How To Hire a Rabbi for a Wedding

For Jewish couples, a traditional wedding that exemplifies Jewish beliefs and customs is a celebration of love between two people and the commitment they will make to each other as a married couple. A traditional Jewish wedding is normally officiated by a rabbi which is the spiritual leader of the particular Jewish community. The rituals and customs are pretty much rigid and the rabbi presiding the wedding will take the whole thing quite seriously. Here are some steps to hire a rabbi to be the officiant of your Jewish wedding.

  • Determine what kind of rabbi to hire. The first step in hiring a rabbi to marry you and your fiancé is to first decide on the branch of Judaism you want your rabbi to come from. There are different branches of Judaism to choose from such as Orthodox, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Judaism. Normally, you will want a rabbi from your own Jewish sect. However, you can choose any rabbi you want for as long as you will adhere to the differences in beliefs. The Orthodox sect will be the traditional type of Judaism where most of the old rituals and practices will be apparent. If you are looking for a more liberal view of Judaism, then you will want to go with a rabbi from the Reconstructionist sect. Decide on what you and your future hubby want and go from there.
  • Finding a rabbi. Finding a rabbi to hire will not really pose a problem since there are many ways to accomplish the task. One option is to visit the local temples and synagogues in the area relevant to the Jewish branch you decided on. Of course, if you attend a specific temple or synagogue regularly, you can maybe inquire if the rabbis there can preside over your wedding ceremony. If you hired a wedding planner for your ceremony, it is probably a good idea to ask if he can recommend and even hire a rabbi for you. Make sure the rabbi you hire can legally perform in the state where your wedding will be held. Some states do not allow wedding officiants from other states to preside over a wedding if they are not licensed by the particular state where the wedding will be held. Obviously, you will also want to hire a rabbi that is experienced in performing traditional wedding rituals.
  • Ask the rabbi if there are any objections to the setup. Rabbis may have certain objections if traditional practices are not followed for a wedding. For instance, some rabbis may not entertain mixed religion couples. Other rabbis may not agree to the fact that you will be holding the wedding ceremony outdoors instead of a temple or synagogue. Make sure that these issues are straightened out prior to hiring a rabbi or else you may find yourself without an officiant on the day itself.

Hiring a rabbi does not really cost you anything. These spiritual leaders will normally only ask for a small donation to the synagogue in exchange for presiding over the ceremony. However, you are not really forced to donate. On the other hand, it would be probably be better as a Jew to give a small monetary token for the service.


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