They couldn't get married back home in Israel because he's considered a descendant of the biblical high priest Aaron and she's divorced. So Yair Cohen and Ruth Florsheim came thousands of miles to stand under the wedding canopy and exchange vows.

"Mazel tov!" the crowd of 4,000 family, friends and strangers cheered after Friday's ceremony, performed under the chupah by three rabbis of the Reform movement.According to Israeli secular law, Jewish marriages in Israel are governed by the Orthodox rabbinate. However, secular marriages performed outside Israel are recognized by the state.

In this case, the Georgia marriage license the couple obtained makes the marriage acceptable to Israeli secular authorities.

The 26-year-old bride, dressed in an off-white, off-the-shoulder gown, stood with her groom during the traditional ceremony.

It was a bittersweet affair.

"I am happy, mixed with sadness, that we had to marry so far away from our family, our friends, our home, our country," said Cohen, 31, who wore a yarmulke and a dark suit. "It's ridiculous. It's sad, very sad."

"At this moment, I'm excited," added the new Mrs. Cohen. "But I wanted all my family to share this moment, and they cannot."