Note: The Ketubah, if being included, is signed before the public ceremony
“Welcome! We are gathered here today to share in a celebration of love, and to join together forever the hearts of Rachel and Adam. Today in the presence of God, family and friends, they will join their lives together, two beautiful spirits sharing the most sacred and tender of human relationships. They stand before you bound by their love for each other, and the desire to share this expression of their love with you and with the world. We, their families and friends, form a community of love that together we may support and encourage them with our abundance of prayers and blessings on this day and for all of their lives.
In Exodus 25:8, God says “let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell with them”.
In a Jewish wedding, The Chuppah – a drape of cloth suspended on four poles, under which the Wedding Blessings are said – is this Sanctuary.
Surrounded by loved ones whose joy and prayers are with you, you stand at this chuppah, a symbol of your new home. Its four sides are open, symbolizing the importance of community and of participation in each other’s lives. Friends and family fill the home. May your home be a shelter against the storms, a haven of peace, a stronghold of faith and love.
The first Wedding Blessing said under the Chuppa is a very special prayer for joyous occasions, called the Shehechyanu. This prayer is spoken at the birth of a child; on High Holidays, and upon the sacred bond of marriage.The Shehechyanu expresses our gratitude for being able to celebrate new occasions. It is our pleasure to now recite the Shehecheyanu:
ברוך אתה ה אלוהינו מלך העולם
שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו
Blessed are you, creator of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and permitted us to celebrate this joyous occasion.”
“At this time I ask that you all join me in a prayer and blessing for Rachel and Adam as they begin the journey on their path of togetherness.
Dear God, We ask you to shine your blessings upon Rachel and Adam as they stand here before you with joined hands and open hearts, to begin their life together in marriage. Grant them your grace and love, oh Lord, that they may always find compassion, love, happiness and understanding for each other and for all those in the world. May your blessing of love be the gift that lifts their union to a place of sacredness on this day and for all their days together.
We would also like to honor and remember all those that for whatever reason could not be here with us physically today. Especially Rachel’s Grandmother Denise and Adam’s Grandfather Herb.
Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally. Though we cannot see you, we know you are here. Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives. Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character, molded our spirits and touched our hearts. May this moment of silence or memorial candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared, a representation of the everlasting impact you have made upon our lives.
(The address is usually some words of wisdom chosen for the couple to hear and will vary. Below is a favorite closing to this section)
Together Rachel and Adam are best friends who support and encourage each other every day.
In Yiddish, there’s a word “beshert” which means, “It is meant to be.” The Bride and Groom are each others “beshert”! They are a perfectly right fit for each other, they are meant to be!”
(If including a Reading it can go after the address. If including 2 readings one before and one after is most common. However wording sometimes dictates placement)
“Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted in antiquity and revered since all time as the noblest and most tender of human relationships. It is therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently and consciously. Into this holy estate Rachel and Adam come now to be joined.
I ask you both, as you stand in the presence of your family and friends, to remember that love, loyalty and compassion alone will avail as the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other human ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those that you will now assume. If these sacred vows are honored and kept close to your hearts, and you endeavor to always live according to the best that is within each of you, your life together will be full of joy, peace and love.”
“In the presence of God, family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.
Rachel and Adam, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?”
Rachel and Adam: “Yes.”
“Do you Adam, take Rachel to be you wife, your partner, your love and your best friend? Do you promise this day to share your life with her, to respect her, honor her, support her and love her, through life’s challenges and celebrations, vowing to stand by her side from this day forward and for all the days of your life?”
Adam: “I do.”
“Do you Rachel, take Adam to be you husband, your partner, your love and your best friend? Do you promise this day to share your life with him, to respect him, honor him, support him and love him, through life’s challenges and celebrations, vowing to stand by his side from this day forward and for all the days of your life?”
Rachel: “I do.”
Presentation of the Rings
“May I have the rings please?
Rabbi is given the rings
The Circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. These rings shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin again, as is the nature of life itself. These rings will remind you that life goes on, that moments pass, yet your love is constant. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and that it is love that turns the Wheel.”
