In and amongst a figurative oasis far removed from the desert of the city, us here at SDE Weddings, Toronto’s premier wedding videography and cinematography company, were proud to play a part and be witness to the wedding of Ellie and Justin, whose special day drew plentiful edifying parallels to the history and continuity of the Jewish people. In a modern Jewish Wedding renewal ceremony set in the urban oasis of Fantasy Farm Banquet Hall & Event Centre alongside Toronto’s landmark Don River and Don Valley, Ellie and Justin were wed on April 13th 2014, only a day before Passover, the Hebrew ‘Pesach’, a day which remembers the fight and flight of Moses and the Israelites from the hands of the Pharaoh well over three thousand years ago. It is hence a testament to the power and aura of the Jewish peoples’ spirit, burning ever brightly like a solemn candle in torrential winds, that Ellie and Justin’s story is but a kindling fire born from that same spirit which has persisted for these many a millennia. Akin to Judaism in midst of modernity, Ellie and Justin’s ceremony is both a celebration of life and faith for the Jewish people, but also an acknowledgement of the power of life and faith to overcome adversity in the world. A touching message which our videographers and cinematographers had hoped to fully capture in our work throughout the day.
Filming began naturally with the preparations for the day ahead. Ellie took the time to thank her bridesmaids, who were dressed in matching violet ensembles and touched up to perfection, before fashioning on the wedding gown. Admitting to finding it difficult to be sentimental, even on her wedding day, Ellie brushes off her words of gratitude with a sarcastic “the end!”, though the sentiment of her thankfulness will truly shine in action later on in what mere words now couldn’t encapsulate. From there, the bridal party made their way to the venue, Toronto’s Fantasy Farm Banquet & Convention Hall, where they would be greeted by Justin and the groomsmen. In a rather romantic shot taken alongside the wooded setting surrounding the open-concept banquet hall, Ellie and Justin would have their first look at each other to the cheers and merriment of the bridesmaids’ in the backdrop. After plenty of photographs and a brief freshening up, the wedding party would transition to the formal rites which define a wedding in Jewish tradition. The signing of the Ketubah, or marriage contract, would be the catalyst that thrusts the young couple through eons of Jewish history and tradition. Ellie and Justin would take their turns declaring themselves to one another in ancient tongues, Hebrew and Aramaic, over an elaborate parchment written in Hebrew script. Ellie wryly remarked about the awkwardness she felt, though Justin would give his bride to be a wink of reassurance as the ceremony was finalized with the Rabbi’s signature and a resounding ‘Mazel Tov!’ from the crowd. The more public wedding ceremony would be preformed afterwards, with plenty of biblical allusions veiled within the many nuances of the rituals comprising the ceremonial rites. Covering of the bride and encircling of the groom, recitations of the betrothal blessing and the mutual tasting of ‘kiddush’ wine. Through it all, the Rabbi would nevertheless lighten the mood with a few jabs at Justin’s perceived lack of public eloquence, a trait he attributed to Moses, befitting on the day prior to Passover. The wedding ceremony would conclude with the breaking of the glass by Justin’s heel, an action which the Rabbi states is symbolic of the fact that we still live in an imperfect world of turmoil, and not in a world of harmony. Though nevertheless, the cheer of “Mazel Tov!” afterwards signifies that despite the injustices we face, that happiness and love will still prevail. A profound message from the Rabbi serving to close the ceremonies, and begin the evening’s celebration.
The reception for the evening was humble yet elegant, certainly not overstated, and perfect for the couples’ chosen theme for the wedding. As soon as the newlyweds entered the hall, the band and the crowd immediately arranged the ‘Hora’ dance, a folk dance of the Jewish diaspora. Everyone around, young and old, would join hands in forming circles around the couple to celebrate their union. The excitement of the crowd would soon escalate to Ellie and Justin being carried up on chairs, thrusted upwards into the air to the rhythm of the fiddler off the hook, commanding them in unison. The vibrant energy of the banquet hall would serve as the highlight of the day, as everyone around shared in the happiness of the couples’ wedding day celebration. The evening’s festivities would slowly wind down with the couples’ first dance, the cutting of the cake, and several slapstick speeches from Ellie and Justin’s closest friends and family, almost like a lineup of comedians taking turns roasting the couple, in the spirit of love of course. In the end, an open dance floor to burn the midnight oil, and a gradual conclusion to such a wondrous evening, with our videographers’ cameras rolling all along the way. In short, we here at SDE Weddings, Toronto’s premier wedding videography and cinematography company, feel utmost pleased in working with Ellie and Justin to commemorate their unforgettable wedding celebration, and hope that the spirit of their faith and shared tradition will carry them both throughout their lives.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Fantasy Farm | 50 Pottery Road, Toronto, Ontario
Photography: Svitlana Nechai | Nechai Photo
Florist and Decorator: Lisa Jogmohan | Pure Hue Dynasty
Cake: Melissa Abbou | Sweet Melissa
Wedding Coordinator: Vanessa Narsingh | Nars Events
Make Up: Alexandra | Mobile Makeovers
Band: Matthew Glowacki