Exchange of Rings — During the exchange of rings, Mr. Wellies and I will recite the traditional marriage formula in Hebrew, which is translated as, “By this ring you are consecrated to me in accordance with the traditions of Moses and Israel.” This formula, called the haray aht, contains 32 letters. In Hebrew, the number 32 is written with the same letters that spell the word “heart.” Thus, Mr. Wellies and I will give our hearts to each other as we recite the words. Traditionally, the wedding ring is placed on the right index finger so that witnesses will see the ring is received; it is also believed that the index finger is the most direct link to the heart.
Image via Helen Maybanks Photography
Wrapping in the Tallis — The tallis, or prayer shawl, represents the 613 commandments which are the pillar of the Jewish faith. By wrapping ourselves in my grandfather’s tallis, we will be protected by the commandments and the spiritual strength of Judaism. The tallis will also bring us together as a couple in our first symbolic home—the chuppah.
Image via Megan Dailor Photography
Sheva B’rachot (Seven Blessings) — The seven marriage blessings celebrate the themes of creation, friendship, and love. They begin by praising God for the sources of joy we find in the world and lead into a more specific request that God grant joy to the couple. The final blessing poetically lists numerous manifestations of joy, such as dance, song, unity, love, and peace.
Breaking the Glass — The wedding ceremony concludes with Mr. Wellies breaking a glass under his foot. There are multiple significances behind this custom. Traditionally, it symbolizes the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. It also serves as a reminder that relationships are as fragile as glass and must always be treated with care, love, and respect. It is a reminder that even in a moment of great joy, there are still parts of the world that remain broken, and we have a responsibility to help relieve some of that suffering.
Yichud — Immediately following the ceremony, Mr. Wellies and I will spend a short period of time alone with one another. This period of seclusion gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ceremony and to enjoy each other’s company for the first time as husband and wife.
We’re so excited to include these customs in our wedding! I don’t think I can pick a favorite. Can you?