Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 6:00pm
San Antonio Botanical Gardens
555 FUNSTON PL • SAN ANTONIO, TX
Officiated by Rabbi Mara Nathan
A GUIDE TO
JEWISH WEDDING CEREMONIES
Thank you all for joining us for our wedding day! We are thrilled you could join in sharing this joyous, special, long-awaited occasion with us. For our wedding, our ceremony will follow the Jewish tradition. This page includes a short synopsis of the ceremony, its symbols, and their meanings.
The Ketubah is a marriage contract that, historically, protected the bride and her rights. The tradition of signing the ketubah dates back over two thousand years. Today, this document is much more egalitarian and symbolizes the love and commitment to one another.
Together, David and Emily worked to create their own ketubah that reflects their relationship and commitment. The contract is written in both English and Hebrew and signed by the couple, the rabbi, and witnesses immediately prior to the ceremony. The text of the ketubah will be read during the wedding ceremony, and it will be on display at the reception for you to see the wonderful artwork.
The Chuppah is the wedding canopy under which David and Emily will say their vows. It has four corners and a covered roof to symbolize the new home they are building together. The roof of David and Emily’s chuppah is the tallit (prayer shawl) made by David’s grandmother and worn during his bar mitzvah.
In a Jewish ceremony, the processional includes the grandparents, the groom's parents, and the bride's mother. When Emily and her parents walk down the aisle, you will see her say goodbye to their parents seven steps before the chuppah. David will then take seven steps from the chuppah to take Emily’s hand before they both take the seven steps back to stand together with Rabbi Nathan. This is symbolic of the seven days of creation: with these seven steps, David and Emily are creating a new life together.
THE WEDDING CEREMONY
The marriage ceremony consists of two separate parts: Kiddushin (betrothal) and Nissuin (nuptials). Originally, these two ceremonies were separated by a period of several months; today they are combined into one.
Kiddushin is marked by candles and a blessing over wine as all joyous Jewish ceremonies are sanctified by wine and candle lighting. For the candles, David and Emily are using candle sticks that David’s grandparents, Faylinda and Marshall, used at their wedding ceremony.
The blessing over the wine, the kiddush, symbolizes the sanctity of marriage. The bride and groom share wine in the same kiddush cup used for David’s bar mitzvah.
According to Jewish law, the giving and accepting of an item of value in the presence of witnesses is part of what sanctifies a marriage. Therefore, the couple generally exchange rings. The rings are solid, without any breaks or stones, signifying the wholeness and union achieved through marriage, continuous love and devotion. Each ring is placed on the right index finger, demonstrating the ancient belief that the forefinger is connected by a direct line to the heart.
The second part of the wedding ceremony begins with the reading of the ketubah, followed by the Sheva B’rachot, or seven benedictions, which are chanted or recited by Rabbi Nathan as well as friends and family over a second cup of wine. Two cups of wine represent the fact that originally, the betrothal and nuptials were two separate ceremonies with a span of time between them.
SHEVA B'RACHOT (SEVEN BLESSINGS)
The Sheva B’rachot is an integral part of a Jewish wedding ceremony. The blessings are about the creation of the world, the creation of humankind, the unity of loving people and the joy of marriage.
These seven blessings are recited in both Hebrew and English, and are recited over David and Emily to bless their marriage. David and Emily have chosen seven family members and close friends to recite these blessings today.
BREAKING OF THE GLASS
At the end of the ceremony, it is customary for the couple to break a glass. There are many interpretations of this ritual. Some consider it a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the first century, for even at the height of personal joy, we must not forget the tragedies the Jewish and world communities have endured. Others say it demonstrates that marriage holds sorrow as well as joy and is a representation of the commitment to stand by one another even in hard times
The Yichud, which means “Togetherness,” directly follows the wedding ceremony. 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. This is a small moment of time that also represents that even in today’s fast-paced world, David and Emily will always find time for each other
According to Jewish law, wedding guests are commanded to celebrate, to have fun, and to increase the joy of the couple on their wedding day. What better way to do so than with great food, great company, and great music?