Bloomsbury Films Explains Key Jewish Wedding Rituals to Photograph

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There is a wealth of rich cultural traditions observed at Jewish weddings – Bloomsbury outlines the main reception rituals that the photographer needs to know about.

Bloomsbury Films

We hope that couples give our reception tips to their chosen photographer to ensure that every special tradition is captured to perfection

With leading experience immortalising the special moments at Jewish events, Bloomsbury Wedding Films advises expectant couples to describe the all-important reception rituals to the professional photographer they have hired, so that he/she is prepared to capture them effectively.

Once the couple has signed the ketubah, raised the huppah, exchanged rings, and stomped on the glass, the following rituals are crucial to have on film:

Challah Hamotzi

At the start of the sumptuous wedding banquet, the photographer must not miss the hamotzi (blessing) over the challah (beautiful braided bread which carries important symbolic meaning). This blessing is done by either the couple's parents or another honoured guest.

S'eudah Mitzvah

This part of the reception is all about feasting, with chicken and fish (both fertility symbols) always served. There will be an elaborate meal of kosher treats. Bloomsbury advises the photographer to take some intimate shots from various angles, but not too many as the guests will not want to dig in with abandon if they feel they are being caught on camera close-ups while eating.

The Hora

The Hora (chair dance) is one of the most fun parts, and no Jewish wedding is complete without it. Bloomsbury suggests the couple advise the photographer to be sure to capture the event from multiple angles - a few brave guests will hoist the bride and groom high above the crowd on chairs to the joyful sounds of "Hava Nagila". All the guests dance around the elevated newlyweds as they try not to fall down.

Mezinke Tanz (Krenzel)

If the photographer misses the Mezinke Tanz it would be catastrophic – this special tradition is one of the concluding dances of the night and also honours parents who have married off their last child. Often, a crown of flowers is placed in the mother's hair during the dance, hence it is also known as Krenzel (Yiddish for "crown"). The parents are seated on chairs in the middle of the dance floor while friends and family dance around and kiss them as they pass in front.

Birkat Hamazon

Bloomsbury advises that couples explain the key Birkat Hamazon (blessing after the meal) to the photographer so that he/she captures the reverential tone of the moment. This is the traditional way to end the dining festivities – booklets of prayers called benchers are handed out to guests. After the prayers, the seven wedding blessings are repeated. Then, a special blessing over the wine is recited as two glasses of wine are poured together into a third, to symbolise the couple starting a new life together as one.

Director of Bloomsbury Jewish wedding filming, Andrew Cussens, concluded: “There are many excellent photographers out there, but this does not necessarily mean they will do a good job in capturing all the symbolically beautiful ritual that a Jewish wedding entails. We hope that couples give our reception tips to their chosen photographer to ensure that every special tradition is captured to perfection.”

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Andrew Cussens
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