How do you spot a guest who’s attending a Jewish wedding for the first time?
Easy: Look for people who have a confused look on their face. Those who are scratching their head, wondering:
Why is the bride circling the groom? 🤔
Why did the groom just break a glass? 🤔
And why on earth are people dancing on chairs?! 🤔
There’s no doubt – Jewish weddings are different. Different traditions. Different rituals. Heck, even different wedding gifts.
But wait, it gets even more confusing…
Not only do Jewish weddings have unorthodox (or should I say, Orthodox 😉) traditions. But you’ll also notice different customs and rituals depending on the type of Jewish wedding you’re attending.
Certain Orthodox Jewish wedding traditions are absent in Conservative and Reform ceremonies.
Some customs are exclusive only to Ashkenazi Jews, and not practiced by Sephardic Jews.
Even the location of the wedding matters: weddings in the US aren’t the same as weddings in Israel.
Can you blame Jewish wedding first-timers for being confused?
Well, it’s time to lift the veil of mystery…
In this Jewish wedding guide, you’ll learn what lies behind every single Jewish wedding tradition, who follows each tradition, and what exactly you should do.
If this is your first Jewish wedding ceremony: pay attention. Otherwise, you’ll be left scratching your head all night wondering what the hell is going on… and I won’t be there to save you (I wasn’t invited! 😡).
Just like many other traditions, Jewish wedding ceremonies have a traditional processional order. While the order may vary slightly from one Jewish denomination to another (Orthodox vs Conservative vs Reform) or even from one couple to another – most Jewish weddings pretty much follow the same order.
When you’re busy planning your wedding in full throttle, the last thing on your mind is “gee, I should probably get my Ketubah framed”.
And you’re right – compared to the bigger wedding arrangements (like the wedding dress, food, seating arrangements, etc’), framing a Ketubah seems like a minuscule thing, doesn’t it?
Heck, a naive bride might even think: “Pfff, a Ketubah frame? Who the hell needs that?”
That is until your Ketubah is knocked over at the wedding ceremony, someone spills some Kiddush wine on it, or your 8-year-old cousin touches the Ketubah with his greasy hands from the Schnitzel he just ate…
That’s when you realize: “Gee, I wish would’ve framed my Ketubah” …
Moral of the story? Don’t neglect the little things, if the little things can come back and bite you in the as*.
So today, we’re going to apply that moral and learn how to frame your Ketubah properly 🙂
Believe it or not – not only does the Ketubah – the Jewish marriage contract – play a key role in a Jewish wedding, but it’s also one of the most emotional and memorable parts of the Jewish wedding ceremony.
So much so, that married couples often display their Ketubah in their home.
“What the hell”, right?
Don’t worry, there’s a perfectly reasonable (and fascinating) explanation for it…
Now, if you decided to give money to the happy couple (the reason I highlighted the ‘if’ part, is because you can also get them an actual wedding gift… but more on that later), then the next question on your mind must be…
“How much money should I give at a Jewish wedding?”
The short answer?
You should give money in multiples of $18. The number 18 translates to “Chai” (חי), which is Hebrew for “life”. In effect, you’re wishing the couple a long and happy life.
You’re about to attend a special Jewish wedding of a very special someone, and you’re scratching your head thinking:
“What’s an appropriate gift for a Jewish wedding?”
You don’t want to buy the happy couple a gift they’ll never use.
You certainly don’t want them to “blacklist” you for being too. Ehm… cheap.
And you definitely don’t want to embarrass yourself with an inappropriate gift that doesn’t fit the occasion.
Instead, you want to get them something meaningful.
Something useful… You know – something that can actually help a young Jewish couple get off the ground and start their new life together.
Am I right or am I right?
In that case – you’re in the right place.
Because that’s exactly why I created this Jewish wedding gift guide in the first place: to help you find the very best Jewish wedding gift ideas that’ll make the happy couple want to dance the Horah – even after their wedding is over!