Entertaining the Bride and Groom
Recently, we profiled one of our favorite wedding bands, The Prenups, but we know that one New York wedding band can’t be everywhere at once. And anyway, don’t Jewish and multi-ethnic weddings have special concerns? That’s why this week, we’ve got Marta Segal Block, the mastermind behind GigMasters.com, a one-stop-shop for all your event entertainment needs, to drop a little knowledge. Remember, at Jewish weddings, there is a commandment to entertain the bride and groom at their wedding. This means that in addition to a band or DJ, clowns, magicians, dancers, fire breathers– they’re all fair game! Take it away, Marta.
The Entertainment: They may be in the background, but they can make or break a party!
Unlike non-Jewish weddings, a Jewish wedding reception is considered part of the wedding itself. There’s actually a commandment that you should celebrate and have fun after a wedding!
A traditional, religious Jewish wedding starts before the ceremony with a Tish. During the Tish the groom attempts to teach a bible passage, while his friends drink and try to distract him. Many modern couples are turning the Tish in to a co-ed event. This is a great time to bring in some entertainment. Clowns, magicians, or singers can all add a festive and modern feel to this tradition.
The Tish is followed by the unveiling of the bride (Beddekin) and the signing of the Ketubah. It’s perfectly appropriate to have a harp or other soft music in the background during this smaller, more intimate ceremony.
If you’re not having a Tish, you can still make the most of your entertainment options. Most Jewish weddings happen on a Sunday, which may open up a variety of options financially since performers will be more likely to agree to shorter performance times or even special deals on a day when they aren’t likely to get other bookings.
This can be a real boon to interfaith couples, as it leaves extra money for a special dance or musical performance that honors one of the partners’ cultures, in addition to their band or DJ. Jewish families are often full family affairs and hiring a magician or clown to entertain the children is a great way to keep the day civilized.
When it comes to hiring a band or DJ, most bands and DJs are familiar with the Hora. If you simply wish to nod to Jewish tradition adding this dance to your normal playlist will be fun and exciting for all guests. But, if you’re having a completely Jewish wedding we recommend asking the DJ or bandleader about his or experience with Jewish weddings. The rhythm of a Jewish wedding reception is slightly different than that of a Christian wedding and having some experience is helpful. If you fall in love with a band that hasn’t worked a Jewish wedding before, consider a wedding planner or day-of coordinator with Jewish wedding experience.
No matter how much experience your planner or band has, make sure that both you and your vendors are clear about any rules of modesty or kashrut that you, your rabbi, synagogue, venue, or family have. There are many levels of observance and what seems obvious to one person may be a new concept to someone else.
Looking for more wedding advice? Check out GigMasters’s Wedding Blog.