Lavish weddings featuring guest lists upward of 500 people were seemingly de rigueur in Southern California's Iranian-Jewish community just five years ago. But the growth of six-figure simchas strained middle-class families, leading some couples to either call off a wedding or divorce a few months after getting married.
Born into a poor Moroccan immigrant family that settled in the development town of Dimona, Yardena Ovadia always dreamed of giving her daughter a fairy-tale wedding.
After only two hours of sleep, I woke up on Aug. 13, 2000, to the sounds of drizzle hitting my hotel window. With a pit in my stomach, I got out of bed -- terrified and excited all at once. It was my wedding day, the culmination of three months of harried planning. I desperately wanted everything about this day to be perfect, to reflect the perfect love that Brad and I shared.