I never imagined having an Israeli wedding ceremony.
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In my head, I would get married at one of the beautiful wedding venues in Las Vegas (where I’m from). The Universe had a different plan for me and decided I was getting married at one of the beautiful wedding venues in Israel.
I’m not complaining.
Having an Israeli wedding ceremony was a lot of fun and an experience I will cherish forever. There were a few hiccups along the way – i.e., planning without my family, the language barrier, customs, finding a dress a week before (story below), and ultimately leaving behind the “traditional U.S. wedding traditions.” If you think having a wedding in Israel is similar to the U.S., think again.
Learning how to navigate planning a wedding and what the Israeli customs are can be a little challenging.
That’s why I’m writing this post – to give you the best wedding ideas.
I want you to know everything about an Israeli wedding ceremony so that you feel comfortable planning one for yourself. These eight amazing facts will help you navigate having a wedding in the holy land, and I hope you use this as your ultimate guide to finding wedding venues, wedding dresses, makeup artists, hairstylists, and understanding the customs and culture.
There are plenty of facts surrounding an Israeli wedding ceremony, but these are eight that I think are interesting. Plus, they might give you some excellent wedding ideas for your big day.
In no particular order
8 Amazing Facts to Know About Israeli Wedding Ceremony
- Food – The reception food is something I was told to focus heavily on when planning my wedding. I always wanted to have good food at my wedding, but wow, Israelis take tastings seriously here. Thankfully, our wedding venue had the most excellent chef who sat with us and explained the menu. We tried all the food around a month before the wedding and hand-selected which salads and entrees to include. I didn’t know this, but it is customary to come with your family to the tasting. Whoops – Dani and I feasted alone.
- Magnets – If you do not have magnets at your wedding, the guests will be very confused. No, seriously! I mentioned not having magnets at the wedding and I was quickly told that having magnets are a must. We used Shoko Magnetim and I highly recommend him for your wedding.
- The wedding ring must be solid – That’s right. No diamonds or anything fancy schmancy. “Usually, the ring is made of gold which carries monetary value and does not tarnish or attract dirt — a hope that the marriage too will be lasting and beautiful,” according to My Jewish Learning.
- Mikveh – The bride must go to the Mikveh before the wedding. Once you have opened a file with the Tzohar, you will be assigned a mandatory bridal counseling session. This session lasted for 2 hours, and we discussed everything you need to know about the Mikveh. The Mikveh can’t be skipped because the rabbi will ask to see the letter given to the bride from the Mikveh, and that same letter needs to be given to the Tzohar after the wedding. For more information about the Tzohar, check out this website
- Timing of the ceremony – I need multiple hands to count how many times people told us, “the wedding won’t start on time.” We had our wedding at sunset, meaning guests were asked to arrive around 6 pm for a 6:45 ceremony. The Rabbi kept us in check and on time because the timing of the ceremony dictates the day. According to the Jewish calendar, the days change once it’s sundown, and since we had already written in our Ketubah a specific date (before sunset), we had to stick with that time. If you’re worried your guests will be late, I recommend having a ceremony early in the day or later in the evening – you’ll avoid the conversation of “everyone shows up late.”
“Prepare for lots of hugs and kisses under the chuppah after the wedding ceremony.”
- The Chuppah – The Chuppah has its own symbolism and traditions, but an interesting fact I learned (at my wedding) is that the guests approach the Chuppah once the glass is broken. Prepare for lots of hugs and kisses underneath the Chuppah in Israel. I was very taken aback by this, but it gave me butterflies seeing all the guests approach us to congratulate my husband and I. What a special moment!
- It’s a party! No, really. Israelis know how to party. Unlike American weddings (no shame on American weddings), Israeli weddings are one big party. Everyone was on the floor dancing with us the whole night. The only time guests sat down was to eat – we didn’t hear one single speech. I kept asking everyone if this is what it’s like here, and YUP, Israelis can dance. Hire a good DJ and change your shoes to fist pump on the dance floor.
