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Wedding Ceremony Regrets


I recently saw a Facebook post that posed the question “What is One Thing You Wish You Could Change About Your Wedding?” I was a young bride (age 22) filled with a romantic vision of my wedding day. Far from being a “bridezilla” and in keeping with the rebellious attitude of the times (1968), I didn’t care about any of the wedding details. But for some reason, I expected to walk down the aisle to the strains of “Here Comes the Bride” otherwise known as Richard Wagner’s "Bridal Chorus" from the opera “Lohengrin.” At the rehearsal, my father suggested I use a different piece of music but never explained why. I held my ground and made my entrance to music by a composer who was a favorite of Hitler.

 

Why couldn’t my father have explained that Wagner was associated with Nazism and that in Israel public performance of his music was not done? As with all artists that have been cancelled because of unacceptable behavior, at that time Wagner’s work could not be separated from its association with the Holocaust. I have no idea why the Rabbi and Cantor agreed to have this music played in their synagogue and look back on this part of my wedding with great regret.

 

My lack of knowledge and my parents’ assumption that I would know something they had never discussed with me affected other aspects of my wedding. After driving from Chicago to Detroit in a blinding rainstorm on Friday, we were informed we would have to be in synagogue at 9:00 am the next morning for the Aufruf, which in Yiddish means "calling up," the Jewish custom of a groom being called up in the synagogue for an aliyah, the recitation of a blessing over the Torah. Fred and I had never heard of this custom. How was I supposed to know this was a thing? When I protested that we were not going, my mother replied, “If this is your reaction, maybe you are not mature enough to be getting married.” She may have been right about that, although not for that reason, and you can guess who won that argument.

 

Another regret is that I didn’t hold my ground on choosing my late cousin Annette to be my Matron of Honor. I had been her Maid of Honor and we had vowed to bestow this honor on one another. But my mother-in-law insisted I choose my Fred’s oldest sister because her husband was Fred’s Best Man. When I look at our wedding pictures almost 55 years later, I still feel wrong about this. Annette was like a sister to me and I should have held my ground rather than caving in under pressure.

 

A final regret was not being able to be married in my wedding ring. We had selected one with a floral and leaf pattern that had some miniscule openings in it. Just before I walked down the aisle, someone told me I would be getting married in my grandmother’s ring. In retrospect, this was a beautiful solution to the problem, but at the time I was once again thrown by a custom no one had bothered to explain to me. Apparently, my ring violated the rules for Jewish wedding rings by being pierced as part of a design. Who knew?

 

Non-kosher wedding ring

 

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by Laurie Levy
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