I've said this before and I'll say it again--I LOVE shooting weddings that are different, offbeat, interesting, and unique! Over the course of my career, I've had the opportunity to shoot weddings of many different kinds and religions, and I have to say, one of the most interesting is the Orthodox Jewish wedding. It's just SO different from what I see on a day to day basis that when I shoot one, I approach it as almost more of an event to document than a wedding. Of course it IS a wedding, but the schedule and traditions are so different that I don't like to try to shoot it to conform to that particular box.

A couple of weeks ago, I shot an Orthodox Jewish wedding I've been waiting a long time for: Eliana & Dovid. I first met Eliana in 2004, when I met with her older sister about her own wedding. Eliana was so effervescent and outgoing, she's the type of girl you can't help but like! She was too young at that time to be considering marriage, but she looked forward to the day it would be her turn.

I saw her again at Jazmon & Ramy's wedding, and she'd grown up so much, but was still the warm, funny, friendly girl I had met earlier. This time though, she told me that she was READY and was hoping that she'd be having her own wedding soon. She welcomed me at that wedding as a friend and part of the family, and I also hoped that her wedding would be next :)

It took a year or two more, but it was FINALLY Eliana's turn. She might tell you that she'd planned to be married earlier, but she would also tell you that nothing in the world can compare to finding the right person, which she did in Dovid. Dovid loves her in every way, all the flaws, the quirks, and is the one she's been waiting for. I am so excited to share their wedding with you!

I'm going to explain a bit about the wedding, but I really don't know everything--only from what I've been told on the job by the friends and family I've met.

Here we go!

(By the way, I have decided to process a bunch of these images in a new sepia action someone gave me! it's not available to buy yet, but I am LOVING it and as soon as it's ready to be released, I'll certainly share!)

Eliana's shoes: Eliana told me that she bought them FOUR YEARS AGO for her future wedding! That's planning!!

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Before the wedding, it is customary for the bride to "Daven", which means pray. The bride's brother brought her the prayer book, which is the same one the groom will Daven from that day too:

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Eliana made such a gorgeous bride--I always knew she would! The word for Bride in Yiddish is Kallah:

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The Kallah had a beautiful daisy bouquet (and a beautiful smile):

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Eliana is just such a superstar!

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Not to mention, totally stunning:

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Dovid told me that he doesn't wear cufflinks and when Eliana told him he needed them for the wedding, he wasn't super excited. His decision? Cufflinks that look like buttons!

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He was so handsome. He told me that a groom's outfit for the wedding must be all new--100% unworn yet, down to the socks and underwear.

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The Yiddish word for "groom" is Choson (ch pronounched like k"

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Always a favorite at DuBrow family weddings, the adorable Mookie! His mom Shoshi might have planted one on him :)

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What a cute little guy:

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Aunt Eliana likes him, I think:

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Before the Chuppah, the Kabbalas Panim take place, which are greeting of the bride and groom, which take place separately. The Kallah has a Bedeken, which is a time when the women can come up and greet her, pray, chat, etc.:

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The men have a Tisch, where the terms and conditions (Tena'im) of the marriage contract are read aloud. The Choson sits between his father and father in law while the contract is reviewed:

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Once that is completed, the Choson is escorted to the Kallah to place a napkin or veiling over her face, to symbolize Rebeccah doing this before her marriage to Isaac. She also receives blessings from her father, father in law, and grandfather.

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The Choson goes to the Chuppah first:

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The ring is placed on the bride's index finger. There are so many people under the Chuppah during this that it is a VERY difficult shot to get!

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There is lots and lots of singing:

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And lots of rejoicing!

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One thing that is very unusual about Orthodox Jewish wedding is that the bride and groom are not to touch at all in public, even after the ceremony. I am always nervous to shoot portraits, because it's so hard to figure out how to post a couple that can't touch, but still show a connection and love between them.

I needn't have worried with Eliana & Dovid:

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On the line of "touching" but not quite over :)

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Might as well shoot some more portraits of Eliana while I was at it:

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Eliana and Dovid have so much fun together! They are always laughing and smiling. I know they are going to have such a wonderful marriage:

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Even though they didn't touch, the connection between them wasn't hard to find:

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And it turns out, the portraits can be just as beautiful:

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And just as adorable:

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The party is where things really get crazy! The dancing is frantic and WILD! There is so much pure joy! There was also an incredible bar of the most amazing fresh fruit, the prefect thing after dancing like this for hours on end:

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The men and women dance separately, and you never know what might happen:

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A little playful interaction is okay :)

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But honestly, I think the girls really just love spending time together:

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A stolen moment towards the end during the Benching, which is a series of prayers after a meal:

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I think every bride should look and feel like this on her wedding day:

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One last little shadow:

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Eliana & Dovid, Mazel Tov on your marriage! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your lives and family, if only for a day!!