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6/16/13: The Day They Said “I DO” (Hebrew Style)

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Sarah and Shai’s Wedding

After four yeas of friendship, four years of going through breakups and makeups together, four years of talking about finding the men of our dreams and getting married, my dear friend Sarah’s big day finally arrived, and I was so honored to share it with her and her wonderful new husband, Shai! I feel like we talked about this day for so long, and the fact that it has come and gone is quite surreal! Sarah is the first of my close, close group of friends to get married so this was a very big event for me!

The wedding weekend started with the obligatory Bachelorette party which was a great opportunity to meet wonderful girlfriends of Sarah from both Israel and abroad! It was amazing to kick back and enjoy a night with just girls for once, and it was equally exciting because it was a way to spend some quality time with Sarah before the big day! We laughed, drank, told stories, shared memories, gave rather inappropriate gifts (don’t worry I won’t put up photos!), and then participated in an informal Henna ceremony which was quite necessary considering that Sarah’s husband is Sephardic. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I had to work the next morning at 8am, and because I had just come from a cabaret show and was exhausted, I had to end the night after the Henna. I wish I could have stayed longer but I gave the bride-to-be a big hug and kiss, and said my goodbyes until the BIG DAY! There was also a Shabat Kalah (bride) with sarah and her female friends and family, but I had to work through the weekend (darn those bills to pay), so the next time I would see her would be at her wedding in Jerusalem.

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The bride-to-be and her Henna!

A picture with the soon to be bride!

A picture with the soon to be bride!

The girls at the Bachelorette party!

The girls at the Bachelorette party!

Love them!!!

Love them!!!

Getting good practice for when I have my own Sephardic wedding!

Getting good practice for when I have my own Sephardic wedding!

After a full weekend of work, including work on the day of the wedding (no one can say I’m not a dedicated employee), it was time to get ready for the wedding. After making several calls to Stephane to ensure that he would be on time (he has a tendency to be late…always     :-p), I left work, readied myself for the trip to Jerusalem, put on the most religious looking outfit I had (yes it was a religious wedding), met with Stephane, and then headed to the bus station to meet up with two other friends who were also attending. At 5:15pm the bus arrived, we boarded, and were on our way!

Stephane, Orlit, and me waiting for our bus!

Stephane, Orlit, and me waiting for our bus!

My lovey and me enjoying the ride to Jerusalem. It was good nap time!

My lovey and me enjoying the ride to Jerusalem. It was good nap time!

After an hour or so of traveling we arrived at the central bus station in Jerusalem, where we continued our journey by boarding the newly built “light rail” to take us near the event venue. The wedding was held at the Dan hotel on Mount Scopus, and going there brought back so many amazing memories of the time that I lived in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus, which is exactly where I met Sarah four years ago! It was so special to be back in Jerusalem that I found myself wondering why I don’t visit the city more often. We planned our arrival to coincide with the opening of the big buffet that happens before every Israeli wedding, and after a full day of not eating much I’m certainly glad we gave ourselves enough time to enjoy all of the delicious food before the ceremony! We were even lucky enough to run into the bride for a quick photo shoot! She looked absolutely glowing, and it took a lot of energy, and nervous looks from Stephane, not to start crying! He get’s very nervous when I cry 🙂 but I was so happy. I’m such a girl…

the GORGEOUS bride!

the GORGEOUS bride!

Watching one of my dearest friends get married on the arm of the love of my life! What could be better!

Watching one of my dearest friends get married on the arm of the love of my life! What could be better!

The Chupah

The Chupah

The breathtaking view from the Dan

The breathtaking view from the Dan

Who wouldn't want to be married with Jerusalem as their backdrop!

Who wouldn’t want to be married with Jerusalem as their backdrop!

Stephane REALLY liked the food!!

Stephane REALLY liked the food!!

When Orlit, Stephane, and I had eaten our fill, we took advantage of the beautiful scenery and took some photos before things got too crazy. Closer to the time of the ceremony it is customary for the Bride to wait inside on a big couch where friends and family could come to be blessed by her, so Orlit and I decided to finish our photo shoot, make our way to Sarah to receive our blessings, and give the bride one last hug and kiss before her big moment! Sarah bestowed upon me a beautiful blessing of a long, happy life, marriage to the man of my dreams, a beautiful family and kids we can raise together, and a prosperous life in ISRAEL (that part is key). She blessed me with such beautiful words, and I gave her one last kiss as my personal send off to the Chupah. Luckily, in terms of her blessing, I found the man already, and I’ve already decided to stay and have my family in Israel, so now I just need the wedding and the kids and BOOM, blessing fulfilled 🙂 But there’s time for all of that!

I really look religious here!

I really look religious here!

<3

Orlit and the view!

Orlit and the view!

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We had to get the pool in the background

We had to get the pool in the background

BISOUS! It was a wedding, what do you expect!

BISOUS! It was a wedding, what do you expect!

At around 8:45pm it was time for the wedding to begin. We took our seats, settled in, and readied ourselves for the big show. I already knew months ago the song that was going to be used as the bride and groom walked down the aisle, but I never imagined how perfect it was until the moment came. Shai and his family were the first to walk down the Aisle to the Chupah, followed by Sarah and her mother. She was the most beautiful bride, and was simply glowing! I had to devote every fiber of my being to not cry so that I could steady the camera to capture as much of the moment as I could. I wish I could upload videos to the blog, but take my word that it was breathtaking. The Rabbi who married them was hysterical and knew just the correct mix of seriousness and humor to make the wedding both classy and fun (it was all in Hebrew so I felt a bit bad for the out of town friends who couldn’t understand how funny it was), and it was an amazing ceremony all around! The Ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) was read, the blessing were said, the glass was broken, and then it was time to eat more food and dance! I was so proud of Sarah and Shai, and it was truly a perfect wedding!

Sarah and her mom getting ready to walk down the aisle

Sarah and her mom getting ready to walk down the aisle

Here comes the bride!!!!

Here comes the bride!!!!

Under the Chupah!

Under the Chupah!

At around 9:30 it was time to go into the party hall to enjoy the rest of the wedding festivities. Dancing was separated so I only danced a bit so that I wouldn’t have to leave Stephane all alone (and the women’s section was not so roomy anyways), but it was so much fun, and the music was fantastic! Very Sephardic! The food, per usual, was amazing, and by 11:15 it was time for us to head out so that we could get back to Tel Aviv at a relatively decent hour. I had work the next morning at 8am so I didn’t want to be too dead!

The beautiful party hall!

The beautiful party hall!

The obligatory chair lift

The obligatory chair lift

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they look so happy!

they look so happy!

It was another perfect night in Israel, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything in the world. Sarah was absolutely stunning, and I couldn’t be more happy for her and her new husband. Stephane and I returned home around 2am, unwound from a very eventful evening, and fell asleep almost immediately. It was a long day for both of us but we had such a great time, and I couldn’t think of anyone I would have rather shared this day with than him!

In other news, I officially take over as a department manager next week, and my training is almost complete! This is my last week of being able to work on weekends so from next week on I will be like any other normal adult in Israel, and have my Friday’s, Saturday’s, and holiday’s off! Good thing too because I need some serious beach time! Stephane moves to Ashdod soon so that is not the most fun, but at least I have weekends off to see him! He’ll be back in Tel Aviv after we return from California so it isn’t soooo bad 🙂

Until we meet again <3,

Jordana Simone

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