Our Ceremony

As I mentioned before, putting together a Jewish wedding was a real eye-opener for both of us. Having been raised in a Catholic background (Yes, I AM Jewish), I had no prior knowledge of the traditions except what is shown in various movies. My husband had never been to a Jewish wedding. So, before I show you what we did, I want to list my sources and reference materials once again:

Our Program

Order of Service

Processional Music

Veiling of Bride (Bedeckening)

Wedding Service:
Betrothal (Kiddushin)
Ring Ceremony
Homily

Reading of Ketubah (Marriage Contract)

Wedding Ceremony (Nissuin)
Wedding Blessings
Breaking of Glass

Recessional Music

A Jewish wedding involves traditions not found in other religions. In our program, we provided explanations of some of these traditions.

What is the "Veiling of the Bride" ceremony?
Placing the veil over the bride's head by the groom is the final step in the preparations for the wedding ceremony. This custom is the result of the bitter lesson learned by our forefather, Jacob. According to Genesis, Jacob was presented with an alread y veiled bride and discovered after the ceremony that she was not Rachel, for whom he had worked seven years, but her sister Leah. We invite everyone to witness this unique ceremony upstairs on the balcony.

Why are both the Bride and Groom accompanied down the aisle by both parents?
In the Jewish tradition, the wedding represents a joining of the two families. There is no giving away of the bride, the bride does not promise to obey her husband, nor does the husband promise to obey the bride.

What is the canopy that the bride and groom stand under?
The canopy is called the Chuppah (hoo-pa). The origin of the Chuppah has been explained in a variety of ways. Some believe it is a vestige of the ancient tent life of Israel, and a symbol of the home that the bride and groom will share. Some scholars r egard the Chuppah as symbolic of the laurel wreath worn by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony during Talmudic times. The original meaning of the word "Chuppah" is to cover with garlands.
The Chuppah used today is a tallis (prayer shawl) purchased for the occasion, and held aloft by two of our bridesmaids and groomsmen. The groom will continue to use the tallis in his married life, and hopes to present it to a future son upon his bar mit zvah.

What are the different parts of the ceremony?
The wedding ceremony is divided into two parts: Kiddushin (Betrothal or engagement), and Nissuin (Nuptials). Until the eleventh century, the two were seperated by as much as a year.

The Betrothal ceremony begins with the reciting of the Betrothal blessing. The bride and groom then drink from the same cup of wine, symbolically affirming that throughout life they will experience both joy and sorrow, but always togethe r. Following the blessing, the bride and groom will exchange rings. Traditionally, the rings should be unpierced and free of precious stones to avoid misrepresentation of its value. They will be placed on the first finger of the right hand, where it is most visible to the bride and groom. During the exchange of rings, the couple will speak their one vow, consecrating themselves to each other.

The reading of the Ketubah seperates the two parts of the wedding ceremony. The Ketubah, or Marriage Contract, is a legal document written in Aramaic that specifies the groom's obligations to the bride. It is signed by at least two witn esses and is an important part of a Jewish wedding. Traditionally, the ketubah becomes the property of the bride after the wedding.
The ketubah used today was purchased from the Jewish Community Center in Dallas, TX, and is signed by four witnesses. Each of these four witnesses are very special people to the bride and groom. We can't thank these people enough for being a part of our ceremony today.

Nissuin, or the actual wedding ceremony, begins with the chanting of the Seven Wedding Blessings. The blessings begin with the traditional one recited earlier and then proceed to thank and pay tribute to God for the creation of all thing s in the universe, the creation of men, women, children, the joy of the bride and groom, and finally the entire community. Upon completion of the blessings, the couple drink from a second cup of wine. The ceremony concludes with the groom breaking a gla ss.

Why does the groom break a glass at the end of the marriage ceremony?
Several reasons have been suggested for having the groom break a glass at the end of the ceremony. The popular, traditional explanation is that the breaking of a glass represents an expression of regret and sorrow over the destruction of the Temple in Je rusalem.
Another explanation is that the breaking of the glass is a warning to the couple that they must temper life's joyous moments (such as the occasion of a wedding) with sober thoughts: that life is not all joy; that the happiness of the wedding day will not continue indefinitely; and that the young couple ought to prepare itself for all of life's eventualities.

Why does the bride stand on the groom's right side?
The position of the bride on the right side of the groom is based on an interpretation of verse in Psalms (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.