Jewish Weddings are steeped in tradition and, religiously, it’s considered one of the most important events of the Bride and Groom’s life. Jewish Weddings are always big celebrations with rich culture and whether you’re in the Bridal party, a guest, or even just curious, we’ve listed some Jewish Wedding traditions that you can expect to see.
Jewish couples generally don’t see each other or a week before the Wedding to increase anticipation!
2. The Parental Plate Break
The Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom stand together and break a plate to represent the seriousness of the commitment their children are taking. Just like a broken relationship, a broken plate can never be completely repaired.
The Bride and Groom-to-Be are required to fast from dawn on the Wedding day until after the ceremony has been completed. This is because the Groom (chatan) and the Bride (kallah) are having all their past sins forgiven as they become one new and complete soul.
4. The Attire
A Jewish Bride must wear a veil and it’s tradition that the Groom lowers the veil over the Bride before the huppah ceremony. This relates back to the Torah passage that tells of Jacob accidentally Marrying the sister of the woman he was in love with.
The Bride is also required to remove any jewellery before the ceremony as a gesture to show that the Groom is Marrying her and not her possessions. The jewels are generally put back on after the ceremony.
The Groom wears a kippah (or a yarmulke) on his head which is a demonstration of respect toward God. He can also wear a white robe (kittel) over his suit and a prayer shawl (tallit) over his shoulders.
Image from Rachel and Brad’s Wedding. Photography by Nadine Saacks.
5. The Chuppah
The Wedding ceremony should take place under a canopy known as a chuppah which symbolises the new home and life that the couple will build together.
6. The Ring
The Marriage becomes official in Jewish law when the Groom gives a ring (or another object of value) to the Bride. He says aloud, “Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel,” before placing the ring on the Bride’s hand.
7. The Ketubah
The ketubah is a Marriage contract that’s written in Aramaic. This contract defines the Groom’s responsibilities to his new wife, including being protective and attentive to her needs. The contract is signed by witnesses and is a legally binding agreement.
8. The Party
The Wedding feast, otherwise known as seudah, is a celebration of the new Marriage with food, music and dancing. After dinner has been served, a prayer referred to as Birkat Hamazon is recited.
Main image from Caroline and Jake’s Wedding. Photography by Inlighten.