Designing our Custom Chuppah

One of my favorite and most meaningful projects from our wedding is our custom designed Chuppah. A chuppah, for those unfamiliar, is the Jewish wedding canopy. Though it's a literal canopy, I love how Meg Keene, Executive Editor of A Practical Wedding, describes it:

The huppah is raised, for most of us, once in a lifetime. It is not permanent, but it is the promise of a home. Friends and family stand and the corners, helping to anchor the fragile structure down, the roof is a tallit so the couple is covered in holiness and the memory of commandments. The huppah does not promise that love or hope or pledges will keep out weather or catastrophe, but its few lines are a sketch for what might be. The flimsiness of the huppah reminds us that the only thing that is real about a home is the people in it who love and choose to be a family. The huppah is the house of promises. It is the home of hope.

It's a beautiful passage Meg wrote for her own wedding that I stumbled upon while planning ours. The structure for our Chuppah was crafted by our amazing florists (Tre Bella in Durham, NC) but I actually designed a personal custom fabric hanging. It was pinned beneath the wedding canopy that Gus and I were married under and was inspired by Meg's words.

I had been searching for ways to include meaningful surprises in our wedding and wedding weekend - moments that would shake our guests out of the usual wedding noise and happily remind them that they are loved, appreciated, and so important to us. And so the chuppah provided such a moment: we managed to involve everyone and still keep its existence a secret.

anniemade // Use your RSVP card to ask your guest for creative replies

Let me explain. In our wedding invitation replies, we invited our guests to send us their creative replies - period - no additional use mentioned. We delighted in checking the mail each day, for the next beautiful message, quirky art, or clever advice.

We scanned each of these replies and from them, I filled an entire yard of fabric as our canvas. I used Adobe Illustrator to craft the design and employed the awesomely awesome Spoonflower (coincidentally based in Durham) to print the one yard for me. The entire cost including shipping was less than $30.

From their words, our chuppah became a celebration of our love and the family and friends that have helped grow and support it. If you look closely, you'll see the fabric is filled with the good advice, well wishes, fun and whimsical drawings from so many of our loved ones.

Around the circle of our names, the big text reads "Surrounded by our friends and family, we join our lives forever as husband and wife." The smaller lines encompass all 110 of our guests' names including my mom and grandfather who had passed away but were listed in spirit. We added this so even for those who didn't send us a message still had something special representing them on the chuppah.

To me, this project was made all the more impactful because our guests did not know about it but had been such an integral part of creating it.

Our Rabbi eloquently announced the hidden design during our wedding ceremony and invited our guests to come see and enjoy it during our reception. There's a snippet of this moment in our amazing wedding video by Inkspot Crow Films. Scroll to 3:31 to see our Chuppah come to life.

It reminds me of a favorite movie - Father of the Bride"Well, that's the thing about life, is the surprises, the little things that sneak up on you and grab hold of you."

It cost very little to craft this special moment and through the words and work of our loved ones, we know have a keepsake we will treasure for our lifetime together.

And with that, I'll just say that I can't wait to share how we recently hung this up in our living room. It's a nifty DIY project for anyone trying to figure out how to hang fabric without having to spend an arm and a leg on a custom frame. See you Thursday!

Looking for more wedding projects? I also recently shared our DIY papercut Ketubah (Jewish Wedding Contract) which hangs in our bedroom, reminding us each day of the blessing of our marriage and the promises we have made to one another.

Interested in a custom chuppah design similar to ours? Let me know - welcoming custom orders in the shop

source: photos - brett & jessica photography