Chicago weddings are wonderfully iconic, but adding Jewish weddings creates a new genre of cultured and iconic events! I’d love to tell you about what you can include in your day to keep up with the Jewish Wedding Tradition.
12 Jewish Wedding Traditions to Include in Your Wedding Day
The Ketubah Signing is an important ritual, as it’s a standard marriage contract that Jewish law requires. This contract requires the groom to provide for his bride. It acts as a protective document for the woman by establishing the man’s financial obligations to her, even in the case of divorce or widowhood. This signing seals the deal in the ideology that the groom promises to take care of his bride forever! This signing usually takes place before the wedding and is reviewed by the Rabbi to ensure it is valid.
Bedeken is very similar to a first look. This tradition is one of the most beautiful, as it is the veiling of the bride by her groom-to-be. This intimate moment begins when the groom reverently covers her face with the veil.
Four poles support the Chuppah, open on all sides and covered from above by Jewish law. Traditionally, both parties’ parents accompany them on their respective sides, along with the officiating Rabbi. The Chuppah is the focal point of the ceremony as it symbolizes the new home the new couple will build together.
Sheva Brachot: Seven Blessings
The center of the Jewish wedding tradition is the Sheva Brachot, otherwise known as the Seven Blessings. The seven blessings start with the blessing over the wine and end with a communal expression of joy. These blessings, from ancient rabbinic teachings, also teach about the world’s creation, the unity of loving people, the joy of marriage, and the creation of humankind. A more modern take on the seven blessings includes love, a loving home, humor and play, wisdom, health, art, beauty, creativity, and community.
Breaking of the Glass
The breaking of the glass represents the preservation of Jewish tradition, which signifies the two most tragic events in Jewish history. Breaking the glass also means the devotion to stand by one another despite hard times. Once the glass breaks, the cloth which holds the shards of glass is collected, and many couples even choose to have it saved as a memento of their wedding day.
Tisch is a pre-wedding celebration the groom hosts for his relatives, male friends, and the Rabbi. Tish means table and signifies the table laden with food and drink for the groom and his invitees. In more modern ceremonies, the bride will also have a Tischen, the same tradition for the bride and her friends and relatives.
Hora and Mezinke
Hora and Mezinke are celebratory dances during the reception. The Hora is where guests dance in a circle. Often you will see the women dancing with the women and the men dancing with the men. During this celebratory dance, the bride and groom sit on chairs. They are lifted into the air while holding onto a handkerchief to signify their union. The Hora is a high-energy dance that can even go on for hours at some weddings! The Mezinke is an exceptional dance for the bride or groom’s parents when their last child becomes married, so not every Jewish wedding will have this dance.
The Jewish wedding day is a day of forgiveness, so some couples choose to fast on their wedding day. If the couple decides to fast, this will last until their first meal together after the wedding ceremony. Fasting symbolizes the bride and groom beginning their marriage in purity.
Circling during a Jewish wedding is from the Ashkenazi tradition. It is when the bride circles clockwise around her groom three or seven times under the Chuppah. Some may believe that this is to create a wall of protection from evil spirits and temptation.
Mazel Tov is a Jewish phrase meaning congratulations or wishing someone good luck. This phrase is cheered after the ceremony.
The Yichud is a special ritual during a Jewish wedding where a couple spends a few minutes in isolation after the ceremony. This moment gives them the first opportunity to have physical contact now that they are married.
Traditional Judaism dictates the groom give a ring to the bride in the presence of two witnesses, formalizing their marriage by Jewish law. The ring must be precious metal, have some value, be adorned by stones, and not have any decorations cut out of the band. It is a Jewish tradition that the right-hand index finger is where the wedding ring rests since this finger is the closest to your heart.
Jewish Wedding Traditions
Jewish wedding tradition and culture consist of goodhearted rituals and celebrations. They are some of the most extravagant weddings held in Chicago and around the nation!
For more Chicago wedding content, click on the blog links below! And don’t forget to hire your Jewish wedding photographer to capture these moments for you!