When Rachel’s mother reached out to me about photographing a traditional Jewish greenhouse wedding for her daughter, I was a little nervous. I’d never been interviewed by a mother-of-the-bride before! I spoke with Rachel’s mom and she told me all about what, to me, sounded like such a beautiful way to spend a wedding day. My husband is Jewish, but I’ve never been exposed to Orthodox Judaism, so when I learned from Rachel and her mother the different ceremonies and activities of the wedding day, I knew it was something that I would be so honored to capture.
A greenhouse wedding has been at the top of my list for some time now. The celebration was held at Goldner Walsh Greenhouse & Garden Center – which, if you’ve never been, is a hidden gem in Pontiac, Michigan. Having never been there before, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I pulled in and saw a brightly colored mural wall (you know I LOVE a mural wall), industrial vibes and, hidden behind the garden center, an inviting area for weddings and receptions.
A large part of this traditional Jewish greenhouse wedding celebration entailed separate ceremonies for both the bride and groom. Rachel and Alex hung out in different parts of the garden center during the wedding prep and then spent time with family and friends during their respective ceremonies. For Alex, this was Chatan’s Tisch – toasting, singing, praying and signing marriage documents were followed by the mothers of the bride and groom ceremoniously breaking a plate (which proved to be harder than thought and required a large rock!). For Rachel, Kaballat Panim had her greeting her guests and giving them her blessings. To hear Rachel take the time and put so much thought into her words for the people she loves was astounding. At the end of all of this was the most exciting part – Bedeken – where Alex, lead by his singing family and friends, made his way to see Rachel for the first time, covering her with her veil.
The ceremony took place in an outdoor kiva which is equally as gorgeous as the inside of the greenhouse and garden center. The Chupah was raised at the front of the ceremony space where Rachel and Alex’s loved ones held it in place throughout. The same family and friends delivered the seven blessings to the couple before the end of the ceremony. I whisked the married couple away for some fun shots throughout the greenhouse – Alex is such a joker and Rachel is a good sport. We had to make sure to take a few goofy shots for their kids, too! Afterwards, everyone met up in the greenhouse for drinks and a delicious meal.
Ceremony and Reception Site: Goldner Walsh Greenhouse & Garden Center
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