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Wedding order for a traditional Jewish Wedding

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#1 User is offline   shirinrose 

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My fiance and I are having a semi-traditional Jewish wedding. We're trying to blend customs between Ashkenazi and Sephardi, so we want to have a bedeken before the ceremony. Unfortunately, we only get our caterer for 5 hours, so we're trying to figure out whether it's worth it to serve hor d'oeurves during that time (before the ceremony), or have a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception. The ceremony would only take about 30 minutes, but then there's a required 30 minutes of seclusion for the bride and groom before the reception, which we could potentially serve apps at instead. Any thoughts?

THANKS!!

#2 User is offline   Jewish Weddings 

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Hello Shirinrose,
Mazel Tov on your wedding! It is beautiful you are blending the traditions of your Jewish wedding. I have a few suggestions which may help you enjoy all the traditions and best utilize your caterer's time limits. However, I am not sure of your Kosher requirements & the time of your chuppah ceremony--so, I'm trying to answer for every contingency!

The Bedekken itself is a very quick ceremony and can be done along with the Ketubah signing. If you want to make it more extended and include some of the traditions of Kabblat Panim and the Groom's Tish, you can ask friends and family (or order a few platters from a Kosher deli) to bring light vegetables and fruit and cheese. You can serve flavored waters or other self serve beverages. This just gives your guests a nosh. You can use plastic ware to serve. This way you don't need to use your caterer for this.

One other option is to make your Yihud a shorter amount of time. The "requirement" for seclusion is not for a full 30 minutes (or any specific amount of time) it is, in the most Orthodox of terms, "The complete seclusion of the couple in a closed room is a public act symbolizing their new status as husband and wife. Since this act, more than any other, signifies that they are truly married, a public awareness of their seclusion is required, and it must be attested to by qualified witnesses. The witnesses remain outside the door to ensure that no one enters until the couple have been alone for a reasonable period of time," quoted from My Jewish Learning. Many couples sit together for a mere 5 or 10 minutes because they do family photos following Yihud.

It is customary to have a cocktail reception directly following the chuppah ceremony, while people are doing photos. But, it doesn't have to be a full hour, so, you could just make this a 30 minute time frame.

I hope this is helpful? Please feel free to respond and give me more specifics of the time and location of your wedding ceremony and reception and perhaps I can give you additional alternatives.

Mazel Tov!
Michele Schwartz, The Modern Jewish Wedding- Certified Life Cycle Event Planner and Professional bridal Consultant

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