- Gifts – I had a hard time with this one as an American, and in fact, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the gifts. Gifts from guests are typically money to cover their meals. Israelis get overwhelmed when wedding season rolls around because they have to “pay” to attend a wedding. I know. Weird. On the one hand, you want to feel so grateful for the “gifts,” but on the other hand, guests are paying to attend your wedding. Unless some guests are generous with their “gift,” it doesn’t feel like much of a gift. I might get some backlash for this one, but I thought you should know. The American in me is still trying to process.
There are so many more facts, but these are my top eight that I believe are important to know. I wish someone broke it down for me like this when I was planning.
I purchased this book the minute I got engaged. It’s an easy guide that explains more of the Jewish wedding customs and traditions in depth. It helps with planning a Jewish Wedding.
Wedding Hairstyles and Makeup
Thanks to social media, this was relatively simple to find, especially when they post the best wedding hairstyle inspiration and videos of past clients to get an idea of the looks and styles.
My makeup artist, Limor, was so sweet and oh so talented. I usually hate getting my makeup done because I come out looking like a clown, but I was so happy with how my makeup turned out. It stayed on all night long, and I was sad to remove it at the end of the night. I Highly highly recommend Limor for your bridal makeup.
If you’re looking for a professional wedding hairstylist, Gal is amazing at what he does. I was blown away by how my hair turned out for my wedding. I did have a mini consultation with Gal a few weeks before the wedding to show him hairstyles I liked, and he knocked it out of the park! He nailed the look I wanted, and I got so many compliments on my wedding night.
You can go with so many different hairstyles, so I believe picking a professional hairstylist in Israel will help determine which look to go with.
Wedding Photographer & Videographer
I am so picky when it comes to photography – and videography, don’t even get me started.
Hiring a super talented, professional wedding photographer was a non-negotiable for me, and I spent hours researching and asking around.
We found Noam, our wedding photographer, through our wedding venue, and hiring him was one of the best decisions. After looking at his website, I knew I wanted him as our photographer. He photographed our engagement pictures, too.
No questions asked. Hire a professional wedding photographer, aka Noam, for your wedding.
Jackie, our wedding videographer, was recommended by Noam – FYI, everyone in Israel seems to know each other.
Anyways, Jackie is not only talented but funny, too! There’s nothing worse than being a serious wedding videographer on one of the most stressful days of your life. Jackie made us laugh, loosened us up, and partied hard with us at the wedding.
No questions asked. Hire Jackie as your wedding videographer.
Israel Wedding Venues
Today, we still say that having Noam and Jackie with us at the wedding was one of our highlights. They were fantastic to work with, and our videos and photos are the icings on the cake.
After research and a few tours of different wedding venues in Israel, we decided to go with Cassiopeia in Herzliya. Cassiopeia is a beautiful wedding venue located on the marina overlooking the ocean. The entire staff was so sweet and helpful from the minute we closed with them.
I might be biased, but this was one of the most amazing Israel wedding venues. It’s worth a visit if you plan on getting married in Israel.
Boy, oh boy, was this an adventure.
I first got my wedding dress when I was visiting Vegas, around five months before the wedding. We decided on having my family hand-deliver the dress when they visit instead of shipping it to Israel – lots of reasons for this.
When my dress arrived in Israel, it was two sizes too small. *sigh* We ordered the correct size, and I even lost weight from the initial size I had ordered. Very suspicious.
Surprisingly, I didn’t cry or lose my cool. I think I was baffled that something like this could even happen.
Anyways, I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason because I found the most amazing wedding dress a week before my wedding. I’m laughing as I type this because, wow, I found my wedding dress a week before my wedding.
Do I get an award or something?
Erna Benishu saved the day with her gorgeous customized wedding gown. If you’re planning on finding a wedding dress in Israel, Erna’s gowns are so beautiful. I tried on a few dresses in her studio and fell in love with the wedding dress I wore on the big day.
You can find her on Instagram here @roman_belavan – If you don’t find something you like, she can custom design any wedding dress for you.
Having a wedding ceremony in Israel was so beautiful. If you’re planning on getting married in the Holy Land, I hope these facts were helpful.
Before we go, I have one last thing to say, and that is MAZAL TOV! Your Israeli Wedding Ceremony will be amazing.
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