This was my first experience photographing a UC Berkeley wedding! And I look forward to so many more after the wonderful experience of photographing Gabriela and Abe’s wedding. The ceremony and reception took place at the Faculty Club. The club building is an architectural gem of Craftsman design, by architects Bernard Maybeck and John Galen Howard. It’s listed internationally, as one of the finest examples of the style. The carved beams, the fireplaces, the stained glass windows all reflect Maybeck’s awareness of a special northern California aesthetic that still arouses a warm response. The takeaway for me from this wedding was love for family and tradition.
This was a Jewish wedding with all the traditional elements. It began with the badeken, the veiling of the kallah by the chatan. The veil symbolizes the idea of modesty and conveys the lesson that however attractive physical appearances may be, the soul and character are paramount.The procession of the groom and his men was dramatic and joyous. The women welcomed them with joyous song and dance. The ketubah (marriage contract) was signed by two witnesses and guests then proceeded to the lawn for the ceremony. The chuppah was beautifully adorned by flowers from Laura Miller Design. When the couple first enters the huppah, the bride circles the groom seven times, representing the seven wedding blessings and seven days of creation, and demonstrating that the groom is the center of her world. To make the ancient ritual reciprocal, many couples opt to circle each other. Nothing says “Jewish wedding” more than the sound of breaking glass. And Abe nailed it. This is the representation of the fragility of human relationships; and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. It’s also the official signal to shout, “Mazel Tov!” and start partying. No Jewish wedding is complete without the Hora, or chair dance. In this tradition, a few strong and brave guests hoist the bride and groom high above the crowd on chairs to the infectious sounds of “Hava Nagila”.