“Yichud”: A Good Idea for Everyone

January 26th, 2015
This couple spent time alone in the woods after their ceremony.  Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

This couple spent time alone in the woods after their ceremony. Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

There is a lovely Ashkenazi Jewish custom called yichud that I think every couple getting married could benefit from.  Yichud translates roughly as “togetherness.”  It is a time after the wedding ceremony–15 or 20 minutes–when the couple goes alone to a room and no one is allowed to intrude. You can find more on the tradition here, if you’re interested.

I think it’s a great idea at any wedding.  At a lot of weddings, the bride(s) and/or groom(s) are so busy greeting their guests and taking part in all the events of the reception that they barely have time to look each other in the eyes and say, “Wow, we’re married now.”  They also never have time to eat, so a little seclusion can do double duty, if the caterer is alerted in advance to the need for a plate of appetizers in the room.

At some weddings, a guard stands outside the couple’s room to keep everyone out.  Sometimes this is a serious job if a guest thinks this would be a good time to hug the bride.  More often, the guard is ceremonial–or sometimes humorous, armed with squirt guns or some similar thing.

Of course, not every venue has a room suitable for a little seclusion, but if your venue has a bride’s room or some other usable room, think about taking advantage of it.  Make sure the room is available; account for the time in your wedding schedule; alert your caterer to the need for some food and drink; ask an usher or another friend or relative to guard the room; and you’re all set.

A Forest Preserve Wedding

January 19th, 2015

Here is a link to the photo page from this wonderfully unique wedding in the forest preserve last summer.  Click on the photo for the rest of the images from the day.

This is just a taste.  Click here for the full set of photos.  Photo by Allison Williams Photograpy.

This is just a taste. Click here for the full set of photos. Photo by Allison Williams Photograpy.

Who is Your Officiant?

January 12th, 2015
Your officiant is a very important choice in wedding planning.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Your officiant is a very important choice in wedding planning. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

One of the most important decisions you will make when you are planning your wedding is who will officiate at the ceremony.  After all, the ceremony is the main event and the officiant is a key participant.  So, what are your options and how do you decide?

If you’re getting married in a religious institution, the officiant probably comes with the location.  That is one way to make the decision easy.  When the wedding is at the synagogue where you are a member, the rabbi is going to be there.  When the wedding is at a church you think will be a great backdrop for your photos, the services of the local pastor or priest are probably offered, as well.

But what if you are getting married on the beach or in a back yard or at a cultural institution?  Then there are lots of other options.  You could ask the pastor of your church or your rabbi to officiate, or you could find a local religious institution that can send an officiant.  You can hire an officiant or celebrant who specializes in weddings.  You can ask a friend to get credentials and officiate at your wedding.

Each of these options has both advantages and drawbacks.  Hiring someone for the occasion gives you a lot of flexibility and generally ensures professionalism, but it means you are working with someone who doesn’t know you.  Asking a friend can make for a very personal wedding, but you  have to also trust that the friend will do a good job.  As with everything else in wedding planning, there are options and there are trade-offs.  Think about what works best for you.  And ask your planner or coordinator if you need help.

Photos from Adler Planetarium Wedding

January 5th, 2015

I just added photos from a summer wedding at the Adler Planetarium to my Photo Galleries.  If you click on the photo below, you’ll be taken to the whole series.  Victoria Sprung got some marvelous images!

Adler Planetarium Wedding.  Courtesy of sprungphoto.com.

Adler Planetarium Wedding. Courtesy of sprungphoto.com.