Jewish Wedding Guide to Pre-Wedding Traditions & Customs

The Jewish culture loves to celebrate!  The Jewish wedding day is called the “big day” for a reason, but there are many possible events leading up to the big day that can add meaning and memories to this special time in your life.

Jewish Wedding Pre-Ceremony Traditions

Henna Party

Jewish Wedding Henna Party

Some brides have a henna party a week or so before the wedding, a ritual stemming from Sephardic tradition.  The henna party is a joyful ceremony meant to bring good luck to the bride and groom.  The bride’s skin is stained with beautiful patterns made from henna.  While the henna dries, traditionally the bride’s friends and family feed her treats and send her good wishes.  Some couples choose to have a joint henna ceremony in which the henna is applied to the ring fingers and feet of the bride and groom to encourage fertility.

Mikvah (Mikveh)

Mikvah | Jewish Wedding RitualA mikvah is a beautiful, spiritual ritual in which the bride immerses herself in a bath or body of water and saying blessings.  The ceremony is usually held about a day before the wedding, and can be an individual experience or a gathering of friends and family.  While the ceremony can be held in any body of water – indoors or outdoors, natural or constructed – a mikvah in a body of natural water can be a gratifying experience as the bride can be at one with nature.

Bar & Bat Mitzvah, Wedding Venues & VendorsAufruf

It is deeply rooted in Jewish culture & customs to share celebrations with the community.  The aufruf is an opportunity to share your wedding joy with the members of your congregation.  The groom and bride (in non-orthodox congregations) are called to the beema to receive an aliyah.  The rabbi then usually offers a blessing for the marriage.  In some congregations, members sing and celebrate as they shower the couple with soft candy.  The aufruf typically takes place on the Shabbat before the wedding, and provides an opportunity to honor relatives with an aliyah reading.

Separation / Fasting

Some couples choose to separate for the week before their wedding and not see each other until the day of their wedding.  Another tradition stemming from Ashkenazi rituals is for the bride and groom to fast from the night before the wedding until the wedding meal.

View Mazelmoments Guide to Jewish Wedding Traditions.

Photo Credits: Henna By SiennaIsabella Friedman

Written by Cigall Goldman

Cigall Goldman