Traditional Jewish Weddings
Each religion has different variations on their wedding ceremonies. With that in mind, here is information about a traditional Messianic Jewish Wedding….
The Ketubah is signed in a private ceremony with the Bride, Groom, family and the wedding party. This can actually happen at the rehearsal the evening before.
As long as the bride (Kallah) and groom (Chatan) are standing under the Chuppah (canopy), the marriage ceremony can take place almost anywhere — in a synagogue, the bride or groom’s home, in a public venue such as a hotel or even on a beach.
You can marry at any time of the day, though it is most usual to marry in the afternoon or evening. Most people choose to marry on a Sunday or a Tuesday — a particularly significant day, as this was when God blessed His creation doubly.
It is generally forbidden to get married in the 49 days between the moveable feasts of Passover and Pentecost, and during three weeks between July and August. It is also forbidden to marry on the Sabbath or on festival days. If you want to get married on a Saturday, the ceremony is not allowed to begin until after sundown.
Bedekkin – Veiling
The pre-ceremony ritual is the veiling of the Kallah (Bride). The Chatan (Groom) lowers the veil over the Kallah’s face. This custom recalls Rebecca and Issac’s first meeting when Rebecca modestly concealed her face in a veil. It also recalls the biblical story of Rachel and Jacob. Rachels father Laben substituted his elder daughter Leah, for Rachel. The Chatan lowers the veil over the Kallah to be sure not to make the same mistake Jacob did and by “dressing” his Kallah with a veil, the Chatan is assured that she is the one he has chosen, and thereby sets her apart from all others.
Suggested Prelude Wedding Music
Erev Shel Shoshanim
Seating of the Grandmothers
The Wedding Ceremony
KIDDUSHIN – THE WEDDING CEREMONY
The Jewish wedding is called kiddushin, meaning sanctification related to the word kadosh (holy). The kiddushin is composed of two distinct ceremonies: the erusin and nisuin or nuptials.
Erusin – The Betrothal
The Betrothal ceremony has been combined in modern times with the second service nisuin. It is during the erusin ceremony that the kallah (bride) and chatan (groom) are formally and publicly betrothed to one another. A blessing over a cup of wine is said, followed by a second blessing that reminds us of the holiness of unity as well as the integrity of the bonds of marriage. Both the kallah and chatan drink from the same cup of wine, accepting life’s joys, as well as responsibilities.
Blowing of the Shofar
Baruchim Haba’im Bashem Adonai
Processional of the Groom, the Chatan
Groom is escorted by both his father and mother
Processional of the Maid of Honor
Processional of the Bride
Jewish weddings do not use the Christian Traditional piece “Here Comes The Bride” or “The Wedding March” because it was composed by Richard Wagner.
Bride is escorted by her father and mother
*Please remain seated. It is not customary within a Jewish wedding to stand when the bride enters.
Suggested Music: Dodi Li
Enter Bride and Parents (Optional)
Suggested Music: Sunrise Sunset
Encircling of the Groom
The Bride circles her beloved seven times, taken from Jeremiah 31:22b, “a woman shall compass (revolve around, surround) a man.” Seven times is significant because of its scriptural reference of perfection and completion; the reference in Hosea 2:19-21 of God’s seven-fold betrothal to His people, Israel; the reference in Revelation 4:5 to the seven Spirits of God; and as a reflection of the Bride’s desire to be as the seven prophetesses of Israel: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hilda, and Esther.
The position of the bride on the right side of the groom is based on an interpretation of Psalm 45:10 “the queen stands on your right hand in fine gold of ophir”. In Jewish tradition the bride is a queen, and the groom a king.
Bride and Groom Enter the Chuppah – The Wedding Canopy
The bridal canopy is a multifaceted symbol: it is a home, and a reminder of the tent of our Patriarchs.
It is open on all sides to recall the tent of Abraham and Sara, who had doors on all sides of his dwelling to welcome guests.
Entrance under the Chuppah (Wedding Canopy)
This is symbolic of the marriage coming under the Holy covering of God.
The covering represents protection, mercy, and grace.
Blessing of the Bride and Groom – Mi Adir
Groom lifts the veil to take a peek. This is to verify that she is his wife and not another, avoiding the mistake that Jacob made with Leah.
If the wedding is on Saturday Night you can incorporate Havdallah into the ceremony.
The Drashah -
The sermon or charge should be a personal message to the bride and groom by the Rabbi with challenges and commitments to the Holy One.
Exchanging of the Vows
Music: Gadlu La Shem
Kiddush- The Blessing of the cup
Nisuin – The Nuptials
The second part of the ceremony after the erusin is the nisuin.
This ceremony forms the second half of the wedding service. Even though the chatan and kallah are legally bound to each other as husband and wife at the completion of the eursin, the wedding ceremony is not yet complete. During this part of the ceremony, God’s presence is acknowledged in the new relationship. This acknowledgement is made by chanting seven blessings called the sheva b’rachot. Like the erusin ceremony, the sheva b’rachot are chanted over a cup of wine. After the blessing for wine, the remaining six blessings acknowledge God as the creator of the world, the creator of love and as the One who brings redemption to the world.
The Seven Wedding Blessings
If the wedding is on a Saturday Evening Havdalah can be incorporated into the wedding instead of this cup.
Kiddush- The Blessing of the cup a second time
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech HaOlam
Borey Pree Hagafen.
Groom Drinks then the Bride Drinks wine from the cup.
Confirmation of Covenant. After a man proposed marriage to a woman, in ancient Jewish culture, he poured a cup of wine and drank from it. If she took it and drank also that signified her acceptance and she became his betrothed.
The Breaking of the Glass
A Traditional end to a Jewish wedding serves as a reminder of the fragility of life, even during the most joyous of celebrations. Life is fragile. We break this glass as a symbol of our past. In the theater that say go break a leg. In a Jewish wedding we break a glass. Forgiveness is an end to a shattered past. As the Groom smashes the glass everyone will shout Mazel Tov! Which means Good Fortune, may your lives here on out not be shattered, but full of fortune and joy.
Everyone responds with “Mazel Tov!”
Music: Simon Tov, Mazel Tov or
Bride and Groom
Cheder Yichud – Private Room
A brief period of seclusion for the bride and groom to absorb the events of the ceremony where they spend their first moments alone together as husband and wife. Yichud has been described as a period of bonding, a time of privacy and peace before the public celebration begins. It is nice to have the room and food prepared for them as a special surprise to their private moment.
They will also break their fast before returning to the community to celebrate. The bride and groom will need about 20-30 minutes to enjoy the moment.
Welcome the Bride and Groom with a great entrance. Perhaps music leading up to the opening of the door. Bubbles blown as they have a “reverse” reception line. Everyone is lined up on each side of the path as they enter. They can greet everyone as they make their way to the dance floor for their first dance.
Seudat Mitzvah – The Festive Meal
Perhaps one of the most distinctive and enjoyable aspects of the traditional Jewish wedding is the dancing and mitzvah (commandment) to make the kallah and chatan happy. No Jewish wedding would be complete with out dancing the Hora or Lifting the bride and groom up in the chair. (This should be planned ahead of time, eight strong men should be selected to lift the chairs. They should even practice so they know how long and what to do.)
The meal begins with reciting the blessing over the wedding challah, the traditional braided bread.
( Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 7:37 pm )
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—Chris & Sarah, married