The absolutely enormous variety of ketubahs out there can overwhelm even the most know-what they-want, self-assured kind of couple—let alone the rest of us. But choosing your ketubah doesn’t have to stressful – and with a few helpful tips, it can be one of the most meaningful and enjoyable parts of your planning process.
We asked internationally acclaimed Israel-based ketubah artist Danny Azoulay, who has been designing ketubahs for years, for some guidance on how to choose the right ketubah, one that reflects your shared vision and aesthetics as a couple and speaks to all the hopes and dreams you bring to your married life. Danny shared some truly great advice, so if you’ve yet to select your ketubah, do read on!
As a first step, Danny suggests narrowing the field. Limiting your search from the beginning by asking yourself these basic questions can help you avoid getting overwhelmed. You’ll probably find you have a good idea what you like and what you don’t care for as much, so a try to not get waylaid with choices that will utterly throw you off course.
First off, think about the style you prefer. Are you looking for:
- Something classic
- A traditional design
Then, figure out your color scheme:
- Soft palette: pastels
- Whites and off-whites
- Bold colors
- Metallic embellishments; gold or silver
Stay on Budget
First, the good news: there are beautiful ketubahs available to suit all budgets, so no matter how much or little you have to spend, you can find something beautiful and meaningful.
But, if ketubahs are your thing and you have a little wiggle room in your budget, Danny suggests that this might be an area where you’ll want to splurge a little. After all, your ketubah is one of the few things from your wedding that you’ll get to take home with you after the celebrations are over—and so many STG couples proudly display their ketubah as a piece of art in a prominent place in their home.
Narrow It Down
Another suggestion of Danny’s is, after you have narrowed your search, to place your 3-4 semi-finalists side by side—either as printouts or on the screen. Seeing one next to the other really can prove helpful in being able to reach a decision, or at least at narrowing it down to the finalists.
Now, you need to ask yourself, which one do you want to live with and look at for the rest of your life (Sounds familiar, right?). After a day or two, return to that question with fresh eyes one more time to be sure of your decision.
When you make your choice, it’s not just the final result that matters; you’ll also want to think about what the process of creating your dream ketubah will be like. Remember to pick a company or artist that is professional; one you’ll be able to work with easily and who has good lines of communication. Danny Azoulay says this is a major consideration: “The process of text and personalization requires that your ketubah maker be aware of all the possible pitfalls involved with different text requirements, and especially about timeline.” He also encourages couples to contact the artist they’re considering and feel them out before committing.
Choose Your Text
Now to the most important part: the text. When figuring out your ketubah text, the first thing you’ll need to do is check with your rabbi or officiant. They may have a set text they require to use.
If that’s not the case for you, you’ll have some choices to make. You can search for a text that is representative of their beliefs, values and view of the life you will create together as a couple. You could also consider writing your own text.
Regardless, if you’ve found an artist you like, be sure to check out the texts that artist can provide, and how flexible they are when it comes to using custom text. No matter how gorgeous their art, if they can’t work with the text you need it’s not a fit.
Make sure you start your ketubah search well in advance of your big day. If you’d like to be able to choose from the full spectrum of options, plan on giving yourself a minimum of 6–8 weeks from the day you place your order until your wedding date. If you’re in need of a quicker turnaround, don’t despair: there are plenty of ketubahs you can receive on a much speedier timeline, though your choices will be somewhat more limited. If you’re planning on a custom ketubah, you’ll ideally want to initiate the process even earlier—depending on the nature of your design and how involved it is, the artist may have a longer timeline for working on your piece.
Enjoy the Process
We hope these tips have made you feel empowered and excited to embark on your ketubah search. In addition to all the practical details, Danny Azoulay emphasizes that you should take your time and enjoy the process – and we couldn’t agree more!
Mazel tov on your engagement – and if you’re unsure where to start looking for the ketubah of your dreams, do check out some of Danny Azoulay’s beautiful work!