Just had to share these beautiful photos of the ketubah signing from Josh and Danielle’s lovely mountain nuptials, taking place at the Banner Elk Winery in North Carolina. The ketubah is Rachelle Tolwin’s Petals Ketubah. Gotta love the post-signing newlywed high five (followed by a kiss, of course)!
I won’t spoil any of the details of this gem of a wedding–you’ll be seeing them on one of your favorite wedding blogs real soon!
All photos by Robby Campbell.
A few weeks ago, my dear childhood friend, Naomi, tied the knot with her partner-in-crime, Ben. They might have just about the cutest how-we-met story in the world. They were each others’ first kiss, when they were both around 12-years-old at Camp Ramah. Their relationship went the way of many a camp romance– Naomi dumped him the next day– but they were destined to reunite years later, when Ben was on business in Miami. He didn’t know anyone there, and decided to contact the only person he “knew”–his old camp flame (thanks Facebook!). Neither was expecting much, but the rest is history!
Their relationship began in Miami and developed in New York, where Ben returned soon after they met, and where they currently live. It may seem that these two places have nothing in common architecturally, but that’s not true: they both have a significant relationship to Art Deco. That was Naomi and Ben’s request from me: an art deco ketubah that featured New York-style deco and Miami-style deco.
I chose the Chrysler building for New York (much prettier than the blocky Empire State), and Miami’s New Yorker Hotel, which was actually demolished in the 80s, but I thought it would be a cute sign to highlight the Miami-New York connection.
Art Deco Ketubah by Arielle Angel
15″ x 16″, Micron pen, acrylic paint and gold leaf on paper, 2012
This is me with the finished ketubah, right before the signing. This was a special experience for me, because not only did I create the ketubah, but I was one of the witnesses as well. This was the first time I got to sign a ketubah that I made. It was very emotional. The groom blessed the bride at this point as well, and there was not a dry eye in the room.
The second witness, Michael, signing the ketubah.
I didn’t get a chance to document the ketubah before the wedding, but thankfully the wedding photographers from Glenmar Studios helped me out. If there was a detail shot, you’d be able to see my best attempt at an “Art Deco” Hebrew font.
Until next time…
Your ketubah signing, not the ceremony, is what precedes your first married moments.
I was in a Judaica store the other day, visiting my ex Jewish studies teacher who works at the counter. A couple came in looking for a ketubah. After a cursory glance through the pile of ketubot in a corner of the store, they brought one up to the register. My teacher tried to explain to them what they were buying– the text, who the artist was. The couple listened impatiently, until the groom-to-be finally said, “Listen, our rabbi said we needed either an Orthodox or a Conservative text. We’re just trying to cross this off the list.” I happened to be nearby, so I asked them if they planned to hang up the ketubah. “Well, yeah,” said the groom. Then he turned to his bride and said, “So is this the one you want?” She shrugged. “Yeah, sure.” The challenge for those of us in the ketubah business can be summed up in the above interaction. We want to help you, the couples, to recognize the importance of your ketubah at the time that you’re buying it– that is, before your wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, no explanation will be necessary. You will have witnessed the significant role it played in your wedding–the signing of the witnesses, your dearest friends, in the intimate moments before your marriage. You will have felt this electrifying truth– that with or without the ceremony that follows, as soon as you sign the ketubah, YOU. ARE. MARRIED. Suddenly, this piece of paper will take on paramount importance– it will symbolize the newest moments of your married life, the small room where those closest to you joined in the joy of your union. (And this is just the emotional significance, to say nothing con the actual words in the contract– the husband’s promises to his wife, or the husband and wife’s promises to one another, as a married couple.) This document, with significance on a symbolic, sentimental, spiritual and legal level will also serve an aesthetic function– it will likely hang in your bedroom or living room for a long, long time. I’ll present you with two examples from my own inner circle. My father, who remarried before I got into this business, often comments how he loves his ketubah for what it represents, but not so much for how it looks. It was, for him and his wife before their marriage, “just another thing to cross off the list.” They have hung their ketubah in the hallway leading to their bedroom. They want to remember and feel that connection to their wedding day, and to their commitment to one another– they just don’t want to look at the thing all the time. Contrast that with my dearest friends Jordan and Lindsey. You’ve seen this bride before. She’s become our poster bride, because of the way that this couple really connected to their ketubah. Let me take you through the moments after their ketubah signing, pictorially. There was not a dry eye in the house. Even the groom was struggling not to lose it (sorry, dude).
