July 10, 2024
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Nana’s Zucchini Bread

I have often been asked the following question: “Thank God we are all blessed to partake in so many smachot these days. I would love to think of a way to add a special and memorable touch to our own upcoming simcha. Can I do something to make mine special…unique…different?”

There are many things I have seen over the years that take just a little bit of thought and preparation, but make a lasting impression on those who attend your simcha. There are those touches that require unique talents, like the groom who composed, orchestrated and then sang a song to the bride…(not something I typically recommend …because you never know how you are going to feel at that instant until you are there, but if you choke up because the love of your life is walking towards you, everyone in attendance will understand)…. when that groom did “nail” the performance it was a MOMENT…. but not everyone can (or even worse—should) be singing, even under the best of circumstances.

Here are some other nice touches that, over the years, have remained in my memory due to their simplicity and personal stamp that they add to a simcha. There are the classic touches, like writing personal notes in people’s seating cards, putting pictures of the bride and groom throughout the catering hall, the personalized “his and her” cocktails at the bar, or the “fun facts” section on the chupah handout about all the people walking down the aisle. But the following touches are even a bit more different and have really endured in my memory.

One of the nicest touches I have ever seen was at the wedding of the daughter of Neshoma’s own Michael Sojcher. Before the chuppah began, instead of asking everyone to turn off their cell phones (which too many people still ignore), Michael and his (about-to-be) mechutan, Nathan, invited their deceased parents, the grandparents of the kallah and chattan, by name to please come down and join them under the chupah. There was not a dry eye in the house, and you know what? I know their “invitation” was well received!

I have seen mechitzos turned into more than just something that can get knocked over (like clear Lucite bookcase filled with candles—beautiful but hazardous), or take up 8 feet of valuable dance floor space by having a small forest of branches which poke people in the eye as they walk by: mechitzos that were covered in pictures of the bride and groom, filled with shtick for the bar mitzvah boy’s friend, or the practical kind—filled with water bottles, shvitz towels and a place to dispose of the empties. My favorite of all time was the movie theater-style velvet ropes that had a sign on it: “This is a mechitza. You know what to do.”

Ahhh… the bar/bat mitzvah montage…15 minutes of seeing pictures of someone else’s children….at their Siddur play, Disney World, with chocolate frosting in their hair, and fast asleep in their high chair in middle of a bowl of oatmeal… I have seen them personalized by showing (and even better yet, telling via a voiceover) about the people the child was named for, the family history or a personal message from a parent to child. Makes for a much better accompaniment to the pictures than yet another version of the “Friends” theme song.

And then we get to Nana’s zucchini bread. The bride’s grandmother had this amazing recipe for zucchini bread. The host had the caterer bake each guest an individual loaf, and gave it to them in a little bag that had the recipe on a card with the bride and groom’s new contact information. Simple, personal and unforgettable!

Next article will include some great “shtick,” starting with the friends of the groom at a recent wedding who recreated a live version of Mario Kart—literally, with all the characters, sound effects and music. The groom (Mario, of course) won the race! Surprised?

By Dov Katz

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