FAQ & Tradition
17 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ASKING YOUR OFFICIANT
- Are you available on my wedding date?
- Are you available to travel if needed?
- Will you provide a written contract?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How collaborative is the process of writing the ceremony/ Do we get to be part of the process?
- How do you make the ceremony meaningful and reflect us as a couple?
- How involved are you in helping us plan the logistics and choreography of the ceremony?
- How do you coordinate with our other vendors to make sure the ceremony is integrated seamlessly into our wedding day?
- What type of weddings have you officiated?
- How many weddings have you performed?
- What is your ceremony style?
- Do you require any pre-marital counseling or religious class?
- What are your fees?
- Will you provide us with the wording of our ceremony ahead of time
- Can you help write our vows?
- What is your wedding officiant attire?
- Can you coordinate personalized unity ceremonies?
Some newlyweds wear a crown of flowers during the wedding ceremony. The couple may walk around the altar three times representing the Holy Trinity. At the reception, Greek folk dances are popular, with guests lining up in a single file line.
Eastern Orthodox Church
It is a Jewish tradition for a Bride to present her Groom with a tallit to wear for his Aufruf, the reading of the Torah prior to their ceremony. The Groom's family often gives candlesticks to the Bride that can be used during the actual wedding ceremony. It is also a custom for Jewish men to cover their heads at all times, especially during prayers, with a kippot (yarmulkes), as a form of reverence, respect, and acknowledgement that God is present everywhere. In some congregations, women also cover their heads to pray.
Some Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform wedding ceremonies take place under a chuppah (wedding canopy). The chuppah is a rectangular piece of cloth large enough for the Bride, Groom, Rabbi, and sometimes other members of the wedding party to stand under. The chuppah signifies the new home about to be shared by the newlyweds. Before the procession to the chuppah, the tanaim are signed, and the Groom is asked if he is ready to take on the responsibilities outlined in the ketubah. He signifies his willingness by accepting a handkerchief or other object offered to him by the Rabbi. The two witnesses to this sign the ketubah. While the actual text of the ketubah is never meant to vary, the border decorations on this document have over the centuries been the subject of remarkable artistic creations. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, the Bride might observe the Biblical custom of "Circling the Groom" seven times. This practice is seen as a powerful act of definition, where the Bride will symbolically create the space that they will share as husband and wife. In Judaism, the number seven is mystical and represents completion and fulfillment. Just as the creation of the world was finished in seven days, the seven circles complete the couple's search for each other. The bedeken, or veiling, is a small ceremony in which the Groom lowers the veil over the Bride's face and by this act acknowledges that he is marrying the correct woman. This custom originated in the story of Jacob who didn't see the face of his Bride prior to his wedding and was tricked into marrying Leah instead of his intended, Rachel.
The Jewish marriage ceremony consists of two parts: Erusin (pre-engagement) and Nissuin (marriage). These ceremonies were historically performed up to one year apart, but more recently the two have been combined into one ceremony. The Eursin ceremony begins with Kiddush, the blessing over the wine. Kiddush is part of virtually all Jewish observances as a prayer of sanctification. The exchange of rings completes the Erusin ceremony.
In Jewish law, a verbal declaration of marriage is not legally binding unless an act of Kinyan, a formal physical acquisition is completed. This is reached when two witnesses see the Bride accept a ring from the Groom, and he recites the words of marriage. After the ketubah has been read at the ceremony, wine is often poured into a new glass, and the Sheva Berakhot (Seven Benedictions) are recited over it. The Bride and Groom then drink from the glass of wine. With the ceremony complete, tradition calls for the Groom to break the wrapped glass by stomping on it. This final action symbolizes the destruction of the Holy Temple in Israel, and reminds guests that love is fragile. The audience may shout Mazel Tov, and the Bride and Groom kiss.
Immediately after the wedding ceremony, the couple may spend a few private moments together, or Yichud as a symbolic consummation of their marriage. Later, the Mitzvah, or obligation, of rejoicing at a wedding reception is incumbent on the Bride, Groom, and guests.