Irish Weddings

Five Ways to Have an Irish Wedding

Honor your Irish heritage in ways romantic and clever with these great old traditions. Add them to your ceremony and reception to remind you of the Emerald Isle.

Harvest Knots

According to history, Irish men declared their intentions of marriage by giving their fiancee harvest knots of straw decorated with flowers or bells to wear in their hair or around their neck. Make a harvest knot to wear on your wedding day, or place one in your bouquet to symbolize your Irish heritage.


A way to incorporate Celtic pride into your wedding attire. Known for its intricate patterns and zenith quality, wear a veil or carry a handkerchief made of this intricate Irish decoration.

Playin’ o’ the Pipes

Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are traditionally Scottish. For a truly Emerald Isle affair, locate an Irish uillean piper to lead the processional or recessional.

Irish Wedding Feast

The customary wedding feast in Ireland was a potluck hosted at the bride’s family’s home. Each guest brought traditional Irish dishes such as soda bread, coddle, and stew. Even if you’re having a more formal reception, you can still celebrate this Irish tradition by having a “feast” for your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.

Giving the Claddagh

Two hands holding a heart underneath a crown is the Irish symbol for “Let Love and Friendship Reign”. Share your Irish heritage with your attendants by giving them Celtic-inspired gifts marked with the claddagh. Give your maid of honor a candle gift engraved with the “faith ring”, or jewelry made of claddagh. Buy claddagh wedding rings, or wear the Irish symbol around your neck on your wedding day as a reminder of your heritage.

Jewish Weddings-Glossary of Terms

Glossary Of Jewish Terms


  • ALYAH: a Torah honor, literally, “going up” (to the reader’s desk) to read a portion of the Torah text
  • ASKENAZIC: those Jews whose traditions and customs original from Central and Eastern Europe.
  • B’DEKEN: the veiling of the bride by the groom before the wedding ceremony
  • BENTSH: Yiddish for to say Grace, to say blessings
  • BENTSHER: the booklet containing the text of the Grace after Meals
  • BIMAH: the platform on which the reader’s desk is located. Usually in front of the Ark, but in Sephardic synagogues it may be in the center of the room.
  • BIRKAT HAMAZON: Grace after Meals
  • BRIT: circumcision, also the party given on the occasion
  • CHALLAH:a braided white bread made for the Sabbath and holidays
  • CHATAN: the groom
  • CHUPPAH: The wedding canopy.
  • ERUSIN: the betrothal ceremony-first part of the Wedding Service
  • FREYLAKH: a lively dance tune
  • GET: a religious decree of divorce according to Jewish law
  • GROOM’S TISH: the groom’s table. This is where the groom, groomsmen and male family members gather for song and dance before the ceremony.
  • HA-MOTZI: colloquial expression for the blessing said over bread
  • HAKHNASSAT KALLAH: increasing the rejoicing of the bride. Any act of charity to help poor brides.
  • HAKHNASSAT ORKHIM: hospitality, especially on Sabbath and holidays
  • HATAN: Hebrew for bridegroom
  • HAVDALAH: concluding service at the close of the Sabbath, using a special braided candle
  • KALLAH: the bride
  • KETUBAH: the marriage contract
  • KADOSH: to be holy
  • KASHRUT: Jewish dietary laws
  • KIDDUSH: the blessing said over wine; also the reception that follows at any celebration
  • KIDDUSHIN: the word for marriage; it literally means “holiness”
  • KINYAN: refers to the gift of a ring at the ceremony or a material object at the contract signing
  • KIPPA: skullcap
  • KITTEL: white ceremonial robe sometimes worn by the groom during the wedding ceremony.
  • KOSHER: food and drink that meets the requirements of the dietary laws
  • LECHAYYIM: “to life”-the traditional toast before drinking liquor or wine
  • MACHTENISTE: mother-in-law
  • MAZEL TOV: literally, “good luck”- congratulatory wish
  • MAZINKEH TANTS: a joyous dance towards the end of the reception which honors parents who brought their last son or daughter to the huppah.
  • MEHUTON: father-in-law; also a new relationship to the other parents
  • MEHTONIM: relatives by marriage-in-laws MIDRASH: rabbinic tales and explanations of the Torah
  • MITZVAH: divine commandment
  • MIZINKE: a joyous dance towards the end of the simcha (reception), which honors parents who have brought their last daughter or son to the wedding canopy.
  • NAKHES: pleasure and pride in the accomplishment and virtues of one’s children
  • NUISIN: the nuptial portion of the wedding service
  • OYFRUF: Torah honor to the groom (and bride sometimes) on the Sabbath before the wedding
  • PARASHAH: the weekly portion of the Torah
  • SEFIRAH: the period between Passover and Shavuot when weddings may not be held
  • SEPHARDIM: Jews from Mediteranean countries, Spain or Portugal
  • SHABBAT: hebrew word for Sabbath
  • SHAMMASH: person in charge of the synagogue, the sexton
  • SHEKHINAH: the holy spirit, specifically, the feminine attributes of the Divine
  • SHEVA BERAKHOT: the seven marriage blessings, first recited under the huppah
  • SIMAN TOV: a good omen, congratulations or good wishes
  • SIMCHA: a celebration and the joy of a celebration
  • TALLIS: prayer shawl worn by married Jewish men in Orthodox synagogues and all adult men in conservative, reform and reconstructionist synagogues.
  • TENAIM: the engagement contract; also the celebration held when the contract is signed
  • TISCH: the festive table spread for the bride’s or the groom’s reception
  • TORAH: the first five books of the Hebrew Bible
  • TZEDAKAH: obligatory jewish requirement of righteous giving and just behavior that ensures the basic well-being of fellow human beings.
  • UNTERFIRER: couples escorting the bride and groom
  • YARMULKE: skullcap
  • YICHUD: “union”-the brief seclusion of the bride and groom immediately after the wedding ceremony
  • YOM KIPPUR: the Day of Atonement-holiest day in the Jewish year, when all sins are forgiven
  • ZIVUK: one’s preordained mate, the perfect match


