Anyone who’s ever attended a Jewish wedding is familiar with the tradition of lifting the bride and groom up in chairs during the horah with the couple each holding an edge of a single napkin or handkerchief symbolically representing the mechitzah separation between men and women.
Janet Galanti has been creating embroidered napkins for this special moment since 2011. Her brand is called “The Wedding Dance Napkin” and she makes each piece by hand.
At Jewish weddings, people typically take whatever napkin is on the table to use for the horah. “Instead of grabbing a dirty napkin off a table at the wedding and never seeing that traditional napkin again, the bride and groom can have a keepsake to remember their special day,” Galanti said in a phone interview. “Afterwards, it can be framed or used as a challah cover. A memorable aspect of your wedding, this napkin can be passed from generation to generation.”
Galanti was inspired by one of her friends, who used a piece of her wedding dress to give to her daughter on a basic napkin. “I wanted to create something equally as special with a unique design on a high-quality napkin,” Galanti said. “Often brides will bring a piece of their mother’s wedding dress to me to incorporate into the napkin.”
The Wedding Dance Napkin business took off from one of Galanti’s clients who ordered multiple napkins for various friends and family over the years. “Someone saw the napkin at a wedding that an Atlanta friend had given to a friend in New York and The Wedding Dance Napkin took off from there,” Galanti said.
Galanti uses delicate beaded appliques for a unique design on the napkin. She gets the couples’ names and the date of their wedding monogrammed on the napkin through a local company. “I do a range of napkins from glitz to simple, depending on what the bride’s preference is,” Galanti said.
She has created napkins for more than 130 people. Galanti will either meet in person with a client or communicate via email. In person she usually goes over different designs with the bride, and they decide together on a specific appliqué for the napkin. Typically, Galanti will need a month or two in advance for an order so it will be ready in time for the special day.
Galanti has a Facebook page for people to contact her for orders or if they want to see pictures of some of her work. People have heard about The Wedding Dance Napkin through word of mouth around town, Galanti said.
“Part of this Jewish tradition comes from the idea of making the bride happy on her wedding day, entertaining her and ‘lifting’ her to the utmost height to honor her,” which is exactly what Galanti does for her clients.