All imagery by Blake Ezra Photography. This is part 8 of the 9-part Jewish Wedding Traditions Explained series.
So the couple have stood under their chuppah and the groom has smashed a glass. The family and friends have cried, laughed, clapped and shouted Mazal Tov! Now what for our newly married couple? The Yichud is another beautiful tradition in Jewish weddings. Yichud comes from the Hebrew word B’Yachad, which means ‘together’.
It is where the couple, who’ve been married only a few moments, make their way to a private room and spend the first few minutes of their married life just by themselves, without any distractions or other family members.
In religious circles, this is the first time ever that the couple will have had physical contact, so it really is a truly landmark moment in the lives of the couple. The room should be lockable, and the door is locked from the inside. In Orthodox law, couple remains secluded in the room for at least eight minutes.
For those who are less religious, even the Rabbi will know that the couple has had contact before, or that they live together already! However this is still such a precious moment, alone as a married couple — just the two of them. This is also a tradition that can be applied to any wedding, irrespective of which religion the couple follows. It truly symbolizes that even in the modern world with more demands on our time than ever, the couple should always find time just for one another — even with a crowd of friends and family all clamouring to give them a hug!
We often takes the couple directly from their Yichud to do some photos together, and it is such a privilege for us to spend time with so many special couples so early in their married lives!
Next week will see the final instalment of our Jewish Weddings Explained series, when we look at the (infamous) dancing at Jewish weddings.
Blake Ezra’s ‘Yichud’ gallery