The second part of the ceremony began:
“Nissuin” - Marriage
We conclude the ceremony with nissuin, the reciting of the sheva brachot, literally “seven blessings.” These blessings begin by praising God for the sources of joy we find in the world and lead into a more specific request that God grant joy to this couple. The final blessing poetically lists numerous manifestations of joy, such as dance, song, unity, love and peace, all of which the Bride and Groom are certainly feeling at that moment.
At this point, we invited 12 of our friends and our siblings to recite the Seven Blessings, each blessing was read in Hebrew first by one person, followed in English by another. I had been a little bit worried about the flow of this, but they all just came up at the beginning, and it was fine!
In our program, we listed the names of the people reading, and then each blessing in Hebrew, English and transliterated from Hebrew into English. I have included the English translations that we chose here (we decided to use the traditional and pretty much literal translations).
First up, friend B from my days at sleep away camp, and my friend R, representing all my longtime guy friends.
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”
Mr. HC’s longtime camp friend I, and Mr. HC’s best buddy from NYU, B
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who created everything for his Glory.”
Mr. HC’s camp friend J and my friend P
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man.”
My friend from NYU, Y and our friend from Syracuse (now an NYC transplant, yay!) M
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man in your image, fashioning perpetuated life. Blessed are You, Lord, creator of man.”
Mr. HC’s camp friend S, and one my oldest and closest, A
“May Zion rejoice as her children are restored to her in joy. Blessed are You, Lord, who causes Zion to rejoice her children’s return.”
My friend from NYU, N and my former Facebook wife (yeah, remember those days!) A
“Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, as you did your creations in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are You, Lord, who grants the joy of groom and bride.”
The last blessing is the longest and generally the most joyous. The Hebrew is often sung with participation from the rest of the guests, and Mr. HC’s brother and sister did a great job singing!
Mr. HC’s brother and sister, and my sister (while my little sister looks on)
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth, song, delight and rejoicing, love and harmony and peace and companionship. Lord our God, may there ever be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem voices of joy and gladness, voices of groom and bride, the jubilant voices of those joined in marriage under the bridal canopy, the voices of young people feasting and singing. Blessed are You, Lord, who causes the groom to rejoice with his bride.”
At this point, Rabbi KB said some personal words about us, and we completed the ceremony:
At this point, Mr. HC will break a glass symbolizing the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, as we pause during this joyous occasion to remember our People’s past. Also, at this moment, we wish to honor the memory of our family members who we wish could celebrate our wedding today, but who are no longer with us:
Miss HC’s maternal grandparents
Miss HC’s paternal grandfather
Mr. HC’s maternal grandparents
Mr. HC’s paternal grandparents
Mr. HC’s “adoptive” grandmother
As soon as the glass breaks, the music starts and the crowd breaks out in a boisterous round of “MAZEL TOV!” Mr. HC and Miss HC are escorted by friends and family to Yichud, where they will spend these first elated moments as husband and wife alone together.
My veil is lifted for the last time and I take a drink
We huddled under the prayer shawl with our families as Rabbi KB said some closing remarks
We hug our families in celebration!
One of my favorite images from the whole day (and the picture on our holiday cards this year!)
We get carted away to yichud – the Jewish tradition of spending the first few minutes right after the ceremony together, alone. They were some of my favorite moments of the whole day, just us, newly married and all that was left was to party! Oh, and our wonderful caterers had made us a plate of food and left it in the room for us and we devoured it!
And away we go!
Hermit Crab wedding tip #18:
There are so many ways to include people in your special day! We wanted to have as many of our close friends as possible share in our wedding, and we came up with ways to share the love!
Did you miss any of the Hermit Crab recaps? Catch up here!
(Unless otherwise noted, all photos in the Hermit Crab recaps are by Joel Greenberg of Joel Greenberg and Wendy Stewart Photography)
Check out the Hermit Crab Honeymoon in Croatia!