8 Meaningful Jewish Marriage Vows and Rituals

An elaborate set of ceremonies and traditions are observed when taking Jewish wedding vows, symbolizing the beauty of a husband and wife’s love as well as their duties to one another and to their people.

As the bride and groom’s past is forgiven and they come together as a new and complete soul, the wedding day is regarded as one of the happiest and holiest days in their lives.

Prior to saying their traditional Jewish wedding vows, the happy couple often avoids each other for one week in order to build up excitement and anticipation.

Here are 8 incredible Jewish wedding vows and customs you should be aware of:

1. The fast

The pair is pampered like a king and queen on the big day. The groom is surrounded by guests who are singing and toasting him while the bride is perched on a throne.

Some couples decide to keep a fast in remembrance of the lucky nature of their wedding day. The day of the wedding is regarded as a day for forgiveness, much like Yom Kippur. The fast is maintained until the conclusion of the wedding’s formalities.

2. Bedken

Bedken is the preceding wedding custom before the ceremony. During Bedken, the groom approaches the bride and covers her with a veil as a sign of modesty and his promise to cover and guard his wife.

Bedken also denotes that the bride’s inner beauty is what the groom loves about her. The custom of the groom covering the bride himself comes from the Bible and protects the groom from being duped into getting married to someone else.

3. Chuppah

The marriage ritual then takes place behind a chuppah, or canopy. The canopy is frequently constructed from a family member’s prayer shawl or tallit.

The new house the couple will create together is symbolized by the chuppah’s four corners and covered roof. The tent’s open sides stand up for Abraham and Sarah’s willingness to hospitality.

The bride and both of her parents follow the groom down the aisle as part of the customary Jewish wedding traditions walk to the chuppah.

4. Vows and circling

One of the Jewish wedding customs involves the bride going around the groom either three or seven times once they are beneath the chuppah. Together, we are creating a new world, and the number seven stands for completion and fullness.

The encircling signifies the construction of a mystical barrier to keep the family safe from temptation and bad karma.

The bride then positions herself to the right of the groom. The pair then sips from the first of two cups of wine used during traditional Hebrew wedding vows or Jewish marriage vows after the rabbi recites the betrothal blessings.

The bride’s right forefinger is then given a plain gold ring by the groom, who says, “Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel.” The main event of the ceremony is when the marriage is formally recognized.

5. Ketubah

After the marriage contract has been read and signed by two witnesses, the second cup of wine is consumed while the seven blessings are spoken. The Ketubah, commonly referred to as the marriage contract in Jewish law, details the obligations and responsibilities of the groom.

It lists the requirements that the bride and groom must meet and gives a framework in case they desire to divorce.

Ketubah does not mention god or his blessings because it is a Jewish civil law agreement and not a religious document. During the signing of the Ketubah and its subsequent reading in front of the guests, witnesses are also present.

6. Sheva B’rachot or seven blessings

The seven blessings, also known as Sheva B’rachot, are a collection of traditional Jewish teachings that are repeated aloud by friends and family members in both Hebrew and English. Beginning with brief blessings, the reading progresses to sweeping proclamations of celebration.

7. Breaking of glass

The groom crushes a glass on the ground within a piece of cloth to signal the conclusion of the ceremony. This action represents the demolition of the temple in Jerusalem and links the pair to the fate of their people.

Many couples even gather the glass shards from the broken pieces and use them to create a special keepsake for their wedding. The Jewish vows come to an end at this point, and everyone yells “Mazel Tov” (congrats), welcoming the newlyweds with joy.

8. Yichud

As part of their yichud tradition, the spouses spend about 18 minutes apart after the ceremony. Yichud is a Jewish tradition where a newlywed couple is given the chance to discreetly reflect on their union.