Are you looking for help and guidance on planning a Jewish wedding? You’re in the right place. At The Mere, we’ve hosted many Jewish weddings over the years, and have come to understand more about what makes them a success.
Whether you’re looking to host a ceremony steeped in tradition or are keen to give your day a modern twist, there are lots of things to consider when planning a Jewish wedding. Our guide offers practical tips and inspiration, helping you piece together a unique celebration that reflects both you and your faith.
Choosing a date for your wedding can be tricky, with the Jewish holiday calendar barring certain dates and times throughout the year. Of course, this depends on the strength of your beliefs and those of your loved ones, but generally speaking, Jewish weddings are not permitted during the following:
· Rosh Hashanah
· Yom Kippur
As you’re no doubt aware, many of the key Jewish holidays fall within the customary wedding season (spring and summer), which further compounds the challenge of selecting a suitable date. Remember, though, that many couples choose to wed at the end of Shabbat at sundown, which may open up a weekend in which to host your wedding nuptials.
For many couples, choosing the right official is the most difficult part of planning a Jewish wedding. Of course, some people will simply call on their long-standing family rabbi to officiate at their service, but for others who may not be affiliated with a local community, appointing an official can be a tall order.
While we can’t offer any recommendations on the officiant you choose (as this will depend on the formality of your faith), we would advise that you appoint an official as soon as possible when you’ve chosen your wedding date, as rabbis’ schedules fill up quickly. If you’re struggling to find the right person to lead your service, or your preferred rabbi isn’t available, remember that student rabbis can also officiate at your ceremony, so contacting your local rabbinical school may be a sensible option.
As is tradition, most Jewish couples meet with their rabbi at least once before the wedding to discuss their plans for the ceremony, particularly the rituals and traditions they’d like to observe. It’s important to plan for this, as some officiants may have their own ideas about what constitutes a wedding ceremony – and this may not be to your taste.
Before meeting with your rabbi, be sure to do your own research about the types of rituals and traditions you’d like to follow on the day. Many couples are surprised by the sheer volume of rituals that can comprise a traditional Jewish wedding, so it’s important to consider what you would like to include and omit, as well as any other ideas you wish to raise with your rabbi before the ceremony.
The chuppah, for those not aware, is the canopy that covers the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. Representing the new home that the couple are creating together, it’s one of the most important ritualistic features of a Jewish wedding, and something you’ll definitely want to get right ahead of your big day.
Today, couples have a serious decision to make when it comes to their wedding chuppah, with lots of different styles, designs and customisation options to choose from. Historically, chuppah comprised of a patchwork of fabric squares designed by friends and family, and this remains a nice touch if you’re taking the traditional route.
Regardless of the style of chuppah you opt for, another key area to consider is your chuppah bearers. The task of carrying each of the four poles of chuppah is typically given to individuals close to the bride and groom, so make sure you assign these roles well in advance of your big day.
Choosing a Venue
As for all couples planning a wedding, choosing a venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and there’s a lot to consider to ensure you get it right. Below, we’ve listed some practical tips on the things you need to think about to find the perfect venue for your Jewish wedding.
· Location – is it easy to get to, and how much travelling does it involve? And, if you’re getting married at a synagogue, what’s the expected journey time? What’s more, does the location hold significance for you as a couple?
· Capacity – Jewish weddings can be big, so you’ll need a venue to match. Look for a space that’s big enough for your anticipated guestlist and then some, so that things aren’t tight on the day.
· Budget – knowing your budget beforehand will help you keep your venue search on the straight and narrow. You’re less likely to overspend if you already have an upper figure in mind, so always go into your search with a reasonably accurate budget in mind.
· Events planning – does your chosen venue offer an event planning service? And what help and guidance can you expect in the build-up and on the day itself? Having an event coordinator you can call upon to help plan your day can be a huge bonus, so add this to your checklist if organisation is your priority.
· What’s included? – most wedding venues offer a range of packages, ranging from self-catering to fully inclusive services. When selecting a package, it’s important to read the small print to know exactly what’s included, as you could end up incurring additional charges if there are obvious omissions.
· Experience of Jewish wedding ceremonies – ideally, we’d recommend booking a venue that has a track record in hosting Jewish wedding ceremonies. Not only will this make preparation and communication much simpler, but it will also ensure minimal hiccoughs on the day.
At The Mere, we host weddings for a broad range of faiths, catering to couples from all walks of life. Our luxury events spaces provide the perfect backdrop for your Jewish wedding, with several venue options to suit ceremonies big and small.
With a range of wedding packages to suit your individual tastes and requirements, we’re here to help you plan the perfect Jewish wedding in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside. All our couples have access to our events management team, as well as a variety of catering and entertainment options to help make your day your own.
From the moment you get in touch to the day itself, we’ll be on hand to ensure your wedding is unforgettable. We work alongside some of the best suppliers in the country to make sure our couples get the wedding they deserve, including kosher catering services.
We hope this guide has provided some guidance and inspiration for your forthcoming Jewish wedding. If you’re interested in hearing more about planning your wedding at The Mere, why not visit our dedicated Jewish weddings page for further details? You can also talk directly with our team by calling 01565 830155.