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Jewish Weddings in South Florida

Posted on January 18, 2009

Michelle and Brian’s wedding at Boca Resort and Temple B’Nai Torah started with wedding photos at Boca Resort where Michelle and Brian each prepared for their walk down the aisle. The weather was pristine as we photographed both indoors and outdoors at this truly magnificent venue. It’s easy to find great spots to do wedding pictures at Boca Resort – its grounds are lush and the inside of the hotel is sleek and elegant.

Michelle and Brian planned a traditional Jewish wedding in Boca Raton that was held at Temple B’Nai Torah. Anybody who has been following my blog has probably noticed that YES – I do photograph many Jewish weddings here in South Florida. Florida, specifically South Florida has the 3rd largest Jewish population in the country behind New York and California. I have much experience photographing Jewish weddings, as I was a wedding photographer in Los Angeles for many years before moving to South Florida – not to mention, I had one myself!

Since this wedding was so beautiful and full of tradition, I thought it would be fitting to explain some of the cultural aspects of a Jewish wedding, as displayed in these photographs from Michelle and Brian’s wedding.

First, there is the veiling of the bride, or the “badecken.” In a nutshell, this is done as a reference to a Biblical story about Jacob who was apparently “tricked” into marrying the wrong girl. To insure that this crazy mishap does not happen, the groom “checks” to be sure that it is the right girl before her veil is lowered over her forehead.

Once it is assured that the correct girl is there, the bride and groom prepare to sign the Jewish marriage license, or the “ketubah.” This used to be a binding legal document back in the day, however, today it is considered merely a spiritual decree expressing a couple’s commitment to the marriage. Ketubah’s are also considered works of art and each one is unique, as they can be custom designed with the bride and groom’s specific information written into the document. They can be as colorful or plain as the bride or groom desire.

If you browse through this website, you will see many, many examples of one of the most obvious symbols of a Jewish wedding, the “chuppah.” The chuppah symbolizes the couple’s new home. Traditional chuppahs are created by suspending a “talit”, or prayer shawl” from four poles. The open sides are meant to welcome friends and family, with the talit as a reminder of the presence of God. In most South Florida Jewish weddings I have photographed, the chuppah also represents the tastes and preferences of the couple that shall stand beneath it. Many chuppahs are designed to be elaborate, almost showpieces, with many different kinds of flowers or textures such as Plexiglas or tree-like poles. Every time I photograph a Jewish wedding, I am eager to see what kind of chuppah the bride and groom have chosen – each one is so different and interesting! Benny of Daniels Events in Boca Raton designed Michelle and Brian’s chuppah to their specifications. Though inside, it was a stunning centerpiece that added a very “outdoorsy” feel to the ceremony site.

During the marriage ceremony, the rabbi initiates the “kiddush, ” or the blessing over the wine. Two cups represent the sanctification of the bethrothal and the marriage. The third cup is referred to as the cup of life. The sweetness of the wine represents the sweetness wished upon the couple (and boy is Manishewitz sweet!). Sharing the cup of wine symbolizes sharing whatever the future holds, whether bitter or sweet.

One of the most familiar customs of a Jewish wedding is the breaking of the glass at the conclusion of the marriage ceremony. This distinctive custom represents the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. Today, interpretations include the fragility of human relationships and the beginning of new life and the dismissal of prejudice and ignorance. It’s a really neat way of ending the ceremony. Right after the breaking of the glass, the bride and groom kiss and then head back up the aisle as husband and wife.

At the start of the meal, there is a blessing over the “challah” bread which is usually recited by the oldest man in the family.

These are just some of the fascinating customs that occur during a Jewish wedding. There are many others, but each wedding is different and often the number and type of customs included depend on the religious level of the bride and groom.

I love photographing all types of weddings in South Florida and have also learned much about each ethnic groups religious customs and traditions. They are all so interesting!

Please go to: to see many examples of Jewish weddings that we have photographed in South Florida.

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