Sample Traditional Jewish Wedding Program (For an Interfaith community)

Program for Rebecca and Jonathan’s Wedding

June 6, 2010

Wedding Begins: 3 PM

Visit with Jonathan and Rebecca/ “Tish & Bedekin”


Cocktail Hour

Dinner with traditional and modern Dancing throughout the Reception

Grace after Meal

Song for Parents of the Bride /“Krentzel Dance”

Dance Finale!

Wedding Winds Down: 8-9 PM

Guide for Jonathan & Rebecca’s Wedding


Guests Visit with Bride and Groom/ “Tish”

The “tish” is a time for casual mingling with the bride and groom before the wedding ceremony. It will be an opportunity to share stories, best wishes, and words of wisdom about marriage over food and drink. In addition, the Jewish wedding contract, “ketubah,” is signed by witnesses for Jonathan and Rebecca. Jonathan will be relaxing with his groomsmen in one room, and Rebecca with her bridesmaids in another, such that guests can visit and spend moments with either or each of them before they are joined in marriage.

After the wedding contract is signed, Jonathan and Rebecca’s mothers will break a plate together to symbolize the finality of the contract.

Wedding Contract/ “Ketubah”

Rebecca and Jonathan’s wedding contract includes traditional Aramaic wording in addition to wedding vows written in English.

Witnesses not from the families will sign the contract before the ceremony, and English vows will be spoken aloud and agreed to by Rebecca and Jonathan during the ceremony.

Bride and Groom Meet/ “Bedekin”

The “bedekin” is a very brief and upbeat moment when Rebecca and Jonathan will see each other just before the ceremony.

Rebecca and Jonathan will each be escorted by their respective bridal parties to a central meeting location.

It is common for guests to clap to the music with the band and to shout “congratulations” or “mazel tov” during this quick gathering. The band will accompany Jonathan as he walks to Rebecca with a brief, celebratory song.

After Rebecca and Jonathan meet, Rebecca will lower her veil in preparation for the procession.

At the conclusion of this moment, guests are invited to be seated for the ceremony.

~As you approach your seat for the ceremony there will be baskets with yarmulkes (pronounced “yamakah” or “keepah” in Hebrew) for men who wish to wear one.~

Wedding Ceremony

Sequence & Rituals

Rebecca and Jonathan will be married under a canopy with four posts, called a “chuppah.” This is a traditional symbol of the new home that they will build together, although still actively supported by their families and close friends. To commence the ceremony, a blessing will be made over wine. Then the officiator will read the Jewish marriage contract, the “ketubah,” aloud to the guests, as a public declaration of their commitments to marriage and ask Rebecca and Jonathan to affirm its vows.

Next are the rings!

The rabbi will follow with some brief remarks and will invite specific guests from both families to offer one of the seven Jewish wedding blessings, or “shevah brachot” to Rebecca and Jonathan.

The wedding ceremony will conclude when Jonathan breaks a glass, a tradition with a myriad of interpretations. Rebecca prefers the interpretation that their new love will be as difficult to break as it would be to put together the pieces of the glass. It’s a joyous moment, feel free to shout and make merriment!


Cocktail Hour

Immediately following the ceremony will be a cocktail “hour” with music, food, and drink. Guests are welcome to walk the grounds, mingle, etc.

During this time, Rebecca and Jonathan will first spend a few precious minutes alone, “yichud,” and then take formal photographs with their families and the bridal party.

Jonathan and Rebecca will return to the party as the music starts up for some traditional Jewish dancing.


Courses will be served between sets of music.

Traditional Dancing

Traditional Jewish dancing at weddings involves forming two circles, with all the men who wish to dance in a circle around Jonathan and all the women who wish to dancing encircling Rebecca. Circle dancing is quite straightforward; simply put your arm around the person to your left and to your right or hold their hand and move around in a circle with them.

Traditional dancing would not be complete without some brave souls lifting the newlyweds, and their parents if they so choose, up in chairs. This usually happens when somebody puts a few chairs in the middle of the dance floor and others gather round to lift, watch, shout, clap and keep on dancing!

Blessings before the Meal

Dinner will be preceded by two brief blessings. A non-denominational Grace will be made along with the Jewish blessing over bread, “hamotzi.”

Modern Dancing

Throughout the evening, the band will play sets of Motown, pop, and other classic dance tunes, and guests are invited to hit the dance floor as couples, groups, etc.

Grace after the Meal

Dinner will conclude with a traditional Jewish grace after meal (“Birkat Hamazon”). Booklets with this and non-denominational meditations and prayers will be provided, but guests are welcome to spend this time however they feel comfortable, such as walking the grounds, touring the mansion, or visiting another table.

During this time, Rebecca and Jonathan will again receive the seven traditional wedding blessings, accompanied by a ritual where wine is divided into two cups, representing Jonathan and Rebecca, and then poured into a third cup that symbolizes the community’s role in supporting their life together.

Song for Last Wedding

Since Rebecca is the last of her siblings to get married, her parents will be honored with a Hebrew song. They will sit in the center of the dance floor and guests who wish to may create a circle around them during the song.

Grand Finale

Everyone who wishes to may end the night on the dance floor to Motown and other classics!

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