Weddings in Israel, and in some other cultures, began their wedding day by fasting. Your wedding day is for forgiving, a cleansing for a life together, and fasting tends to enhance the spirituality of the day. Make sure you can fast before taking on this ritual.
When the guests are assembled and seated, the wedding ceremony starts. The processional usually includes the groom’s parents escorting him to the chuppah (the canopy stretched over four poles or held up by attendants to the ceremony. This symbolizes the home the couple will form together). The bride’s parents often escort the bride. In more orthodox weddings, the chuppah must have open sky above the canopy. If your wedding is indoors, in an orthodox wedding, you must find a way to open the roof to have sky above the chuppah. In a reformed ceremony, this is not important. You can also have the two fathers escorting the groom while the two mother escort the bride. It is perfectly wonderful to adapt the processional according to the needs of the couple.
When the bride arrives at the chuppah, the groom will come out, meet her and lead her into the chuppah. The bride stands on the right of the groom and the rabbi or cantor offers welcoming words and thanksgiving.
Next, the bride will circle the groom seven times or maybe only three times. Seven represents the seven days in a week, when a “man takes a wife” appears in the Bible seven times, and for Simchat Torah when Torahs are carried around the synagogue seven times. Circling only three times refers to a woman’s three basic needs in marriage; food, clothing and sex. Reform Jewish weddings incorporate the circle in different ways. The bride and groom circle each other, they circle together, or you choose the way that is comfortable for you.
The ceremony includes seven blessing given over a second cup of wine. Traditionally blessings build in complexity and become filled with more content. Blessings unfold in praise of creation, creation of human beings, the joy of the couple, establishing a home, and an ode to joy linking everything together.
The best known and most fun at any Jewish wedding is the breaking of the glass. At the conclusion of the ceremony, it is customary for the groom to break a glass by smashing it. This ritual is to remind the bride and groom of the old temples distruction . Customarily guests cry “mazel tov” or good luck when the glass is broken.