Planning a Jewish Wedding
Mazel Tov! So you’re newly engaged? Well, welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning. Whether you are a devout Jew or not, there are many customs and traditions that you try to incorporate into your big day to keep tradition alive. Some of these ideas include the following:
1. Choosing the Date
Sabbath falls on a Friday night, and devout or strict Jewish people view this as a big no-no. Jewish weddings are generally prohibited on Shabbat and festivals–including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot- and many other holidays. Because many of these dates fall during prime wedding season (spring-summer), it’s important to check an accurate Jewish calendar (such as www.hebcal.com) before you select a date.
2. Choosing a Ketubah
If you’ve already acquired a marriage license through your county/state, you understand this document represents your union as husband and wife in the legal sense. Well, in Jewish culture, you sign yet another license as well. Traditionally, a ketubah served as a kind of premarital contract, outlining a bride’s ongoing rights: food, clothing, and even sex should be provided during the course of the marriage. The ketubah also specified her rights in the case of her husband’s death or their divorce. Many contemporary couples choose to veer away from the traditional ketubah text and its implications and instead choose a text that expresses their hopes and commitments for their marriage.
via Gallery Judaica
3. Selecting a Huppah
If you have ever attended a Jewish ceremony, you’ve probably wondered what the large canopy covering the couple and officiant is. Well, that is a huppah. It creates a sacred space that is both open for all to see and private and intimate for the couple beneath it. It symbolizes their new home together.
via The Knot
4. Breaking the Wedding Glass
At the conclusion of the blessings, the groom breaks the glass with his right foot, as an additional remembrance of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Traditionally, this custom was also incorporated into the ceremony to remind everyone that even at the height of one’s personal joy, we must, nevertheless, remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The breaking of the glass symbolizes the breaking of our hearts in remembrance.
5. Traditional Jewish Wedding Dance Options
Two of the most traditional and well-known Jewish wedding dance numbers are the Hora and the Mezinke Tanz (Krenzl). These two dances are often done during a Jewish wedding reception.
During the Hora, the bride and groom are lifted above the shoulders of guests. Sitting upon chairs, they may wave handkerchiefs at each other or hold onto the ends of a single handkerchief. Be careful not to drop them! While hoisting the two in the air, a large circle of guests dances around them clockwise or counterclockwise
The Mezinke Tanz is a dance that arose out of the traditional Krenzl. Krenzl, which refers to a crown, occurred when the last daughter was married. This is a special dance for the mother as they adorn her with a crown of flowers.