Image by Hales Studio taken from Sarah & Mike’s Jewish DIY Wedding
How to produce the perfect Jewish (or Jew-ish) Wedding Program
When it comes to Jewish weddings there are a few highly recognisable traditions that many of us look forward to seeing, like, as this blog’s name suggests, the smashing of the glass. However, as any bride well knows, there are a myriad of other customs that a couple may or may not include depending on their preference and level of observance. Most choose to spend their big day with their closest family and friends and in today’s modern world, this typically includes individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds with varying understanding of a Jewish wedding ceremony.
Consequently, the wedding program has become an increasingly important tool as it both enables wedding guests to navigate the marriage ceremony and allows them to feel included by providing the appropriate context. Despite the wedding program’s growing importance, we were surprised to learn firsthand how difficult it can be to write one. For those facing a similar predicament, please read on to hear our tips for putting together a ceremony program perfect for your special day!
Image by W2 Photography taken from Sydney & William’s handmade Jewish DIY Barn Wedding
Know your guests
Without having a sense for your guest’s familiarity with relevant Jewish traditions it can be difficult to approach the program writing process. For a guest list that includes people who may be attending their first Jewish wedding, we suggest keeping your program more high level and focused on sharing the appropriate context, without being overwhelming. For one that has a largely Jewish audience, you may include less information on the ceremony basics and more time on specific custom details or interpretations. It’s also important to ask yourself how familiar your guests may be with the traditions you choose to incorporate into your ceremony. After all, the non-observant Jewish guest may not be familiar with a highly orthodox ceremony. Similarly, the highly observant may not follow egalitarian interpretations of tradition.
Determine your ceremony details
This may go without saying, but before writing your wedding program it’s best to have a clear understanding of what your ceremony will look like. Are you doing a badeken and tisch? Are you inviting all of your guests to your ketubah signing? Will your ceremony be more modern or traditional? A more formal or casual affair? Are you including a flower girl? These are just a handful of examples of things that need to be finalised prior to beginning your program.
Think about tone
As you want to the voice of the program to reiterate the tone of the event overall, it’s important to think about what this is prior to beginning the writing process. A black tie wedding will call for a more formal and restrained voice. In contrast, a more casual ceremony will be amenable to a lighter and playful narrative.