There are lots of differences between Jewish weddings and Christian weddings. This includes not just the "stuff" involved, but also the timing of the whole day.
We talk about:
Appetizers in a Jewish wedding are a feast, not just a cheese & cracker tray. Then, you go into the party with a rocking dance party from the grand entrance on through the night. The party starts immediately, not just after dessert, as is common in Christian weddings.
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Hello there, and welcome to episode number 23. I'm your host Pat Blackwell, and today we're going to talk about the basic difference between a Jewish wedding and a Christian wedding. Perhaps you've never been to a Jewish wedding before, and you're missing out, or perhaps you've been to many, but you've never really understood the traditions behind what you're seeing. Either way, this podcast is for you. I've made several podcasts going into great detail about specific vocabulary words in specific traditions. But this one focuses on the entire wedding day. Glad you're here listening, getting ready for some fun. weddings are such a happy time. And Jewish weddings are filled with amazing traditions that go back nearly 6000 years. If you've ever been to a Jewish wedding, there were probably lots of surprises for you. It was your first time. Well, let's start with location. Christian weddings are almost always held inside a church, and they often include a full church service or a mass lasting an hour. Jewish weddings are not generally tied to any regular service. The entire event is dedicated solely to the couple and the wedding. The Christian ceremony time is often determined by the church. So it's sometimes held at noon or two or four whenever the church is available. Then the couple and often the entire wedding party run off and take pictures all afternoon, and they come back at night for a reception. A Jewish wedding, however, is often a 20 to 30 minute ceremony immediately followed by the reception almost always at the same location. This is certainly much more convenient for the guests, but it also leads to different opportunities. It has led to the prevalence of what photographers refer to as the first look, a time prior to the ceremony where the couple sees each other for the very first time. Usually it's a private time, often with only the photographer and videographer present, and it can be very meaningful. Just as traditions vary from Catholic to Baptist and Methodist churches, traditions vary from orthodox to conservative to reform synagogues. Orthodox Jews are much less likely to do a first look. When you arrive at a Jewish wedding, there might be programs explaining some of the customs. There might also be small headcoverings, called keepa for the men to wear or keep pote or yarmulkes, all the same thing. Even if you are not Jewish, it is seen as a sign of respect for you to cover your head for a Jewish ceremony. Let's move on to the license signing. In the Christian world, immediately after the church service, the couple sneak into the back office of the church and sign the license with their photographer. It's simply a formality and hardly even a photo op in the Jewish world, the civil license of the minor thing, but the Katuba or the Jewish license is sometimes a really big deal. The entire wedding party and all the parents and grandparents join in making a blessing for the new couple. Then, and here's the Jewish word for you. It's time for the burdekin during the burdekin the groom confirms that this is indeed the woman he has chosen for his bride and covers her face with her veil. After that, the entire wedding party lines up and the hapa ceremony can begin. At the Orthodox or conservative wedding. The festivities begin with a couple of punim another Jewish word. It literally means receiving of the faces. The men I'll go over towards the groom for a Tish. The bride sits on a platform with her mother and the groom's mother and the bridesmaids. And they have sort of a receiving line of their own, where guests come to greet the bride. Eventually, the men dance the groom over to the bride. They sign the ketubah and he covers her face with a veil. Then they get ready for the huppah of ceremony. Did you notice those other Jewish words I slipped in there? A Tisch? It's when the guys get together and sing songs and recite prayers and have a few things to drink and some things to eat. The huppah is this other word I slipped in there. In the Christian world, the couple get married in a church on an altar. In the Jewish wedding, the couple can get married anywhere, but almost always under a canopy called the Huppah. Huppah is usually a fabric covering on top with four posts. It symbolizes the couple's new home. The Huppah is open on all sides to signify that the couple's new home is welcoming and open to friends and family. During the Huppah ceremony, the couple drink wine from a special goblet called the kiddush Cup. Many kennish cups are family heirlooms, made of metal and engraved with names and dates of significance to the family. Sometimes during the ceremony, the parents of a couple drape a shawl around the couple. This prayer shawl is called a tallit many times the tallit is a gift from the grandparents, or is a way to bring in the love and the legacy of the couple's ancestors into the ceremony at most Christian ceremonies, but parents of the new couple sit in the front row or sometimes even the second row of the pews, and they get a really good view of the couple's backside. At a Jewish wedding, the parents get to stand right under the hapa with the new couple seeing