The symbolic consummation of the wedding takes place in a private room after the ceremony. This is not custom, but a firm requirement of the law that must be testified to by witnesses. It is the final act of chuppah that seals the marriage. When the couple emerges from yichud, they are man and wife.

The yichud should be arranged for in advance. The private room should contain food, as the couple has been fasting. Eating together in private is one of the functions of this privacy. As noted previously, since the process of the bride’s moving to her husband’s home is itself a sign of marriage, Taz suggests that the bride and groom hold hands and proceed directly from the chuppah to the yichud, where they remain privately for approximately ten minutes.

The seclusion of the couple in the yichud room should be witnessed by two qualified witnesses waiting outside, specifically appointed for this task, much as the witnesses to the ketubah and the ring ceremony were appointed.

There are many demands on the couple’s time at this juncture. Photographers want to take their pictures, a receiving line becomes impatient, an old aunt insists on showering them with kisses, and everyone wants to comment on the service. But this is their time. Bride and groom deserve this respite of privacy and togetherness at this unforgettable moment; it is wrong to deny it to them.