We arrived at 6 p.m. in time for the Kabbalat Panim, a cocktail hour where the bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) greeted their guests separately (according to Jewish tradition, the chatan and kallah do not see each other for the week leading up to the wedding.) The kallah looked radiant in her wedding dress, and I could sense her overwhelming joy as she anticipated the ceremony and lifelong commitment she was about to make.
Throughout the ceremony, the chatan and kallah observed many traditional Jewish customs, including the Kiddushin (blessings of betrothal), reading of the Ketubah (marriage contract), and the Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings). I was especially moved when I saw the grandfather of the kallah walking toward the chuppah to give the First Blessing.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the chatan smashed the glass placed on the floor to symbolize that even amid great joy and celebration, we must remember the sadness surrounding the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. With shouts of "Mazel tov!" from the guests, the happy couple were wed!
Congratulations to the chatan and kallah! We were honored to share in your celebration, and we wish you a lifetime of good health, prosperity, and everlasting love!