When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I must confess that this was the first time in my photography career that I got to shoot a Jewish wedding, and oh my goodness, it did not disappoint!
I will try to capture what I experienced in words, although I am sure that what I say won’t bring complete justice. The predominant feature was the emotion woven into every part and detail of this February wedding. Joy. Joy was widespread. It reminded me of the oil described in the Old Testament of the Bible. Forgive me if I get the details wrong; I’m referring to the anointing type, with which people were smeared or had it poured over their heads as a sign of sanctification. It set them apart, and immense gladness accompanied it. Yes, this experience was like that. Couple-wise, Charmé and Jed are cut from a different cloth. It is on their faces, how they move, and how they interact with each other and with others. Their joy was tangible.
The setting was a glorious summer’s day at Belair, an intimate venue on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain in the Western Cape. I appreciate that this venue houses many alluring spots, thus ensuring added variety to your wedding day. Cheri and her team from 2iC Event Management took care of the details and provided a well-planned, seamless celebration.
We started with the Groom’s table, where all the fellows gathered to sing songs and share words from the Torah whilst Jed committed to the Ketubah in the presence of witnesses. Meanwhile, Charmé and the ladies prepared for the Bedeken, which is the veiling of the bride by her groom-to-be. Remember, this is the part of the story where Jacob was tricked into marrying his betrothed’s sister. So, to make sure that history did not repeat itself, Jed had a look to see who was beneath that veil. It was a moment jam-packed with emotion, and I was utterly moved by all the woman surrounding Charmé and their love, support, and the joy they experienced with her as the men approached.
Looking at Charmé, my heart strings tugged when I saw her looking at her man approaching. Ah! It was a beautiful moment.
After that, it was off to the chuppah, which technically is a four-pole structure or canopy that represents the home that they will share. In Jewish weddings, this is where traditional ceremonies take place. And again, the traditional acts within the chuppah were so heartfelt because Charmé and Jed knew that the ceremony was about not just them but their surrounding friends and family. Gosh! Did I mention how special this was to witness??
Ok, apart from not having photographed a Jewish wedding before, did I mention that I’ve never attended one? Let me confess, I had no clue what to expect from the horas, but it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! The energy, the togetherness, and again, the joy!
I am going to let the photos do the telling.
It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be part of your wedding, Charmé and Jed. The way you two wish to do life together is clear as day. With you surrounded by your family and friends, I foresee nothing but love and joy!
We learn either from others or from experience, and as now experienced in hosting a Jewish wedding, I posed these questions to the couple:
1. What did you love most about your wedding location?
We cherish most our surroundings of nature and lots of greenery from the setting. The venue is picturesque.
2. What was the biggest challenge in having a Jewish wedding?
It was finding a venue with various spaces for the different ceremony segments.
3. What memory from your wedding do you remember the most strongly? What part of the day had the most significant effect on you or your relationship?
We both took time to take in every wedding moment and can recall most of our wonderful day. When thinking, specific memories do pop up – the singing under the chuppah, the horas, the speeches and benching, to name a few.
4. The moment/s that made you laugh out loud?
When the Rabbi asked my dad, who is Afrikaans speaking, to please translate the section read in Aramaic. Also, Jed’s brother Ross forgot to introduce us at the reception and started with the proceedings while we were standing outside.
5. Any advice you would like to give couples planning their future Jewish wedding?
The most important part of the day is that the two of you have fun. The rest really doesn’t matter.
A wedding day is incomplete without the support of your loved ones and the vendor’s skill. A mention and big thank you to them for the following: