There’s nothing like the excitement of wedding preparations! Are you planning your Jewish wedding? You might be surprised to learn that the Jewish wedding of today both resembles and differs from the ancient Jewish wedding, both in pretty significant ways. We’re focusing on the main difference today: the ancient Jewish wedding used to be broken up into a few different stages.
The Ancient Jewish Wedding Used to Be Separate Stages Spanning Months or Even Years
Way back when arranged marriages were in vogue, ancient Jewish weddings would begin with the betrothal agreement. This often took place between the parents of the prospective bride and groom, and has more implications for the families than the engagement period as we know it today.
Remember, at the times that ancient Jewish weddings took place, even until the last century, betrothals were decided upon even while the young prospective couples were still in their early teens, if not much earlier. Maybe it doesn’t have to spelled out, but that need for waiting until a couple becomes old enough to complete the marriage process has become completely obsolete.
Another factor reason why ancient Jewish weddings progressed into a single celebration is a financial concern. It’s no secret that Jewish communities around the world faced many phases of restriction on their ability to make a livelihood. As history progressed, the typical process of the ancient Jewish wedding, with the multiple celebrations and festive meals involved, along with the financial transactions that had to take place among the families, became too onerous for the typically poor Jewish family.
A Lot Has Changed Since the Era of Ancient Jewish Wedding—So What’s Stayed the Same?
Taking a look at the main differences, you’ll notice that the ancient Jewish wedding evolved thanks to cultural changes that took place in the Jewish community over time.
On the other hand, the core elements of the ancient Jewish wedding, those stemming from Jewish law, have not been replaced or changed in any significant way. These are the key characteristics of what makes a distinctively-Jewish wedding. This includes the signing of the Ketubah. The Ketubah, or marriage contract, is the world’s first known prenuptial agreement, and has followed the ancient Jewish wedding from its inception to the Jewish wedding as we know it today.
Good news is that, while the Ketubah is rooted to the ancient Jewish wedding, your Ketubah doesn’t have to look ancient!
Ketubah artists today like Amalya Nini fuse together tradition with modern techniques and styles so that every Jewish couple today can find a Ketubah to sign on their Big Day, and treasure for their entire lifetime together afterwards. Amalya is based in one of the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and draws inspiration from the nature around her to create breathtaking Ketubot. She also offers a wide variety of text options, so that there’s truly something for every kind of Jewish couple out there.