A traditional Jewish wedding is full of meaningful rituals, symbolizing the beauty of the relationship of husband and wife, as well as their love to each other and to the Jewish people. The wedding day
The wedding day is the happiest and holiest day of their life, the wedding day is considered a personal Yom Kippur for the chatan (Hebrew for groom) and kallah (bride) because on their wedding day all their mistakes in the past are forgiven as they merge into a new, complete soul together. On this day both the bride and groom fast from dawn until after the completion of the marriage ceremony and when fasting the chatan (bride) wears a kittel which is a traditional white robe
Kabbalat Panim It is customary for the chatan and kallah not to see each other for one week preceding the wedding the reason being this increases the excitement of the event. Therefore the chatan and the kallah greet their guests separately, this is called kabalat panim. At this time there is an Ashkenazi tradition for the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom to stand together and break a plate. The reason is to show the seriousness of the commitment of their family life.
Badeken The custom is that the chatan is accompanied by the family and friends where the kallah will be seated and the mother of the groom places a veil over the chatans face which signifies the groom is committed to cloth and protects his wife
Chappah The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah which symbolises the new home the the couple build together and live in, the chappah is open in all sides as it was when Abraham and sarah where hetting married which symbolised that all people are invited. The chappah ceremony is to be out side under the stars so that god can give his blessing to the newly wed, ther are many coustom preformed under the chuppa where the chatan and the kallah wear no jewelry under the chuppah which symbolizes the showing of the commitment based on who they are as people so the entering to the chuppah is like this the kallah follows the chatan, and both are usually escorted to the chuppah by their parents, when under the chuppah the kallah circles the chatan seven times Just as the world was built in seven days there is another meaning of the number seven which symbolizes the wholeness and completeness that they cannot be separated from. After the circle the kallah stands on the right hand side after that the sefardic custom is preformed where the chatan says belssings on there marriage .
Blessings of Betrothal (Kiddushin) Two cups of wine are used in the wedding ceremony. The first cup accompanies the betrothal blessings, recited by the rabbi. After these are recited, the couple drinks from the cup. Reason being the use of wine is because wine symbolises joy.
Giving of the Ring In Judaism the marriage becomes official when the chatan gives an object of value to the kallah. This is traditionally done with a ring. The ring should be made of plain gold reason being is to hope the marriage will be just for simple beauty, the chatan will then take the wedding ring and and in clear view of the two witnesses declares to the kallah and places to ring
Ketubah (Marriage Contract) Now comes the reading of the ketubah which in English is the marriage contract which is written in Aramaic. The ketubah outlines the chatans responsibilities to provide his wife with food, shelter and clothing, and to be there for her emotional needs. This is so very important to jews to protect the rights of a jewish wife and marriage.when completed the contract is then signed two witnesses. The contract is the property of the kallah and she must have access to it throughout the marriage after the marriage the contract is to be framed and hung at home.
The Seven Blessings The seven blessings are recited when they drink the second glass of wine the links between the 7 blessing and the chatan and the kallah are there faith in god as creator of the world, the blessings are recited by the rabbi or other people from the family that wish to read the blessings. At the end of the reading of the chatan and the kallah drinks some more wine.
Breaking the Glass There are two rituals which are performed for the glass breaking where the first one was prformed by the bride’s mother and the groom’s mother and the other one by the groom After the seven blessings a glass is now placed on the floor and the chatan breaks it with his foot which symbolises the “expression of sadness at temple in Jerusalem” and reminds the couple the spiritual and national destiny of jewish people. This marks the end of the ceremony with people who shouting “Mazel Tov,” “Mazel Tov,” which means congratulations as the chatan and kallah leave the chuppah together.
Yichud After leaving the chuppah the chatan and kallah are taken to the yichud which is a private room where they are left alone for only a few minutes but those few minutes symbolise the newly wed husband and wife for living together Since the couple has been fasting since the morning, at this point they will also have something to eat.
The Festive Meal In the festive meal the guests bring smicha which means joy to the chatan and the kallah and at this time of the wedding is where all the guests cut loose and just have plain fun with the bride and groom, there is music and dancing all around them and celebrateion of the new couple and there are many talented family members who preform juggling and acrobatics preformances. After a meal the brikat hamazon is read which is te grace after the meal. The following weeks it is common for family members and friends to host festive meals to honour the chatan and kallah this is called the week of Sheva Brachot