At least one person who counts wanted to see pictures from the wedding I was at in Cleveland last weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a lot of great shots: By the chupah, a few good friends sat up high to the right to have a better view and be a bit closer; but the photographer felt it was a great angle as well, and stood in our way - and by then, it was too late to move.
These first couple pictures are from the chosson's tish (anyone have a good translation/explanation?), where I and another good friend signed the kesubah (marriage contract), and the badekin, where the groom places a veil over his wife-to-be before the chuppah (wedding ceremony). That's me leaning over the kesubah, being shown where and how to sign; and the first moments where he sees her at the badekin, after not having seen her for a week, as many have the custom to do.
After those was the chupah; here are a couple pics from there. As I said, I couldn't get too many good shots. The chupah itself was gorgeous - I've never been to a wedding in this shul before, which is odd, as a lot of Cleveland weddings are there; but then again, I'm almost never in Cleveland.
I noted to a couple of friends how nice the wedding was - and at a fraction of the costs of a "New York" wedding. New Yorkers haven't yet grasped that simple is beautiful, and that the joy and simcha of a wedding is ultimately decided by the people who are there, not the number of pieces you have in your band. Almost as if to prove this point, my friend decided on a klezmer band for the wedding.
That's right: A klezmer band. (Okay, so he pushes things a bit. You have to know them a bit to understand...)
And they were great - everyone had a great time, and was dancing the entire time. There was no complaining that you couldn't hear anything; there was no need for earplugs; and you could come up with shtick without having to yell "WHAAA?!!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!! JUMP ON TOP OF HIM!? KNEE HIM IN THE BACK!? WHY??" the whole time. I like the bubbles in this picture - they give it a little extra. Oh yeah, they looked good, too. And of course there's the Groovin' jumping, which Serach or someone got a cool shot of, if only because it's so typical Groovin'.
Most of all, everyone had fun. The best weddings I've been to were never the fancy ones, never the ones with the high-priced bands, never the overdone dragged out ones. They've always been the ones where people are there because they want to be there; not because they feel obligated to because someone felt obligated to send them an invitation even though they're not really friends. At this wedding, if you were there, you were there because you wanted to be there. I really liked this picture of all the guys from our class who were able to make it, though my friend has a better one where none of the faces (like mine, center) aren't blocked. Ah well.
Serach even liked this picture of her from near the end of the wedding with the kallah (bride). She was happy to come to this wedding: Normally, she wouldn't be too excited to come to a friend of mine's wedding - even if she knows the guy, she doesn't know the girl. With this wedding, we had had the privelige of having the extremely sweet and classy Mrs. stay at our apartment a few times while she was engaged. One Friday, someone else cancelled about 1.5 hours before Shabbos. I called Groovin' (the groom), as I knew he'd been looking for a place for her to stay for Shabbos. She left Stern right then and made it with about 1/2 an hour left to Shabbos - and we had a great time. It is when she was here that we had a Friday night meal that lasted over 5 hours, too. For an example of just how classy she is, how many guests not only constantly thank you for the opportunity to come (unnecessary); but also keep bringing gifts (really unnecessary, especially for a young couple about to get married), do favors, buy you a really nice - and not too cheap - gift, and (nicest of all) write a handwritten thank-you letter and send it?! And mean it?
Anyways, they're married, and happy, and we wish them all the best. They're a great - and hilarious - couple, and we'll miss them. I'm sure we'll have many good opportunities to see them even as we live in different cities, but we'll still miss that floating mass of dirty-blond hair jumping up and down outside and that, "Sit up straight, Groovin'". And lots of other things I can't or won't say. ;)
Mazel Tov guys!