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The Jewish wedding is as multifaceted as the Jewish people. There are several traditions (beyond the breaking of the wedding glass!) that you might want to consider when you are planning your special day.
HERE IS YOUR A TO Z GUIDE JEWISH WEDDING TRADITIONS:
Badeken: Literally the veiling of the bride by the groom. The veil is meant to convey the message that however physically beautiful the bride may be, her soul and character are paramount.
Breaking the Glass: The last part of the wedding ceremony is when a glass is placed on the floor and the groom shatters it with his foot. There are countless interpretations for the tradition of breaking a glass. Some see it as a reminder of the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem. Others say it is meant to remind us that marriage is as fragile as glass. It also has been interpreted to demonstrate how life is so fragile that the couple should enjoy every day as if it were their last together. Wedding breaking glasses can be any color or size. Today, many modern couples choose a wedding glass they connect with and then store and display the glass broken under the chupah with a creative keepsake.
Chuppah:The chuppah is among the most recognizable symbols of a Jewish wedding. There are no legal requirements for constructing a chuppah, though it is traditional to use a tallit. In modern days, bride and groom often design their chuppah together, choosing for its color and size to represent who they are. Some chuppahs are freestanding, while others are held up by four friends or family members – one at each corner.
Circling the Groom: Just as the bride enters the canopy, it is traditional for her to circle the groom seven times, which symbolizes the creation of a new and sacred family unit and home.
Kabbalat Panim: In a traditional Jewish wedding, this is where the bride sits on a throne-like chair (or any comfortable chair) and family and friends come up to greet her and wish her well. She is usually accompanied by her immediate female family members.
Ketubah: A traditional ketubahs (translated as marriage contract) is written in Aramaic text. The ketubah outlines the groom's responsibilities to his bride and is meant to protect her from any foul play. The ketubah is traditionally read out loud and then signed by two non-familial witnesses. Today, modern couples have their marriage contract design amidst beautiful artwork worthy of being framed and hung for display in their home.
Kiddushin:This is the actual betrothal ceremony. A cup of wine is used during the betrothal blessings, which are traditionally recited by the rabbi who is marrying the couple. After the blessings are completed, the couple drinks from the cup. Kosher wine is a symbol of joy.
Ring: During the wedding ceremony, the groom gives the bride a ring. The band is supposed to be a simple, whole piece of gold. A smooth ring signifies an untroubled life. The circle represents the hope for an everlasting marriage. The groom places the ring on the bride's right index finger, which according to Jewish tradition (and science!) has the closest bloodline to the heart. When the ceremony is over, the bride can move her ring to the traditional ring finger.
Seudah: It is traditional for the bride and groom to enjoy a festive meal and dancing with their wedding guests following the ceremony.
Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings): Under the Jewish wedding chuppah, seven blessings are recited, each one blessing the future of the happy couple. These same blessings are again recited during the after-meal blessing at the wedding and again each day for one week and festive meals, also called Sheva Brachot.
Yichud: After the chuppah ceremony is complete, at traditional Jewish weddings, the married couple goes to a room, in seclusion (yichud means seclusion in Hebrew), representing their new status as a married couple. No one else is allowed in the room during the time the couple is together. They generally stay together for about 18 minutes.