All imagery by Blake Ezra Photography. This is part 4 of the 9-part Jewish Wedding Traditions Explained series.
The Badeken is one of my very favourite traditions of a Jewish wedding, both emotionally and photographically.
This is the ceremony where the groom veils the bride, the term comes from the Yiddush word ‘to cover’. It’s often the most emotional moment of a Jewish wedding, where the bride and groom see each other for the first time a few minutes before the main ceremony begins under the chuppah. Often a couple will have time apart before their wedding, the more religious the couple, the longer the amount of time apart, so this moment where their eyes meet for the first time on their wedding day is so special, and such an honour for us to photograph. Even without the religious significance of the badeken, many couples of all different faiths nowadays choose to do a ‘first look’ on their wedding day; it’s a special thing to do.
Usually only very close family and friends are involved in this process, as the wedding guests are seated for the chuppah and excitedly await the procession down the aisle. However, sometimes the couple choose to open the badeken to all their guests, allowing everyone to share in this electric moment where the groom is brought into the room to see his beautiful bride, often accompanied by his groomsmen and friends singing and clapping, as the atmosphere reaches fever pitch.