What makes a Jewish wedding?
Certain things stand out.
We stand under a chuppah, our wedding canopy.
We chant blessings over wine and share two sips from a single cup.
We use an ancient formula to exchange rings.
We chant the sheva b’rachot (seven wedding blessings).
And, of course, we smash a glass at the end of the ceremony.
But there is an underlying theme of every Jewish wedding, and that theme is holiness. Every part of the ceremony is a part of that theme–two beloveds whose love is being sanctified through their marriage.
No two couples are alike. When I work with couples to create their perfect wedding ceremony, this statement is always in the front of my mind.
While many rabbis perform a ceremony read from a Rabbis’ Manual, the ceremonies I perform are “handcrafted.”
At the heart of the ceremony, I include the story I have written of your romance and love and how it is that you came to stand together under the chuppah. The ceremony takes on a feeling of being out of time and place, as all those gathered become a community of shared love and support for the couple in the liminal time at the very threshold of marriage.
Judaism is an ancient religious tradition that might have withered away long ago had it not been able to evolve and change. The Jewish wedding ceremony is an example of a Jewish ritual that has been performed for centuries.
However, while we may retain ancient rituals in today’s Jewish wedding ceremony, we now feel free to imbue them with meaning that matches contemporary sensibilities. For example, the ketubah, once a legal contract regarding obligations of support, has become a sort of spiritual values statement on which a couple plans to build their lives together.