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Jewish Wedding Traditions

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    Jewish Wedding Traditions

    Anyone who has been to a Jewish wedding can tell you it is an experience like nothing else. After all, where else can you watch two people smash glassware in the name of love, dance to your heart’s content, and participate in traditions that span millennia?

    Weddings, like other social functions, provide an excellent opportunity for members of the Jewish community to congregate and celebrate their shared heritage. Weddings in the Jewish community are tremendously important to the bride, the groom, and all of the guests at the wedding. While no two weddings are the same in the Jewish community, there are a number of traditions that are common to many weddings that serve to bind together members of the Jewish community in the strength and richness of shared heritage.

    Just as no two relationships are the same, no two Jewish weddings are the same. Each one is characterized in large part by the couple that are being married, the guests at the wedding, and the community in which the wedding is taking place. There are, however, a number of commonalities to JEWISH WEDDINGS that make them identifiable as a group.

    For one thing, the role of the Jewish wedding is often symbolically similar to different couples. In traditional Judaism, the act of marriage is a contract that is formed between a husband and wife to complete the union of two individuals into one harmonious unit. While modern JEWISH WEDDINGS reflect this belief in varying degrees, the typically play a similar role in the lives of the bride and the groom.

    Like the members of the Jewish community themselves, however, Jewish wedding traditions are varied and exciting. The various traditions and customs that are embedded in Jewish matrimony are both exciting and historically significant. Although not all JEWISH WEDDINGS will reflect all of these traditions and customs, there are some to look out for that are particularly exciting.

    One of the most common of the Jewish wedding traditions, and yet one of the most exciting, is the ceremonial “breaking of the glass.” In this tradition, which is mentioned above, one or both of the members of wedding couple take a wineglass and shatter it by stomping on it with their shoes. This action, which typically heralds the beginning of the party at the Jewish wedding, is also symbolically important. The action of shattering the glass represents the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the life-changing irrevocability of marriage. 

    Jewish wedding traditions also forge an important bond between the married couple and their religious beliefs. As such, there are a number of religious traditions that figure prominently into the ceremony of a typical Jewish wedding. One of the most common and important of these religious Jewish wedding traditions is the recitation of the sheva brachot, or “the seven blessings.” The seven blessings are recited by priests or esteemed wedding guests while the groom and the bride drink from a ceremonial cup of red wine.

    Another important traditional element of the Jewish wedding is dancing. There are a number of traditional dances that often take place at JEWISH WEDDINGS. These dances are both culturally significant and celebratory. In many Jewish weddings, the guests of the bride and groom dance in front of the couple and entertain them. One of these Jewish wedding traditions is a dance called “the gladdening of the bride” in which guests dance around the bride bearing all manner of goofy props and items meant to make the bride laugh. Another traditional dance is the “mitzvah tantz,” which is a dance where family members and rabbinical figures dances first around the bride, and then around the groom. The mitzvah tantz concludes with the bride and groom taking to the floor themselves and dancing in celebration. 


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