Question: How is a Jewish wedding different from all other weddings?
Answer: The heart of a Jewish wedding beats amidst its unique traditions and within the potent symbolism. A chuppah, the processional with the parents of the bride and groom, the Klezmer or uniquely ‘Jewish’ music, the Seven Blessings, the breaking of the glass, the chair dance…and of course, there’s more.
While the traditions make the wedding, these days many Jewish and Jew-ish couples are choosing to lend a more modern, egalitarian approach to their simchas by updating the rituals so that they take on a meaning that speaks more to their values as a couple.
Reimagining the traditions, for some couples, is a key part of the wedding planning process. Here are some creative ways that many brides and grooms are choosing to modernize the Jewish wedding traditions and make them their own:
Reinvent the Ketubah
The Ketubah is the Jewish marriage contract, written in the ancient language of Aramaic. It is typically framed and hung in the marital home after the wedding day and is often lovely to look at. The text of the traditional ketubah hasn’t changed much over time: it is legalistic and doesn’t mention love, instead stating that the groom has “acquired” his wife. With the advent of feminism, couples have increasingly found solutions to the limitations on the woman’s role in a Ketubah.
Some choose to keep the traditional wording but choose their own English text to sit alongside it: words that describe the home they want to create or the bond that they share. Other couples write their own Ketubah so that the wording aligns with their shared values (sample Ketubah texts are available all over the internet).