There is a saying… when it rains, it pours! Well, in my case that happened with wedding invitations. And these weddings were a “must-go-or-bust” kind of weddings. One was family and the other was a very close friend. Both on the same night; both at the same time…all the way to LA LA land!
So, staying true to my vain Venezuelan upbringing, I set out to look for a gown that could really do something special…a Kidush Hashem. Now, for those of you that don’t know what that means (in this context) a gown that does a Kidush Hashem is something really hard to find. It has to be modest, it has to be stunning, it has to make other women think: Holy Moly! She is not showing cleavage yet she looks amazing! (If you read carefully you will realize the ultimate irony –which you have always known if you are a woman: women, in general, don’t dress up for men, they dress up for other women! After all, we all know that most men –unless metro or gay- could care less if your dress is embedded with diamonds or made of burlap wrap.)
Here is the dress! You cannot see it very well, but the details are so amazing! It was so well made you could wear it inside-out!
I went to every single store you can imagine; from little boutiques to large expensive chain stores…I could not find my Tznius (modest) dress anywhere (you guessed it, I don’t live in Brooklyn.) You are probably wondering, why does it have to be a modest dress? Well ladies, as you read before, I was raised in Venezuela. If you are familiar at all with Latin American culture, you know by now, that in the Latin world clothing is just an option. I grew up showing more than I left to the imagination. Ladies, do you know what feels great? When you are talking to a man and he is actually looking at your eyes and not anywhere else (yes, I know you get what I mean). Covering up certain parts of my body has transformed my life and changed the way I look at my self-worth and certainly the way other men see me as well. The only guy that’s getting the privileged is my husband, and ladies that is the ultimate aphrodisiac if you ask me (I know I am going to get in huge trouble with this Post…I know).
Here is my Persian Prince!
To be honest, covering up is not easy at all. I use to love the negative attention I would get, not to mention how beautiful the non-modest gowns are nowadays. However, every single day I struggle with tzniut (modesty) I wake up to a new meaning of why I am doing this and how much it means to my marriage and my spiritual growth. I know it works; I just need to stick with it. I take steps back, I take steps forward, I hesitate but ultimately it is not about perfection, it is all about direction.
Rabbi Ba'alhaness married our friends last Sunday night and almost 15 years ago married us too! It was so wonderful to see him at the wedding. He is such a special man.
Now please, don’t even start thinking I am judging anyone here. I am only focusing on my personal quest. The beauty of Judaism is that nobody is forcing this on anyone (If that is not the way you feel, you need to get help) and there is room for all us in the wagon whether we are showing or not. To me, venturing into the laws of modesty should be a personal and private choice and it ranges from the length of a skirt to the even the way we talk.
Here is the groom (Chatan) looking under his bride's (Kallah) veil to make sure he does not get cheated like Yaakov got cheated when his father-in-law switched Rachel for Leah . This is a beautiful Jewish custom and makes for a great picture of this happy couple!
Just like Cinderella, I was sent a fairy godmother, only she came from…. Italy! Well, kind of. Do you know how Facebook lets you know absolutely everything everyone is doing? Well, one of my friends clicked on a Facebook page with the name of Lev Collection. So, naturally, I clicked on it as well. I could not believe it! The website was filled with gorgeous tznius gowns. I called the owner immediately and the sweetest most irresistible young lady came on the other line: Carolina Yaghoubzadeh. She was from Milan; yes, her Italian accent is absolutely adorable, and boy did she know fashion and modesty! I was in heaven. Carolina was incredibly patient with me and made me the most stunning dress I have worn to this day. I was so lucky because the dress arrived on Friday and the wedding was on Sunday! I have no words to thank Carolina for making me feel really like royalty and for doing such a Kidush Hashem with her lovely collection of modest gowns and dresses. There is no question I will be coming back to her over and over again! Carolina Herrera, you might be Venezuelan and super famous, but you better watch out!
The groom is placing the wedding band on the index finger of the right hand after reciting the blessing: "Behold you are sanctified unto me with this ring according to the law of Moses and the people of Israel". According to Jewish law, weddings must not utilize a double ring ceremony in which rings are exchanged. The bride can gift the groom a ring after the formal ceremony.
Persian Jewish weddings are just incredibly amazing events. First, the amount of food is overwhelming. As guests arrive they are greeted with Sushi stations, Mexican stations, fruit station, Kebab stations, Chinese station…you name it! The Ketuba (marriage contract) is signed with two witnesses and often involves only close family members. The wedding ceremony is very different than that of our Ashkenazy brothers. There is no bedeken (although this is one of my favorite parts) where the bride greets the guests. She is actually first seen as she walks down the isle and is met by her husband to be. He lifts her veil (to make sure he is not played a trick like it happened with Yaakov marrying Leah instead of Rachel) and then escorts her to the Chuppa (wedding canopy). Under the Chuppa the Rabbi makes all the blessings. The ring is placed in the index finger, the Ketuba (marriage contract) is read and the seven blessings are recited. The wedding ends with the groom smashing a glass to remember there can be no complete happiness as long as we have no temple in Jerusalem.
Persians have the custom to serve wedding guests fresh fruits, sweets and tea between the ceremony and dinner.
After the ceremony a lavish meal takes place and dancing with the bride and groom are a priority. Every night, during the first week after the wedding, the bride and groom are invited to dinners to celebrate their union. These dinners are called Sheva Brachot. A Jewish wedding is filled with emotion, beauty, meaning and commitment. There is nothing more sacred that a bride and groom becoming one under the wedding canopy! Mazel Tov to the lovely couples and may Hashem always bless you with much health, happiness, livelihood and pride from each other!
This wedding's colors were "white on white" and it was truly spectacular!
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I love fruit carvings...how about you?