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 on March 24th 2020.
As the date came closer and the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, they had a difficult decision to make about where and when to get married. After their first flight through Cathay Pacific was cancelled they rebooked through Qatar airlines. When that flight was cancelled around Purim, they realised their hopes of going to Israel were crushed.
They decided they would get married in Melbourne, where they both live. The original wedding date of March 24 was still their target.
On the 15th of March, the day they would have flown to Israel, they decided to move the wedding date forward to the 19th—leaving just 3 days for planning! This was because the restrictions kept increasing daily and they were unsure if the wedding would be able to take place at all on the 24th.
Image: Aron and Elise’s Under Their Chuppah
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 friend brought their sound system. Elise’s mom mailed her hand-painted chuppah to Australia when she realised she could not attend in person.
The day before their wedding, Elise and Aron managed to find a caterer and even order benchers. Elise’s original wedding dress was ordered from China but the shipment was delayed (for obvious reasons), so she sourced another dress from a local gemach, where they also got their wedding shtick.
As the restrictions become increasingly strict in the final days leading up to the wedding, Elise’s guest list was about 30. The wedding had full social distancing, and even dancing was contactless for safety. The family was invited to watch the wedding on Zoom and be as involved as possible given the circumstances.
The wedding was smaller than planned but it was lovely, with everything a Jewish wedding should have.
Elise and Aron wanted a ketubah that represented Israel, from an Israeli artist since they were supposed to get married there. They found one on Etsy, had it personalised, and had it sent to a friend’s house in Israel.
When plans changed, the date and location and event the text on the Ketuba had to change as the Melbourne Rabbi was comfortable with a slightly different version of the text. To accommodate the changes, the artist sent a high-resolution version and they found a local printer who printed the final design.
Image: Aron and Elise’s Wedding Amid The Pandemic
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 because it’s a sign of adulthood. And this year we could, in our first month of marriage.
Image: Celebrating Aron and Elise’s Wedding
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.
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