After the groom places the ring on the bride's finger, the ketubah is read aloud. The ketubah is a binding document which details the husband's obligations to his wife, showing that marriage is more than a physical-spiritual union; it is a legal and moral commitment. The ketubah states the principal obligations of the groom to provide his wife with food, clothing and affection along with other contractual obligations.
Reading the ketubah has no halachic significance, it merely serves as a separation between the two phases of marriage -- kiddushin and nisu'in.
The ketubah states the principal obligations of the groom towards his wifeThe honor of reading the ketubah is normally reserved for a Torah scholar -- one who can fluently read the Aramaic text.
After the ketubah is read, it is handed to the groom who gives it to the bride. The ketubah is then put in a safe place for the duration of the wedding.
Click here for a comprehensive article on the significance of the ketubah and a detailed explanation of the obligations it contains.
The ketubah document is reminiscent of the wedding between G‑d and Israel when Moses took the Torah, the "Book of the Covenant," and read it to the Jews prior to the "chupah ceremony" at Mount Sinai. In the Torah, G‑d, the groom, undertakes to provide for all the physical and spiritual needs of His beloved bride. It is this precious "marriage contract" which has assured our survival through millennia which saw the disappearance of so many mighty nations and superpowers.