their faces all during the ceremony. At the very end of the Jewish ceremony, the groom stomps on the glass. This symbolizes that even on a good day bad things can happen, things get broken, but it's important to keep focusing on the good things to keep celebrating. When the groom stomps on the glass. The guests I'll yell Mazel Tov, which means congratulations and the hapa ceremony is over. The bride and groom of a Jewish wedding rarely have a receiving line. Instead, they go off for about 15 minutes of total privacy. This is a sacred and very important bonding moment for the couple. Even with all of their friends and family and their vendors tugging for their attention, the couple focus only on each other. This private time reminds the couple of their new priorities. What a wonderful tradition. I work with lots of Christian couples and I encourage them to adopt the same practice. Usually the caterer has a full tray of appetizers and drinks waiting for the new couple. This time alone immediately after the ceremony is called get queued. But sometimes I joke and I call it your food. The new couple gets to spend a few moments together and eat to food. After the wedding ceremony is the reception, here is where there's another huge difference between a Jewish wedding and a Christian wedding. Typically, cocktail hour at a Christian wedding consists of a small tray of cheese and crackers, and a bar. In a Jewish wedding. A cocktail hour is a feast with a large variety of appetizers all plentiful and of course the bar is open. The reformed Jewish bride and groom are often mingling with their guests during cocktail hour, where the Christian couple is often busy taking photos and not available at all during cocktail hour. They're missing their own party. After cocktail hour, the reception begins, again with a huge difference in schedules between Christian weddings and Jewish weddings. Commonly in a Christian wedding, you go into the ballroom, you sit down you have a prayer you have some lovely toasts. You have salad you have entree, you have dessert, and finally you start dancing in the Jewish wedding world reception start with a rockin dance party. you dance, dance, dance, and finally you eat. But remember, you've just had a whole bunch of delicious appetizers. Jewish guests enter the ballroom to energetic dance music and they fill up that dance floor. Then the couple comes in for a grand entrance and immediately starts the horror. Yes, another Jewish word. A hora is a traditional Jewish dance, where guests form circles around the couple. The innermost circle is usually the immediate family. Then the outer circles are formed by friends. Sometime during the dancing, the couples sit on chairs and they're hoisted into the air while guests dance around them in circles. It's a raucous time. During the dancing, the salads are served and eventually the guests sit down to eat. And now it's time for another Jewish word, the multi or hum oats. This is a traditional prayer over the bread. The most common bread used for this blessing is holla which is a sweet egg bread. Moti is usually chanted by the oldest male relatives. So often the grandfathers get to do the multi. Immediately after the multi, the toasts begin. It's common in a Jewish wedding for both sets of parents to give a toast to the new couple. Then the typical bane of honor and best mantos and in a Jewish wedding, quite often the bride and groom get up and say a few thank yous and then they cut the cake. All of this happens while the guests are eating their salad, and then we have more dancing. I know it's a wild time and lots of fun. Once entrees are served, the couple usually goes Table to Table greeting their guests. Then dancing begins once again long before dessert, and continues until the end of the reception. Dessert at a Jewish wedding is often a sweet table filled with an assortment of lavish desserts. Rarely at a Jewish wedding is dessert, simply slice wedding cake, it's almost always more. In a traditional Jewish wedding reception, there might be a bouquet to us, but usually not a garter dance or $1 dance or any of those other programmed activities. After the meal is complete, that dance floor stays full. Eventually, the caterer serves a late night snack, often sliders or pizza, the food the drinks, the dancing, they never stop until the party ends. The typical Jewish couple stays until the very end of the party too exhausted, but thrilled with their day. I know I threw a lot of new words at you today. Most of these words have had their own podcast or the last couple months. So if you want to learn more about any of them, just listen to the podcast. You can find them on my website, Jewish party Maven calm, or on almost every podcast site, Apple podcast, Spotify podcast, I Heart Radio, podcasts and lots more. The podcast, as you know, is called book more weddings. With Pat Blackwell. You can download a free cheat sheet of the top 12 Jewish wedding words by going to my website Jewish party maven.com. We've got more exciting changes coming up for you in the next few weeks. And our courses will be rolling out soon. Thank you for taking time to listen to this podcast. Hopefully helps you better understand some of the Jewish traditions that go into a successful wedding. Alright, let's wrap this up. If you'd like to learn more, follow me on Facebook or Instagram at Jewish party Maven. I really appreciate your thoughts and your feedback about the show. I'm learning lots about how this podcasting world works. And I know that reviews are like gold. So would you leave me a review? I'd appreciate that a lot. Thanks for listening