After a leisurely day of sightseeing, it was time for the event we came here for – to attend the wedding of a cousin – a young woman from London, Ontario – to a young man from Jerusalem.
To say this was the most beautiful, incredible wedding I have ever been to is an understatement. The weather was perfect. There are no pretences. Everyone was there to have a wonderful time and parents of the bride and groom, and immediate family, are there to ensure this happens.
Here is your experience: It is just before sundown. The guests begin to arrive outdoors. The weather is absolutely perfect. It is calm, no breeze and the temperature is comfortable. There is a stage covered with a chuppah (also spelled hupah, huppah, chupah, or chuppa) – the canopy under which a Jewish bride and groom stand during their wedding ceremony.
As North Americans, you arrive on time – the time given on the invitation. The Israelis arrive up to two hours late (apparently normal for wedding guests in Israel). But no worries. Food and drink are flowing – wine, hummus, fresh vegetables and so much more.
The bride and groom come out to greet their guests before the wedding and then leave again until the ceremony. Photographers call for family and friends to come in groups to have their pictures taken.
Then, it’s time for the wedding. As North Americans, you rush to the seats set up on either side of the white-draped walkway. You sit down for a minute, then realize that everyone is standing (and some are even having conversations in the distance, paying little attention to the couple or the ceremony).
The bride, groom, and Rabbi are under the chuppah as well as parents and siblings. Everything is said in Hebrew. Then comes the traditional smashing of the wine cup by the groom (with his foot) and he kisses his bride. You go up on stage to offer congratulations and go inside.
It is beautiful. Gorgeous. Sparkling lights with huge vases of tall, elegant flowers are on every table.
Don’t expect to sit down for long though. Two DJ’s are hovering above the dance floor in front of a screen projecting psychedelic colours and shapes throughout the night. The music is cranked up. A huge boom goes back and forth allowing guests to see what’s happening on the dance floor via video on the wall. The bridal families dance and are soon joined by many guests. The lights go up, and everyone sits down for the first course. The lights go down, and everyone returns to the dance floor to dance, and so it continues meal course after course, dance after dance, late into the night.
You wander outside later to get fresh air and walk by the bar laden with cakes and sweets and every dessert imaginable. After wine, drinks, dancing and festivities it’s time to call it a night.