Jewish Weddings, laden with “tradition” were once Something Old…now they’re Something New!

By Michael Pasternak, founder of The Amazing Bottle Dancers,

After attending countless weddings and Bar Mitzvahs – and noticing a cookie-cutter sameness to them all – I faced a dilemma… My production company had a worldwide reputation for creating some of the most memorable corporate events in the industry, but how could my bride and I make our own wedding unique? We’d planned a very modern affair, but something was missing – a touch of tradition reminiscent of the Old Country.

This led to an evening filled not only with beautiful symbolism, but something even more romantic than we imagined. The good news is, for your special day, it doesn't have to be either-or. You can hire the hottest contemporary band or DJ, and include a few touches of tradition as well.

In olden days after the Sabbath ended, villagers escorted the bride and groom to the ceremony carrying candles, magically lighting their path. We recreated this wonderful tradition for the short walk from the cocktail reception to the outdoor ceremony. It was breathtaking, and seemed to connect everyone as well.

For our Wedding March, we’d always wanted Pacabel’s Canon, but after months of ‘crashing’ weddings to check out halls and vendors, we quickly got Paco-Belled out! So, we took another page from the Old Country, where Klezmer musicians always led the wedding procession.

As everyone sat waiting for the ceremony, the unmistakable sound of the clarinet, violin, accordion, and bass fiddle filled the air. The joyous music had the bridal party walking down the isle with big smiles as the guests clapped in time. What a difference from Pacabel’s formal, graduation-like march… It was truly a celebration! It was perfect. It was different. It was us.

Following the musicians were four Chuppah-holders. Instead of a preset gazebo, we opted for a tallis (prayer shawl) held up by four poles artfully twined in flowering vines… another throwback to the weddings of our ancestors!

Finally, we wanted something extra-special – an unexpected spark and a touch of fun – as a prelude to our wedding hora. The Amazing Bottle Dancers were born.

This old-country wedding tradition – dancers balancing bottles of wine atop their hats in a cross between Zorba, the Greek and Cirque Du Soleil – truly dazzled the guests. What a hora it was! What a wedding it was… a day we will never forget.

Make sure your special day, regardless of your culture, is everything you want it to be. Fill it with beauty, romance and love… And by the way, a little tradition never hurts!