From the Expert: Getting Married in Israel

It’s so exciting to have a special guest today on The Wedding Yentas who will be teaching us all about getting married in Israel! Tracey Goldstein is the Editor and Creator of Hatunot: The English Speaker’s Guide to Planning a Wedding in Israel. Tracey moved to Tel Aviv in 2010 and previously founded and managed NYC event planning firm, Polka Dot Events. Hatunot is the Israeli version of The Wedding Yentas, and as an American living in Israel, she knows exactly what brides in the U.S. love about weddings and what they should know about weddings in Israel. Funny, intelligent, and personable are perfect adjectives that describe Tracey, and it’s an honor to be BFF (Blog Friends Forever) with Hatunot!

When most Americans think about Israel, a collection of thoughts comes to mind; desert, war and camels, cute Israeli soldiers, delicious hummus, beaches, and maybe even a fun Birthright trip. But what most don’t know is that Israel could be on the map as the world capital of weddings! Before you go and book your destination wedding in the Caribbean, check out some of the top reasons I am so crazy about the wedding industry in Israel, and why I think YOU should celebrate your hatuna (“wedding” in Hebrew) here, too!!

The Ultimate Venue Selection
Sprawled across the country are hundreds of indoor-outdoor venues of equal quality to the venues American brides pay top dollar for as they cross their fingers for decent weather. Israel offers garden spaces, beachside hotels, modern lofts, and rustic farms all in a country the size of New Jersey. And since Israeli guest lists are often so large (the average Israeli wedding has 500 guests, while the average American wedding has 100), venues and vendors are much more accommodating for large groups. Why pay the typical $250+ per plate demanded by Manhattan catering halls when a Tel Aviv venue that is often larger, newer, and serves better food will charge only 250 shekels?! Kosher catering is almost never an issue, nor is the weather. Plan your event anytime between May and October and you can sleep easy knowing no last minute tents need to be ordered.

Venue: Cochav HaYam in Caesarea & Photo by John Edgar

An Incredible Trip for Your Guests
While destination weddings in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii are the perfect excuse for a vacation for your family and friends, inviting them to your wedding in Israel is giving your loved ones the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime. Israel has the beaches, the restaurants, and the fun, but it also has the ancient history and spiritual significance that no other place in the world can truly match. And while the distance will certainly come with “destination” wedding expenses for family and friends abroad, the Israeli tourism industry encompasses numerous tour organizations than can assist with group flight and hotel rates, transportation logistics, and countrywide tours so guests will surely feel they’ve spent their money’s worth.

Talented and Enthusiastic Vendors
The one thing I have definitely learned from running my wedding blog is that Israel is full of talented, enthusiastic vendors that are fluent in English and dying to work with couples from abroad. Photographers, videographers, DJs — you name it — there are tons of vendors here that really understand American standards and taste, and can produce high quality services.

So Many Bridal Gowns!
Taking a walk down Dizengoff or Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv? You’d have to be blindfolded not to notice the dozens of bridal gown shops, less than feet apart. Yes, I’ll admit there are a few designers who specialize in the see-through-bustier-cupcake-gown that can give any modern bride nightmares, but Israel has an immense selection of sophisticated, modern, romantic, and non-poufy dress boutiques for brides all over the city.

Omer Bar Photography & Dress by Limor Rosen

A Land of Milk, Honey, and Informalities
With so much diversity and such a central geographical location, Israel is a mix of European, American, and Middle Eastern culture. But what I think is so unique about this country is that it is a place to drop formalities. A wedding in Israel does not need tuxedos and bow ties, you do not need to have 12 bridesmaids, and the series of father-daugther, mother-son, grandma-uncle, my half-brother from my dad’s third marriage dances. It is about good food, dancing, and celebrating. Therefore Israel is the perfect place to wed if you are looking for a fun and comfortable environment.

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Don’t forget to take a minute to enter you or your loved one into the ketubah giveaway on The Wedding Yentas with Ketubah Studio by MP Artworks! Photo submissions are being accepted right now through February 16th! Details here!

  • Tracey Goldstein says:

    Thank you so much for this article Alison! I love the BFF part ha!

  • Suzy Frame says:

    How beautiful! The bride and the wedding decorations just look stunning. I am looking into planning my wedding and I have heard all about the destination weddings in the caribbean and all the many brides being married there but I was wondering if you know if that can be even harder to plan and access, cause I definitely need help with this whole planning thing. We already know where we are going on our honeymoon but I just need more ideas for our carribean wedding! Do you know where I can find it?