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How Long Is A Jewish Wedding Ceremony

How Long Is A Jewish Wedding Ceremony? Full Guide (2023)

Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Kimberlee Johnson

Having attended a Jewish wedding once, I’ve often been captivated by the timeless traditions and deep-rooted symbolism that make these ceremonies unforgettable. 

So, how long is a Jewish wedding ceremony? 

While the duration can vary based on different factors, such as customs and personal preferences, I’ll shed light on this question, drawing from my own experiences and the insights I’ve gathered from experts in Jewish customs and traditions. 

How Long Does A Jewish Wedding Ceremony Usually Last?

Jewish weddings are joyous, lasting between 20-30 minutes. Although the timeframe may not include preliminaries and the afterward celebration, the main ceremony is meaningful. 

“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.”

Sam Levenson, American Humorist

It often features several cherished traditions, such as blessings and the exchange of vows. 

Some couples may give the traditional marriage ceremony their personal touch by adding to it. However, there is no need to worry as the event is usually concise.

What Day Of The Week Can A Jewish Couple Get Married?

Couples who follow the Jewish faith can get married on any day of the week, from Sunday to Thursday, except Shabbat [1]. 

This holy day falls between Friday night and Saturday night and is a period of rest and spiritual reflection when certain activities, such as weddings, are forbidden. 

As a result, couples tend to plan their wedding for a Sunday through Thursday, so they can fully enjoy the festivities without breaking any rules.

What Customs Do Jews Observe Before Their Wedding?

Before getting married, Jews follow different customs to make their wedding day even more unique, including signing the Ketubah [2].

It is a marriage contract that spells out the rights and responsibilities of the couple. 

The bride and groom also participate in mikvah rituals, where they take a special bath to symbolize their readiness and spiritual purity for marriage. 

Another significant practice is the Badeken ritual, which is based on a story from the Bible and involves the man covering his bride with a veil before the wedding. 

“The length of a Jewish wedding ceremony cannot be measured in minutes alone; it holds the essence of a profound union, rich in traditions passed down through generations.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Both families may also participate in the Aufruf ceremony, where the groom is called up to receive blessings in the synagogue before the wedding.

Also Read: How Long Will A Bar Mitzvah Ceremony Last?

What Occurs During A Jewish Wedding Ceremony?

1. Kabbalat Panim

Bride Talking to Guest

The bride and groom traditionally host separate receptions before the wedding ceremony.

2. Badeken

In the veiling ceremony, the groom places the veil over the bride’s face, signifying the groom’s intent to clothe and protect his wife.

3. Ketubah Signing

The Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of the groom about the bride. 

Two people witness the signing of this contract, and it is often a small, private ceremony.

4. Chuppah Ceremony

The couple enters a chuppah, or wedding canopy, symbolizing their new home together. The ceremony begins with the groom, followed by the bride, who circles the groom seven times.

5. Kiddushin

groom gives the bride a ring

The betrothal ceremony. The groom gives the bride a ring and declares, “Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel.”

6. Sheva Brachot

Seven blessings are recited over a cup of wine, celebrating the couple’s union, joy, companionship, and hope for peace.

7. Nissuin

The second part of the wedding ceremony symbolizes the couple’s commitment to each other. The groom drinks from the wine cup, followed by the bride.

8. Breaking the Glass

After the ceremony, the groom steps on a glass wrapped in a cloth, symbolizing the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and a reminder of the importance of keeping the faith even in times of joy.

9. Yichud

Immediately after the ceremony, the couple retreats to a private room called the yichud room for a few moments of seclusion. It represents their newfound bond as a married couple.

10. Wedding Feast

Following the ceremony, family, and friends join in a joyous celebration with dancing, singing, and feasting. 

This festive reception, called the Seudat Mitzvah, often includes traditional Jewish music and cuisine.

Also Read: What Does The Grand March Mean At A Wedding?

FAQs

What is the average age of Jewish marriage?

The average age of marriage for Jews is much younger than the marriage age for non-Jewish couples, typically ranging from late teens to mid-20s.

Find out what you should wear to a Jewish wedding here.

Are Jews allowed to have alcohol at weddings?

Yes, Jews are allowed to consume alcohol at weddings. It is an accepted part of the Jewish culture and is traditionally included in wedding celebrations as an expression of joy.

But what should you not serve at a Jewish wedding?

Do Jews still follow the practice of marrying more than one wife?

Polygamy, or having more than one wife, is largely prohibited in modern Jewish communities. 

This ban traces back to a decree issued by Rabbi Gershom ben Judah in the 11th century, which prohibited Ashkenazi Jews from practicing polygamy, and it has become the norm among Sephardi and other Jewish communities worldwide.

Final Words

A Jewish wedding ceremony is cherished with time-honored traditions and profound significance. 

Based on my firsthand experiences and insights from experts, the typical duration of a Jewish wedding ceremony ranges from 20 to 30 minutes. 

This concise time frame allows for a meaningful and efficient exchange of vows, blessings, and rituals. 

Plus, couples adhering to the Jewish faith can choose any day, such as Sunday to Thursday, for their weddings. 

However, it’s important to respect the sacred observance of Shabbat, which begins on Friday evening and concludes on Saturday evening, by refraining from weddings during that period.

References:

  1. https://people.howstuffworks.com/shabbat.htm
  2. https://www.brides.com/ketubah-signing
Kimberlee Johnson
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