Jessica and Mark’s wedding took place on Jessica’s family farm and was the perfect combination of a Traditional, Outdoorsy, Modern Jewish Wedding. They describe the style of their wedding as, “silk dresses and bare feet.”Jessica explains,
We knew we were going to have a Jewish wedding, and that meant (for us) a traditional wedding. But even when you are having a traditional wedding, it is important to think about the traditions. At its best, a traditional wedding is not an excuse to just do things automatically — every tradition (large and small) is imbued with centuries of meaning, and also with the unique personalities of the families, and the bride and groom, who are celebrating. Our families are really mixed and include orthodox, conservative, and non-practicing Jews, as well as non-Jews. So we wanted it to be a traditional ceremony, but we also wanted it to reflect the fact that we are both very engaged with Judaism and in a constant state of exploration.”
Jessica did a mikvah ceremony at a small lake up in the woods.
It was magical — and (given that you are supposed to see something beautiful as soon as you exit the water) I got to walk back to the main area through fields alive with birds and flowers.”
In classic Modern Jewish Wedding style, the two said the inspiration for their wedding was,
The farm, our families, and us. We wanted something that was true to ourselves and who we are — and that meant being maybe a little less traditional than some in the family might have hoped for, and a lot more traditional than others would have expected. We wanted people to think, and smile, and dance a LOT.”
The couple had a lot of help and did a lot of DIY projects.
We painted Mason jars to put candles in on the tables, and we made what turns out to have been one of our best decisions: NO FLOWERS. They are expensive and ecologically wasteful. Instead we put big bowls of fruit on every table! They were beautiful, and as the party progressed and people were drinking they were available for late-night snacks. The next morning there was only a tiny bit left over.”
For the ceremony itself, Jessica’s aunt organized wildflower picking (with many of the kids in attendance) from around the farm. Not only did it let the kidsfeel like they were helping in creating the wedding space but also, the couple knew every flower that surrounded them was picked with love by their friends and family. Mark describes his favorite wedding project,
Perhaps best of all was that we made the chuppah frame ourselves — Jessica’s mother, aunt, stepfather, and Mark cut down the trees, stripped the bark, and built it with their bare hands. We still have a branch, and the frame itself is still on the farm, now living in a grove of azaleas and rhododendrons — we are going to put a bench under it this summer. In addition to the chuppah, the canopy was hand woven by Jessica’s mother who weaves tapestries on a traditional Greek loom. It has little threads of gold running through it and is one of our prized possessions. It was made with so much love, and it was so wonderful having it over our heads during this special moment.”
We, and our families, along with a spectacular MOH, actually did almost everything. We hung the lights on the reception tents, put together the fruit bowls, made the table cards — we even used little containers of the maple syrup that we make on the farm as place cards (one of the cousins filled specially-sized containers for us during sugaring season!). It WAS all a lot of work, but it meant that every part of the wedding reflected us.
Oh yes! After a long hora, one of our friends performed a belly-dance for us! We’ve spent a lot of time in the Middle East, and that is where we met quite a few of our friends, so we knew there was going to be a lot of dancing to Arabic music. It was a perfect transition into a long evening of dancing, and drinking, and joy!”
Jessica’s three words of advice for future Modern Jewish Brides,
Let. It. Go.”
Vendor Resources: Photographer: Two Sticks Studios