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A bride [once] said to me, “How will we know if it’s right?” I said, If you come in and you see it and jump up and down, it will be right.

Caterer and wedding planner Louis Bluefeld, 2011 JMMOH 760

We did it kosher, because it was the right thing to do.

Phil Rosenfeld, who married Cheryl Gail Beller at Blue Crest North, Pikesville, on July 12, 1981 JMM OH764

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Program and photo from the wedding of Joshua Rabin and Yael Hammerman, Beth Israel in Owings Mills on August 31, 2008.  The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Jay Goldstein and Rabbi Richard Hammerman (the bride's father).


The couple – who both are now practicing Conservative rabbis – prepared a detailed program for their guests, explaining the traditional and personal choices they made while planning their simcha. 


Gift of Susan and Philip Rabin. JMM CP 2017.7.5, 2017.25.4

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In reality, there are few things – short of two consenting adults, the required number of witnesses, and some form of religious and/or civil validation – that are literally essential to a wedding ceremony.  Yet, ‘everyone’ knows there are certain things ‘every’ wedding must have, whether it’s a white dress and a bouquet or a chuppah and a broken glass… or all of the above.


The customs and rituals that seem obvious and unchanging to one person might be old-fashioned, puzzling, or completely unknown to another. Though these multitudes of options and opinions can present a challenge to those determined to do things the Right Way, they also give us – both individuals and communities – the room to experiment, adapt, and make the ceremony our own.

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