it was pink and gorgeous. She told me they had it in white so just to try it to see. The dress was by a designer named Dennis Basso and his line, like several other Kleinfeld designers, was exclusive to Kleinfeld. I put it on and loved it, but something wasn’t sitting right with me. I showed my entourage and they loved it, too. I stood out there for a while in it, but couldn’t put my finger on what was missing. Everything was right except this one mysterious thing. I didn’t want to take it off, was fine with not looking around more, but something was off.

“Can I try it on in white?” I asked Jillian. She went to the head of stock and here came my big Kleinfeld moment. The stock girl knocked on my door and she had it in her hand, but the problem was, it was a plus sized sample. Jillian assured me she could clip me in to make it look like my size, and when she did, it was even worse. The crotch area was droopy, it didn’t sit right on my body, and it wasn’t perfect. The clock was ticking and my appointment time was running out. I began to grow upset and confused. Should I take the chance on this perfect gown and just trust that it’ll look the same in white and give me that feeling?

About five minutes later, there was a knock on the door. It was the dress in white, my size, and total perfection! The dress apparently was buried somewhere as it was used for a photo shoot the week before. Once that particular piece was on me, the dress was really talking to me! Jillian and Jackie turned me away from the mirror and put it on me. I looked up and started crying. This was the first time I cried during the dress process. I knew it was the one. It was meant to be! I walked out to my entourage and they all started crying. Everyone just knew that it was time to say yes to the dress! Once you say “yes,” more bridal gear was flung at me to buy. All of a sudden, I was greeted with a matching veil, belt, and jewelry, all literally seconds after saying “yes.”

After paying and signing paperwork, my fiance was waiting with arms wide open outside. My friends and I then turned into tourists and took photos in and out of the store. “Make sure you send me a picture of you in the dress,” Jillian said before I left. Duh. I would be honored to be on their wall of brides in their dressing room! I can’t wait to be added to Jillian’s collection!

Months later I was at home, watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and reminiscing about my amazing time. It was probably the highest highlight during the entire planning process. It was well worth the trip to New York and the butterflies in my stomach for days. I even saw another girl try on my dress on the show! This was an experience I highly recommend for any bride who wants the best dress experience of her life!

The finished product! Lanae as a bride on her wedding day!

  • Shari says:

    I’m so glad you had an amazing time at Kleinfelds – but my experience there (and I hear this from many people) was AWFUL!!!) They completely disregarded my comments and emotions, and convinced/pressured me into buying something that I was clearly not loving – it was so disappointing. LUckily I was able to return it / cancel the credit card charge. The moral of the story is be true to yourself when wedding dress shopping – don’t let anyone pressure you into buying a dress you don’t love – It’s your wedding (and your money!) – you will know when it’s the one!

The Sad Tale of a Tuxedo Jacket

Husband Yenta’s Tuxedo
May 25, 2008 – May 25, 2008
Loyal Fancy Suit and Trusted Wedding Costume
RIP

That’s right. Let’s pour a little out for my husband’s wedding tuxedo, which we recently discovered had passed away, most likely, on our wedding night. One wear – and an important one! – but such a short life in Husband Yenta’s side of the closet.

A few months before our wedding, he purchased his Ralph Lauren (ooo! Fancy!) tuxedo from the tux shop that also outfitted the rentals for the groomsmen. Because he wishes he lived in the world of The Great Gatsby, he wanted to own a tuxedo and to wear it to future formal events. Trouble is, we’re not living out our years at speakeasies and garden parties, so Ralph the Tux wasn’t seeing the light of day.

Finally, four years after our wedding, we would have two formal weddings to attend, giving reason for Husband Yenta to unearth Ralph from the avalanche of work polos and khakis to try on for the upcoming nuptials of our good friends and his sister, events that were happening two weeks apart.

The biggest concern was the elephant in the room: would Ralph still glide right on like butta the way it did on our wedding day or had four years of marital bliss also brought on marital bulge?

Well, friends, you’ll have to stay in suspense because the truth is, we don’t know.

(this is probably a good thing).

(except it’s not because there’s more to this story).

When Husband Yenta brought Ralph into the light of our bedroom, he noticed that the jacket did not match the pants. The pants were labeled as Ralph as they should, but the jacket was a random, generic name and was accompanied by [gasp!] a bar code!

It’s a little tricky to replay the series of events that took place four years ago after coming off the high of getting married and a perfect night, but we, Mr. and Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, deduced that upon the scurry of gathering up our items at the end of the night, Husband Yenta’s purchased Ralph Lauren tuxedo jacket got scooped up and piled up with the rentals that the groomsmen were returning the next day. Do not worry, dear ones. The Ralph Lauren tuxedo pants remained on his person.

After a hot and steamy Horah, my dashing groom probably removed his jacket, draped it over a chair, and, never to be worn again, would go back to the rental store from which it was purchased, and live among the coming and going jackets of a lesser caliber. And what my husband took home? One of the groomsmen’s assigned weekend jacket.

