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The wedding meal is followed by the Grace after Meals and the recitation of the Sheva Brachot,1 the same seven blessings recited beneath the chupah.2

Before the Grace after Meals, two full cups of wine are prepared; one for the individual who leads the Grace, and the other for the Sheva Brachot blessings. The one who leads the Grace calls everyone to order: "Let us bless our G‑d in whose abode there is joy, of whose bounty we have eaten." All those in attendance respond in kind.

In some communities it is customary for the one leading the Grace to add the Devai Haser hymn into the Grace's introduction. This hymn prays for the day when the Temple will be rebuilt, when we will all experience ultimate joy.

After the grace is completed, six of the guests are invited to recite the first six blessings of the Sheva Brachot. Each of the honorees recites the blessing while sitting and holding the Sheva Brachot cup.

There exists a deep mystical connection between wine and marriageAfter the six blessings are recited, the person who led the Grace after Meals recites aloud the hagafen (wine) blessing and sips from his cup. The wine in the two cups are blended (a bit of wine from each cup is poured into the other), and the groom sips from one cup and the bride from the other.3

Kabbalistic Meaning:

The seven blessings which draw divine blessings for the duration of the couple's married life are recited over a cup of wine. There exists a deep mystical connection between wine and marriage.

Every person projects a certain persona. Wine has the ability to reveal the person beneath the façade, the hidden elements of the person's personality. After imbibing a drink of wine, people tend to reveal the personality which lurks beneath the surface — for better or for worse. What an appropriate metaphor for marriage, when two soulmates resolve to accept each other unconditionally; not only the persona projected by the other, but also the hidden and subconscious elements of their spouse.

Additionally, wine gladdens the heart. But in order to produce this heart-gladdening beverage, a grape must be crushed. Married life is full of crushing moments — the key is to together overcome those challenging occasions, which leads to new levels of love and happiness.

Click here for a discussion of the mystical significance behind each of the seven blessings.

A beautiful event has now reached its conclusion, and a solid foundation of joy and blessing has been laid. The invited guests have done their part. They now go home, allowing the bride and groom to enjoy...