The beauty of living in a multicultural democracy is that we get to experience common traditions and ceremonies which feel all the more fresh and new when viewed through a different cultural lens. The wedding ceremony, for example, has been interpreted in countless ways in a variety of cultures throughout the world. When two people who truly love one another come together, there are few things on the planet more beautiful. And all the nuances of tradition can come together like different kinds of seasoning on a dish that’s universally delicious.
For wedding photographers, however, as easy as it is to get lost in the romance and ceremony, it’s essential to always keep an eye on the ball. You should also plan your coverage based on your knowledge and understanding of the wealth of cultural traditions represented by your clientele.
Photographing Jewish weddings
When photographing an orthodox Jewish wedding, it’s important to be sensitive to the culture and traditions. These will play a huge role in the final results. We have years of experience covering Jewish celebrations in the US, Paris, and Israel. If you’re a wedding photographer who has yet to experience shooting a Jewish wedding, here are some useful tips…
Photographing the orthodox Jewish bride
When photographing the orthodox Jewish bride, it’s important to remember that modesty is paramount. Typically, the bride’s dress will cover her neck and her arms past her elbows. This will likely influence the poses into which you can arrange her. Above all remember that posing the women of the wedding party cannot be done by touching them. Use hand signals.
The 5 stages of a Jewish wedding
The better you know the 5 stages of an orthodox Jewish wedding, the better able you will be to service it. These consist of;
- Pre-reception portraits
- The reception
- The Chuppah
- After the Chuppah
- Dining and dancing
It’s best to arrive 2-3 hours before the reception to photograph the bride and her immediate family. Then move onto the groom and his immediate family.
Here the bride is escorted to her “throne by her mother and mother in-law while the groom is taken to a separate location. Following a few formalities, the bride and groom unite and the groom places a veil on the bride. Both fathers bless her and a procession is led to the Chuppah. Must have shots for the reception include;
- The bride entering the reception with her mothers.
- Family and friends surrounding the “throne”
- Men signing the marriage documents.
- Reading of the documents and the breaking of the plate.
- The placing of the veil
- The procession
The groom emerges with a white garment called a “kittle” and is blessed by the fathers. Around 15 people are given honours during this sacred and legally binding ceremony and you will need to capture it all.
Post Chuppah / dinner and dancing
After the Chuppah you will have an opportunity to take some photos of the bride and groom together.
To sum up, you’ll definitely want some shots of the first dance although you must not neglect the sacred blessing of the “challa” (ceremonial bread). After this you will have the opportunity to take some action shots of the dance. Following the dancing there will be a meal after which 7 key people will be given special honours. And you will be expected to capture them all.
Jewish Wedding Photography Toronto
So if you’re a member of Toronto’s Jewish community and are looking for a wedding photographer click here to check our availability. Please note that we can also cover Bar and Bat Mitzvahs!