So you’ve picked the perfect ketubah, invited friends and family, planned a gorgeous ceremony, and arranged a remarkable reception. The stage is set for some amazing memories, but you know the day will pass too quickly. Now you just have to find a photographer to capture the celebration—but some photographers might not be familiar with Jewish weddings, and it’s always helpful to remind them (and yourself) of some iconic moments to look out for.
When you’ve chosen a beautiful Ketubah that matches the spirit of the wedding, it would be a shame if the signing ceremony wasn’t photographed. This private and meaningful moment will include the people closest to the bride and groom, and makes for a lovely photo that captures a memory that’s worth preserving.
Separate from the ketubah, the Tenaim is a prenuptial document with a rich historical significance that outlines stipulations or conditions applied to the bride and groom. The signing is typically concluded by the mothers-in-law breaking a wrapped china plate—a great opportunity for a photo showing the family coming together.
The Bedeken or veiling ceremony is a wonderful opportunity for an unforgettable photo. After the groom, rabbi, and fathers meet the bride and both mothers at her throne, the groom places the veil over the bride’s face and recites a blessing.
One of the biggest honors that is often given to a grandparent or respected elder is the Blessing of the challah, an ancient spiritual tradition which then begins the reception and makes it an official celebratory meal. As it is a blessing on the couple, the guests, and all the food and drink that will be consumed, it is a momentous occasion and makes for an amazing photo.
Jewish weddings are celebrations, so there is always plenty of dancing and merrimaking. An obvious highlight for photographers is the Hora, when the bride and groom are lifted onto chairs like the king and queen of the event. Celebrating with the bride and groom is a huge mitzvah, and dancing and acrobatics will take place that will make for unforgettable and fun photography.
If the last child in a family has just been married, there is an Ashkenazi tradition to dance the Mezinka, in which parents (and sometimes siblings with spouses) dance with decorated brooms and dustpans to ‘sweep’ that child out of the room as the music intensifies. It’s a chance for some unique and sweetly humorous photos.
Photographs immortalize your happy memories long after the ceremony and reception have ended—plus they’re perfect for personalized thank you notes, social media, anniversaries, and decorating the walls of your home. Even photographers familiar with Jewish weddings could use a few pointers, so discussing your plans with them is highly recommended so you maximize the quality of shots they’ll take and which traditions and ceremonies you plan to include in your Jewish wedding.