One of the reasons why everyone looks forward to Jewish weddings is the absolutely succulent feast that awaits every guest afterwards. These feasts are indeed reputed for their decadence, which means that you’re certainly going to have to live up to the expectation if you’re having a Jewish theme wedding. If you’re unfamiliar with Jewish customs, it’s crucial for you to familiarize yourself with the different customs and dietary restrictions. Challah bread, for instance, is regarded as an absolute must because the Rabbi normally blesses the bread before starting the feast.
Traditional Jewish families will only eat Kosher-certified food, which is actually quite easy to get. Jewish individuals also follow the ‘Kashrut’ dietary customs which state that they can’t eat the eggs, flesh and milk of certain animals. Meat is never eaten with dairy and some orthodox families even try not to eat fish and meat together. However, these can be served at the reception, provided that they’re not included in the same dish. Seared salmon, for example, is an extremely popular dish at Jewish receptions because they are thought to enhance fertility and vitality. However, shellfish such as shrimps, crabs, lobsters, oysters and clams are forbidden, as are any pork-related products.
As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, bear in mind that traditional Jewish people will only consume wine produced by Kosher manufacturers while some might even avoid it altogether. A safer bet would be to serve whole grapes fruit cocktails or non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Non-fruity beers are perfectly wine but some people might restrict champagne altogether. If you’re expecting a large party and can’t contact each person individually to enquire about dietary restrictions, it’s best to provide both an alcoholic and teetotal bar.
Kosher meals for your guests don’t have to be boring either. If you’re unfamiliar with the dietary requirements, why don’t you contact a Jewish caterer who will take care of all the food pairings for you? Don’t hesitate to be creative as well: briskets, sushi, roasted vegetable kebabs, garlic and ginger marinated tenderloins and other such dishes are bound to enthrall your guests. As for the desserts, there are practically no dietary restrictions provided that you refrain from including non-Kosher grapes. A very popular sweet dish found at Jewish receptions is the Sutlac. Not unlike rice puddings, Sutlacs refer to a creamy delicacy made from rice, egg yolk sugar, milk and cornstarch.
All in all, the most important thing to keep in mind is to learn as much as you can about the various dietary restrictions and requirements while using quite a bit of imagination to provide your guests with a diverse and delectable wedding buffet that they’ll remember in the years to come!
No one can say that Jewish receptions are dull and un-exciting. On the opposite, these celebrations are extremely grandiose and filled with a variety of festive rituals that date from quite a long while back. From the blessing of the Challah to the breaking of the glass or even the world-famous chair dance, Jewish receptions are all about spirituality, love, merriment and a deep sense of family and belonging. As soon as the official wedding ceremony is over, the bride and the groom both retreat to a room for some alone time together. Afterwards, they emerge for a highly festive reception ceremony.
One of the main and most coveted tradition which is present in nearly all Jewish reception is the “S’eudah Mitzvah.” This ritual mainly dictates that fertility-inducing dishes are served at the after-wedding party. These includes a variety of Kosher treats, couscous, salmon, tuna sushi, roast meat, chicken, artichoke and the likes. Desserts are usually dairy-based and crafted from almonds, coconut milk, pistachios, almonds, raisins, dates and the likes. Since the bride and the groom usually fast for a few days before the wedding, an extremely elaborate feast is prepared for them.
However, before the feast begins, the newly-weds and the guests- under the supervision of a Rabbi- opens the reception with the Blessing of the Challah. This tradition is centered around an intricately braided bread which the guests share before starting the meal. Either the couple’s close relatives or a select guest can accompany the Rabbi during the Blessing of the Challah.
Afterwards, the feast ends with another tradition known as the Birkat Hamazon. After the meal, several wedding blessings are repeated in another prayer session. Prayer books are distributed among the guests and religious leaders usually preside over the blessing ceremony. Then, the couple pours two glasses of wine into a single one, hence representing the start of a new life together.
Another extremely fun Jewish wedding reception ritual is the “Hora”.Also known as the chair dance, the “Hora” is a tradition whereby several guests gather around to lift the bride and the groom above their heads in their chairs. Quite similar to a wild crowd-surfing, the bride and groom are repeatedly bounced up and down as they struggle to keep their balance. Rhythmic Jewish folklore songs such as “Hava Nagila” are often played during the chair dance. Afterwards, the newlywed couple sits on an elevated platform or stage while their guests dance for their entertainment. To add a touch of infectious humor to the dances, some friends also dress up in humorous costumes and masks.
The Jewish wedding couple has to be very cautious when selecting a wedding date. It is prohibited in Jewish tradition to have a wedding ceremony on Shabbat and festivals. Also no Jewish weddings are held during the counting of omer between passover and shavuot. Wedding ceremonies are also prohibited during three weeks between 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av.
the Jewish couple thus has to keep a strict check on the accurate Jewish calender when deciding their wedding date. One other difficulty when planning a Jewish themed wedding is that according to the Jewish law, wedding ceremonies are prohibited from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday. due to this many couples try to choose a Saturday at sundown so that the wedding ceremony can began with ‘havadalah’.
If the wedding is to be held on a Saturday the Rabbi will start the ceremony until the sun has set. The bride and groom can start their ceremony with a light cocktail party so that they can enjoy they can entertain their guests until the sun is down and it is time for the wedding ceremony to began. Some Jewish couples also decide to keep the ceremony on Tuesday as this day is considered to be a holy day by the Jews.
Selecting a Rabbi, who can perform the wedding ceremony, is also an important task and can be a difficult one for some couples as well. Engaged couples who are not formally affiliated with the Jewish community can have difficulty in finding a Rabbi who can lead their wedding ceremony. in such cases the couple’s parents can select a Rabbi from their congregation regardless of whether the couple knows them or not. However if the couple has a particular Rabbi in mind it is essential that they get a date fixed with him as soon as possible.
In the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony there no double no double ring ceremony instead only the groom gives the bride a ring. This is thought to symbolize ‘kinyan’ (acquisition). The Jewish law also uses a ‘ketubah’ to authorize Jewish weddings. This is just like the marriage licences that the government issues. Ketubah mean writing or written and it is signed by the witnesses and is usually read during the ceremony. Traditionally this document was treated as a pre-martial contract and contained the bride’s rights such as her food, clothing, etc. it also specified what rights the bride should have in case of her husband’s death or divorce.
In a Jewish weddings kippots are arranged forthe guests. Many couples choose to have their names and wedding dates printed on them. Some couples also have them decorated to match the decoration of their wedding. The Jewish wedding is incomplete without the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony. some couples these days also save some pieces of this glass and keep it as a memoir.