It's obvious to Alina's and Jason's closest friends - and those they've just met - that a warm, gracious welcome and open doors are intrinsic to who they are. Every Sunday, they invite friends and family to celebrate the shabbat in their kitchen, and send them home with two loaves of homemade challah - one to eat and one to give away. Their home is the gathering spot, the place where they make their memories, and the place where they wanted to get married.
Before the ceremony, the women gathered upstairs for a calm and sweet bedeken, while the men cheered and sang across the hall. Alina had a touching, heartfelt blessing for every loved one who entered, but it was her brothers, three large tough-looking guys, who teared up before she could even speak.
Just as Alina and Jason had hoped, the day was filled with a sense of community, joy, love, and playfulness. Their wedding was a lively one, with guests laughing, dancing, and singing well into the night!
Like most things in Judaism, Alina + Jason's wedding was infused with ritual and symbolism. Alina wrote their ketubah herself and over many weeks, their loved ones decorated it with the wax from shabbat candles.