Ahhhhhhhhh! The day is here! You’re about to publicly affirm your love for another soul in front of witnesses. You’re making a life-changing commitment to your most special, treasured one – and should you lean towards the spiritual, the presence of a Higher Power is palpable. Many women will, for reasons of religious obligation, marital status, medical adversity/hairloss issues or just pure choice, choose to cover for the first time ever, or to resume covering, on their wedding day.
My personal story was a combination of some of the above, with a twist, but we all have our own stories. 🙂 I had been married once before, ten years prior to my second marriage, and had covered for the most part with hats during that first marriage. I did own a few scarves, but they didn’t become my primary covering style during that time. I tried sheitels (wigs) too, and I still do not ‘get along’ with them!
While preparing for my second marriage and wedding ceremony, and meeting with my Rabbi in Baltimore, we had a discussion about how I would wear my hair for the special day. After my divorce, I had no desire to cover whatsoever, and decided to wear my hair ‘out’ when my religiously-granted divorce became final.
However, my sweet fiance and I had been making a spiritual journey together to Orthodox Judaism, and I wanted, by covering from our wedding day onward, to honor our commitment to each other, to our (often difficult at times!) journey and to our One and Only G-d by covering my hair. For this second wedding and marriage, I was a bit shocked when I blurted out to my Rabbi that I wanted to begin covering again ON the big day. I surprised myself – and I think I may have surprised my Rabbi as well. So, after arguing with the Rabbi a bit when he refused to allow me to wear a hairpiece of bangs, I set out on my search for the perfect dress and tichels to top it off – and this was way before we had even set our wedding date!
Being an ‘older,’ plus-sized bride with a very limited budget and a definitive personal style, I began the trek. Bridal shops and online bridal sites carrying very ‘typical’ wedding styles were a wash for me. I wanted something different, yet something ‘diva.’ After lots of looking i found, on a plus-sized clothing site, the perfect short sleeved, fully-lined dress in a sheer, flowing ivory fabric, ornamented with large metallic gold roses. It had a lot of silvery bling added on. It was so me and so perfect for me – and anything ivory with metallic gold or silver could coordinate; jewelry and tichels. The dress was delivered and found a home in my Rebbetzin’s closet until I became engaged and a date was set. I also found the perfect shoes shortly thereafter. I wound up wearing them for a big 5 minutes on the big day – using them for a gorgeous, artistic photo – and returning them to the seller as soon as I could! OUCH!
Now the hard part. To find the perfect tichels. I had never heard of a Shaper before to use for height and volume. This was all in the year 2012, when Wrapunzel wasn’t even around! I saw many styles that I wanted to imitate, many ideas that I had found mostly on websites geared to formal wraps for Muslim women. There were pleats, rosettes, bling, netting creating tails and braids – none of which I knew how to create. I thought I’d enlist the help of a super-spiritual lady and the best head wrapper in Baltimore at the time, Rivka Malka Perlman, to help me on that day. And help me she sure did! These two videos will show (and tell!) you everything!
Procuring my wrap supplies was fun. I shopped online until I found the perfect open-weave, ivory scarf with gold threads subtly woven through. I went to my local fabric store and found netting in gold and silver metallic. I still felt, however, that something was missing. Brides…..lace and pearls! At that same fabric store I found a wide lace ornamented with pearls. But alas, it was bright white. So I called my sister who happens to be a crafter, and she suggested that I tea-dye the lace. So I did, turning it a perfect shade of ivory, a length of which i secured to the part of my tichel that would rest on my forehead. I was now ready to get ‘coiffed’ for my big day!
Rivka Malka came up with a gorgeous combo to get me to the chuppah (wedding canopy) in style. Blinged up, too, with a pin from my best friend’s mother in law, it lasted all the way through the first dance, at the end of which all of the excitement and jumping up and down brought it tumbling down. Time to re-wrap! So I enlisted the help of another friend and head wrapper in the community, Esther Gur, who had hosted a “tichel shower” for me a few weeks before the wedding, growing my collection. Esther created a lovely ‘do’ for me to wear for the remainder of the reception.
But ladies, this is only my story, and I wanted to find out about some of yours! So I went to the ladies of the Wrapunzel Community Group for some added material:
Jordan A., married three years and from Arizona reminisces:
I didn’t wrap full-time before getting married, but I did wrap for church and for some private prayer. I knew that the wrap I wore on my wedding day would be important because of a particular moment that occurred while dating my husband. He and I were praying together after a particularly rough day, and this is hard to put into words, but you could say I was feeling emotionally drained and empty spiritually. As he prayed, I got a strong feeling that I needed a scarf, so I dashed upstairs to retrieve one. He told me later how that struck him, and how it clearly influenced what was going on both between us and beyond. Knowing that he knew the power of wrapping definitely made me feel more confident choosing to wear a wrap over a traditional veil for our wedding day.
How did I come up with my wrap style? Actually, my husband was involved in the process of choosing the wrap. I kept my whole ensemble a surprise for him, but I asked him some questions about his preferences. He wanted me to use a scarf or scarves that I could wear after the wedding, and he wanted it to actually fully cover my hair, as opposed to most traditional veils that you can see through. Finally, he wanted me to wear my hair down underneath. It was a bit of a tall order!
Other than commemorating my wedding day itself, I didn’t have any milestones to celebrate by wrapping that day. At least not anything I can sum up in a few words! There was so much going on during that time frame as far as my “life journey” was concerned… way too much to put on paper at this time!
Check out this absolutely stunning pic of Jordan A. and her husband on their special day. It truly radiates the peace, love and spiritual depth they shared that day and beyond!
To sum things up, no matter what the occasion, but especially on days associated with life-cycle (and life-changing) events, covering one’s hair creates an indescribable, highly personal aura that radiates from a woman. It is an aura that is perceivable to all around her – her spouse, her family, and her friends. It is an aura that connects her to the divine within herself and with the Divine. It is an aura that bestows a bit of the Holy Presence upon our world, and for that, so many of us are eternally grateful.