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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Lev Herrnson

Jewish Wedding Booklet--Do We Need A Program?

Many couples choose to distribute a wedding program or booklet at the onset of their Jewish wedding ceremony. Do you need a booklet at your wedding? No, certainly not. Might you be glad that you chose to compile and hand out a program at your wedding? Your guests might greatly appreciate your efforts if you choose to do so.

Why might a Jewish wedding program be welcome?

  1. A wedding program provides something for guests to read while they wait for the ceremony to start;

  2. Guests who are unfamiliar with a Jewish wedding will appreciate the information provided inside;

  3. Guests like to know who’s who! A program allows you to name names; and,

  4. Your Jewish wedding booklet serves as an instant souvenir of your special day!

Couples will frequently choose to include some or all of these items in their wedding programs:

  1. Names of all those participating in the ceremony and their role;

  2. Descriptions of special relationships, e.g. a bridesmaid who also happens to be the bride’s oldest and dearest friends;

  3. Indication of how you’d like to be addressed once you’re married, i.e. if you’ll be changing your name;

  4. Your address and contact information, which is especially useful if anything will change once you're married;

  5. Basic explanation of each of the various parts of the religious ceremony. Kiddushin, Ketubah and Chuppah are not familiar terms to most folk! An explanation of these and more is frequently helpful to both Jews and non-Jews alike. Your rabbi can help you identify the salient parts of the ceremony and describe each appropriately;

  6. Description of your Ketubah, the artist and the meaning to you behind the artwork and language you’ve selected;

  7. Background about your families;

  8. Details about how you first met, and tales of your romance and engagement;

  9. Title and composer of any musical selections played during the processional or recessional, and if your musicians are friends, their names too;

  10. Background on any religious heirlooms used in the ceremony, e.g. a wedding ring that’s been in the family for a long, long time; and,

  11. Names of those who are unable to attend due to illness, as well as remembrances of departed loved ones.

Couples will frequently “dress up” their booklets, copying the content on parchment or similar art papers, and add lace ties or ribbons to coordinate the booklet with your color scheme. Not everyone responds to auditory stimulation; a handsomely designed and constructed wedding program can stimulate the visual learners and readers among your guests. Further, look online. You’ll find many templates and printers who can accommodate your most elegant requests.

You might choose to have your wedding program placed, one at each seat, inside the wedding hall, or perhaps distributed at the door, along with personalized kippot (skullcaps). If at the door, invite two special relatives or friends to hand your booklets to your guests as they enter the room. This personal touch prepares your guests for the warm and loving ceremony about to take place, and offers you the opportunity to honor two people with an important and welcoming role at your wedding.

Mazal tov!

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