I love a good wedding, actually I love any wedding, good bad or indifferent. I love the dresses, the sense of occasion, the emotion. Even bad weddings are good in my view. Unfortunately at my age the majority of future weddings I will attend will not be those of my peers, but their children; where dancing like a clown, dressing inappropriately or having one too many Pimms is not as excusable.
Being an ex-pat I have missed a fair few weddings of friends and relatives that I would have attended had I lived at home. In exchange for missing those in the UK I have attended a massive amount of weddings here in Israel.
Here’s my sweepingly generalized run down of the difference between wedding practices in Israel compared to those of the UK
Israel – to every Tom, Dick, Yossi and Shmuel that you, your parents, your grandparents have ever met.
UK – the favoured few you can afford to invite plus the aged relatives your folks insist on.
Israel – purpose built events venue, all enormous, most of them stunning.
UK – Country house, hotel, working men’s club. If you’re posh, a marquee in your parent’s garden.
Israel – cash expected. Websites exist to advise you how much your attendance is worth in $ to the happy couple. A safe with a letter box is located at the entrance to the venue and at the fancier weddings they have their own security.
UK – gift list at John Lewis
Guest’s dress code
Israel – anything goes; ball gown to shorts and sandals, you’d be hard pushed to find a tie.
UK – suits for boys, dresses or skirts for girls, hats and fascinators an optional extra.
Bride dress code
Israel – Don’t get me started. Some, and I repeat some, of the wedding dresses should be x-rated with scaffolding to hold them up. Bridal hair should be coaxed into plastic looking ringlets. Makeup should be applied as heavily as possible, preferably disguising any resemblance to your usual self and shoes can range from white welly type platforms to what I refer to as pole dancer shoes.
(A disclaimer at this point; I have never attended a wedding with brides dressed as such but I have seen enough being photographed to know that this is indeed a fashion)
UK – Preferably strapless, ivory, satin court shoes, bouquet
Israel – Official photographs taken before and throughout wedding. Wedding shoot takes place on the afternoon of the wedding in sweltering heat in locations ranging from the beach or park to industrial car parks, scrap metal yards, rundown backstreets with plenty of graffiti thrown in for good measure.
UK – Think Royal, think posed ‘natural’ eg. Looking into middle distance from randomly situated ornamental bridge in the hotel garden.
Length of Wedding
Israel – Starts 7 – 8pm (but you can sneak in at 9) can continue into the early hours.
UK – can start as early as 11am and end 12 hours later when the bar stops serving.
Duration of guest attendance
Israel – As long as you’re there for the chuppa and the start of the meal you can skip off whenever you choose, actually if you’re not close missing the chuppa would probably not be noticed. Just turn up, say Mazal Tov and pop the check in.
UK – Highly frowned upon to be the last to arrive. To leave before the speeches at the end of the meal is downright offensive.
Israel – Speeches?
UK – can be intolerably dull and slightly embarrasing
Israel – cell phones answered throughout, talking through vows expected.
UK – Absolute silence throughout ceremony. Cell phone ringing = lynch mob.
Israel – VERY important. Pre chuppa food ‘stations’ dotted around the venue, usually a fancy buffet for wedding breakfast.
UK – After ceremony vol au vont, plated or silver service (broccoli in your wine sir?) roast dinner for wedding breakfast.
Israel – soft drinks on table finished replenished, finished replenished, wine often left untouched. Tequila shots downed on dance floor.
UK – Wine finished replenished, finished replenished until the venue refuses to serve any more. Soft drinks? What soft drinks?
Israel – men dance, women chat.
UK – women dance, men drink
I reckon that covers it. Shame I like weddings so much, I possibly won’t be getting invited to anymore after this.