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Mazaltov.co.uk  - Jewish Weddings
Just like other religions, the Jewish tradition considers the wedding as a holy act. Marriage is viewed as a sacred bond between a man and a woman which is commanded by God. Jewish weddings and wedding ceremonies vary from one religious affiliation to another but they also slightly differ between different ethnic affiliations. Nevertheless, all Jewish weddings have much in common and are a joyful event that is celebrated by a party after the ceremony which, however, despite the happiness features several symbolic actions that pay respect to the sad events in the Jewish history.

Jewish wedding consists of two separate acts, known as kiddushin or the betrothal ceremony and nisuin or  the actual wedding ceremony. Engagement involves a ceremonial breaking of a plate which symbolises the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, an act which is repeated at the wedding ceremony as well. But at the wedding, a glass is broken instead of the plate by the groom stepping on it. After the couple is engaged, the wedding can take place on any day of the week with the exception of Sabbath and major Jewish holidays such as the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Aronement). Most Jewish couples also avoid holding a wedding in the period between the Passover and Shavuot commemorating the Jewish history from the escape from the Egyptian slavery (Passover) to the day God gave the Torah to Israel people (Shavuot). The period between the Passover and Shavuot was marked by great suffering for the Jewish people which is why it is considered a bad time to hold a wedding.

The week before the wedding is typically preceded by two ceremonies – one involving the groom and one involving the bride. The groom goes to synagogue, takes part in the service and publicly announces the wedding. After the service, the groom usually invites the congregants on a refreshment in the synagogue. The bride, on the other hand, visits a ritual bath known as Mikveh in order to enter the marriage spiritually cleansed. Traditionally, the bride and groom do not see each other in that week but not all Jews follow this tradition.

Jewish weddings take place under the chuppa, a canopy which symbolises the couple's future home. The wedding ceremony originally took place outdoors but nowadays, many couples are married indoors in order to prevent the weather from ruining the wedding ceremony. Although many Jewish couples decide to marry in a synagogue, the marriage can take place anywhere as long as it involves the canopy. The wedding ceremony is typically performed by the rabbi but it can also be performed by a friend under condition that the rabbi gives the permission and that the rabbi is present at the wedding ceremony.

The wedding which involves ceremonies unique to the Jewish religion (although they have much in common with other wedding ceremonies such as giving the ring) is of course followed by a party which varies greatly from one wedding to another. The party itself usually depends on the couple's background and the level of their religious observance. For example, Orthodox Jews will play strictly Jewish music and have the dance floor separated for men and women, while other Jews will have mixed dance floor and play a mixture of different styles of music.