I’m a big fan of the Israeli wedding experience, but as much as I love the music and the mayhem, I’m not a fan of the fact that you can’t get dolled up for it–even if its not your own occasion.
As many of you know, most people (except for the bride and groom and perhaps, the wedding party) don’t dress up for an Israeli wedding. There are various reasons for this. The climate is hot, the Israeli demeanor is casual (not corporate), and most just don’t want to bother–they’re there to celebrate, not to dress appropriately. So they show up in jeans and sandals.
(Throughout this post you will be seeing real Israeli wedding photos that I’ve collected to give you realistic depiction of how Israelis dress at weddings. Take note, religious weddings tend to be more formal than secular weddings.)
Back in 2007, Jewish journalist Sarah wrote about this phenomenon for New York’s biggest Jewish publication, The Jewish Week. It was also part of her blog post for Israel 21c’s blog Israelity in 2007.
“In Israeli society, dressing up doesn’t make you closer to the bride or groom, so why should they? Not wearing a suit or a gown doesn’t take away from their respect.” No surprise, then, that other guests may turn up in jeans and pressed shirts, or in their army uniforms.”
She continues by saying that Israelis don’t understand the need to get all formal for a wedding, just like they don’t understand the need to dress up for work. (When was the last time you saw your male boss show up to work in a suit and tie?)
“Israelis do not understand it,” she says, “and those that do find it offensive. They wonder, ‘Are you my mother? Why are you telling me how to dress?’ The Israeli mentality is less concerned with what they are wearing as a representation of how much respect they have for an event. It’s true of how they dress for work, and for synagogue, and for weddings.”
The groom doesn’t dress up, though he may wear a white suit. Usually shirts are untucked, though. Sometimes the bride doesn’t dress up either, opting for an easy vintage dress like one you’d see designed by Mirit Weinstock or Yaara Keydar. Or one that you might wear for a beach wedding. But when the bride does decide to dress up in a voluptuous white wedding ball gown (and most of them do, for some reason, while all others are under dressed, the bride is still fancy,) she typically goes all out.
One of the trends among Israeli brides is showing a lot of skin through the bustier of her wedding dress so that it almost looks like she’s wearing a see-through corset and a ball gown skirt. Many of those bustiers are also embellished, beaded, and studded with rhinestones.
One such designer of these types of wedding gowns is Pnina Tornai, who is known for her unique design of corsets that has a classic construction but fits the modern woman of today. On her website, her bio says her handmade dresses are sewn according to the principles of Haute Couture.
By the way, Pnina is a bonafide Israeli celeb. People already knew her for her wedding dresses, which are a huge hit and in 2009, she appeared in the Israeli version of Big Brother VIP (celebs only.)
Stunning or just over the top? You decide.
Here’s a photo taken by my friend Deborah Mohar of a bride taking pictures in Yafo by the sea.
Though I’m a big fan of traditional and I would love my own wedding dress (someday!) to be frilly (but without the bustier) one can opt for a sleeker, more subdued wedding dress that’s just as classy from designers like Yaara Keydar, Mirit Weinstock, and Yaron Braha Bezalel.
Here are some sleeker wedding dress photos from real weddings: