Among all the wedding traditions in the world, I must admit that I find the Jewish one particularly beautiful. Anyone who has attended a Jewish wedding knows how meaningful and fun it can be! It symbolizes the power and beauty of the relationship, and the obligation between the couple towards the Jewish history. I had the privilege to assist at a Jewish union which left me both emotional and filled with happiness.
The Shabbat kallah
The Shabbat kallah is a beautiful celebration that takes place before the wedding to honor the bride and gather family, close friends, or female colleagues. Needless to say, men are not allowed to be part of this party. While you might think it is just an excuse to have fun, the truth is that this party is thrown to support the bride, and show her love and affection before she ties the knot.
The day of the wedding, also called dawning day, is considered a time for forgiveness and erasing past mistakes for the chatan (groom) and kallah (bride). From dawn, the couple is deprived of food in order to show repentance for all their past sins. These past sins will be removed by God and forgiven. This allows the couple to unite their two souls and to start a new life together. Hopefully, this fast lasts only until the end of the ceremony, so the couple can enjoy and share the tasty kosher meals with their guests. The Jewish couple are considered to be like royalty on their wedding day. It is common for the bride to welcome guests from a look-alike throne so that her entourage can give her adoration and well wishes. The bride and groom are prohibited from seeing each other for a full week prior to the ceremony, which can be difficult to organise on a destination wedding. The groom and his groomsmen sing together and share a toast before meeting the awaiting bride.
This veiling ceremony is a delicate part of Jewish weddings. The veil is placed to hide the beauty of the young bride, a beauty that may fade away with the passing of years. The inner beauty, soul, and personality of the bride is what should be remembered and seen first by the groom. The groom is making a commitment to provide, clothe, and protect his wife out of a love much deeper than surface beauty.
Jewish weddings always take place under a chuppah, which symbolises the first house of the couple. It gives a very specific & elegant look to the ceremony and can be decorated with flowers and candles, but generally has to remain simple. The four pole structure pays tribute to the open tent that Abraham shared with his wife Sarah, both biblical figures important in Jewish history. Their home was always open so they could greet their guests openly and hospitably at anytime. The ceremony begins with a solemn family processional, then the groom follows and makes his way to the chuppah, usually with his best male friends. While traditional music is being played, the bride circles her future husband seven times which symbolizes the building of the walls of their new life together.
The marriage ceremony can’t take place until the Ketubah is signed and seals the mariage. This document is a true piece of art, often featuring hand painted images and calligraphy. It represents the husband’s vows to his wife. It states that the groom will take care of his wife’s needs, and provide all the necessities for her to be both happy and healthy. The wife is allowed access to the document for the duration of the marriage to ensure her husband is living up to his promise.
A simple Ring
Unlike many other cultures, the rings used for the ceremony are plain and simple, whether the couple is from rich or poor backgrounds. This simplicity symbolizes humility, and the belief that the marriage should be uncomplicated and beautiful. Although Jewish law doesn’t require a couple to exchange rings, it is often being done. It has also an historical element : The bride can only give the ring to her groom after they have left the chuppah which follows the guidelines of the Torah.
Breaking the glass
The stomping upon and breaking of a glass is probably the most recognizable jewish tradition, and the most meaningful. After the groom places a plain ring upon the finger of his bride, he breaks a glass wrapped in a napkin or a luxury table cloth with his foot. The mariage is then sealed. This refers to the destruction of the holy temple in Jerusalem, paying tribute and showing respect to the Jewish culture.
Once the ceremony is over, the couple is escorted to a private room to share a quiet moment. The hebrew word ‘Yichud’ means « being alone together, do not disturb ». During this intimate moment, the couple is finally allowed to break their fast and share a meal that’s awaiting them on a plate. I already see you raising your eyebrow–the answer is NO, the couple is not meant to consummate their marriage during the yichud. But nobody is inside to check what happens!
Probably the most fun & entertaining part of the jewish wedding is the Horra. This is a time of dancing and singing that usually happens during or after the cocktail hour. Joyful singing and traditional folk dances occur where guests hold on to each other’s hands and spin around counterclockwise. These dances are usually accompanied by lively music such as accordion, violin, saxophone, trumpet and heavy beats.
All these traditions are cherished treasures to the couple and their families. The shared happiness, the joy of leaving, the respect for traditions and Jewish culture, these make the most amazing memeories for everyone present. Sumptuous Events specializes in opulent Jewish & religious weddings where the sentiments are as important as the dazzling details. We look forward to hearing from you. Warmest, Your destination male wedding planner !
CREDIT : D-IP Photography – Styling & Design by Luxury Events Phuket