Smart Start with Susan Southerland: Jewish Wedding Ideas Pt II {Cultural Weddings Series}


SusanSoutherlandGetting engaged is such an exciting time. However, the exhilaration of saying “I will” can quickly be replaced by the overwhelming concerns surrounding planning a wedding.

I designed my Smart Start series to take the worry out of planning your wedding. Smart Start will be delivered to your inbox every week filled with tips on the business and the art sides of planning a wedding. It will break up your tasks into easy-to-accomplish segments so you can enjoy the planning process.

If you have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to email me at You may also find back issues of the Smart Start series by clicking HERE.

Last week I shared some of the beautiful traditions you will find at a Jewish wedding ceremony. This week, let’s take a look at Jewish wedding reception traditions. Thank you again to my associate (and Just Marry! Jewish wedding expert), Faye Novick, for contributing to this article.

Kiddush and HaMotzi
Before the meal is served at a Jewish wedding reception, there will be two blessings called the Kiddush and the HaMotzi. The Kiddish is a blessing over wine and the HaMotzi is a blessing over break (Challah). You will need to have a table for the wine, Kiddush Cup and the Challah. A napkin or Challah cover should cover the Challah. If the rabbi is attending the wedding reception, he may do the blessings. If the rabbi doesn’t attend, make sure to choose someone special to do the prayers. This is a great way to honor a grandfather or uncle. Make sure to have bread and wine available on every table for guests to partake of the blessings.

The Horah is a dance where guests join hands and dance in a circle to traditional Israeli music. At Reformed Jewish wedding celebrations, men and women dance together. At Conservative and Orthodox wedding celebrations, men and women dance separately. At some point during the dance, the bride and groom are lifted in the air on chairs. Sometimes the parents are lifted as well. Tip: Make sure you have sturdy chairs with arms available near the dance floor.

Klezmer Band
This is a tradition that comes from Eastern European Jews. Klezmer bands are a lot of fun. Check out this performance to learn more (link?)

Kosher or Kosher-Style Food
According to the rules of Kashrut, milk and meat cannot be served at the same time. You also may not serve pork or shellfish.

Mezinka Dance
This tradition is for parents of the bride and/or groom that have married off their last child. The mother wears a crown of flowers and everyone dances around the parents.

Birkat Hamazon
This is a prayer that takes place after the meal at religious Jewish weddings. Benchers (booklet with the prayers) are handed out to all guests.

Jewish bottle dancers
Fun entertainment! Check out this video of Jewish bottle dancers in action!

I will be featuring wedding traditions from a variety of ethnicities throughout the Smart Start series. If you want one in particular featured, please email me at susan(dot)southerland(at)PerfectWeddingGuide(dot)com

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