You’re getting married? Great! Mazal Tov!
Here are some guidelines to help you if you’re thinking of asking me to officiate your wedding:
Where do we start?
1. The first step is for you to read through this entire page. If, after reading this, you feel like my vision of a Jewish wedding might match yours, the next step is for the three of us to meet face-to-face, and establish a real connection. I make a decision about officiating only after talking with you as a couple, so that I can appreciate what kind of wedding ceremony you are planning, why you’re asking a rabbi to officiate, the kind of Jewish home you envision, and your thoughts about the religion of your future children, if you choose to and are blessed to have any.
2. Planning a wedding together takes at least three-to-four in person meetings, where we will learn about the wedding rituals, envision the ceremony together, and plan logistical elements. I will also hear about your relationship, make space for you to openly discuss your wishes for each other, and will offer spiritual direction as you take this next step on your journey toward married life.
3. If you are thinking of asking me to officiate your wedding, please speak with me before setting a wedding date! There are many dates when I am unavailable, due to the Jewish holiday calendar and my own personal scheduling.
- Any Shabbat. This means that I will not officiate at a Friday Evening/Saturday wedding until well after sunset on Saturday. Consult your local times for when Shabbat ends, and be sure to consider any travel time it would take for me to get to your desired location.
- The High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Ten Days of Repentance in between.
- The eight days of Sukkot, including Atzeret/Simchat Torah
- The eight days of Pesach (Passover)
- The two days of Shavuot
- The 49 days in between Pesach and Shavuot (with the exception of Lag b’Omer)
- Purim, and the day before Purim (Ta’anit Esther)
- The Three Weeks leading up to, and including Tisha b’Av
- Yom HaShoah
What does a wedding with me look like?
I understand a Jewish wedding to be the beautiful weaving together of:
- Ancient rituals
- Modern expressions of your love for one another
- The involvement of your families and friends (to the extent that you want)
- Elements that are personally meaningful to you as a couple
- Several components that make a wedding valid according to Jewish law
That last part is important to understand – a Jewish wedding is both a personal expression of your love for one another, and a communal ritual with Jewishly legal significance.
If that sounds like really heavy legal language, here are two quick things to consider:
- It should be! Getting married is probably the most significant legal decision (civil and religious) you’ll ever make in your life. But also…
- Take a breath. Look into your beloved’s eyes. Smile. And don’t worry – as part of our meeting together, we’ll learn what all this means, how it will enrich your celebration, and how you can make choices to plan and customize the wedding to your desires.
What does this practically mean? I understand that not everyone is looking for a Jewish wedding that leans into the religious components. And that’s okay! If that sounds like you, I recommend taking a look at Unorthodox Celebrations, a great way to connect with a rabbi who could be a good fit for you.
For me, here are the nitty-gritty Jewish details when it comes to officiating a wedding:
- I only officiate at Jewish wedding ceremonies that include the following traditional elements: the traditional wedding blessings, ritual vows, chuppah, ketubah (please talk to me before ordering a ketubah – there are many different kinds), and rings (at least for a bride, and preferably, for both bride and groom).
- I do not officiate at secular weddings, or co-officiate with non-Jewish clergy.
- My weddings are both egalitarian and halakhic (that means performed according to Jewish law) – so both the bride and groom, bride and bride, or groom and groom have equal status and responsibilities in the eyes of Jewish law and tradition.
- I ask that all couples whose wedding I officiate take part in pre-marital counselling. I find this to be a really beautiful opportunity to think about your shared values as a couple, and to lay the groundwork for what will, God willing, be a lifelong partnership. This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a couple. It can be counselling facilitated by me (in addition to and as part of our wedding preparations), or can be done with a different rabbi, or a counsellor/therapist.
Hey, you made it to the bottom! If, after looking over these guidelines, you think we may be a good match for your wedding, be in touch, and let’s talk about your special day!