My friend Kat recently got married in a traditional Jewish wedding.
Being my first Jewish wedding, I was really trying to absorb it all. Each wedding guest had a program explaining various parts of the service, and the rabbi explained a few things too.
Things I learned…Jewishy things…hope I don’t screw this up…
Ketubah– It looks like a piece of art, but it’s also a marriage contract. Kat and Marcus wrote one vow together and it is printed on the ketubah in English and Hebrew. The star map of the night of their wedding is the base of the art. Beautiful.
Immediately preceding the ceremony in the chapel, they had a separate “signing of the ketubah” ceremony. The family and bridal party were invited to witness the signing. Then the rabbi asked both sets of parents to whisper words of wisdom and blessings to their kids; followed by Marcus and Kat whispering words of promise and love to each other.
The whole room Lost. It.
I was a freaking blubbering mess. At this point, I was trying to be quiet enough with my sobbing so that other guests wouldn’t think I had emotional problems. Ridiculous.
Luckily I got the tears out of the way before I had to walk down the aisle in front of 350 people. …350 closest friends
It helped that I was mainly focused on my severe foot pain. Have I mentioned I don’t really wear heels?
Chuppah– This is the canopy hanging over the bride and groom, which is supposed to represent a home built together. I am fairly certain they had a chuppah in mind, but at the last minute changed to a quilt (gifted to the couple from an aunt).
Kat walked down the aisle to a magnificent version of Cannon in D. Once again, I was lucky enough to get my teary-eyed blubbering out of the way during rehearsal.
She met her parents halfway down the aisle and then circled the chuppah 7 times. 7 is a very symbolic number in Judaism. I would pretend to know exactly why the bride circles 7 times, but not even Google can give me a firm answer.
Short answer: she does it for a lot of reasons.
Sheva Brachot– This is basically the rabbi’s portion of the ceremony, as it is The Seven Blessings. Again with the 7. Kat and Marcus had a woman sing the blessings in Hebrew and it was really touching. I don’t know what it is about praying/singing in Hebrew, but it is truly eerie, moving, and beautiful all at once. Very cool.
“Mazel Tov!”- The guests shout this “good luck!” as Marcus smashes a glass with his foot. I never knew, but breaking the glass symbolizes mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, even in times of great joy.
Then they RAN back down the aisle! I think that was more of a Kat thing than a tradition.
That was the ceremony. Stay tuned for the reception.
In the meantime, here are some of my other favorite pictures from the big day:
Have you ever been to a different style of wedding? What was your favorite part?