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Jewish Wedding Day Customs
An Orthodox Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

 • Giving Tzedaka on Wedding Day
 • Fasting and Prayer
 • When NOT to Fast

Giving Tzedakah – Charity
Your wedding day is an amazing moment in time. What can be more incredible than finding your soul mate with whom you are about to begin a new life. A day of blessing, a day of wonder. So share the wonder and the blessing, make this a day of total happiness. Open your heart to the happiness coming in and share your bliss by spreading the good feel.

And is there any day more exciting for a father and mother than the day their baby is getting married? Hearts overflowing, gratitude abound, tears of joy. A ripe time for sharing the blessings.

Express your gratitude for your good fortune. Give charity in honor of your nuptials or your children’s marriage. Help your synagogue. Fund a poor couple’s wedding. Provide food for hungry children. Build homes in Israel or in your own country for the less fortunate. To keep the good coming yoru way, bestow good on others.

Fasting and Prayer
From dawn of the wedding day until after the chuppah ceremony it is customary for brides and grooms fast. Some couples fast only until after mincha, the afternoon service, on the day of their wedding.

Food-free hours prevents pre-wedding overindulgence. On a deeper level, a wedding is like a private Yom Kippur for the couple. A day of atonement , a day of forgiveness, as newlyweds are forgiven for their past sins and start again, with a clean slate.

Bread represents all food and is known by the Hebrew name “lechem.” This word has the same root as the word for war “milchama.” Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains we are engaged in a perpetual battle between our desire for a spiritual existence and the pull of the physical, expressed by our need to eat food. Wedding day fasts proclaim the newlyweds value the spiritual and emotional aspects of marriage over its physical, material points.

Couples who are fasting add the aneinu prayer to the shemona esrei prayer, this prayer is also known as the amidah or “silent devotion.” In addition, the vidui, prayer of confession, is said by the bride and groom during this service.

Throughout the day many brides will attempt to say the entire Tehillim, Book of Psalms. One source explains this custom began because there are specific chapters that are spiritually important to say on a wedding day. Which chapters these were has been forgotten. To be on the safe side the whole book is said. .Divvying up the chapters among friends and relatives can help a busy bride achieve this goal.

When Not to Fast
Couples do not fast when their wedding is celebrated on minor festivals like Chanukah, Purim, on Tu B’Shevat – the 15th of Shevat, Tu B’Av – the 15th of Av, rosh chodesh - the beginning of a new Jewish month, and isru chag – the day after a major Jewish holiday.

(Weddings are not held on major Shabbat and Jewish festivals)   


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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