Ah, the hora. It’s the classic celebratory dance that almost all Jewish weddings include. It’s easy to learn, gets everyone on the dance floor and makes for the best pictures!
However, being lifted in the chairs can be as scary as it is exhilarating. I’ve heard horror stories of people not being able to get off the ground and even one tale of a father-of-the-bride who actually fell out of the chair and landed on his head. Everything turned out okay, but what a scare!
Keep reading for tips to ensure that the hora at your wedding goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Timing is everything. Make sure you dance the hora before your chair lifters and the crowd gets too drunk or rowdy. We recommend dancing as soon as you can after the ceremony. A good time might be after cocktail hour or directly after the Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances.
2. Pick your chair-lifters ahead of time and teach them how to lift properly. It’s all in the legs! It helps to choose lifters that are around the same height so your chair is more likely to stay level. When choosing your lifters, ask strong people who are in good health with no back issues.
3. Choose your chairs wisely. Take a look at every kind of chair the venue offers to pick the perfect one. It may seem silly while you’re doing it (or like that scene from Knocked Up), but it is definitely worth it. If you don’t see one that works, bring your own! The chair you choose should be well made and not too heavy. DO NOT use a folding chair! Make sure the legs are able to be gripped easily. And, if you’re very nervous, choose a chair with arms that you can hold on to for extra support.
4. Be mindful of what you’re wearing. Lose your veil and bustle your dress before the dance to make sure loose fabrics doesn’t accidentally get yanked in the process. Smooth your dress out before you sit to avoid any uncomfortable moments caused by wayward beads or crinoline getting in the way of your seat. If you’re wearing a short or tea-length dress, cross your ankles to avoid giving everyone a show!
5. Communication is everything. Wedding dress and suit materials can be very slippery. If your front and back legs are not even, you could slide right off the chair. Be sure to let the chair lifters know if you are tilted too far in one direction.
6. Have that hankerchief ready! Traditionally, the bride and groom will hold each end of the handkerchief or cloth while being lifted. This a great chance to show your personality- choose a handkerchief or cloth that has some meaning. Popular choices include school paraphernalia (Like the Pittsburgh Steeler’s Terrible Towel) or those rainbow clown scarves that never seem to end. You can also use a napkin from the venue if needed.
7. Plan out who is being lifted ahead of time. Sometimes it’s just the bride and groom. Sometimes parents or other family members will get lifted as well. The final list is up to you, but it helps to plan ahead to avoid any surprises.
8. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride! It’s a moment you and your guests will always remember.
Have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!!