Thursday, March 7, 2013

From Miss to Mrs: Circle to Ceremony

Before I really start into our wedding ceremony, I wanted to give you some background on how it all came together. First, about a year ago, I wrote this post about how we were having trouble finding a rabbi to marry us. Funny enough, one of the comments on that post shows were we got the lead to our rabbi. We actually had a rabbinical student marry us. One who was a friend of a friend, and someone I had actually been facebook friends with for several years without ever meeting.

Since our wedding was her first wedding, she didn't have a set ceremony she was set to use. Instead when we met, she brought an outline of a general reform ceremony. To that same meeting I brought my copy of Celebrating Interfaith Marriages by Rabbi Devon A. Lerner. I let her borrow it for a week, and once the week ended she tracked down and bought her own used copy of it. In the weeks leading up the the wedding, I used her standard reform ceremony, CIM, as well as Anita Diamat's The New Jewish Wedding to draft our ceremony, getting assistance by the boy and our Rabbi along the way.

Before we were married, I was never a huge fan of reading others' ceremony posts. Even now, I find many of them to be a bit to word-y for my tastes. So while I'd love this post to help and inspire someone writing their own wedding ceremony, I'm really writing this more for myself, to help remind me how much work I put into our marriage ceremony, as well how proud I am of how well it turned out.

Now going back to the ceremony, as I reached the end of the aisle, with Somewhere Over the Rainbow still playing, I started to walk circles around the boy.
The circles are an old Jewish custom that symbolize the new relationship, where the bride and groom become the center of the others lives. The circle is also supposed to create an invisible wall to protect the new relationship from evil spirits. Traditionally, the bride circles the groom 7 times.
Except as women have worked for equality it is now longer just the bride who walks circles around her husband to-be.
Instead after I made 3 circles, the boy followed by 3 of his own.
From there we made 1 circle jointly, reaching the traditional number of 7 circles together.
Once our 7 circles were complete, together we entered the chuppah with our rabbi.
Rabbi: We are here at a time of joy to celebrate The Boy and Shoshanah's love and the commitment they're making to each other in marriage. They stand under a chuppah which you see here. It represents the promise of the home they will create together. It's four sides are open, symbolizing the importance of community in their lives. You're all sitting in front of this chuppah, because it is important to Shoshanah and The Boy that you're a part of their home and hold a place in their lives. All chuppahs are special, because of their symbolism, because of the home it represents, but this one holds even more significance because it was made by The Boy and his family.
Today, Shoshanah and The Boy have chosen to enter into the sacred bond of marriage. To begin their new life together, they will be merging their separate individual lives, their diverse families, and their different faiths to join each other side by side.
Let us join in the Shehecheyanu, a prayer of gratitude, praising G-d for bringing us to the sacred moment.

Shoshanah: Baruch Ata, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech Ha-olam, shehecheyanu, vekiyemanu, vehigi-anu lazeman hazeh.
The Boy: Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this joyous time. (We had a mild moment of confusion here, since while we knew what was supposed to be said, we weren't sure how to say it. After years of Hebrew school and Jewish holidays where the Shehecheyanu is said, I had my part memorized. The boy on the other hand did not, and I never even thought to tell him to memorize it. What happened then, is that I said most of the Hebrew prayer with our Rabbi, while the boy somewhat repeated the English translation after the rabbi.)

If you're already married, how much of your ceremony did you help write, if any at all? Or in general, are you a fan of reading wedding ceremonies?

All photos in this post courtesy of Sabree Hill Photography.

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper
From Miss to Mrs: Gifting the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Night
From Miss to Mrs: Oh What a Beautiful Morning
From Miss to Mrs: Getting Prettified
From Miss to Mrs: Prepping the Plantation
From Miss to Mrs: Turtle Time
From Miss to Mrs: The Photographer Has Arrived
From Miss to Mrs: Becoming the Bride
From Miss to Mrs: Dress Details
From Miss to Mrs: Ou Est le Groom?
From Miss to Mrs: A Bridge-y First Look
From Miss to Mrs: Couple Time
From Miss to Mrs: Just the Two of Us
From Miss to Mrs: Grouping the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: Ain't No Party Like a Bridal Party
From Miss to Mrs: Fun with Family
From Miss to Mrs: Making it Official
From Miss to Mrs: The Bedeken
From Miss to Mrs: The Final Minutes
From Miss to Mrs: Programming Break
From Miss to Mrs: The Processional
From Miss to Mrs: Walking the Walk


  1. Your ceremony pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

  2. have you ever heard of pictures not being allowed during a ceremony? that's what my brother's rabbi wanted. there was a moment where she completely embarrassed me as I reached for my camera to get it ready to get a picture of my brother breaking the glass. she told me "not yet, I know it's tempting, but not yet" in the middle of everything. ugh!

  3. We wrote our own ceremony. I loved how we were able to make it really our own.
    I'm loving the recaps and all the pics!

  4. I've never heard of the groom circling the bride - I love it! I may have to mentally remember that for myelf one day - although I am not sure if more traditional Rabbis are up on that!

  5. Beautiful ceremony and beautiful pictures.

  6. Can you tell I'm catching up on your blog. Since we too, had an inter-faith ceremony, we had to plan the entire thing. We got (officially) married by a Christian pastor friend of ours and Dave's Jewish uncle led the seven blessings and a few other parts of the ceremony. Maybe I will send you a copy of our wedding program since you might be interested.