Apparently, the tux shop counted units and paid no attention to the labels on the inside of the returned tuxedos. “One, two, three, four? Yup. Got ‘em! Thanks for your business! Ta ta!”

So now the lower half of the Ralph Lauren tuxedo has been orphaned without a buddy. The tuxedo shop has changed its entire scanning system since our wedding four years ago – we checked – and the Ralph is long gone. Once worn. Never forgotten.

The moral of this sad tale that details the demise of an otherwise perfect penguin suit? At the end of your wedding reception, please do make sure your husband leaves with his jacket. Make sure that the groomsmen all leave with theirs. Menswear isn’t exactly too exciting to the naked eye, and it’s too easy for them to be mistaken for similar versions.

As for the two weddings we will be enjoying in the next two weeks? Well, it’s just too soon to replace the fallen formalwear. Blame it on sentimentality. Blame it on the promise of a diet (did you know marital bliss = culinary bliss?). Husband Yenta will be leaving Ralph behind and joining the ranks of the renters.

Shopping for Vendors on The Wedding Yentas

Ali is newly engaged and was proposed to at her dream location: the empty stage of a Broadway theatre! The 20-something-year-old actress met her soon-to-be husband while working on a show together, and they love to spend time seeing theatre, taking in a baseball game, and playing pop culture trivia. Ali also nannies for several families in the Los Angeles area, looks forward to Disneyland trips, and enjoys a good deli lunch. She is enjoying her journey of planning her wedding and learning about the details that go into the big day. In order to successfully achieve her vision, Ali has been using resources like The Wedding Yentas, family and friends who’ve been-there-done-that, and bridal magazines. Ali is getting married this October in Southern California.

Today, Ali shares with us how she has used The Wedding Yentas to find her vendors! Yes, almost all of her vendors have been booked based on what she’s seen right here!

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I was never the kind of girl who dreamed about or planned my wedding since I was little. Okay, I might have put on a fake wedding dress and walked down a backyard aisle with my friend’s little brother, but I had no idea what I actually wanted to do when I had a real wedding.

So when Michael asked me to marry him, I was elated, but I also realized I was getting a very late start on the wedding planning in comparison to most girls. I knew who I wanted in my bridal party, and those calls were made immediately, but that was all the prior planning that I had done. I didn’t know where to start.

I knew about The Wedding Yentas and had spent many days looking at the great inventory of Real Weddings posts, marveling at every couple’s ability to make their wedding fit their personality, but my perusals had always been just for fun. It wasn’t until I was engaged that the Real Weddings photos helped me find inspiration for my wedding style and, even more importantly, find excellent vendors who would be perfect for my Los Angeles wedding. Since all the vendors had links to their sites, I clicked and clicked and thus began my great big “vendor hunt.”

Initially I was browsing through the California weddings and clicking on the vendor links simply to get to know each vendor and to learn what kinds of elements were important to me. It dawned on me that I could actually just use The Wedding Yentas to find and book my vendors. As I started to become the girl I never was, obsessing over all the pretty ideas I could implement in my wedding, I really started to have strong opinions about what I wanted.

I started with photographers. I looked at every single Southern California wedding and decided which pictures I liked and which I didn’t. I always preferred the candid, less artsy shots (just my personal taste, as I like photojournalism) and narrowed it down to about five photographers that I liked. I then showed my fiance all the pictures of the weddings that the photographers shot, and he narrowed it down to three photographers based solely on their work.

We then started emailing and calling these photographers to learn about their availability, packages, and personalities because all three factors had to match our needs. We scheduled meetings and phone calls, and it was very clear to us who we should hire. I was so excited to see this important part of our wedding planning come to fruition.

We took our engagement photos and after seeing the finished product, we are so happy with our choice and can’t wait to see the wedding photos in just two months.

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Next came music and we really wanted a band. As a singer who comes from a family of musicians, I am very picky about this area of vendor selection. My fiance is also a singer and piano player, so he, too, has his strong opinions about the band. Our work was cut out for us so again, I searched all the bands on The Wedding Yentas and narrowed them down based on the clips we heard on their websites. We sent out emails and met with the contenders, and voila! We now have a great group of musicians and we love our band! Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The same story goes for hiring our florist and other wedding vendors to assemble our team.

It’s so overwhelming to shop for vendors online, but checking out the vendor list that’s part of every wedding in the Real Weddings section made it possible for me to make decisions because I could see their work in action on the weddings that are published.

So far, wedding planning has been far less overwhelming than I would have thought, especially since I am a girl who got a late start in having a vision for my wedding. Everyone I talk to is always so shocked with how easily and quickly I nailed down my main vendors, but it was because I was able to see their work so clearly and in an unbiased light on The Wedding Yentas! So for that, I am eternally grateful to The Wedding Yentas and look forward to continuing to “stalk” the Real Weddings posts and appreciate who all the other couples chose to make their big day special.

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