Jewish Weddings-Ketubah Text

The Ketubah Text

Ketubah: Is a document recording, in Aramaic, the financial obligations which the husband undertakes toward his wife in respect of their marriage. It was instituted for the purpose of protecting the woman so that the husband would not find it easy to divorce her.

This is a standard English translation of a formal Ketubah text, written in Aramaic. All dates are according to the Hebrew calendar, all names are in Hebrew.

On the ____ day of the week, the ____ day of the month ____ in the year five thousand seven hundred and ____ since the creation of the world, in the city of ____: _____ son of _____ said to this maiden ____ daughter of ____,

“Be my wife according to the laws of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully.
And I here present you with the marriage gift of maidens, two hundred silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to the universal custom.”

And the maiden _____ consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her father’s house, in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this _______, said bridegroom, accepted in the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, and _____, the bridegroom, agreed to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of one hundred silver zuzim, making in all two hundred silver zuzim. And thus said ____, the bridegroom:

“The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possessions that I have beneath the whole heaven, that which I now possess or that which I may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of this trousseau and the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever.

” _____, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and of the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the adjoins to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institutions of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document. We have followed the legal formality of delivery and acceptance (kinyan) between ____ the son of ____, the bridegroom, and _____ the daughter of _____, the maiden, and we have used a garment legally fit for the purpose, to strengthen everything that is said above,

And All Is Valid And Binding
Attested to: _____________ Witness _____________________
Attested to: _____________ Witness _____________________

Jewish Weddings-The Ketubah

The Ketubah

The Ketubah is a Jewish legal document confirming the religious bond of your union. It does not replace a standard civil marriage license which the officiating Rabbi will need in order to perform the ceremony.   A marriage license can be obtained by applying to the County Clerk’s Office and should be arranged for within thirty days prior to the marriage.

The traditional Ketubah has been used by Jews for more than two thousand years and is written in Aramaic, the language of the Talmud. The great innovation of the Jewish marriage document is the recognition that not only love but also responsibility is necessary for a Jewish marriage. The husband’s primary obligations are listed in the Ketubah, declaring that he must cherish and honor his wife, provide for her support and sexual fulfillment. In pre-modern times, his financial obligations in case of death or divorce were also spelled out to ensure the woman’s welfare.

The Ketubah can be a beautiful work of art. Should you decide to have a Ketubah especially designed, be sure to commission an artist well in advance so it will be ready in time for your wedding day. The artist must also confer with the officiating Rabbi to ensure the exact wording and spellings of the Hebrew names and places in your Ketubah.

