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 Home > Jewish Wedding Guide > Orthodox > Proper Etiquette

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Attending a Jewish Wedding: Proper Etiquette
An Orthodox Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

 • Dress Code
 • Modesty of Appearance
 • Sitting Arrangements
 • Gifts for a Jewish Bride and Groom

 • Jewish Wedding Gift Ideas

Dress Code
In the United States, most orthodox weddings are a formal affair. Women don on their elegant getups and men suit up. Some invitations call for “black tie” attire, which means the same as it does in the general population. Tuxedos, evening gowns, etc.

When you're not sure, always ask and thus avoid uncomfortable moment and awkward situations.

Modesty of Appearance
When the Invitation Reads: Guests are Requested to Dress Modestly

In the Orthodox Jewish tradition, modest dress means a dress that is not low cut at the neck or back, whose hem falls below the knee and sleeves cover the elbow. Skin within these boundaries should not be visible, covering them with sheer fabric is not enough.

The definition given above is a sort of middle of the road modesty. Some communities accept sleeves that graze the elbow or skim the knees. Others resist clingy dresses and flashy hues. Orthodoxy is many things, but definitely not one dimentional. Within orthodoxy levels of observance, intrepertation of and understanding of Halacha, customs and traditions vary. Ask your host if you’re not sure. No one will mind, and it’s better to ask than to feel like you have to hide your legs below the tablecloth.

Sitting Arrangements
Attending a Chassidic or Yeshivish Jewish wedding usually means an affair celebrated by men and women separated by a ”Mechitza,” a partitian, to preserve modesty. At the Chuppah ceremony, men will be seated on one side of the aisle, while the women on the other. During the reception and the wedding dinner, the men seat around tables one one side of the mechitza and the women on the other. In most modern orthodox weddings, the seating is mixed, however, there is no mixed dancing. Women and men form separate cirlcles some with a mechitza on the dance floor, some without.

It is important to remember that a wedding celebration is not the place to advance your political views on religion and progress. Whether you agree with the idea of mechitza and separation of the genders at a wedding celebration or not, it is recommended that you respect with the wishes of your hosts.

Gifts for a Jewish Bride and Groom
The tradition of giving wedding gifts not only helps a couple set up their new home, but enables guests to partake in the joy of the beginning of a new life of togetherness.

Gifts of money are very common at Jewish weddings. So how much should one give? It depends on the family relation and closeness, and of course on how much one can afford. Multiples of the number 18 (equivalent to "CHAI" - Life ) is a nice touch. Rather than $100, you'll find gifts of $108 (six times CHAI), and rather than $250, check gifts will read $252 (fourteen times CHAI)

If you choose to buy a gift, you might want to ask the couple if they have registered with one of the gift services (a very common online practice, nowadays). If you choose to purchase a gift, try and deliver it before or after the wedding - to the couple's home. If you bring a boxed gift to the wedding, look for the waiter, a maid of honor, or one of the bride and groom's friends will was assigned to care for and store presents in a safe place.

Jewish Wedding Gift Ideas
 • Money (always comes in handy)
 • Contribute to the gift registry list chosen by the couple
 • A Mezuzah for the door (parchment and box)
 • Shabbat Candle sticks
 • A picture or sculpture with a Jewish theme
 • A set of Jewish/Kosher Cookbooks
 • Check out Jewish Celebrations WEDDING GIFTS

If you decide to gift the couple with anything other than money or registry participation, it is recommended that you ask the couple what they would like to receive. You will thus be sure to buy an item that would be of use and appreciated. Inclusion of an exchange certificate is always a good idea.



 

READ MORE:
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Dating Jewish
• The Dowry (Nedunia)
• Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make me a Match!
•
Forbidden Marriages and the Issue of Mamzerut
• Engagement, Vort and Tenaim
•
Marriage: A Jewish Perspective
•
Setting a Date for the Celebration of a Jewish Wedding
•
Double Wedding, Double the Fun?
• Wedding Guests: Who and How Many to Invite
• Jewish Wedding Invitations
• Jewish Wedding Music Beyond Hava Nagila
• Jewish Wedding Attire Customs: From Wedding Gown to Kittel
•
Jewish Wedding A Second Time Around
• Jewish Wedding: The Day Before
• Mikvah:The Ritual Bath
• Aufruf – A Torah Honor for the Groom
• Forshpiel/ Shabbat Kallah
• Tallit (Tallis): A Prayer Shawl Gift from Bride to Groom
• Wedding Day Customs
•
The Ketubah: The Jewish Marriage Contract
• The Orthodox Ketubah Aramaic Text and Translation

• Ketubah Highlights: Content and Meaning
• Ketubah Designs
• Prenuptial Agreement: An Halachic View
• Summary of the Orthodox Wedding Ceremony
• Summary of Honors at Jewish Wedding Ceremony
• The Bride's Reception and the Bedeken Ceremony

• The Chuppah - the Wedding Canopy
• Chuppah: The Inner Meaning

• The Processional and the Chuppah Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part I: The "Erusin" - the Engagement
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part II: The Ring and Its Significance
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part III: The Ketubah Reading
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part IV: Nesuin, the Marriage Ceremony
• Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part V: Breaking the Glass
• The Recessional at end of Wedding Ceremony
• Yichud: Bride and Groom Retreat from Crowd for Alone-Time
• Jewish Wedding Reception Customs and Traditions
• Jewish Wedding: The Week After

• Shana Rishona: The First Year of Marriage
• Practical Tips: List of things to bring to your wedding
• Jewish Wedding: Proper Etiquette and Gift Ideas


  




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