Traditional Jewish Wedding in Groningen, Netherlands, 2009
A Jewish marriage starts with the completion, signing and witnessing of the ketuvah, or marriage contract. The ketuvah, written in Aramaic, details the husband’s obligations to his wife, food, clothing, dwelling and pleasure.
After the signing the groom does the veiling, the bedekin. Together with his father and future father-in-law and accompanied by male guests and musicians they go to the room where the bride is receiving her guests.
She sits, like a queen, surrounded by family and friends. The groom covers her face with a veil.
The chuppah is a decorated piece of cloth held aloft as a symbolic home for the new couple. When the bride arrives at the chuppah, she circles the groom seven times with her mother and future mother-in-law, symbolizing the idea of the woman being a protective, surrounding light of the household.
The Rabbi than gives a blessing over wine and thanks God for preserving the sanctity of family life of the Jewish people. The bride and groom drink of the wine.
The groom than places a plain gold ring on the finger of the bride.
After this the seven blessings are recited. Again the couple share in drinking the cup wine and the groom breaks a glass by stamping on it, just as the Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed.
Now that the couple is married they are accompanied by dancing guests to ‘the room of privacy’ where they can be alone for some time. In the meantime the guests sit down to eat a festive meal. At some point he band announces the arrival of the newly wed couple and everyone joins in dancing around the bride and the groom.