Joe and Sarah were married at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, a gorgeous lakeside oasis in CT. They blended traditional Jewish wedding customs with their own personal touches to make a unique and memorable day. Chris and I had never photographed a Jewish wedding before, and there were so many customs and traditions to learn about! Joe and Sarah were so wonderful, walking us through everything and helping us learn. We’re so excited to share these photos with you all, and share some of the customs we learned about as well!
We started our day with a first look, which is becoming more common at many weddings, but is certainly not a tradition yet. As you all know, we love first looks! It was perfect for Joe and Sarah’s day, which was filled with so much energy, and gave them a chance to have a private quiet moment before the fun began. We walked the beautiful grounds of the retreat center, capturing their excitement and anticipating for the day ahead.
I absolutely love the way he looks at her!
After their first look and some photos, Joe and Sarah separated and each had their own Tisch before their wedding ceremony. During the Tisch, their family and friends surrounded them while singing, all the while picking up speed and volume during the hour. During this time, their Ketubah, Shtar and Tenaim were signed by friends. The first document that was signed was the Ketubah, which is the legal marriage document that traditionally is signed by two male witnesses.
Joe and Sarah added a personal touch to their Tisch ceremonies by creating a document called a Shtar. This was written by both of them, and also signed by male and female friends during their Tisch. The last document to be signed during Sarah’s Tisch was the Tenaim, a legal engagement document – right after the document was signed, Joe and Sarah’s mothers broke a plate with a hammer. This is a tradition that affirmed Joe and Sarah’s commitment to one another.
At the end of their Tisch ceremonies, Joe and Sarah were danced into a meeting room in the middle for their b’deken. This was the first time they would see one another once wedding ceremonies had begun, and gave them a chance to exchange a few words before their ceremony began. Traditionally during this ceremony, the groom veils the bride – Joe and Sarah added their own twist to this by also having Sarah put a white overcoat on Joe. Their family and friends were so energetic and excited during the b’deken, the floor was shaking under foot! Joe and Sarah were each lead away as family and friends went down to be seated for the ceremony.
Joe and Sarah’s ceremony was held at the edge of the lake, under a chuppah that Joe himself had helped to create. One of my favorite parts about their ceremony was how involved their friends and family were. Seven guests were called upon to recite a blessing, and there were many points during the ceremony that their family and friends erupted into dancing. There were numerous points when Joe and Sarah put their own spin on a traditional Jewish ceremony, by both exchanging rings and reading their Shtar to their guests, affirming their commitments to one another.
At the conclusion of their ceremony, friends and family erupted into some of the most energetic dancing we’d seen yet, completely surrounding Joe and Sarah. They danced them all the way to a room where they could have a brief moment of alone time, and two of their friends guarded the door (another Jewish tradition!)
This was the end of the ceremony, and guests began to filter in to the huge white tent for the reception. The rest of the night was filled with heartfelt toasts, delicious food, and a lot of dancing. I’ve never seen so much dancing at a wedding, and all of it so energetic!
We ended the night with a little surprise that was one of our favorite parts of the day! Joe and Sarah had rehearsed special performances for one another, involving (you guessed it) some spectacular dancing!
Congratulations Joe and Sarah!
Wedding Dress Designer: BHLDN
Groom’s Apparel: Bonobo’s
Makeup Artist: Adela Feratovic
Hair Stylist: Gadeer Nofal
Florist: Lily and Vine
Venue: Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
Wedding Planner: Detaille Weddings and Events