Jewish Wedding Tips

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Many couples have, over the years, asked seemingly simple or even obvious questions--with good reason! As far as the Jewish marriage ceremony is concerned, we have a rich and varied tradition characterized by both laws and customs.  No one would expect a bride and groom to know all the answers.  As a rabbi who has officiated at highly personalized and creative weddings and other life cycle events, I've accumulated a wealth of experience over the years.  I'm happy to share some of what I've learned here with you. Whether you reside in Nassau or Suffolk County, New York City, Westchester or elsewhere, whether you are planning a destination wedding, or a renewal of vows, these tips should be of some assistance to you.  Good luck and mazal tov!

September 5, 2019

Ani l'Dodi v'Dodi Li

This entry has been reprinted on others' websites so many times that it's high time that I present it again here.  (First published in April 2015)

Source and Meaning of the Verse

Ani l’dodi v’dodi li—“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” is excerpted from “The Song of Songs” (Chapter 6, Verse 3a).  This verse, commonly associated with Jewish weddings and Ketubot (plural of Ketubah—the Jewish wedding contract), represents half of one verse among the e...

December 7, 2018

I’ve met with enough couples and officiated at enough weddings over the years to have assembled a list of things not to forget and other things to avoid.  Hopefully this list will be of some help to you in your planning.  Mazal tov!

Don’t book your venue or other non-refundable commitments before consulting with your officiant.

I know, this sounds self-serving; it’s not.  We rabbis hate to have to say “no”, but sometimes couples will set a date, sign the contracts and only afterwa...

December 3, 2018

Writing your own wedding vows can be challenging, but it certainly shouldn’t feel like drudgery! Many couples these days want to write their own vows but, for one reason or another, one or both partners may leave the writing to the last minute.  You know you love your partner—and wish to spend the rest of your life together—so why is it so difficult to commit your thoughts and feelings to paper?  It shouldn’t be, and the following tips may be of some assistance....

November 27, 2018

Why break a glass at a Jewish wedding?

It’s a custom that’s defined Jewish weddings for centuries.  Breaking the glass is the last act—other than a kiss under the wedding canopy—that is performed in public, thus confirming the happy couple’s mutual consent to spend the rest of their lives together.  But why a glass?  Presumably a spare drinking glass was easily found at wedding celebrations, even centuries ago.  As for the custom itself, that’s a matter of history.

Ancie...

December 1, 2017

Choosing a date for your wedding can be a puzzling question, riddled with complex considerations:

  • Do we choose a Saturday night?

  • What about Sunday? Sunday day versus Sunday night?

  • Is our location available when we want it?

  • What are the cost differentials when comparing specific dates?

  • What about guests traveling from far?

  • How much time will they need to travel?

  • What will time-away cost them in terms of work and travel?

Solution?  Scheduling your wed...

October 7, 2016

Like the marriage you are about to consecrate, choosing a ketubah is an exercise in tradition, creativity, personal preference, and sometimes, it’s just a matter of love at first sight.  Your ketubah—that is, your Jewish marriage contract, should be an expression of your personal tastes (with respect to the artwork) and your aspirations for your life together (as represented by the text as it appears in Aramaic or Hebrew, and English).  Choosing a ketubah also presents the opportunit...

May 15, 2016

Why break a glass at a Jewish wedding?

It’s a custom that’s defined Jewish weddings for centuries.  Breaking the glass is the last act—other than a kiss under the wedding canopy—that is performed in public, thus confirming the happy couple’s mutual consent to spend the rest of their lives together.  But why a glass?  Presumably a spare drinking glass was easily found at wedding celebrations, even centuries ago.  As for the custom itself, that’s a matter of history.

Ancie...

December 13, 2015

 

The Sheva Berachot or “Seven Blessings” constitutes one of the more substantial parts of the Jewish wedding ceremony. Recited near the end of the ceremony under the chuppah (and for very traditional families, a second time at the very end of the wedding reception), the blessings are an affirmation of love, friendship, community and a number of other important wishes for the marrying couple. Excerpted from the Babylonian Talmud (Ketubot 8a), the Sheva Berachot are Judaism’s most...

September 2, 2015

One way to make your wedding celebration more memorable is to include family heirlooms and other cherished personal items.  Use of your family’s prized possessions in the ceremony can both bring meaning and enhance what is already meaningful.  Take, for instance, wedding rings. 

 

Wedding Ring(s)

Is there a family heirloom ring that you can use for the ceremony, one that belongs or belonged to a beloved family member or even the family’s matriarch?  No, you won’t wear the ring...

July 31, 2015

While the summer might be wedding season for many people, you can renew your marriage vows anytime of the year.  Be it your wedding anniversary, a special birthday, or some other important milestone in your lives together, a “Renewal of Vows” ceremony is a touching way to express your love and invite your family and closest friends to celebrate with you.

 

Couples who’ve been married for five or fifty years (or any other period, for that matter) can, with a qualified officiant, arrange...

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How to Choose Your Ketubah (Redux)

October 7, 2016

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