I saw the spark in Jean’s eye when she spoke of Jon, and I knew that this was love.  After their engagement, Jean asked me to design a chuppah, the ceremonial canopy under which a couple is married in a Jewish wedding.  She requested that it be colorful, contemporary, and unique; and she already chose the fabric to place overhead.  I researched, thought, and sketched.  I learned that most chuppahs are constructed by a PVC pipe at each corner.  For this outdoor wedding, I explored alternatives, but I realized that PVC was indeed best suited for the purpose.  Rather than fight the material, I embraced it.  I proposed having 18 pipes at each corner, as in Judaism, 18 represents Chai, meaning Life; and they are beginning a new life together.  I proposed cutting the pipes at different heights and spray painting them in the colors of the wedding.  I thought of the glimmer in Jean’s eye, and I introduced flames to manifest this intangible passion.  I envisioned candles floating above the tubes and wax dancing down the sides as they pronounced their vows.  I could see flowers growing from the pipes; each tube unique, every petal special.  I thought about how their lives will change forever with this moment, and I designed a chuppah that will change with them.  Upon sharing the concept with them, Jean responded, “I love the idea.”  Jean and Jon shared my concept with a chuppah builder, and the builder used the concept as inspiration for the final chuppah construction and central ambiance of the wedding ceremony. -Bryan Pravda