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Jewish Journal

Welcome to Our Wedding!

by Joan G Friedman

December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm

 

A very nice added attraction to your ceremony is the wedding booklet. This is a personal supplement to your wedding that the ushers will give to each guest as they are taken to their seats. The bride usually chooses a white or ecru linen material with black ink.

The cover states "The Wedding of ... " and usually has both the English and the Hebrew dates. We recommend art of flowers and we added the quote "Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li" -- "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."

At the bottom of the front page we inserted:

I marry you because you are now a part of my life.
In all decisions you are a consideration.
In all problems (mostly in term of solution) you are a factor.
In all joy you are sharing; in all sorrow support. -- Peter McWilliams

The inside two pages are very creative; along the margin on the left, we wrote:

We would like to thank each of you for traveling today to celebrate with us this very special day in our lives. Each of you has, in some way, shared a part of our lives and have special meaning to us.

We have chosen to celebrate our marriage in [city]. [Name of place where you are getting married] is special to us because this is where [example: the bride celebrated her bat mitzvah and it is the first place we shared the High Holidays together].

Since there might be guests who are not familiar with a Jewish wedding, you might include some mention of the following:

Ketubah: Before the start of the formal wedding ceremony, the couple signs their ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract. The ketubah usually consists of both a traditional Conservative text and an egalitarian text. The traditional text, written in Aramaic, a Hebrew dialect, is legally binding and states their actual obligations. Oftentimes, they add an Egalitarian text in English that represents expressions of their shared goals, personal commitments and desires for their relationship. Two very special Jewish friends are chosen to witness the signing.

Chuppah: The wedding canopy under which the bride and groom stand during the marriage ceremony. It symbolizes the home that they will create as husband and wife and is open on all four sides to signify that family and friends are always welcome. It is also seen as a sign of God's presence at the wedding.

Kiddush: The blessing over the wine and occurs twice during the ceremony. The two cups are thought to symbolize the joy and sorrow the couple may encounter in life. By both parties sipping from both cups, they are expressing their willingness to face life as equal partners.

Sheva Brachot: The Seven Blessings that comprise the bulk of the wedding liturgy. The blessings cover many themes -- the creation of the world and humanity, the survival of the Jewish people and of Israel, the marriage and the couple's happiness and the raising of the family.

Breaking of the Glass: The ceremony ends when the groom smashes a wrapped glass -- or in some cases, lightbulb -- with his foot (at some weddings, the bride and groom step on it together). This ancient custom has a variety of interpretations. One of the oldest is that one should not be frivolous. When there is joy and celebration, there should also be awe and trembling. A similar interpretation sees the breaking of the glass as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that we should never be so joyous as to forget that there is much sorrow in the world. Another translation is that it serves as a reminder of the sanctity of marriage -- a broken glass cannot be mended.

On the back page, you might include something like this:

Now that the ceremony has concluded, there is one more requirement all of you, our guests, must fulfill. You are obligated to rejoice and celebrate to make our wedding complete!

Once again we would like to thank each of you for taking the time to share this important day in our lives. A special thanks goes to the rabbi, chazzan and our families and friends for their guidance and support throughout the planning of our wedding.

You might include a photograph of the bride and groom, and we also like to add some art of Jerusalem. You will add what is important to you, because this is your special time and it is the most important day of your life.

Joan G. Friedman lives in Reading, Pa., and can be reached joan@friedman.net.

 

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