L’Chaim is for Lovers: Ceremony Part 2

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.”

We looked on happily as our closest friends surrounded us under the chuppah

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.

Mr. HC drinks

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

Mr. HC prepares

He may or may not have stepped on my toe by accident the first time…!

Our first kiss (as husband and wife!)

We hug our families in celebration!

And we head back down the aisle together through our guests!

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!


Mrs. Hermit Crab

New York, NY
Wedding Date:
June 2010
I Heart Paper Art
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  1. Member
    eeper 129 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:33 pm

    Your ceremony is so full of meaning – it’s been a pleasure following along!

  2. Member
    kirabee 1240 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:47 pm

    Beautiful HC! What is the significance of being wrapped in the prayer shawl? It seems like a sweet and intimate tradition.

  3. painauchocolat Bee
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:07 pm

    You guys look positively ELATED in these pictures. So full of joy and happiness! Great example for being in the moment and soaking it all in. 🙂

  4. Member
    miss.qwerty 206 posts, Helper bee @ 9:29 pm

    Your recaps are some of my favorites, between all the joy in your pictures and the helpfulness of your tips.

  5. biscuit Bee
    biscuit 627 posts, Busy bee @ 10:52 pm

    I love how many friends/family you included in your ceremony! Beautiful AND meaningful :).

  6. Member
    discgirl 220 posts, Helper bee @ 3:21 am

    I’ve loved all your recaps so far. It’s so interesting to learn more about the Jewish traditions you incorporated.

  7. Member
    glamfish500 262 posts, Helper bee @ 10:30 am

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve always wanted to go to a Jewish wedding and I’ve really felt like I’m right there in your recaps! Thanks!

  8. msbuttons Bee
    msbuttons 5014 posts, Bee Keeper @ 7:09 pm

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

  9. hermitcrab Bee
    Mrs. Hermit Crab 3901 posts, Honey bee @ 4:08 pm

    Thank you!! I have so enjoyed sharing my ceremony with everyone, thank you for all the wonderful comments!
    @kirabee: There are a couple of different reasons for the prayer shawl – one is that it is a symbol of your new partnership. Also, many times, when you are being blessed or giving blessings, you are wrapped in a prayer shawl for tradition, this also plays in. There are probably other reasons as well!

  10. husky Bee
    husky 1750 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:45 pm

    Oh wow – your smile in these photos is amazing!

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