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Brother's Cove Lodge, Sevierville, TN

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
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Kristin Elise and Ben were married in an outdoor ceremony at Brother's Cove Lodge overlooking the Smoky Mountains. Being my first Jewish wedding, I expected a whirlwind day, and I wasn't disappointed. The day was a wonderful mixture of religious symbols, rituals, traditions, and joyous singing, dancing, and celebration. If you've been to a Jewish wedding before then you probably have some idea of how much fun they can be. Even though it was a bit hot that day, the couple and guests were all able to let loose and really enjoy themselves in a way that not many wedding groups do. It was a true celebration of marriage.

Before the actual ceremony, the bride was joined by all the women who danced, sang, and took turns offering her advice and best wishes. This kabbalat panim is really a wonderful ritual in that it allows all of the women to come together and share their love and support with the bride. Meanwhile, Ben was joined by the men at his tish outside where they also sang and danced.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Once everyone was relaxed and caught up in the happy mood, the men encircled Ben and then sang, danced, and carried him into the lodge to see Kristin Elise for the first time. When the men came in with him and joined the women, the whole building filled with singing and stomping. It was a very exciting moment for everyone, especially the bride as she nervously waited for Ben to make his way across the room to her.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

During their bedeken ceremony, Ben lowered Kristin Elise's veil over her face, she helped him into a traditional white robe, and they also signed their ketubah. Then it was time for the guests to make their way outside to the tented ceremony site.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Their Jewish ceremony included many rituals and participants to make the day more meaningful. It was especially nice to see so many of their family and friends involved as they took turns reciting and singing blessings in both English and Hebrew. Their parents also took turns coming forward and offering the couple blessings and words of love and support.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

I especially loved their ceremony, but I think that the dancing is probably one of the most unique aspects of Jewish weddings. Of course they had a long and jubilant hora at the reception which included a brief period when the guests lifted the couple into the air on chairs. Receptions are usually happy events, but this crowd was especially jubilant. Everyone participated in the laughing, singing, dancing, and general celebration.

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Barber / Weiner Wedding June 14, 2009

Although Marcus was a huge help as always, I also want to especially thank my friend Alecia for coming up from Atlanta to shoot with us. Being in my third trimester now, I couldn't have done it without her help. With the 3 of us shooting, we ended up with many wonderful photos, and I didn't have to worry about getting in the middle of a crowded dance floor where I could have been knocked down or bumped. Check out some of her great shots from the day (including Ben being danced into the bedeken and Kristin Elise being raised on the chair) on the Alecia Lauren Photography blog.
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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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