(photos by Robby Campbell)
Lindsey told me just what she wanted in her ketubah and I executed it, with a few surprises. They have hung the ketubah opposite their bed, where it is the first thing they see in the morning, and the last thing they see before they go to sleep (aside from one another, of course). Jordan said, “Bride and groom become husband and wife once the ketubah is signed, and on our wedding day, the significance of the signing was palpable due in large part to the beauty of our ketubah. It is a moment we will never forget, one of the happiest of our lives. We look at our ketubah, and it reminds us of our perfect day.” After the flowers wilt, the delicacies are eaten, the white dress is in plastic, the ketubah will be there: it will hang in your bedroom as long as you’re married. Your photos and your wedding video may grace your shelf until someone– probably your children, and probably only a few times, max– will want to look at them but, again, your ketubah will be there, on your wall, out in the open, a constant reminder. Still think the ketubah is just another thing to cross off the list?
Should you or shouldn’t you have your ketubah text pre-personalized?
As I’ve been meeting with Miami rabbis this week, canadian pharmacy online many have asked me if Ketuv can fill-in the ketubah text with the couple’s details. Of course we can and we do! But, like most ketubah companies, we charge a small fee to do so. As much as we’d love for it to be included, there are serious man-hours (or woman hours, as it were) behind this kind of task, as we want to get the text layout just right.
So, the question then becomes, is it worth the money?
What I’ve found speaking to rabbis is an overwhelming yes: it’s worth it to personalize your ketubah. Though most rabbis are completely capable of filling out the ketubah text approporiate for their denomination, many feel uncomfortable from an entirely aesthetic perspective, they don’t want to “pollute” the calligraphy (or digital calligraphy) with their chicken scratch. Also, they don’t want to have to worry about mistakes because, let’s face it, everybody makes them, even rabbis, however infrequently. An astounding amount of rabbis have had trouble finding the right pen, and have ruined ketubahs with a leaky or runny pen, or a pen that generic pharmacy online doesn’t react in the right way with the surface of the ketubah. (FYI, all of Ketuv’s ketubot get along with Sakura Micron pens of any color. We suggest .005 or .01 weight.)
There are arguments for leaving spaces. Some people like the tactile sense provided by their rabbi’s handwriting. There is a memory created by the handwriting, and by the fact that the details will necessarily be filled out by the officiant, in view of the marrying couple, on their wedding day. However, don’t forget, the big “act” associated with the ketubah is still the signing, and personalization will not detract from that!
This morning I met with Rabbi Bookman at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, Florida. He had a great idea: what if the details could be filled in a different color, a color already present in the ketubah, so that they stood out more? Totally! Good call! Ketuv is totally willing to do your personalization in a different color, should you want it, at no further cost. (Also, keep in mind that if you opt for a custom work or custom text, personalization is included!)
Ultimately, of course, we know you’ve got to balance what’s easiest on your wallet with what’s, well, easiest. But we do suggest that you ask your rabbi what s/he prefers and that you factor the answer into your decision! Remember, your ketubah is going to hang on your wall a long, long time– the owner of the ketubah pictured in this post often mentions to me that he and his wife see it every day upon waking, and every night before going to sleep– so it may be worth the investment!
Update 1/18/12: Because of the overwhelming number of rabbis telling us the same thing– that they would rather receive the ketubah already filled out– and because we want our ketubah artworks to look as beautiful as possible, Ketuv has decided to include personalization/text fill-in for free, as a default service on all of our ketubot. This means the text will be filled in by Ketuv and OK’d by the rabbi/officiant and the couple before the wedding. We hope it makes everyone’s lives easier!