Alternative Jewish Wedding Ceremony


This ceremony was written for my best friend’s wedding. The ceremony is in the spirit of the Orthodox Jewish ceremony, but instead of highlighting God, it places the emphasis on the Bride and Groom, Love, Devotion and Friendship.

This text is not holy writ and you are welcome to change and use it as you please. If you decide to use it, I would appreciate if you added a small comment to the blog. I would also be happy to receive any suggestions or corrections.


  • Master of Ceremony – anyone hosting the wedding
  • <Bride>, <Groom>, etc. – fill in with the appropriate names and information.
  • Green text – marks the person speaking the passage.
  • Pink text – optional jokes; use them if you wish, discard them otherwise.
  • Hebrew Text – all Hebrew Text is optional. You may use just the translation or read them both (for a split Hebrew/English speaking audience).
  • Blue text – Directions as to what the bride and groom should do are marked in blue. Like anything else – take them or leave them as you wish.

The Ceremony

Master of Ceremony

Dearly beloved: We are gathered here today to unite this man and this woman in marriage. We stand here under the Chuppah – the marriage canopy. The Chuppah symbolizes the couple’s first home together. Let us begin by giving a blessing over the wine:

Wine is not an integral part of Jewish marriage by chance. Wine brings joy and mirth. It symbolizes abundance, the sanguine and the merry. It holds, like marriage, a promise – a promise to become fuller and richer with time. Wine also simply tastes good.

ברוכים המביאים כלה לחתן. ברוכים אבות ואמהות, אחים ואחיות, רעים ופרי הגפן.א

Praised be all who brought together the bride and groom. Blessed be families, friends and the fruit of the vine.

Both drink from the cup of wine.


Master of Ceremony

<Groom> and <Bride> will now read the Ketubah – the marriage contract. The signing of the Ketubah shows that the bride and groom do not see marriage as only a physical and emotional union, but also as a legal and moral commitment.

Groom and Bride

Suggestion: Groom reads up to “to listen, to forgive”, Bride reads the rest

At this time, the <ceremony Hebrew Date>, corresponding to the <ceremony date>, we, <Groom> and <Bride>, publicly celebrate having elected one another as husband and wife. We promise to love, respect and support each other, to be loyal, compassionate and honest. We promise to stand united through hardships and joy, together bear the mundane and celebrate the special moments; To challenge each other, to ask, to listen to forgive;

To entrust one another our weaknesses and fears, our passions and our hopes. To be partners in decisions and both partake in family chores; To be thoughtful and considerate of one another’s feelings; To bridge our differences through attentiveness, respect, dialogue, and compromise.

We thereby hope to become one in body and mind while developing our individual selves.  And may our companionship over the years be a blessing to us, as it will be a blessing unto our families, our friends and the people with whom we work and live.

Master of Ceremony

Fine words, indeed.

Marriage in Judaism is not a private affair, if it were, you would not all have been invited. Possibly some of you weren’t, but in any case, you are all here for a reason. The bride and groom have exchanged promises with each other, and now they will consecrate the marriage by announcing their commitment to the public. In Hebrew, Kidushin (consecration) comes from the word Kadosh, which means holy. It is this public pledge that transforms the marriage from a private affair to a sacred bond acknowledged by all.

The ring is a symbol of that holiness, that wholeness, of the circular or rather, singular bond which holds these two together. <Groom> – do you have the ring?


I do.

Suggestion: If you have your own wedding vows, or something you wish to say to each other, this would be the time. Do it before the consecration.

Master of Ceremony

Put the ring on <Bride’s> finger and repeat after me:

Master of Ceremony and Groom repeating after him

הרי את מקודשת לי בטבעת זו, כדעת אנשי כל ישראל.א

Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of the people of Israel.

Master of Ceremony

מקודשת, מקודשת, מקודשת.א

Consecrated, consecrated, consecrated.


Master of Ceremony and friends of bride and groom

The Seven Wedding Blessings, blessing the bride and groom are traditionally spoken by friends of the bride and groom. It is customary to ask them beforehand (it is considered an honor) to read these at the ceremony – one blessing per-friend:

ברוכים המביאים כלה לחתן. ברוכים אבות ואמהות, אחים ואחיות, רעים ופרי הגפן.א

Praised be all who brought together the bride and groom. Blessed be families, friends and the fruit of the vine.

