When you’re planning your Jewish wedding, there are three things crucial to the ceremony that can be easily overlooked when considering finer and greater details. In the rush of anticipation it can be tough to consider everything, so here’s three often overlooked areas where planning ahead will save you a headache down the road.
Traditionally, Jewish weddings require that appropriate witnesses be picked for many reasons. Witnesses, or Edim, are honored guests, and their presence is important to sign documents and escort the bride and groom. Not least among these responsibilities is that they will sign the ketubah.
You’ll also need witnesses to stand with you under the chuppah, where they will witness the betrothal, or kiddushin which happens when the groom puts a ring on the bride’s finger. Once married, the bride and groom are escorted to the Yichud room.
You will want to speak with your rabbi or officiant to know the number of witnesses allowed or needed, and any other requirements witnesses should fulfill. In Orthodox weddings, for example, both witnesses must be male and unrelated to the bride or groom.
Music makes a wedding unforgettable, so you will want to carefully choose what is played under the chuppah. Once the groom arrives at the chuppah, there is traditionally an interlude where Bo’i Kallah is played. Many popular pieces of music such as You Raise Me Up and All of Me can be sung with the lyrics of Bo’i Kallah, L’chadodi, and Yedid Nefesh.
Smashing the Glass has an excellent playlist of popular chuppah songs that can help inspire your choice. One last thing to plan for: before breaking the glass it is also customary for a slow rendition of Eim Eshkachech Yerushalim to be sung in solemn remembrance of the destruction of the temple.
With all the moving parts and ceremonies of your wedding, making the most of the space is key. Before the wedding, consider doing a walkthrough of the venue with your planner, so you’ll know how the event will flow and what to be prepared for, as well as where signage should direct guests in case directions are unclear. Also, you can scout the best rooms for Kabbalat Panim and Tisch.
Having enough space for dancing and movement is important, as is noting the location of doors and stairs. At Benji Madden and Cameron Diaz’s wedding, they were danced to their moment of peace in the Yichud room by joyful guests. If you want to do something like that, knowing which room will work best will keep this moment from becoming chaotic.
It will be your special day, and although anticipation can make you nervous, settling the fine details will help keep you calm and ensure that everything goes to plan. With the various ceremony requirements and traditions of a Jewish wedding, thoughtful and careful planning will help prevent avoidable problems and make it truly perfect.