Exchanging of Rings
(Alternative Jewish Exchange of Rings – using forefinger or traditional ring finger)
“There is no greater statement of devotion in Judaism than “Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li” – “I am for my Beloved, and my Beloved is Mine”.
Rachel and Adam will now declare their devotion for each other. Adam as you place this ring upon Rachel’s finger, speak to her these vows:
“With this ring, I sanctify you and enshrine you in my heart, as my wife, with these words: I am my beloved and my beloved is mine. ‘Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li’.”
Rachel, as you place this ring upon Adam’s finger, speak to him these vows:
“With this ring, I sanctify you and enshrine you in my heart, as my husband, with these words: I am my beloved and my beloved is mine. ‘Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li’.”
The Sheva Brachot or The Seven Blessings
1. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן .
Blessed is the ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine
2. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, שהכל ברא לכבודו.
Blessed is the glory of all creation.
3. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, יוצר האדם.
Blessed is the creation of the Human Being
4. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר יצר את האדם בצלמו, בצלם דמות תבניתו, והתקין לו ממנו בניין עדי עד.
האדםברוך אתה ה’, יוצר .
Blessed is the design of the Human Being, united in heart and the search for love.
5. שוש תשיש ותגל עקרה, בקיבוץ בניה לתוכה בשמחה. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח ציון בבניה.
Blessed is the joy of our gathering. May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless
are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each
other and harmony with the earth.
6. שמח תשמח רעים האהובים, כשמחך יצירך בגן עדן מקדם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח חתן וכלה.
Let these loving companions rejoice. May their joy be as paradise on earth.
7. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר ברא ששון ושמחה, חתן וכלה, גילה רינה, דיצה וחדווה, אהבה ואחווה,
ושלום ורעות, מהרה ה’ אלקינו ישמע בערי יהודה ובחוצות ירושלים, קול ששון וקול שמחה, קול חתן וקול כלה, קול
חתן עם הכלהמצהלות חתנים מחופתם, ונערים ממשתה נגינתם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח .
Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, Bride and Groom, delight and cheer, love and
solidarity, peace and companionship. Blessed and praised is this love and this marriage.
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן
Wine is a universal symbol of joy – of the richness of life, the sweetness of love.
It is appropriate therefore that on this happy occasion you toast life with this ancient symbol
Couple drink wine.
As you have shared wine from this cup so may you draw happiness and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened, and all things blessed by true compassion and love.”
“So many gifts we are offered today. The gift of bearing witness the union of Rachel and Adan, to their love and commitment they have express in the presence of God and their families and friends. We wish them all the happiness the world has to offer and bless them throughout their lives together.
May you never take each other for granted but always experience the wonders of your union. May your love consist not only in gazing into each other’s eyes, but also in looking outward in the same direction. May your life together be a source of strength and inspiration to yourselves, your families and your friends. May you never forget the beginning of your love for one another, take care of it, nurture it, and allow it to grow strong and firm in the years that are to come. May you always concentrate on making each other happy and secure in your commitment to one another. May you always rely on your ability to keep the promises you have made to one another today throughout the thick and thin of life’s experiences. May you always be in love and may your love be as beautiful each day you share as it is on this day of Your Wedding and may all of your wishes come true.”
Breaking of the Glass Explanation
“The breaking of the glass is a time honored tradition in the Jewish Faith. There are many symbolic meaning to this ritual, but today we envision the breaking of the glass as the shattering of your old lives, your old paths, your individual path, into start a new path together, a new beginning! For those of you witnessing this for the first time it is appropriate to clap, yell, or shout Mazal Tov!, when the glass is broken.”
(Optional: Bride and groom are wrapped in a Talit)
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ:
May the Lord Bless you and guide you
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
May the Lord shine his face upon you and be gracious to you
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ
וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:
May the Lord lift up his face to you and give to you peace.
Pronouncement of Marriage
“Because, Rachel and Adam, you have showered our hearts with expressions of your love, and promised each other the joy of all your days, it gives me great honor and pleasure to now pronounce you husband and wife. On “Three,” You may brake the glass and kiss your beautiful Bride!”
ONE, TWO, THREE! “MAZEL TOV!”
Glass is broken. Couple kisses and exits to greet their guests