ברוכים המביאים שלום לירושלים. תבורך ירושלים בהביאה חתן לכלה בשמחה.א

Praised be all who bring peace in Jerusalem. Blessed be Jerusalem for bringing the Bride and Groom together in joy.

ברוכים אבות היוצרים באהבה בנים בדמותם. אהב נאהב בנינו ובנותינו לאורם.א

Praised be all generations past for creating us with love in their image. May their light guide us to do the same for the generations to come. 

ברוך האוהב כל אדם כצלמו, כצלם דמות תבניתו וכעזרו.א

Praised be all who respect all humans as themselves, and love every human as one loves one's spouse. 

שוש תשיש ותגל המשפחה בקבלת בנים ובנות לתוכה בשמחה. ברוכים השמחים עם המשפחה בשוב בניה.א

Let the family be joyful and exulted at the receiving of sons and daughters into their midst in gladness. Praised be all who share in the gladness of the family at the return of their children.

שמח תשמח רעים האהובים כשמחת גן עדן מקדם. ברוכים המשמחים חתן וכלה.א

Let us make joyful these loving companions, as the gladness of paradise. Praised be all who gladden the bridegroom and the bride.

ברוכים המרבים ששון ושמחה, חתן וכלה, גילה, רינה, דיצה וחדווה, אהבה ואחווה ושלום ורעות. מהרה בכל העולם ובחוצות ירושלים, קול ששון וקול שמחה, קול חתן וקול כלה, קול מצהלות חתנים מחופתם ונערים ממשתה נגינתם. ברוכים המשמחים חתן וכלה.א

Praised be those who increase joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, exultation, song, pleasure and delight, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. May there soon be heard, all over the world, as in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the happy shouting of brides and grooms from their weddings and the music and their friends and guests surrounding them. Praised be all who cause the bridegroom and bride to be glad together.

Master of Ceremony

Before we continue, I would like to say something about two important aspects of marriage – Choice and Sharing.

Choice is making a gamble, placing a bet. You choose a person to spend your life with, although you do not know all there is to know about them, nor do you know what the future holds. Yet, you place your bet, you choose this person, and the choice is not random or arbitrary.

<Groom> chooses <Bride>, for her <positive energies, for her strong character, for her unfailing spirit… fill in what fits>.

<Bride> chooses <Groom> for his <calm, for his charm and humble intelligence… fill in what fits>.

The one you choose is your choice person, your select, your elected other. The word also implies a choice, an opportunity and potential to take this or that, to ride one way or the other… It implies freedom.

Making the choice does not bind you in shackles, nor does it restrain you in fetters, on the contrary, it shows you are free to choose and do so wholeheartedly.

To Share:

A share is a proper portion, a fraction or part. To share life with a companion means splitting both hardships and highlights, each partner taking upon himself an equal share. A share is a division, but to share is to unite! Uniting the time, uniting the needs and even uniting the bank accounts.

Share also surfaces the tension between two and one – To share your feelings but sometimes keep your share of thoughts. To share the same space yet have some space to call your own, to be together and still leave a place for each alone. That is the meaning of “share”.

Master of Ceremony

Originally, the breaking of the glass served as a reminder to the destruction of the temple, it served as a symbol for the age old longing to Jerusalem.

Now that the state of Israel lives with Jerusalem as its capital, let the breaking of the glass serve as a reminder, that needless strife and belligerence can bring our house down again. It calls for peace and reason; it calls for understanding and acceptance.

The cup also reminds us, even in the height of our happiness, that we must not neglect our friends, especially those still single. It symbolizes the breaking of the heart as ours was once broken. It stands as a promise that our home will always be open, and that our hearts still understand the wants and needs of our friends.

Master of Ceremony

Places the glass in front of the Groom

<Groom>, repeat after me:

אם אשכחך ירושלים, תשכח ימיני. תדבק לשוני לחכי אם לא אזכרכי, אם לא אעלה את ירושלים על ראש שמחתי

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

Groom repeats and then breaks the glass

breaking glass2

Mazal Tov!!!

Couple kissing, valentine sketch for your design

End of ceremony. Kiss, hug, drink and be merry (and married).

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