I had the pleasure of doing the month of coordination for a wedding where the bride and groom were clearly so much in love. It was my first Jewish wedding and I was so touched by the many symbolic traditions that took place. I did not understand the words that the Rabbi was singing as he walked down the aisle to begin the ceremony, but I do know that it was beautiful.
- The Ketubah - While the guests were waiting for the ceremony to begin, a small ceremony took place behind the scenes with the Bride and Groom signing the Ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract. The Ketubah specifies their mutual promises and commitments and is one of the oldest elements of a Jewish wedding.
- The Chuppah - The marriage canopy under which the ceremony takes place. It dates back to the Jewish nomadic days in the desert. The temporary nature of its construction reminds one that the most important thing about a home is the people in it who love one another and choose to be together, to be a family. Since the chuppah represents the couple's new home together, having no walls, it signifies that their home is open to all. The couple integrated a tallis - a family heirloom - into the chuppah.
- The Breaking of the Glass - Depending on whom you ask, you will get many answers for the meaning of this ritual. It signifies the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. It also serves as a reminder that the bonds of marriage are fragile and can easily be shattered. The hope is that the breaking of the wedding glass will be the only thing shattered during the marriage. It is the official signal to shout "Mazel Tov" and start the party!