The Catholic bride is insistent about getting married a church. The Jewish groom will agree but wants to bring his religious traditions to the wedding.
A rabbi can be involved with the priest (where permitted), but what else can be done? One couple’s true story of what they considered:
- Having a ketubah ceremony at the hotel where the Bride and Groom are getting ready. It should be right after everyone is dressed and ready to go to the Church, as this works best for timing and coordination and the solemnity of the occasion. After the ceremony at the Church, it will be time for photos and fun! The ketubah signing is a time to emphasize bringing two people and two families together, and some of the ideas below can be part of that.
- Breaking the glass. In Anita Diamant’s book The New Jewish Wedding, it was described this way:
This ancient practice is perhaps the best-known aspect of the Jewish wedding. A broken glass cannot be mended and symbolizes marriage as an irrevocably transforming experience that leaves the couple forever changed. The glass is also broken to protect the relationship and a silent prayer is uttered “as this glass is shattered, so shall our marriage never be.”
- Kiddush (at the ketubah signing)… The Bride and Groom can share a cup of wine, and then the Bride can offer wine to the Groom’s parents, and the Groom can offer wine to the Bride’s.
- There can be a chuppah. One idea is for the couple and their parents to stand under it while the Bride and Groom sign the ketubah. Another idea is to have it near the doorway so everyone who is invited to attend the ketubah signing walks through the symbolic home of the bride and groom.
- 7 Blessings. Again from Anita Diamont’s book:
Jewish tradition says when a couple finds one another, it brings an abundance of blessings into their lives and also into the lives of those around them and into the world. These seven blessings represent the completion of the creation of the individuals entering the marriage.
- A wedding program at the Church. It would be nice to share the religious traditions of the two families by describing all of them in a booklet, along with the names of the wedding party, thanks to family, etc. This would also be an opportunity to mention those who have passed away but are still very much in hearts…
- Other ways to acknowledge those who have passed away: leaving empty seats at the ketubah signing. The Bride (and Groom) can place a single flower on each seat as they enter. Nothing has to be said, if that is what is chosen, but it is a lovely and symbolic and clear gesture that these individuals are very much present in the room. Another option is to have a vase on the ketubah table with just the number of flowers of the people you want to specifically remember at this time. Nothing needs to be said if that is chosen, but the meaning is clear.
- In the room with the ketubah signing, you might want to display photographs of family members… perhaps wedding photos or others. As this is a gathering of two families, the photos of each can be interspersed with the other.
- The Bride and Groom can write something and read it to each other… or share a favorite song…
- Here is a very moving (and emotional) opportunity: All of the people at the ketubah signing form a circle with the Bride and Groom and hold hands. Then each person says about 5-15 seconds of what they wish for the bride and groom. This brings so much love (and also some tears!- helps to have tissues handy, but it is soooo warm and meaningful.)
Then all were ready to go to the Church!
photo by Alison Conklin Photography