Have A Kosher Destination WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of A Beautiful Day Photography
While destination weddings can present a unique set of obsticals, there's always somone to help you! Case in point: acheiving a kosher wedding abroad. Noah Lang with The Kosher Concierge makes it his business to help couples achieve the perfect and kosher-friendly destination wedding. Keep reading for his tips and for additional information, visit The Kosher Concierge on Facebook.
1. Debunking the "anywhere you want" myth for kosher.
Aside from a suitable mate, the biggest question regarding a kosher wedding is where to do it. There's a prevalent two-part myth that there are only a few locations to do a wedding. 1. That it has to be in an area of high Jewish concentration (major Jewish metropolitans such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles or Chicago) and 2. That in that Jewish area, it is limited to a synagogue, hotel or designated wedding hall. However, neither of these statements is accurate! Just about any destination on the globe can be a consideration and there are some amazing options in these locales. Just about the only limitation is your imagination…and a caterer. Which leads us to...
2. Finding a kosher friendly caterer (and plenty exist!).
Sure, we all know the kosher caterers in our neighborhood. But, how to find one in a not-so-standard area of the map? Truth be told, many caterers love pushing themselves, trying new things and reaching new clientele. Caterers love to be contacted to try something different, especially if it brings return guests! Some caterers are willing to invest in kosher utensils and areas of their kitchens, confident that their kosher menu will bring in future Simchas (celebrations). The best way to identify potentially "kosher friendly" caterers is to explore where there are kosher events during the year (winter breaks, Passover). Those areas will have a higher diffusion of kosher awareness, leading to interest and facility.
3. Sourcing available kosher products.
Some areas have lots of kosher items readily available, either due to kosher supervision on products, or a local list to guide the consumer. If there's kosher supervision in an area, it means that there's kosher goods! No matter how small a Jewish presence in an area, there will always be some sort of local purveyor of kosher sundries. In the rare occurrence that there is no Jewish presence at all (and there's a Chabad-Lubavitch almost everywhere), most countries will have laws related to import of outside items, and are virtually always amenable to an open discussion about kosher products.
4. Getting creative with replacement items.
Sometimes, for whatever bizarre reason or another, an item simply can’t be produced. Not to worry! Caterers are masters of their craft, and a good caterer will be able to replace a dish from their normal menu with something kosher. It’s as simple as making a seafood-only paella, removing the shellfish from gumbo, using tofutti for the cheesecake, or preparing sauces with natural fresh ingredients. Knowing your menu in advance gives the caterer a great amount of time to get creative and be even more awesome.
5. Getting the Rabbis and family "on board."
Many people are hesitant to journey for a destination wedding. There is comfort in knowing a local caterer and using local event planning. The kosher supervision is easily accessible and there isn't much in the way of an "unkown." A destination has mystery involved, which makes it exciting! Create an open dialogue between the Rabbis, concerned parties and your travel Kosher Supervisor (Us!). No need for confusion, secrets or intrigue, a wedding is a beautiful event that everyone should look forward to. The more information everyone has about the destination and the event, the more excited they will be to partake in the festivities – and the dessert!
6. Making the big day beautiful.
If caterers are "open" to kosher events, then other venues are itching for weddings and other celebrations. Many options often get overlooked for the simple reason that no one thought to contact them. Often a more economical solution than a hall or hotel, there are many creative solutions for a destination wedding. In the immortal words "if you will it, it is no dream," a beachfront ceremony, ballroom in a national park, or even convention center gives the hosting building an opportunity to show how well they can accommodate an event, and the caterer a chance to show off their culinary capabilities – it’s a win-win!
If you have other questions, comments, suggestions and ideas, we are here to help guide you toward the very joyous occasion of your wedding. Contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or "like" us on facebook.com/thekosherconcierge!
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