OVERVIEW OF SPIRITSHUL WEDDING

MARRIAGE PREPARATION

You will find that most couples spend months preparing for a wedding celebration but precious little time preparing for the marriage itself. A marriage isn?t something that can just happen. It requires investment by all parties, including the rabbi and the couple as a unit.
Spiritgrow is very proud of the program it has instituted for marriage preparation.
Couple meets Menachem privately for a ?get to know the rabbi and vice versa.
In the last month leading up to the wedding, the Rabbi will see the couple and their parents for a final meeting at which any outstanding issues may be dealt with.

SHABBAT CALL UP

Shabbat (Saturday) morning is when the traditional Aufruf (call up) takes place. he TGroom is called up to the Torah for an Aliyah (call up). This Aliyah provides a spiritual energy for the upcoming marriage. Afterwards, the family and guests who are present, may shower the Groom with sweets. Besides the traditional blessings this is said to bring, it also brings a smile to everyone?s face.? Fathers and other family members may also be called up as honourees. The Gaboim (shul volunteers) will endeavour to distribute appropriate honours to those present.

After the service, there will be a congregational Kiddush which the families may wish to sponsor in honour of the call up.

MIKVAH- BRIDE

Before the Chuppah (up to four nights before) the bride must go to the Mikvah (women?s ritual bath). This ensures the wedding is taking place in the purest and most proper way. The bride may be accompanied by her mother, friend and or tutor. It is a beautiful enriching experience that allows the bride to take into her marriage ?mayim tehorim umayim chayim? the waters of life and purity. The rabbi and rebbetzin will help you choose a teacher to learn about the mikvah and the associated preparations, as well as family purity.

THE ORDER OF THE DAY
 
KETUBAH

Approximately 15 minutes before the Chuppah, the Ketubah (Jewish marriage document) will be signed by two witnesses (see witnesses checklist)

BADEKEN (VEILING THE BRIDE)

Approximately 10 minutes before the Chuppah, the groom and his parents will be led to the bride to be veiled. This is an opportune time for parents to bless their children and for the bride and groom o bless each other (individual prayers, no specific text).

THE PROCESSION

The traditional order of the procession::

  1. Rabbi followed by the Groom and his parents on either side of him, arm in arm
  2. Grandparents of the Groom (if present)
  3. Flower girls
  4. The Bride accompanied by her parents arm in arm
  5. Grandparents of the Bride
  6. Maid or matron of Honour and Bridesmaids.

The bride circles the groom seven times in a counter clockwise direction and then finishes on the grooms right.

Under the Chuppah, Bride and Groom stand in the centre, parents and grandparents on the side (the Rabbi will help everyone find their positions)

THE BLESSINGS

The Rabbi recites two blessings - one over the wine and the other on the consecration of the marriage. It is vital that Bride and Groom answer Amen to each of these blessings as well as to the seven blessings (Sheva Brachot).

THE RING

The Best Man gives the Rabbi the ring. The Bride gives her flowers to her mother or Maid of Honour. She should have no jewellery on her hands at all as we must focus all our attention on the ring. Gloves, if worn, should be removed at this point.

The Groom places the ring on the Bride's right forefinger. The Groom recites the traditional words which are actually his proposal of marriage. He slides the ring on her finger and says-

"HAREI AT MEKUDESHET LI B'TABAAT ZU K'DAT MOSHE V'YISRAEL"

("Behold Thou Art Betrothed to me with this Ring in accordance with the Law of Moses and Israel")

The bride need not recite anything. Accepting the ring is a most eloquent "I Do". From this point on, you are officially married.

THE KETUBAH

The Rabbi (or honouree) will then read the Ketubah; first in the original Aramaic and, thereafter, an abstract of the Ketubah in English. If you are having another person read the Ketubah under the Chuppah he may be invited to read the Ketubah at this point. This is considered an honour.

SHEVA BRACHOT

Thereafter, we say the Sheva Brachot (seven blessings). Again, remember to respond to each blessing with ?Amen?. After the conclusion of the Sheva Brachot, Bride and Groom will again be given to drink from the cup of blessing by the other parents.

BREAKING THE GLASS

The glass is broken, the Chuppah ceremony is completed. It is our first opportunity to exclaim "Mazel tov".

MAZELTOV!

Good wishes and embraces are exchanged by the family members under the Chuppah. Seeing as the Groom was the one, who veiled the Bride at the beginning of the Chuppah, let him now be the one to unveil her.

Bride and Groom then lead the retinue down the aisle; hand in hand or arm in arm, as they prefer.

YICHUD

Bride and Groom have at least seven minutes of privacy. This is known as Yichud ? togetherness, and it puts the finishing touch on the Halachic side of the wedding. It indicates that this couple is married.

Traditionally, the Groom would present the Bride with her first set of silver candlesticks for Shabbat and Yom Tov and the Bride would present the Groom with a new Tallis.

There should be food already prepared for you to break your fast in the room. After the allotted time is up, the Rabbi will knock on the door and hand you over to the photographer.

THE CIVIL MARRIAGE

Back in the bridal room, both Bride and Groom will sign the Marriage Register making the wedding civilly legal as well. All signatures of the Bride are to be in her maiden name. The Ketubah and the Civil Marriage Certificate will be handed to you at this point. Bear in mind that someone responsible will need to look after these very important documents which, unfortunately, are sometimes lost in the excitement of the wedding.

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