Kitty and Craig Fritz from Twin Lens photography sent us some of the most elegantly captured images from Eleana and Avi's wedding day. They also included the significance behind a few of the traditions in the Jewish faith. We have a great interest in all customs and traditions of ceremonial marriages and so we are sharing a bit of what they told us and a little more from what we've read. This is the second part of Eleana & Avi's wedding day. If you missed part one, please click here to catch up with us!
From Kitty and Craig ...
Eleana and Avi chose the outdoor venue at the Allan Houser Compound south of Santa Fe, NM as their wedding site. The vast rural property honors the work of the accomplished Native American sculptor. His giant stone and bronze sculptures are installed throughout the sandy landscape among juniper bushes, yucca plants, blue sky and white clouds. Eleana and Avi have deep ties to Israel and the Middle East, and many of their guests traveled across the globe to celebrate their marriage. Eleana is the founder of a non-profit group that promotes democracy in Middle Eastern countries, and Avi has spent his career involved as an analyist of Middle Eastern politics. Their wedding day was a sequence of traditional ceremonies, although some of them were new to us despite having shot many Jewish weddings in the past. The following images highlight some of the many traditions we documented that day.
Chuppah: The Wedding Canopy
The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah, a canopy supported by four poles. The chuppah symbolizes the new home that Eleana and Avi will create as husband and wife. The four sides are open, recalling the tent of Abraham and Sarah, which was always open to visitors.
The Kiddushin: Betrothal
The first part of the wedding ceremony begins with the blessing over the wine, a traditional Jewish symbol of simcha (joy). Eleana and Avi will share their first cup of wine, symbolic of the joy they will share in their marriage. They then exchange rings.
The second part of the ceremony consists of the recitation of the Sheva Brachot, seven blessings. The blessings include a blessing over the wine, the creation of the world and for the bride and groom as individuals and as “beloved companions”, united in joy and gladness, laughter and song, dancing and jubilations, love and harmony, peace and friendship.
Breaking the Glass:
Following the Sheva Brachot, Eleana and Avi will once again drink from the cup of wine… Avi then breaks a glass with his foot. The custom of breaking the glass has many interpretations. A broken glass cannot be mended; likewise the promises made by Eleana and Avi are irrevocable. In this context, the glass is broken to protect the marriage with an implied prayer, “As this glass shatters, so may our marriage never break.”
After the bride and groom leave the chuppah, they spend a few minutes alone in seclusion known as yichud. These few moments will give Eleana and Avi a chance to relish the sanctity of their new life together.
We love that Kitty & Craig sent us this wedding! They have such an amazing talent for story-telling ...
And although we've included some of the basics of the age-old, traditional wedding rituals of the Jewish faith, telling the story of Eleana & Avi's wedding day really requires no words. Kitty and Craig's photographs have said it all. And that, my friends is an art that isn't just inherent. It's obtained through much trial and effort and a passion for what they do and love.
More of the Eleana & Avi's story to follow ...