Jewish Wedding Tradition
Interfaith / Modern
This means that one person is Jewish and the other is of different faith.
The Ketubah is a Marriage contract between the bride and the groom. The ketubah could be read later during the ceremony if the couple so desire.
Before the Ceremony begins, a Ketubah is signed in a more intimate space. Traditionally, the Officiant(s) (Rabbi, Cantor and/or Minister or Priest) bride and groom, and two witnesses sign the ketubah in the presence of both sets of parents and honored family friends.
A chuppah represents God's protection, presence and shelter. This structure consists of four poles / columns and a canopy symbolizing the home that the new couple will establish and share together. It is open on four sides to welcome loved ones into their home, reflecting their hospitality.
Items Needed Under The Chuppah
A small table, the Ketubah, an easel for the Ketubah, a glass already filled with white wine (red wine if spilled could ruin the bride's gown) for the couple to share a sip. The unity candle might be lit during the ceremony. The traditional breaking of a glass concludes the ceremony.
In the Jewish tradition a couple should not walk alone but be escorted to the chuppah.
- The Officiant(s) will be standing under the chuppah or he/she could be leading the processional (it is up to the couple).
- The bridal party processes first.
- The groom is escorted by his parents.
- The bride is escorted by her parents.
It is up to the couple to decide who stays standing under the chuppah and whether or not to stay for the entire ceremony.
- Welcoming The Bride / Groom
The ceremony begins with welcoming words by the Officiant(s), explaining the meaning of marriage.
(From Genesis 28 for Jews or from Corinthians for Christians); a song or a musician plays a composed musical piece.
- Blessing Of The Wine
It is a metaphor for creation. The couple will sip the wine as the officiant chants.
- Vow Exchange
- Ring Exchange
- Personal Remarks
The Officiant(s) will present personal remarks.
- The 7 Circles
This is not mandatory and is up to the bride and groom if they choose this gesture. Traditionally, it means that the groom is the center of the marriage, and, therefore, she circles him 7 times.
Today, it symbolizes fulfillment, the completion of the search of each other and the binding of their souls that intertwine as they circle one another. It is also a binding gesture, the groom to the bride, the bride to the groom and the new life they will create together.
A more contemporary and egalitarian gesture occurs when the bride circles the groom 3 times, the groom circles the bride 3 times and the final one they walk the circle together as a sign of oneness.
The officiant(s) pronounces the couple as husband and wife.
- Benediction / Seven Blessings
The officiant(s) blesses the couple before they break the glass.
- Breaking Of The Glass
Traditionally, the breaking of the glass means that even during times of great joys we need to remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The traditional breaking of a glass concludes the ceremony.
Cantor Steve Sher explains that the breaking of the glass may have a contemporary symbolism: "A relationship, like the glass is also very fragile; it could be easily broken. Therefore, one must take great care to insure its wholeness and harmony."
The grand finale of the wedding is when the groom breaks the glass; a bride also may wishes to do so. Mazel tov!
The recessional is lead by the Newlyweds followed by bride, groom parents and the bridal party.
- Moments Of Privacy / Heder Yishud
After the recessional, the couple is escorted to a room and left for some private time alone to be with each other.
The Reception / Wedding Party
Let The Party Begin!
After the Heder Yishud, now the couple is ready to join, welcome and greet their honored guests and family. The celebration begins with a cocktail hour prior to the arrival of the couple to the reception. The flow of the party goes like this:
- Grand Entrance of Bridal party, both sets of parents and the Bride and Groom
- First Dance
- Blessing of the Challah bread and pieces of it are given as an honor to 7 guests as their way of being thanked for having participated in the ceremony.
- Toasts/ speeches
- Father Daughter Dance
- The Hora Dance / the Royal Chair Dance: A few strong guests will lift the bride and groom sitting on chairs, high above the crowd as family and friends dance around them to the joyful sound of "Hava Nagila"
- The Mitzvah Dances: guest honor the couple by dancing and entertaining them.
- Mezinke Tanz: This is a dance honoring the parents for marrying off their children. The parents are seated on chairs in the middle of the dance floor. A crown of flowers is placed on the mothers' heads and guests dance around them, kissing them as they pass by.
- The Seven Wedding Blessings: The meal ends with a blessing called Birkat Hamazon. The Seven Wedding Blessings are repeated giving guests the chance to participate.
- The Wine Ceremony: The Final Blessing is over two glasses of wine. The couple pours the wine together into a third glass, symbolizing their life becoming one.
- Cake Cutting
- Bouquet/ Garter Toss
- Last Dance
- The Honeymoon: Now that the party comes to an end, the newly weds can at last go on their honeymoon to enjoy each other and their new life together.
Contact us for more wedding information