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Jewish Weddings

Signing the Ketubah after the ceremony?

Hi Ladies!

I'm new to the topic but have been reading a lot of the threads and you all seem so great and knowledgeable!  I'm so happy to be able to talk to other Jewish brides, because sometimes I feel like they are few and far between!

I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts about signing the Ketubah AFTER the ceremony as opposed to before.  If any of you have seen the movie "The Wedding Planner," she says that her favorite part of the ceremony is the first time that the groom sees his bride coming down the isle, and I want that moment without having him see me before the ceremony!  I also want to respect the religious aspect of signing the Ketubah, so I wanted to hear if anybody had any thoughts about what to do.  Thanks ladies! :0)

Re: Signing the Ketubah after the ceremony?

  • RachiemooRachiemoo member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    You should def. ask your Rabbi.  My initial reaction is that it wouldn't work because you're supposed to go to Yichud immediately after the chuppah.  It is very common in Jewish weddings for the Bride and Groom to see each other prior to the chuppah ceremony because of the Bedeken (veiling) tradition, as well as the Ketubah, and other traditions as well.  You can still have a special "first look" moment even if it isn't while you're walking down the aisle.  A lot of Jewish (and non Jewish) brides and grooms do this if they want to take photos together before the ceremony.  Again, ask your Rabbi, I have a feeling more liberal Rabbis might be okay with it but I'm not sure.  Good luck  :)
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  • RachiemooRachiemoo member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    another random thought... maybe it can be signed during the chuppah ceremony? 
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  • edited December 2011
    Ditto Rachel's comments.

    You didn't indicate what type of wedding you'll be having; some Conservative and maybe Reform may let you - though there are aspects of the ceremony that would require you to have signed the ketubah already, so unless you decide to sign it at that point (with your witnesses also signing, and then therefore adding time to the ceremony), I don't believe there's another permissible way to do it.

    But this topic should be discussed with your officiating rabbi.  And also concurring with the stated sentiment... every facet of the wedding is different; whether you and your FI see each at pre-wedding pictures, the signing of the ketubah, or for the first time walking walking down - each moment is different.  I've seen guys ball once she walked down, with the music and everything because it was just something so different - and they had seen each other ahead of time.  You can't create a moment, no matter how hard you try....
  • edited December 2011
    We are having a Reform ceremony, which is why I even dared to think it was possible.  I would never want to interfere with any traditions, and I know that there is a lot in the Jewish religion behind seeing the bride before the wedding.  I think Rachie had a good idea with making our own moment before signing the Ketubah, and about maybe doing it during the chuppah ceremony.  I just recently went to a friend's wedding where they went into a weird back room to sign the Ketubah and it was really unromantic and that's the picture that I have in my head about it.  I think we are going to try to make it special for ourselves if the Rabbi can't do it after.  Thanks ladies! :0)
  • leoraannaleoraanna member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I don't see why you can't have it after the ceremony. For sure ask your Rabbi. We are having ours before the ceremony but we are going to make a small celebration out of it with the band and our close family and friends just before the ceremony- at least then it won't be a akward moment in a back room before the ceremony... eek!

    I just got finished a few months ago with reading The New Jewish Wedding (<- link) and I know that this book has gotten mixed reviews from readers but I found it very helpful and useful when thinking about how I was going to plan my Jewish ceremony. It really helped me think of the ceremony not as coming with specific rules, rather a ceremony full of many different rituals which depending on your upbringing, your family, your location, your idea of Judaism could be very different from the Jewish wedding you went to last year. If you have a few hours read through it, it was a very quick read. If you are interested you can message me and I can send you a few passages that I think might be useful for your question. Laughing
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  • silversparkssilversparks member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Totally agree with pps - you must ask your rabbi about this.
    I have only ever seen it signed before or during the chuppah. We did ours at the badeken - that was our "first look" and it was definitely not a "back room deal", but a really beautiful moment that we shared with our guests. Sometimes I think people do it privately in order to save time or to create a more intimate time just to share with their nearest and dearest.
    In more traditional circles the ketubah is read out loud during the ceremony (after the groom gives the bride her ring), which makes public the legal commitment the couple is making to each other. The ketubah is 1 of 3 elements that legally affect the wedding (the other 2 are the ring the groom gives the bride and the period of yichud after the chuppah). While yichud must be the last element, check with your rabbi about the order of the ring and the ketubah.
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  • 2dBride2dBride member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    We had our ketubah signing under the chuppah.  In our case, we were having a very small ceremony and having all of our wedding guests signing as witnesses, so it just made sense.  However, if your rabbi says it can't be done after the ceremony, you might want to consider doing it under the chuppah.
  • edited December 2011
    The reason that people tend to do the ketubah-signing before the chuppah is that a ketubah is not, as is commonly thought, a marriage contract-- it's basically the original pre-nuptual agreement, listing the husband's obligations to his wife in marriage (and afterwards, if there is an afterwards for any reason). 
    Though at non-Orthodox weddings the ketubah has become something a bit different, traditionally, it's not signed by either the bride or the groom.  It's a list of commitments that the groom makes in advance of the wedding, and two witnesses are there to see him agree to these commitments; they (but not he) sign it to affirm that he made the commitment and they were there to see it.  The bride doesn't need to be present (and in Orthodox weddings, she usually isn't), so there's no reason to disrupt your "wow" moment later!
    Then, during the chuppah, the groom gives the bride the ketubah, and it becomes hers: her tangible symbol of his promises to her.  It's the closest thing a traditional Jewish wedding has to vows.
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