Mazel Tov!!! Wedding History Day — Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 1 — The Ceremony)

Although I haven’t been working in the wedding industry long, I have already experienced three Jewish weddings.  Packed with tradition and ritual, the Jewish ceremony and reception each have so much history behind them.  They are fascinating to be a part of!

"Mazel Tov!"

Like most, the extent of my Jewish wedding knowledge prior to working in this industry was the Wedding Crashers trailer.  However, I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand these various traditions.  While not all of the weddings I have seen have followed as closely to every single ritual, Nicole & Alex’s wedding last night at Briar Patch incorporated almost all of them.  Before posting pictures of Nicole & Alex’s wedding, I think we should review some Jewish wedding rituals (Broken into two parts: Ceremony and Reception Rituals…stay tuned for “Part 2 — The Reception” next week)!


 1 ) The Tish — The Jewish ceremony begins with the groom’s tish, where he presents the week’s Torah portion while his male friends and family heckle him.  During this time, the bride is entertained in another room by her female friends and family (Source:


2 ) Ketubah Signing – Following the Tish, the Ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, is signed by the groom, rabbi, and two male witnesses (Orthodox); the bride may also sign, along with two female witnesses (Reform & Conservative) (Source:  At Nicole & Alex’s wedding, Nicole did not sign the Ketubah.  However, at both Carolyn & Matt’s and Vicki & Mike’s weddings the brides did participate in the Ketubah signing.


3 ) The B’deken — This is the first time that the bride and groom see each other.  During the b’deken, or veiling of the bride, both fathers and all the males lead the groom to the bride’s room where both mothers and all the women are surrounding her.  The groom places the veil over the bride’s face “indicating that he is solely interested in her inner beauty” (Source:


 4 ) The Chuppah (or Huppah or Chuppa…) — The Chuppah is a canopy or tent-like structure under which the ceremony takes place.  This is one place where personality can show (Source:!  For example, Nicole & Alex had a fabric chuppah with a big tree on it for guests to sign (similar to the family tree-style guestbook).


5 ) Circling — The bride circles the groom seven times upon entering the chuppah.  This represents the 7 wedding blessings, the 7 days of creation, and the idea that the groom is the center of the bride’s world.  Sometimes, couples decide to circle each other (Source:


6 ) Kiddushin — This is the ceremony that takes place under the chuppah, beginning with greetings, a blessing over the wine, and a sip taken by the bride and groom.  This is also the time when the rings are given.  In some Orthodox weddings, it is not permitted to have a double-ring ceremony, meaning that the groom places a ring on the bride’s finger but the bride does not place a ring on the groom’s finger (Source:


7 ) Sheva B’rachot – Seven blessings either recited by the rabbi or by honoring special guests and allowing them to read or sing the blessings.  In Sephardic weddings, “the parents wrap the couple in a tallis, literally binding them together” prior to the sheva b’rachot recitation (Source:


8 ) Breaking the Glass — Ah, yes…one of the few traditions of the Jewish wedding ceremony that is known around the world.  This is the time that everyone shouts “Mazel Tov!” and starts partying.  However, it is also “a symbol of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem; a representation of the fragility of human relationships; and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever” (Source:


9 ) The Yihud — Meaning “seclusion,” to remind you of your new partnership.  After the ceremony, the bride and groom will go into a private room for about 15 minutes of personal time.  They may share a small bite to eat together or even a little “action” (if you know what I mean 😉 ).  Whatever they do, it is a few minutes of complete alone time between the bride and groom before heading to the reception (Source:


Tune in next week for Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 2 — The Reception) and for photos of Nicole & Alex’s wedding!

Happy Thursday!


7 thoughts on “Mazel Tov!!! Wedding History Day — Jewish Wedding Rituals (Part 1 — The Ceremony)

  1. rkrmama says:

    Very informative!

  2. Clare says:

    This is fantastic and SOOO interesting. Jewish culture is pretty awesome and Jewish weddings are ALWAYS really nice and extravagent. Thanks for sharing this, Kelley!

  3. Thanks guys! I think it is fascinating to learn about different wedding rituals and traditions!

  4. […] Posted on July 11, 2011 by Kelley Finnegan| Leave a comment Remember last week’s post on Jewish ceremony rituals?  Well, here’s Part 2 — The Reception as promised!  Also, be sure to come back […]

  5. […] day, but everything turned out beautifully.  I love the way they stuck to a majority of the Jewish ceremony and reception traditions.  Furthermore, check out the decor in this one!  It was so elegant and […]

  6. […] — Nicole & Alex’s traditional Jewish wedding.  I also covered the Jewish wedding ceremony & reception in some Wedding History […]

  7. […] the Jewish wedding, a Catholic wedding ceremony is rooted in so much tradition and ritual.  There are many important […]

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