Part 4 of 7
Jewish wedding vows with the exchange of rings is the central part of each couple’s ceremony.
Jewish Wedding Vows Ceremony Order
The Jewish wedding vows and ring ceremony is part of the Jewish ceremony called Kiddushin. The bride and groom are welcomed into the Chuppah, with blessings recited by the Rabbi. The bride and groom approach the Chuppah separately, accompanied by their respective parents.
Here is a glimpse of the wedding processional in regards to the wedding couple. The example will be a bride and groom.
For brides or for grooms, it is more of the matter who has decided to walk down the aisle first or last. Of the couple, the one that walks last will be standing on the right side.
- The groom is escorted to and stands with them under the Chuppah.
- The bride is escorted down the aisle and stops in the middle.
- The parents or honored relatives walk ahead and take their place under the Chuppah on the right side.
- The groom standing under the Chuppah leaves to greet and the couple escorts each other to the Chuppah.
For guests, they will notice the bride stands on the right side of her groom under the Chuppah, both facing the rabbi.
Why does the bride stand on the groom’s right side under the Chuppah for their Jewish Ceremony? The position of the bride on the right side of the groom is based on an interpretation of a verse in Psalms (45:10) “The queen stands on your right hand in fine gold of Ophir.” In Jewish tradition, the bride is a queen, and the groom a king.
The Ring Ceremony is part of the Kiddushin. The exchange of rings is the central act of the marriage ceremony. In Jewish law, a verbal declaration of marriage is not legally binding. There must be an act of formal physical acquisition of some object of known value. This answers every popular question, “why is the ring placed on the right hand’s index finger of the person they are to marry?”
During the ring ceremony, the grooms and the brides will place a plain gold ring onto the index finger of the right hand. The right hand is for the acceptance of the verbal vow with the binding of the physical object, the ring. The use of plain, solid rings without gems reflect the unbroken circle that represents a pure and eternal union. The rings were always gold wedding rings, but all depends on the rabbi’s guidance that a couple chose to officiate their ceremony.
The Reform Judaism movement follows where both voices of the couple recite and vow to each in Hebrew, the “Haray At” (for the grooms) and the, “Haray Atah” (for the brides) to each other with the exchange of rings included in their ceremonies. The English translation is included for each couple as well.
Please notice the wedding vows are not fully written out in their phonetic form or the English translation. Although you can find everything on the internet, these vows are sacred and holy. They should be heard and spoken for the first time under the Chuppah.
The secular wedding customs in regards to the wedding rings
The couple can place a ring on the fourth finger of each other’s left hand. It is known as the ring finger. This is honoring contemporary life and equality with couples today joining in marriage. There is no historical resource on when this tradition became part of the wedding customs. Some Rabbis will include this in your ceremonies and some will not. It is advisable for this to be part of the discussions when meeting the Rabbi that will officiate your Jewish wedding ceremony. See the Order of Wedding Ceremony List