This Time It’s Okay to Break the Glass: Steps on How to Make Your Jewish Wedding Special
An engagement ring sparkles on your finger. Family and friends are now impatiently raving and waiting for an invitation that will serve as their ticket for that hefty meal and cherished memorable experience. They simply know that this will probably be better than any Hanukkah.
While you need a wedding planner to keep everything organized and to keep you from stress before the “I do’s”, you need to browse on some of the important traditions of your faith to ensure a lifetime of great Jewish wedding memories. Outlined below are the steps and some must-know terms on how to make that dream wedding of yours come true.
• STEP 1: Choose Where you want to hold the Jewish wedding. Wherever that is, just make sure that the Rabbi and the guests can access it. Remember to make reservations ahead of time.
• STEP 2: Prepare a ketubbah.
A ketubbah is known as the marriage contract. This contains the detailed rights and responsibilities of the married couple to each other. The chatan or groom’s principal obligations are to provide food, shelter and clothing for his wife, and to be attentive to her emotional needs. Until this contract has been prepared, the marriage may not be solemnized. So if you don’t want any delays, better prepare one ahead.
The kallah or wife has the ketubbah for keeping and she has access to it throughout their marriage. This binding legal document signed by two witnesses is often written amidst beautiful artwork and displayed at home.
The Ketubah is read between the first part of the ceremony or the Kiddushin (betrothal), and the latter part or Nissuin (marriage).
• STEP 3: Invite all the important people in your lives to attend your Jewish wedding and that includes your family and would-be family.
• STEP 4: Setup a huppah.
A huppah is a Jewish wedding canopy where the couples exchange their vows.
Under a beautiful quilt, the couple experiences betrothal and marriage. It is not only used as an important ceremonial symbol, it serves a decorative purpose as well.
• STEP 5: Allot extra yarmulke for guests who forgot to bring their own.
A kippah or yarmulke is a special head covering worn by Jewish men as a symbol of religious piety. Its English translation is skullcap, as it usually covers only the top of the skull.
• STEP 6: Give enough time before the veiling ritual or badeken where the groom puts the veil over the face of the bride once he has affirmed that she is the woman he intends to marry. The veil symbolizes that beyond the physical attraction the soul and character are paramount to marriage.
• STEP 7: Choose a plain gold ring without any engravings or ornamentation. This is done in the hopes that marriage will be as simple and as beautiful.
In placing the ring, the groom puts the ring in his hand before two witnesses, and then he declares to his bride his allegiance. The chatan then places the ring on the right hand forefinger of the bride, which is from to Jewish law an act that highlights the marriage and makes the marriage official.
• STEP 8: Request the guests to read out loud the seven blessings.
The Seven Blessings, said over the second cup of wedding wine, links the couple to their faith in God as the world's Creator, Provider of love and joy, and the greatest Savior.
After reciting the seven blessings, the kallah and chatan again drink some wine.
• STEP 9: Place a glass on the floor which the groom will break at the end of the ceremony as an indication that the Jewsih wedding ceremony is over. This is to remind the people about the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. It is also a reminder that life and relationships are fragile and needs utmost care.
• STEP 10: After the ceremony, the newly-wed couple are escorted to another room where they are left to be alone and to eat some food before joining their loved ones and guests at the Jewish wedding feast. This moment signifies the union of the couple and their right to live together under one roof as husband and wife. This is called the yihud.
• STEP 11: It’s now time to party. So be sure you have a lot of room for dancing and partying in the reception. Usually, the guests provide entertainment by juggling and doing acrobat.
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