A traditional Jewish wedding is a tapestry woven from many threads: biblical, historical, mystical, cultural and legal. Threads carried from one generation to the next, forming a chain of Jewish continuity which goes back more than 3,800 years. On the cosmic level, our sages teach that each marriage ceremony is a reenactment of the marriage between G‑d and the Jewish people that took place at Mount Sinai, and that the wedding day is a personal Yom Kippur--the holiest and most auspicious day of one's life.
But a marriage is also an intricate legal transaction, by which bride and groom enter a mutually binding commitment. The rituals and customs of the Jewish wedding derive from both its legalistic particulars and its underlying spiritual themes--the body and soul of the Jewish wedding.
The purpose of this overview is to present a brief explanation of each part of the traditional Jewish wedding. Whether you're getting married yourself, or simply attending a traditional Jewish wedding and wish to better understand the meaning and significance of what's going on, we hope that you will find this guide helpful in navigating the fascinating and joyous experience that is the Jewish wedding.
A more detailed treatment of the each step of the traditional Jewish wedding can be found in the Wedding Handbook.