Elise and Aron got engaged in September 2019, in what seems like a totally different world to us now. They had their dream wedding planned, but the year was moving in a different direction. What follows is a story of adapting to changing realities that we’d like to share with you.
She’s from Toronto. He’s from Melbourne. They have family in Canada and Australia. Elise and Aron planned to meet in the middle for their dream wedding in Israel for March 2020. As the new year began they realized that was going to be impossible by Purim, when flights kept getting cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They decided they would get married in Melbourne, where they both live. The original wedding date of March 24 was their target. On the 15th of March, the day they would have flown to Israel, Elise had to bump up the date to the 19th—just 3 days for planning! Fortunately, as a former director at Hillel, Elise was used to planning events at the last minute—but she was unfamiliar with vendors in Australia.
One friend offered a backyard for the ceremony, another did chuppah rentals. The day before their wedding, they managed to find a caterer, and a friend brought a sound system. Elise’s original wedding dress was ordered originally from China but the shipment was delayed (for obvious reasons), so she sourced another dress from the local gemach, where they also got their wedding shtick.
Elise downsized from 500 outside to 100 inside to a final number of 30, with full social distancing. Even dancing was contactless for safety. Some family was invited to view the wedding on Zoom, which was moderated by a local teenager.
The wedding was smaller than planned but it was lovely, with everything a Jewish wedding should have. Other weddings Elise knew about in Australia had ended up with positive COVID cases, so they took no risks.
Elise and Aron wanted a ketubah that represented Israel, from an Israeli artist. They found one on Etsy and had it sent to a friend’s house in Israel. When plans and locations changed, the text had to change, in addition to the date! The artist sent a high resolution version and they found a local printer who could make the changes.
It’s special to be in quarantine together. You’re not running around, you get to be alone solidifying your relationship and the precious first weeks of your marriage. Aron said he hoped we could one day host a Pesach seder together, you know it’s a real sign of adulthood. And this year we could, in our first month of marriage.
Elise and Aron’s story demonstrates how replanning, downsizing, and rethinking weddings is becoming common. That’s why we’ve introduced the Jewish Wedding Shop where you can easily find and order wedding necessities. We’re also proud to offer the Wedding in a Box (containing a chuppah, goblet, and breaking glass) to help take some of the pressure off when you’re planning a wedding.