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Five “Under the Radar” Jewish Wedding Traditions

We are all familiar with the Jewish Stomping of the Glass wedding tradition. Usually the groom breaks the glass, everyone shouts, “Mazel Tov” and the wedding’s ‘official cocktail hour’ begins.

If you’re looking to go beyond glass breaking, then keep reading. Here are 5 lesser-known Jewish wedding traditions worthy of consideration and possible inclusion in your Jewish Wedding (or your wedding featuring special Jewish touches).

1. Be Treated Like A Queen
Every bride wants to be Queen for A Day. Did you know that the concept is a Jewish one? It used to be every bride had what is known as a Kabbalt Panim (Greeting Faces). Friends and family of the bride come and greet her as she sits upon a throne-like chair. 

Making the Tradition Modern: Formally invite all your bridesmaids to mani-pedis or hair & make-up sessions prior to the wedding. Serve a little bubbly with appetizers and you’re good to go!

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Keith Cephus Photography

2. Ring Around the Rosy!
OK, so, not quite what you think of when you imagine a Jewish wedding. But, it sounds so much cuter than Hakafot. As a way to symbolize the creation of a new sacred family circuit, you can embrace the tradition of the bride circling her groom seven times as she enters the chuppah.

Making the Tradition Modern: Everyone circle! In modern and egalitarian weddings the bride and groom circle one another, creating a sacred space around each another under the symbolism of their new home, the chuppah! 

3. Create a New Tradition!
Create a Mazel Tov Stone to use when you break the glass. Or, after the glass is broken don’t throw away those shards. Instead, have your trusted wedding planner collect them and use them to create a Mezzuah for your new home or bedroom door.

Making the Tradition Modern: There are a number of beautiful, modern mezuzot (plural of Mezzuah) that will compliment your style or décor. Choose the one that suits you, your home and your marriage the best.

Mazel Tov Stone

Photography done by Mazel Tov Stone

4. Yihud
Means Seclusion! Traditionally, it was inappropriate for unmarried men and women to be alone together; so, as soon as the bride and groom exited the chuppah, then they would go immediately into a room of seclusion, symbolizing their new status as a married couple. 

Making the Tradition Modern: No photographers, videographers or mothers allowed! Just you and your new spouse together, alone. Look into one another’s eyes, take a deep breath and pause, reveling in the moment. Also consider enjoying some of the food and drinks you won’t have time to enjoy once you join your reception, which will already be in full swing when you walk through the doors! 

5. You are blessed
An important part of the wedding ceremony is the recitation of the Shevra Brachot (the seven blessings). In very traditional families the wedding reception is ended with the same recitation of the seven blessings before the departure of the bride and groom.

Making the Tradition Modern:  Rather than chant the traditional seven blessings for a second time, have guests give their own verbal blessings to the wedding couple. The blessing I remember the most from this tradition at my own wedding: “May you always be happier than you are right now!

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Real Wedding of MJW Editor Michele Schwartz
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