Getting to know the cultures: Traditional Jewish wedding

Getting to know the cultures: Traditional Jewish wedding

The Jewish religion has been around for over 3 000 years and there are an estimated 70 000 people living in South Africa that practice the Judaism. Various traditions and rituals are performed during the union of a couple, but what exactly happens at a traditional Jewish wedding?

Pre wedding

Kabbalat Panim

– This is when the soon-to-be wed couple refrain from seeing each other for one whole week before the wedding. By doing so excitement is created between the couple and they are overjoyed once they lay their eyes on each other again.


– The happy couple will fast on their big day. It is viewed as being similar to the fast on Yom Kippur. After the ceremony the couple will share their first meal together and break their fast.


– The groom makes sure the woman he is about to marry is his partner. Once he sets eyes upon her, he proceeds to remove the veil over her face. The veil is a sign of modesty and symbolises that their love is not based on physical appearance but on what’s on inside. This tradition stems back to biblical times when Jacob was tricked into marrying his partner’s sister. The trickery took place because she wore a veil.


– This document details the grooms responsibilities to his partner. It’s a promise of their love and what’s to come. The love birds will sit side by side and overlook their unifying document. It is then signed by both of them. Two people should be present to witness this promise and commitment.



– As the union begins the groom will make his way down the aisle with both parents at his side. The bride then follows with her parents. The couple make their way to the Chuppah which is basically like a canopy. The Chuppah needs to have four corners and be covered by a roof. The Chuppah is a symbol of the new home the married couple will build together.


– This tradition requires the bride to circle her partner seven times. The custom began because it was believed to create a protection for the partner.

Sheva B’rachot

– This means seven blessings. It’s derived from ancient teachings and can be recited in Hebrew or English. The blessings translate to celebration, power of love and the joy of this union. It will usually be recited over a cup of wine and then the couple will sip from a cup to seal the blessing.

Breaking the glass

– The nuptials are then concluded with the man standing on a glass in a cloth bag. It stands for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Basically meaning that even in most joyous occasions you must not forget all the pain in the world. Everyone then shouts Mazel Tov! Which means congratulations or good luck.


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Post ceremony


– This tradition sees the newly wed couple reflect on their recent marriage. They will go to a secluded spot and spend a few minutes alone together. They are able to bond and share this special time together without any disturbances to focus on each other. Their attention is completely on each other.


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These two really brought the sunshine. Smiles from start to finish and we 💛 it

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Image: Wesley Vorster Photography

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