“The entire sum of existence, is the magic of being needed by just one person.” – Vi Putnam
When we met with Marni and Armand, we knew they were the perfect match – not just for each other, but the perfect match for us, too! They are exactly the kind of people that we LOVE working with – fun, laid back, happy, and completely in love. From the way they described it, we had a feeling that their wedding day would be pretty epic, but considering that it would be our first time shooting an Orthodox Jewish wedding, we really didn’t know what to expect; but, it ended up being an absolutely amazing 100% action packed day full of love and laughter, and we learned A LOT, too! :)
Both the ceremony and the reception were at the magnificent Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo, so Ben and I got to start out the day in the same place. That doesn’t happen all too often, but we love when it does! I started out the day in Marni’s room, photography all of her marvelous details. The dress, the shoes, the jewelry – everything she chose was absolutely STUNNING! Love, love, LOVE those earrings….love them and want them!I’m really in love with the shot of Marni’s grandmother seeing her in the dress – what a beautiful moment! Meanwhile….Ben was hanging with Armand, and grabbing some shots of him getting ready. ;) Then, we all headed down to the lobby of the Hyatt for a quick “first look!” The shots of Marni with the hand held personal fan absolutely crack me up. It was HOT that day, but she had her heart set on walking around downtown for their couple’s session, so she came prepared!! I don’t think we had to walk more than a block from the Hyatt. There were so many fantastic spots to shoot right there!! Gotta love the awesomeness of downtown Buffalo, and these two photograph so beautifully together. Seriously…aren’t they a gorgeous couple? ;)
After the portrait sesh, we headed back inside so Marni could prepare for the Bedeken ceremony. This was the first Bedeken we’ve ever seen, and it was awesome. I’m guessing that if it was the first one we’ve ever seen, then a lot of our usual blog readers probably won’t know what’s going on here, so I’m going to try to explain the best I can (although, I’m certainly no expert)! All of the women went into one room where there were refreshments, and waited for Marni to make her entrance. A guitarist and trumpeter played music and she was escorted into the room by her mother and mother-in-law, and everyone clapped and cheered! It was super cool. ;)
Armand joined the Rabbis and all of the men in a separate room to sign the Ketubah. I’m not 100% sure what that is, but I think it’s kind of like a Jewish marriage contract. After the signing, the musicians played music and a group of the men (Armand, his groomsman, the Rabbis, his father, and father in law) danced into the room that Marni and the women were in! Armand gave his bride a kiss on the cheek, and then he lowered her veil. I’m pretty sure the whole purpose of the Bedeken is so that the groom can check out the bride and make sure he’s marrying the right girl. How do I know that? Google said so. I LOVE that last shot of Marni walking out of the room next to her father – so cute!
Then, it was time for the wedding ceremony!!
One part of the ceremony that I thought was really cool, was when Marni walked around Armand seven times to symbolize Joshua circling the walls of Jericho seven times until they fell down. The tradition is, that after the bride circles the groom seven times, the walls between them will fall and their souls will be united. Such beautiful symbolism!
After the ceremony, there was an awesome cocktail hour, and then the newlyweds were introduced into the ballroom, and went right into the Hora! We’ve seen many a Hora, but this one was off the charts! There was a big dancing circle (below) where the bride and groom sat in chairs and people would come out into the circle and bust a move for them…it was AWESOME. People were just letting it all go and dancing with passion and fervor…there was even a handstand! The shot of the Rabbi with his arms spread open toward Marni and Armand, captured in a moment of jubilation, is probably Ben’s favorite dance floor shot he’s ever taken…EVER. He loves it. :) Then, some cake cutting, wonderful speeches, and first dancing… …aaaaaaand an action packed dance floor! Marni and Armand booked one of our very favorite wedding bands, Twilight – they kept the party rockin’ all night long! If you’re looking to book a band that is guaranteed to amaze and entertain, this is the one you want!! :) Another “first” for us that night was seeing the traditional “mizinke” dance, in which the parents are honored for marrying off their last child. Marni was the last of her siblings to get married, so her parents got to wear crowns and have everyone dance around them in a circle and offer their congratulations. It was pretty cool to see. :) It was such a fun, action packed night, but we did finally manage to grab M + A for a few quick night shots. This one, shot by Ben, was one of my favorites. :)
Marni and Armand – being a part of your wedding day was a huge honor for us! We enjoyed every moment of it, and we’re so, so thankful to have met two such wonderful people! You guys are THE BEST! Much love to you both! – J + B :)