Weekends are for weddings! If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is). Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding. Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for to wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular). It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone. I plan my wedding when inspiration strikes. Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment. In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!
might probably will be things only you notice. And that’s ok. Sometimes it’s those small details that really make it feel like your wedding.
- Unplugged – Once everyone was seated, we had our officiants make an announcement that the wedding was “unplugged.” I didn’t want to be walking down the aisle with a bunch of people leaning over to take pictures with their cell phones. Those pictures never turn out anyway and are usually discarded. More importantly, it’s a distraction and gets in the way of the photographer whose actual job it is to take pictures. We opted not to make a sign because 1) not everyone would see the sign whereas you can’t miss an announcement and 2) people may ignore the sign and take pics anyway, while an announcement may make them feel too guilty to do so.
- Yamulkes – Customized with our names and wedding date. If you’re Jewish, this is common, but it’s something that can be forgotten. I prefer the suede ones because I think they look nicer and the size doesn’t overwhelm the head. We had two Readers in our wedding party who also served as Greeters. One handed out the yamulkes while the other handed out programs, keeping everyone’s hands full and less awkward.
- Programs – While I am Jewish, the majority of our guests were not. Albert and I elected to have a predominantly Jewish wedding, presided over by a Rabbi as well as a Catholic friend who got ordained online to co-officiate. Since so many guests would be unfamiliar with the Jewish wedding customs, we explained them all in our program. That way, nobody was lost – they could understand the chuppah, the Seven Blessings, the breaking of the glass, and all the other traditions.
- Personalized Jewish Traditions – I wanted to make these ceremonial traditions feel a little more special
- Talit – One custom in a Jewish wedding is for the bride and groom to be wrapped in a talit. This seemed a little much for us, particularly as an interfaith couple, but we draped my father’s talit as well as the one I received as a bat mitzvah over the chuppah to symbolize this tradition. I like that we were metaphorically enveloped by family.
- Kiddush Cup – During a Jewish ceremony you drink twice from a kiddush cup so we decided to use one that had been in my family for years.
- HOT TIP: I was recently at a wedding where the wine the couple used was from a vineyard they intended to visit on their honeymoon. I’ve also heard of couples using the wine they tried on their first date. This is such an easy way to make them moment meaningful to you as couple.
- Rings – It is customary to be married in rings of solid metal, free of embellishments. This a) symbolizes an eternal, unbroken circle like the love of the bride and groom and b) with no embellishment there is no questioning it’s value (meaning I wouldn’t be swayed to say yes/no based on how fancy it looked). The wedding band Albert chose was solid metal; however, mine included diamonds so I needed to be married in something else. I wore my Grandpa Bert’s wedding band, which was solid gold, to honor his memory.
- Music – We had a violinist provide musical accompaniment during our ceremony. She was open to playing more modern music, which was fun. We chose the following songs:
- Prelude: A collection of songs of her choosing, including local favorites like “Moon River”
- Welcome (When the groom and groomsmen would get into position at the front rather than walking in the processional.): “Seasons of Love”, Rent
- Processional: “Halleluja”, Leonard Cohen
- Bridal Entrance: “Crazy Girl”, Eli Young Band
- Recessional: “G-d Only Knows”, The Beach Boys
- Confetti Toss – We didn’t want to do a sparkler exit from the reception. It would require stopping in the middle of the party to have everyone walk outside to send us off. It felt forced and we didn’t want the photographer to have to stay an extra hour to capture it. Also, we weren’t doing any sort of getaway car so it would be strange to be “sent off” only to get into the same shuttle bus as the rest of the revelers. Instead, we did a confetti exit from the Temple after the ceremony, before we headed to the reception. Basically, as the first to exit the sanctuary, Albert and I immediately walked around the building without anybody seeing us so we could then re-exit after everybody who was then waiting with confetti. I particularly loved that our “confetti” was actually dried lavender (smelled amazing!) that was handed out in paper cones made from book pages (Etsy), since reading was a recurring theme of the weekend.
Cocktail Hour and Reception
- Cocktail Napkins – Rather than putting signs on the bar to let people know our hashtag, we incorporated it into two different designs on custom cocktail napkins. We were going to do custom napkins anyway so this was a two birds/one stone situation. Also, we figured there was a better chance the hashtag would be seen and used if it was on several hundred napkins vs. on four signs.
- Guestbook – Instead of a traditional guestbook, we used a cookbook since we’re so into food. We had a sign on the table asking guests to write down their “recipe for a happy life” in the white spaces of the cookbook. Albert wins the prize for finding the best cookbook at Fish’s Eddy, aptly titled The Newlywed Cookbook. (Not only was that on-theme for a wedding, our hashtag was #Neulyweds.)
- Bar Decor – I made cork initials to sit atop the bar. These can be ordered off Etsy but way cheaper to order the initial frame and bulk cork off Amazon and DIY it.
- Drink Menu – Albert and I each chose a signature cocktail that we served during cocktail hour. Both drinks had a Southern Flair and incorporated our favorite flavors and nicknames. I actually made the menu myself by painting a cheap full length mirror (found at Bed Bath and Beyond) with chalkboard paint, writing the menu on top of it with white paint pen, and dusting the whole thing with chalk for an antique-y feel. The project actually didn’t take long, lent a personal touch to the evening, and only cost about $25 total – less than half of what a professional would have charged us.
- Cigars – During cocktail hour, the men were able to sit on the balcony and smoke cigars that were customized with our name and wedding date.
- Old – A Tiffany pearl bracelet I found at a consignment store
- New – All the bridesmaid bouquets were wrapped with monogrammed ribbon. Mine was monogrammed with my new initials.
- Borrowed – As mentioned, it is Jewish tradition to be married in a band made of solid metal with no embellishment. Using my Grandpa Bert’s wedding band served as my Something Borrowed.
- Blue – I changed into a pair of shoes at the reception that were silver to blue glitter ombre. Also, the groom and groomsmen wore blue suits.