Jewish Wedding Traditions
Wedding Invitations: The Jewish wedding tradition’s begin with the wedding invitations. The wedding invitation is a two-sided text, with Hebrew on the left side and English on the right. It is also customary to write “share in the joy” not “request the honour of your presence” when composing the invitation.
Wedding Invitation written in Hebrew and English
The Ketubah: The Ketubah is the marriage contract with various requirements for the groom by Halaka (Jewish Law) protecting the bride during marriage. The Ketubah is written in Aramaic, which was the language used when the Ketubah was introduced into the wedding tradition. Nowadays many couples choose to also have an English translation written on the Ketubah as well. During the signing ceremony there are two witnesses required to sign the Ketubah with the following conditions, 1) the witnesses must be male to sign and they must be Jewish, 2) the two witnesses must not be related to each other, or the bride and groom (this includes in-laws, etc.), and 3) the witnesses must be Sabbath-observant.
The Badeken: The Badeken ceremony is based on the biblical story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah, in which Jacob was intending to marry Rachel, but instead marries Leah because she was heavily shrouded covering her face. The Badeken is a ceremony in which the groom places the veiling over the brides face insuring he is indeed marrying the right woman. The veiling must remain on the brides face until the seven blessings (Sheva Brachot) are recited under the Chuppah.
The Chuppah, Tallit, and Breaking the Glass: The Chuppah is a marriage canopy signifying their first home together. The Chuppah is open on all four sides which represents hospitality, which is reminiscent of the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah. The Chuppah is a sacred canopy where the Jewish rituals of blessings are recited, the giving of the wedding ring to the bride, the reading out loud of the Ketubah, and the glass being broken all take place. The Tallit (Tallis) is a holy cloth that is wrapped around individuals during prayer, it is often referred to as the prayer shawl. The knotted fringes act as a reminder of Jewish obligations and laws. The Breaking of the Glass represents the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, man’s short life on earth, and that even throughout the happy occasion we should not forget how fragile life truly is. Once the glass is broken under the right foot of the groom, the guests shout Mazel Tov, clap their hands and sing as the couple departs.
The Yicud: The Yicud occurs after the wedding ceremony. It is a brief seclusion where the bride and groom are able to spend a few minutes together before joining their guests. This is also their opportunity to break their fast with a shared first meal, usually with chicken soup, or their favorite meal (must be kosher).