If you think your Jewish reunions are big, try a gathering with two Jewish families put together, plus friends from nearly every continent. And, with the amount of food served—think life-cycle Jewish event run by Yiddishe Mommes—everyone is bound to come out fat.

My good friend from ulpan (Hebrew language immersion school) made aliyah to Israel to begin his life with his fiancé, whom he met in his home country of Australia when she was a shlicha (Israeli emissary). He was engaged during the five months of ulpan when I got to know him; the bride-to-be came to ulpan many times for Shabbat and to hang out, quickly becoming friends with all of the ulpaners. During that time, in class with the groom-to-be, I got an insider’s view of the wedding planning. Our class heard when the venue was chosen, the band was hired, and the details were filled in.

When the wedding approached, our invitation was hand-delivered by the couple. I kept the invitation on my desk, along with the invitation to the wedding of one of my best friends,  scheduled for this coming summer. Of course, the invitation for the Israeli wedding came a couple of weeks before the event and the American wedding invitation came over nine months in advance.

This wedding was uniquely special as it was the first Jewish wedding I have been to in quite some time, and it was just outside of Jerusalem! For Jews, a wedding is one of the most important and sacred life cycle events, along with the birth and brit milah/baby naming, bar/bat mitzvah, and…well…death.