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Weddings and Families

Families and Weddings

You may feel you have the date, you’ve booked the Rabbi, and you’re ready… However, as almost any wedding planner will tell you, that may be when things start to go awry.

Your wedding ceremony will stay in your memory as one of the most important days of your life (and probably the most astonishing so far!). It’s essential that the ceremony lives up to your dreams and hopes.

IS THERE FAMILY CONFLICT OVER YOUR WEDDING?

“Sometimes family attitudes and judgments or their expectations of your wedding may get in the way,” says Rabbi David Gellman. “We’re very pleased to be of service, so this doesn’t happen. We will work with you to incorporate the rituals and customs you would like to include from any faith or background, and that may be important to both sides of the family. Every wedding ceremony is individually created for the couple with observances dear to you both.”

PLANNING AN INTERFAITH WEDDING

Initially, the two partners to be married may feel somewhat overwhelmed with how to plan the perfect ceremony. How do you include Jewish and non-Jewish traditions and customs, or highlight elements that may be significant to you both or to your respective families?

“Through our personal experience, Alexandra and I know both the challenges and joys of a ceremony that’s inclusive, sensitive, and meaningful to everyone. This is why we use a tailored approach to bring couples, families, loved ones, and friends together to share in an ecumenical ceremony that respects your past, enshrines your moment of the day, and collectively puts faith in your future as a loving couple.”

AVOIDING FAMILY STRESS AT THE WEDDING

Understanding everyone’s wishes in advance helps to avoid tensions with extended families that could intrude on the happiness and specialness of your day. Your ceremony will be written for you individually. It will be customized for you with the rituals and traditions that you choose to honor and reflect both religions. Whether you select only a few traditions or all—these are woven into the ceremony for you.

Often, some simple guidance is all that is needed to craft a service that will be a dream ceremony for you, your families, and for everyone in attendance. Creating a ceremony that exemplifies the cooperation and love that will be central to the life you envisage together is always the goal, regardless of the starting point. “We find our tailored approach guides us to the perfect solution for our wedding couples and your families.”

MINIMIZING FAMILY ANXIETY AT THE WEDDING

So don’t feel overwhelmed if various family members sometimes look like they’re readying for an argument instead of a marriage.  Minimizing any anxieties for the couple and all interested members of the wedding party—and ensuring your wonderful precious memories of the ceremony of your dreams—sometimes takes just a little extra timely understanding, planning, and creativity.

Note: We are happy to meet with you and your family members beforehand for marriage and couple guidance counselling to help create a happy and healthy supportive framework for your life together based on love, respect, and trust.

Weddings and More Weddings—

“It was important to get married when and where we did and to have all our kids there, but it was also very important to be married by David,” says Luc Baril, who is one-half of one of the first couples married by Rabbi David Gellman. And, says Luc, it was such a special and memorable event—“we’re thinking of doing it again.”

Luc and Debbie live and work together, owners of Get Bent Painting—providers of quality painting services since 2001 in the GTA. They work on residential and commercial contracts, and also offer mural painting from Oakville to Ajax to Barrie—from a home base in Nobleton. Perhaps, not surprisingly, painting has a lot to do with Luc and Debbie (and Alex and David’s!) back-story.

“David and Alex had the same attitudes and thought the same thoughts as we did—we spoke the same language and tried to expand ourselves the same way. There couldn’t have been anybody else to marry us. David and Alex represented one of life’s big signposts for me. To illustrate how exceptional he is and was, David was a real help to me in reassessing my life goals to help get my business going in the right direction. My thing was doing murals and faux finishing back then mostly—.

“David provided invaluable mentorship and guidance that helped show the way to expand and develop, even going so far as to advise how best to approach prospective clients.

“That’s what’s so special. David and Alex are always doing and always learning. They are very generous and pleased to share who they are and what they do (and know!).

“Back then, David asked me to do a mural for them showing all of the celestial bodies as they were on the exact day that he and Alex married.  At the time, I thought that God himself had provided a scenario that was so in touch with us that it just flowered.”

“The key to his presence as a rabbi,” says Luc, “ is that David is able to bring depth of meaning—and the right meaning for you—to the ceremony and everything associated with it. He helped us write vows that reflected who we were and exactly what we wanted to say.

“We’re considering renewing those vows, with Rabbi David, of course, and my sister and my parents are thinking of doing theirs also—the venue will be our backyard. Debbie and I are keen gardeners and have built a unique steel gazebo—the perfect location for many reasons personal to us. Part of the backyard is a Thank You Garden in the shape of the Tree of Life, which also came from David’s teachings. I trust David absolutely to bring the right elements to make the ceremony ideal.”

“It’s hard to put into words how thorough they are—and how much they really did to give us the perfect wedding.”

Jay and Leah with Rabbi David Gellman

Our Interfaith Jewish Wedding with Horses, a Dog, and a Strong Hint of Winter!

From the moment we met with Rabbi David, we knew we had found the one to lead our Interfaith ceremony. He made us feel comfortable and any worry we had about the ceremony was put aside when he walked us through the process with confidence and experience. 

“Rabbi David went above and beyond to make our wedding ceremony absolutely perfect. He made the ceremony truly unique to reflect our needs by listening to our story and weaving it into the words he so beautifully wrote.  He also incorporated both English and Hebrew and explained the meaning behind everything he did. Our family and friends can’t say enough about how beautiful, in-depth, and meaningful the ceremony was and how it was a true reflection of us both.

“We feel very fortunate to have found Rabbi David! It was truly an honor.” Leah and Jay.

 

How to start planning an interfaith wedding—

Leah and Jay decided on an interfaith wedding but didn’t quite know what to do next. So Leah says she did what most of us resort to these days when stumped—she googled interfaith weddings in Toronto—and was lucky enough, she says, to find Rabbi David Gellman.

“And we were very very happy that we did,” says Leah, who works for an advertising agency in Toronto, and wanted everything not only to be just right on her dream wedding day —but to represent them both in exactly the way they see themselves.

“Jay works in film as a production designer, and I’m in advertising—we wanted everything to feel real and just right, and it did.

“My family—my mother and grandparents—were rooting for a Jewish wedding. Jay isn’t Jewish. We talked about it with Rabbi David, and he was able to incorporate the Jewish elements we requested. I didn’t want to include the seven circles, for example—and we had a wonderful wedding that pleased us both very much as well as all the family. The ceremony was emotional and moving and a perfect mix of Jay and me. Everyone was touched by the ceremony and that it stayed true to who we are.”

Jay and Leah have been married just a few months now, and life is wonderful. They had been together about three years before tying the knot, and Leah said they love to do typical everyday things. Having a local outdoor wedding on an amazing farm suited their lifestyle and hopes for a memorable wedding day. “We love simple things—walking the dog (Jack!), hosting dinner parties for friends, going to movies—all the everyday stuff, and we didn’t want a big event-type wedding or one that was too-tailored. We wanted our day to be moving and true to who we are and enjoyable for everyone.” With Rabbi David Gellman, Leah says, this was achieved and more.

The video of the wedding shows the emotion and warmth of the day—even though it was chilly out in the fields. “We told everyone to dress warm, and they did.” This included the bride who donned a jacket over her beautiful lacy wedding dress later to warm up.

Because the wedding was outdoors, they were also able to involve another important member of the family in the festivities—Jay and Leah’s lovely dog Jack seemed to enjoy the entire ceremony, as well, especially the visits with the horses. The hosts added another unique element to the mix when they made a very generous gesture and introduced their horses to everyone for a great photo opportunity.

The reception took place in a tent set up for the day on the grounds of the lovely farm near Milton, which is where the ceremony itself took place.

Leah says that the day was such a nice coming together of family. Everybody was happy. “It was intimate, with not too many people. This made it more special to us because everyone was able to gather around and just enjoy our wonderful wedding.”

“You were a huge part of our day and we will remember you and your wife’s involvement forever. Jay and I are so thankful to have found you! You made our day!!!! Thank you again and again!”  All our love, Leah and Jay