Jewish Weddings-Breaking Glass

Breaking of the Glass

The breaking of the glass at the end of a wedding ceremony serves as a reminder of two very important aspects of a marriage. The bride and groom – and everyone – should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act – just as permanent and final as the breaking of the glass is unchangeable.

The breaking of the glass also serves as a warning of the frailty of a marriage.

That sometimes a single thoughtless act, breech of trust, or infidelity can damage a marriage in ways that are very difficult to undo – just as it would be so difficult to undo the breaking of this glass. Knowing that this marriage is permanent, the bride and groom should strive to show each other the love and respect befitting their spouse and love of their life.

Jewish Weddings-The Ring

The Wedding Ring

The giving and accepting of an item of value in the presence of witnesses is the most important part of the Jewish wedding ceremony. It has become almost universal Jewish practice to use a ring as the token of the marriage bond. Just as the ring has no beginning and no end, it is the wish of every bride and groom that their love be unending.

One ring, given by the groom to his bride, is required by Jewish law. However, double-ring ceremonies are now the norm.

The ring must be made of plain metal, usually gold, with no precious stones and of one piece. The ring to be given to the bride must belong to the groom. After reciting the marriage proposal aloud, the groom places the ring on the index finger of the bride’s right hand and recites the appropriate betrothal formula.
English Translation: By this ring you are consecrated unto me as my wife in accordance with the law of Moses and the people of Israel.

The bride places the ring on the groom’s finger and recites words from the biblical book “Song of Songs.”
English Translation: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

Jewish Weddings-Veiling of the Bride

Veiling Of The Bride

After the signing of the Ketubah, a short ceremony called Bedeken – the veiling of the bride – takes place.

In Genesis 24:60, it describes the story of Rebecca’s first meeting with Isaac. As Isaac, who is to be her husband, approaches, “she took her veil and covered herself.” Thus, when the groom lowers his bride’s veil, she is blessed with the words offered to Rebecca by her mother and brother, before she left for her marriage to Isaac: “Oh sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads…” The Rabbi recites verses of blessing as the groom veils the bride.

Jewish Weddings-The Wedding Procession

The Wedding Procession

The custom of escorting the bride and groom to the Chuppah is an ancient one. Throughout Jewish history, brides and grooms have been compared to kings and queens, who always appear with an entourage. The tradition of attendants continues to this day.

The order of the procession and the number of participants is not fixed by Jewish Law. Some customs have continued over the years, and these may help serve as guides. The family may decide the order of the procession and who stands under the Chuppah. Non-Jews may be part of the wedding procession. Many families provide for a marriage coordinator to aid in facilitating these arrangements.

Since Judaism has always emphasized the important role of parents, it is usual for the couple to be escorted by their parents or to have their parents stand at their side under the Chuppah. At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, followed in reverse order by those who participated in the processional.

Jewish Weddings-The Chuppah

The Chuppah

The central symbol of the wedding is the Chuppah or wedding canopy under which the bride and groom stand.

The Chuppah, representing the home they will establish together, has four corner posts but no walls.

Traditionally, the bride’s and groom’s parents stand around the couple beneath the Chuppah to symbolize that parents are the foundation upon which the bride and groom will establish their own home.
The open walls of the Chuppah indicate that the couple’s new home should be open, an integral part of their extended family and community.

Jewish Wedding-Selecting a Wedding Date

Selecting a Wedding Date

The selection of your wedding date will, to some extent, reflect your personal priorities. You will also need to take into account schedules and prior commitments of the clergy, as well as your close family and special friends. Please remember that Jewish tradition also places some limitations on the choice of a wedding date.

Such as:
Weddings are not held on the Sabbath
Weddings are not held on major Jewish holidays or Chol Ha-Moed
In addition, marriage is considered a legal transaction, and such transactions are not permitted on the Sabbath and Festivals.
Days commemorating tragic events in Jewish history are also not appropriate times for a marriage celebration. (The three weeks prior to Tisha B’av from 17 Tammuz to 9 Av and minor Fast Days).
Conservative practice does permit weddings to be held during the S’fira period from the end of Passover to Shavuot.
On Saturday nights, a wedding ceremony is to begin no earlier than two hours after sundown.