With wedding season just around the corner, this is a reminder to take a moment and just breathe. Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming experience filled with lots of emotions. All the preparations lead to what is supposed to be one of the best days of your life; however, sometimes stress and expectations can overshadow that happy day.
Milwaukee-area native and recent bride, Tamara Safer-Fink, shared her experience and provided tips to future brides on how to navigate this experience in order to truly enjoy the wedding and everything leading up to it.
Here are ten things to think about before your wedding day, based on our chat with Safer-Fink. These are in no particular order of importance:
1. Focus on what’s important
One of the most stressful aspects of planning for a wedding is budgeting for it. Consider making a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves to help narrow down what is most important to incorporate into the day.
“The things that are important to you are the things that you should spend your money on,” said Safer-Fink. “You don’t really need all that extra stuff.”
Safer-Fink did not have a theme; she just wanted flowers to make the place look beautiful.
2. Make a spreadsheet
In order for Safer-Fink to stay organized, she collected all the names, addresses and gifts in a spreadsheet.
“It really helped me. I stayed on top of my thank you notes,” she said.
3. Communicate with your officiant
“It is important to figure out who you want to officiate your wedding. You should make time to meet with that person and talk about what you want. The ceremony should be meaningful to you,” said Safer-Fink.
Before the wedding, the officiant should know how long the wedding will be, have a clear understanding of the couple’s expectations, and know if there are any personalized modifications the couple would like.
4. Familiarize yourself with Jewish traditions
There are many traditions and rituals that are incorporated into Jewish weddings. Some couples decide not to do some, while others are all in. Regardless, it is good to know what they are and what they mean before making choices or carrying them out on the wedding day.
“I didn’t know what a bedeken was,” said Safer-Fink. “Our rabbi gave us a book. I was reading it to learn where these traditions come from. It made it feel special.”
The couple wrote their own vows and incorporated traditional prayers. The couple also had a bedeken, Israeli dancing at the reception and they signed the ketubah — which she designed by hand.
“It was the most Jewish wedding I’ve ever been to,” said Safer-Fink jokingly.
5. Use local people to help you plan
When looking for a photographer, videographer or caterer, it is great to look within the community. If you don’t know someone who does those things, there is always someone else who has a recommendation handy. Luckily, Safer-Fink was connected with a photographer.
6. Consider a mikveh
“I felt really vulnerable but it ended up being amazing. My husband did it too. It was just a very beautiful ritual to do as you prepare yourself to enter married life,” said Safer-Fink. “It’s a special thing to do and I would recommend doing it.”
7. Pick a reliable venue
Safer-Fink had her wedding ceremony and reception at Shully’s. The place also catered the wedding and acted like a wedding planner, she said.
8. Keep it simple to relieve stress
The essentials of the wedding are a photographer, music, catering and a venue. All of the extra stuff is an added bonus. Oh, and of course the bride and groom!
9. Go to Althea’s for undergarments
Wedding dress shopping is a no brainer but what goes underneath is often an afterthought. It is still important to make sure the right undergarments are worn to suit the dress perfectly.
“Everyone should go there,” she said. “Wedding dresses have unique designs and cuts and you need specific undergarments. She knows exactly what everyone needs.”
10. Understand that a wedding is more than a party
“This is just a wedding. Yes, we want it to be beautiful. Yes, we want people to have a good time and for it to be special, but it’s about us starting our life together. It’s not like everything is leading up to this day. Everything after this day is what’s important,” said Safer-Fink.
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About Robert and Tamara
Robert Fink and Tamara Safer-Fink are from Milwaukee and first met in 2013. They met at the hospital to meet her sister’s newborn baby. Robert was a relative of her sister’s boyfriend.
“It was kind of like love at first sight for him,” she joked.
After a few dates, the couple realized that it was not the right time for them and they separated for seven years. They rekindled in the summer of 2020 and started a relationship.
In March of 2021 Robert proposed to her in Florida. They got married on Nov. 14, 2021.
Safer-Fink is a member of the Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid with her husband. The couple had their wedding officiated by Rabbi Joel Alter.
The couple shared their wedding day with 100 of their closest friends and family members. They are celebrating seven months of love and marriage this June.