Planning an Orthodox Jewish Wedding is no different from any other weddings in that everything is in the detail (and this is one very detailed wedding) along with the love and support of family, friends, and the community.
Here’s how to plan an Orthodox Jewish Wedding.
1. Schedule a date according to the Jewish calendar. If you’re Jewish you are already very much in the know when Jewish weddings are prohibited. Here are some dates you’d never want to book for your wedding:
- Tisha B’Av
- Fast of Esther
- Omer between Passover and Shavuot
- Rosh Hashanah
- Yom Kippur
- Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day
- Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars
- Independence Day
- Lag B’Omer
- Ninth of Av
- Fast of Gedaliah
- Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah
- Jerusalem Day
To make sure your wedding date is agreeable to everyone and won’t bypass traditions, check your Jewish calendar at www.hebcal.com for guidance. Here’s a tip though. Many couples choose to wed on Saturday night after Sabbath has been observed and Tuesday in keeping with the biblical story of the creation as revealed in the Book of Genesis.
2. Make an appointment with your Rabbi. Your Rabbi should be someone you know so that your wedding becomes an intimate and familiar affair. In the absence of someone you know, you can also choose a cantor or a Jewish professional who is allowed to perform an Orthodox Jewish wedding. What is important is that you pick an officiant who would love to officiate your wedding. As soon as you find him, make an appointment to discuss your wedding plans and the date of your wedding. Still at a loss? Narrow down your search by clicking on www.joi.com – the Jewish Outreach Institute.
3. Seek counseling. You and your fiancée may be mature adults but marriage is a whole different road in your journey to forever. Seek the counsel of your Rabbi or you may contact the Rabbinic Center in your area for counseling. Their website is www.rcrconline.org
4. Plan your wedding ceremony rituals. Pick and choose rituals that will work in your wedding ceremony. For example, it is only the bride that gets a wedding ring to symbolize the groom’s acquisition of her. Would your fiancée be comfortable with that? If not, then choose to go with a double-ring ceremony that’s more popularly followed in today’s weddings. Select a Huppa or canopy symbolizing your shared home after being proclaimed husband and wife. The best Huppa is the one made by each member of your immediate family. Give out specially designed Yarmulkes/ Skullcaps for guests. Prepare a glass to break as a reminder of the destruction of the temple in the bible and of the fragility of a relationship.
5. Write and design your own Ketubah. This is the Jewish version of a marriage license or contract. Following tradition, the Ketubah specifies the woman’s rights as a bride: food, clothing, shelter, and intimacy. It also pertains to a woman’s rights if her husband divorces her or if he dies. However, again because this is modern times, the Ketubah can now be written specifically by the couple pledging their love and commitment to each other. You can adapt which way is more ideal then have an artist design it.
It will also benefit you and your fiancée greatly if you commit to a fast prior to your wedding so you can both enter into it with a pure heart.