Sneak Peek- Ben and Hinda- Tenafly NJ Wedding Photographer

Next up is a joyful and traditional (AND SO FUN!) Modern Orthodox wedding… featuring Ben and Hinda!

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The bride and groom met a few years ago and fell in love, and it got very serious very quickly. Ben was in rabbinical school, and Hinda just wasn’t quite ready to get married. The connection was strong, but the timing just wasn’t right. Then, they reconnected in January, and Ben realized he had loved her the entire time… and she realized how very much she loved him too!

Their spring was a whirlwind of engagement excitement, wedding planning, and a job interview process for Ben in a synagogue in Australia! Which he LANDED because he is AWESOME and spiritual and kind and fun… and Hinda is funny and adventurous and wonderful, which means she will be an AWESOME rabbi’s wife… you know, one who expands her yoga practice in all new ways in Sydney, helps build community, and pretty much rocks at life in general.

When it comes to major life changes, they are definitely on the “go all in” plan! However, the wedding was not just a celebration of their love and commitment to each other. It was also a chance to see, connect and party with all of their friends and family before their big move, which will be here before you know it.

Hinda got ready with a little help from her mom and her sister.

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Meanwhile, Ben was at the groom’s tisch, where the men gathered to eat, drink, pray and look over the ketubah.

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Tom Nycz, my second, did an amazing job capturing some very meaningful moments.

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Meanwhile, Hinda was in the other room for the kabbalat panim, which translates to literally to “greeting faces.” The bride sits up on a podium with her mother and sister (plus, in this case, with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law) and greets the guests as they arrive.

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I mean, people actually gasped when they saw the bride; she looked THAT beautiful.

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There was much laughter, tears of happiness and singing. Then the singing got even louder, because the men were on their way!

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Ben was escorted by his and Hinda’s dads as the men danced and sang behind him. The energy in the room was incredible as he approached the ladies for the bedecken. This is a special moment for the bride and groom to see each other up close before the bride’s veil is lowered for the ceremony, and it’s one of my favorite parts of a traditional Jewish wedding.

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The bride and groom got special blessings from their parents, and then it was off to the library to sign the ketubah and put on Ben’s kittel, which is a white garment for grooms. The white color symbolizes purity, new beginnings and equality with the bride. (Fun fact: Because couples are ideally supposed to marry for love- as Ben and Hinda did- not for possessions, kittels don’t have any pockets. Cool, no?)

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The bride and groom are technically married once the ketubah is signed, but of course, the chuppah ceremony comes next!

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Some of Ben and Hinda’s friends not only joined in the blessings, but they spontaneously rushed the chuppah and danced and sang with the couple and their parents and siblings. As one of Ben’s friends descended the stairs to return to his seat, I heard him say with a smile, “That’s never happened before!”

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The bride’s brother sang next, followed by a beautiful and moving musical selection by a cantor who knows the couple well.

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Speaking of singing, Ben and Hinda raced back down the aisle surrounded by a throng of happy wedding guests, singing as loud as can be, dancing them straight through the venue to the yichud room where they spent a few moments alone.

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We took some portraits before, some after and some before the party…

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The party was amazing! Hinda told me in one of our first email exchanges that dancing at weddings is kind of her thing, so I’m so glad that she had such an enthusiastic crowd surrounding her in the ballroom.

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This crowd is just the ladies’ side! There were about 150 men dancing on the other side of the dividers.

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Before long, the men carried Ben over to our side of the ballroom so Ben and Hinda could go up in the chairs. Then, the guests did their best to entertain the bride and groom with their best dance moves, funny signs, gymnastics and general hilarity. This was the best horah schtick I’ve seen so far in 2015!

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Then the bride and groom’s friends crowd-surfed them over to the sweetheart table where they stood around clapping and singing. Do you see the theme? (Lots of joy, lots of singing!)

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Meanwhile, this is what was happening on the men’s side of the dance floor. That is Ben leaping over four very trusting gentlemen.

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Not to be outdone, that is the bride’s brother leaping over SIX people laying on the dance floor. I wish I could take credit for these shots, but the accolades all go to Tom. Meanwhile, back on the ladies side…

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Someone made a jumprope out of napkins! Why not?

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Then it was time for more toasts, including a hilarious impression of Ben’s Morris dancing hobby.

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As the evening drew to a close, the guests gathered to say grace after the meal. It’s a time to pray, to say thank you, to be together in fellowship and be sustained. For the second time that day, the sheva brakhot, the seven nuptial blessings, were recited, thanking the ruler of the universe for wine, creation, humanity, humanity in the image of G-d, joy through children, new beginnings, and happiness for the union of the bride and groom.

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The wedding day was both serene and cacophonous, holy and hilarious, joyful and just a little bittersweet as this couple prepares to move to the other side of the world. One of my favorite writers recently referred to marriage as both “an adventure and a comfort.” My hope for you, Ben and Hinda, is that it will always, always be both. I join your guests, family and friends in wishing you nothing but the best on your adventures yet to come.

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