One of my latest wedding obsessions is guestbooks modeled after a Quaker marriage certificate and/or a Jewish ketubah. Wedding customs have always interested me and, after learning about these traditions, I have been determined to find a way to incorporate their lovely sentiment and significance into our wedding.
A traditional Quaker marriage certificate* states the date, location of the wedding, and sometimes the vows recited to each other. The certificate is then signed not only by the bride and groom, but also by all the witnesses of the ceremony to show their support for the union.
An example of a more traditional Quaker marriage certificate:
This Martha Stewart downloadable version is a more modern interpretation of the idea:
Image via Martha Stewart Weddings
A traditional Jewish ketubah* is a prenuptial agreement that outlines the responsibilities of the groom to the bride. It is signed by the bride, groom, rabbi, and two witnesses before the ceremony and is subsequently read during the ceremony. Most ketubot contain vows of the couple in both Hebrew and English, although many websites feature texts to fit any couple, whether they are traditional, reform, interfaith, or same sex. Ketubot are often displayed in the couple’s home as a reminder of their commitment to each other.
An example of a beautifully painted ketubah:
Illustration by Michelle Rummel via Ketubah Tree (I love the e.e. cummings quote on this one!)
An absolutely amazing paper-cut ketubah:
Even though Mr. Pony and I are neither Jewish nor Quaker, we really like the idea of having a beautiful and symbolic reminder of our vows be prominently displayed in our future home. Plus, there are so many beautiful ways to customize a certificate to fit your specific interests, colors, and style.
Wedding colors, anyone?
Use it to show off your other beloved (love the kitty):
Make your interest in traveling known to all:
Geek out about the quote at the bottom like I did (must. have. quotes!):
Commemorate your ceremony at a winery:
Memorialize the location of your engagement:
Or, just show off someone’s amazing talents with paper:
We haven’t quite decided what type of design elements we want for our marriage certificate, but I am loving this idea. If I had any sort of artistic talent, I would probably attempt to do this myself, but I know my limits. I can, however, come up with the wording we want to include on the certificate, which is a project all on its own.
Are you considering a marriage certificate/guestbook alternative?
*I am in no way, nor do I purport to be, an expert on these traditional documents. The extent of my knowledge comes from my curiosity about wedding traditions, a bunch of Google searches, and a love of pretty, sentimental keepsakes.