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Jewish wedding traditions

 

While this isn’t a complete list of wedding ceremony traditions, it is probably the most popular and important traditions that one expects to see happening at a Jewish wedding ceremony.  Some of these aspects are visually very interesting with lots of unique details and really help to make a great wedding album design.

The Tish
The groom’s tish is the traditional way of starting a Jewish wedding. Tish is the Yiddish for table. The groom tries to give a lecture on the Torah portion of the week while his family and male friends interrupt and jeer him. At the same time, the family and female friends of the bride entertain her in another room. Groom and bride may lead the tish together in Reform and Conservative congregations.

Signing the Ketubah
In the Orthodox communities, when the tish is done, the ketubah or Jewish marriage contract is signed by the groom, two male witnesses and the rabbi. In Conservative and Reform congregations, the bride may sign the ketubah as well and extra lines can be added for the female witnesses as well.

Bedeken
It is during the b’deken when the groom and bride see each other for the first time in Orthodox weddings. The b’deken, or veiling of the bride. All men including both fathers will lead the groom to the room of the bride where all women and both mothers are surrounding her. The groom will lower the veil over the bride’s face and set her apart from others and indicate that his sole interest is her inner beauty.

Jewish wedding ceremony – explained by top Jewish wedding photographer London

Chuppah
The Chuppah (canopy) symbolises the home that the new couple will build together. The canopy is open on all sides, as Abraham and Sarah had their tent open to welcome people in hospitality.
Once the bride meets the groom at the chuppah, he comes out and leads her inside the chuppah, where she stands to the right of him.

The Circling
On the first time that the couple steps inside the chuppah. The bride will circle the groom for seven times which represent the seven days of creation and seven wedding blessings.
Some also believe that the circles represent creating a wall of protection from evil spirits, temptation and the glances of other women.

Kiddushin in the chuppah
The betrothal ceremony or kiddushin happens under the chuppah. This starts with greetings, blessing of the wine, and sip taken by the groom and bride. The rings come next. The groom will recite an ancient Aramaic phrase while placing the wedding band on the right index finger of his bride. This finger is said to be directly associated to the heart. In double ring ceremonies, which are not allowed in some Orthodox weddings, the bride will also play a ring on the index finger of the groom while repeating the Aramaic phrase’s female version or biblical verse from Song of Songs or Hosea. The ketubah will then be read aloud in Aramaic and English.

Sheva B’rachot
The seven blessings or sheva b’rachot, is composed of a praise for God, good wishes for the newlywed and prayer for peace in the country of Jerusalem. In the Sephardic weddings, before the recital of the blessings, parents wrap the groom and bride in a tallisto literally bind them together. There is no need for the rabbi to say all the blessing. You can give honor to special guests through requesting them to read or sing a few of the blessings.

Glass Breaking
At the conclusion of the ceremony, it is customary for the groom to break a glass by stepping on it. The breaking of the glass reminds us of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. And teaches that in times of joy we must always recognise that life also brings sadness and sorrow and love, like glass, is fragile and must be protected.

This is when you’ll hear guests cheer “Mazel tov!” which has a similar meaning to “good luck” or “congratulations”

Yihud
Seclusion or yihud makes a chaotic day special. This is the standout ritual which lets you focus on the true purpose of the day: the new partnership. After the ceremony escorted to a private “yichud room” and left alone for a few minutes. These moments of seclusion signify their new status of living together as husband and wife.

Blessing of the Challach
The blessing over the clallah – a braided bread – begins the wedding meal. Usually the couple’s parents or an honorary guest makes the blessing.

The Hora
This joyful dance usually takes place either immediately after the newlyweds enter the reception room or after the first dance.
The Hora – or the chair dance – involves a few strong guests hoisting the bride and groom high above the crowd while sat in chairs. As traditional Jewish music plays, guests dance in circles and the couple is seated on chairs and hoisted into the air.

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