Jewish Wedding Reception
In a religious sense of Judaism, it is a mitzvah (or a commandment) for the wedding attendees to shower the newlyweds with joy and happiness. In practical terms this translates into a very loud, cheerful and delicious wedding reception.
However, first things first and before the celebration breaks out to its fullest, the bride and the groom (or the kallah and the chatan in Hebrew) are ushered to a yichud room, where – separated from the rest of the wedding party – they are allowed to cherish the first moments of their married life together in privacy. This Ashkenazi custom is a great way for the newlyweds to wind down and recuperate.
The overjoy of Jewish Seudah or Festive Meal is a serious business. Some communities take the responsibility to provide adequate entertainment at wedding receptions so seriously that they actually hire professional comedians. Live music is virtually a must; as is a large dance floor allowing the guests to celebrate Jewish style – that is with dancing.
Although the signature bottle dance may be considered by many young or mainstream Jewish couples as the “Fiddler on the Roof” kind of thing of the past, no Jewish wedding reception is complete without the Hora. Accompanied with the tune of Hava Nagila, the newlyweds – each seated in a separate chair – are elevated above the heads of the dancing and cheering crowd.
But it wouldn’t be a Jewish festivity if the main concern was not in the food. Although contemporary Jewish communities vary in their observance of religious law and customs, it is considered safer and wiser to err on the more conservative side when it comes to providing wedding reception meals. Traditional challah bread and kosher wine symbolize the festivity of any important meal and should be provided. Egg and fish dishes are pareve and make for a great main course, since they can be consumed with dairy products. Eggs are also a traditional wedding food because they symbolize fertility.
It is customary to conclude the reception with the recitation of the Birkat haMazon or Blessings after meals, followed by the signing of the Sheva Brachot Seven Blessings for the married couple.
Sheva Brachot Seven Blessings – Jewish Chair Dance – Jewish Wedding Halls