What you need to know about getting married within the United Synagogue

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It’s all well and good to put all of your time and attention into flowers and party favours but the most important part of your wedding is your ceremony. The ceremony has had VIP status for both Elliot and I since we started planning because it’s a massive moment in our lives, and we want to take as much from it as we can.

We have organised our music choices, selected our rings and met with my Rabbi from Dublin, Rabbi Lent who I’ve known for many years, to discuss the ceremony. He has been very accommodating to our questions and requests about the ceremony and followed up with us on a wedding What’s App thread! All of this sounds lovely but there were some important things to organise, which, if you choose to get married within the United Synagogue*, you’ll also need to know…

I didn’t know much about Jewish marriage laws until I started “marriage lessons”, which I was encouraged to take from my Rabbi. These sessions are organised by the United Synagogue and their co-ordinator connects you with one of their tutors who relates to your level of observation, to explain the marriage laws to you. The boys need to do them too, and you don’t have to go to classes together.

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My married friends have all been to these classes and while you might say that “it’s not for you”, I found the information given to me about the laws of Niddah (purity) and its purpose (to help a couple to focus on their marriage) to be enlightening and stringent but not as awkward as I had anticipated.

Maybe it was my lovely tutor, a lady a few years older than I, who with seven children had time to organise baking parties and sit with me for an hour a week (I had six lessons, but you can have less if you want), without a wrinkle in sight! For some, this may seem like a waste of time as it’s something you’ll never abide by, but the customs and symbolic references will excite every bride-to-be (for example, white is worn because you are like an angel on your wedding day and given a sin-free state…result!)

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The legal requirements of a Jewish wedding ceremony in the UK

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Granted it’s not the most exciting of topics, but one that definitely needs addressing, so thank you, Emily, for highlighting it! I asked Emily to provide me with an exact list of questions that she wanted answering and then called upon the expertise of STG regular, the wonderful Rabbi Paul Glantz to shed light on the the legal requirements of a Jewish wedding ceremony in England, and the UK.

For any American readers, or brides holding a destination Jewish wedding in the USA, a post detailing the legal requirements of a Jewish wedding in the USA will be up on the blog in he coming weeks too.

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Deborah & Hernan’s Jewish wedding in a farmhouse. See the full wedding here :: Image by York Place Studios

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