It all begins here

*Poof!* Just like that. After four months of thinking and dreaming, of meetings and planning, of lists and more lists, of elation and aggravation, of spending money like water and scraping together every last agura; five incredible hours went by and it was all over. Well, just beginning really. That’s how weddings are, of course. We put inordinate amounts of effort, emotion, energy and money into the briefest of events because, well, that’s what we do. It’s one of life’s most special moments; one to be celebrated like no other. And so we celebrate. We do it to launch a bride and groom spectacularly into what we hope will be a lifetime of wedded bliss. That’s what’s most important. But the launch pad deserves a little posterity too…

The night before the wedding, I took my never-ending list out and discovered, to my utter amazement, that everything had been checked off. We were all ready. There was nothing left to do but our own personal preparations for the wedding. I honestly thought I’d never check off everything, so it was with a sense of peaceful excitement that I woke up the day of the wedding knowing that I only had to follow a schedule, and everything else would fall into place.

Several weeks before, in a moment of seemingly sheer madness, Shyra and I had agreed that I would be the one to apply her makeup. That one decision loomed large in my mind as Michelle was expertly styling Shyra’s hair in my dining room while I desperately tried to think back to the day of our makeup ‘trial’ as to precisely how I had applied the eye-shadow, and exactly which colors had we agreed upon. Was I nuts to take on such an important task for my own daughter’s wedding? Perhaps. But the results spoke for themselves and my beautiful bride was still beautiful and – perhaps more importantly – still speaking to me when I was done.

Finally we were off to the hall, me in the blue gown for which I had painstakingly taken all sorts of precautions not to gain even an ounce so that it would fit. Sitting in the car and feeling my movement restricted was not a very good sign, but hey, it looked good…

Arriving at the hall, the first thing we saw was our Shyra, who had arrived earlier for photographs, posing like a model bride before a bright blue backdrop. She looked breathtaking. It was like a jolt of reality telling us what we knew but honestly didn’t comprehend until that very moment.

Going around the 'chatan'

Entering the hall, we got right down to the task of posing for family photos with master photographer Jared Bernstein. Jared had us smiling and laughing while having us contort our bodies in unnatural poses that somehow looked exactly right in the photos. But didn’t bode nearly as well for my movement-restricting dress which actually ripped! Luckily we had the foresight to bring a sewing kit and two repairs later I managed to stay securely sewed into my dress until the end.

The dress ripping was only one of the little details that went awry. You know what? It didn’t matter at all. We were there for one reason: for Shyra and Gidon to get married. Everything else was icing. Icing can look really pretty, and tastes really good. And if the icing isn’t perfect? Well, it still tastes good. So we enjoyed the flavor and simply didn’t worry about all those little details. We just basked in the joy, went with the flow, and found that making a wedding can actually be a wonderful, fun and surprisingly non-stressful event.

While standing for the second time in my life under a chupah with my husband, only this time off to the side as Shyra and Gidon, her chatan, took center-stage, I gazed out at the guests – at our guests. Here I was seeing this most sacred of ceremonies from beneath the chupah canopy itself, and was suddenly overcome with emotion and a feeling of utter joy at seeing so many of our friends and family there, some from far away, some I’d known all my life, and several who at the last minute just needed to be there and pulled out all the stops to get to Israel and be a part of our celebration. I’d never felt such an overwhelming sense of love.

As far as the rest of the wedding, well, let’s just say that people stayed a lot longer than usual and that one incredible night has already inspired at least three blog posts – well, now four counting mine. (See the posts at Fashion IshaKi Yachol Nuchal and Crossing the Yarden) What made it so special? We actually have tried figuring that out. Sure the band was amazing, the dancing was spirited and leibedik, the shtick was fun and plentiful. The food? I barely tried it, but I heard that it was good. In my mind all those ingredients were the supporting players. What was it then? I believe it was the people, and an incredible amount of love: the bride and groom, the families, and, indeed, all the guests. For example, the women in my town of Neve Daniel organized beforehand and created a ‘flashmob’ for us. They actually practiced. Who does that?? That’s only an example of the displays of affection and that went into every part of this wedding to make it so exceptional and such a blast. And an incredible blast-off for the couple. Which, in the end, made it a great beginning.

Enjoy some clips from the wedding: Click here.  

View some of the professional photos: Click here. 





About the Author

Laura Ben-David is the author of numerous articles and the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, a memoir of her move to Israel. She has done public speaking about Israel and Aliyah all over the United States and Israel. Contact her at or follow her tweets at