Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Show off Your Jewish Heritage to Have Your Guests Saying Mazel Tov

A Jewish wedding ceremony serves as both a celebration of the union of the happy couple and recognition of the many trials and triumphs of the Jewish people. The traditional elements combine to create a truly special and joyous occasion that all your guests, whether Jewish or not, will appreciate. Incorporate one or as many of these traditions into your wedding ceremony to honor your heritage.

In Israel, the Jewish bride and groom typically will fast before the wedding. This is probably not a viable option for American couples, who so frequently host a rehearsal dinner the night before. Besides, you will need plenty of energy on the big day. The bride and the groom also are forbidden to see each other for several days leading up to their wedding, not because it is “bad luck,” but to build up the anticipation for the wedding ceremony and wedding night.

Creme and gold ribbon wedding cake.

All Jewish brides wear veils. Actually, the first time the groom sees her on the wedding day is when he places the veil over her head in a symbolic gesture called the “badeken,” representing his promise to meet her external physical needs and to appreciate her inner beauty. The bride and groom are then ushered to meet the Rabbi under the chuppah, which is a white, open canopy that represents the new home the couple will establish together. The chuppah is the most visible element of the Jewish wedding ceremony and can likely be rented from a party supply store, if your temple does not have one available.

bride and groom at wedding.
Blue aqua wedding cake.

During the ceremony, the Jewish couple will drink together from a cup of wine as the Rabbi reads a prayer of blessing. Rings are exchanged in the Jewish wedding ceremony as you would expect, but they carry an extra special meaning for the Jews. In the Jewish tradition, the wedding is not officially consummated until the groom offers a thing of value—the ring—to complete the marriage contract. The two then sign an actual document, called a "ketubah."

Finally, a glass wrapped in cloth (too keep the shattered pieces from flying everywhere) is placed on the ground for the groom to stomp, and the crowd yells "Mazel Tov!" For the reception, the bride and groom will be held up on chairs while everyone sings and dances the Hora to the Hava Nagila, which means, "let us rejoice."

Bride laying on bed.
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