Jewish Weddings

Help! Our Rabbi wants us to have a Bedeken, but I don't want to see my fiance before the ceremony

I first posted this just under "Cultural Wedding Boards" but I'm trying to move it here!

I'm really lost as to what to do here. My fiance is Israeli, and I'm converting under an American Conservative Rabbi who will also be performing our wedding ceremony in the US. We've been having our "pre-marital" meetings with him, and he just told us he expects us to have a Bedeken. My fiance's never heard of it (he's secular), and I really had my heart set on not seeing him before the walk down the aisle (he will be signing the ketubah without me). Additionally, our families don't know anything about it (mine's Catholic, his is secular). The Rabbi seems kind of insistent about it, and said that it's necessary to make the marriage binding, but said he's open to "creative" ways of doing it since he knows how I feel. Also, I understand that this is a beautiful ceremony, but watching videos of it, I think we would find it very awkward since we're kind of private people. The last problem is that a couple of my family members have had a hard time with my conversion, and I think this is so different from ceremonies they're used to that they may really dislike it. I'm embracing all of the other wedding traditions - is there any way to forego this one? Or, alternatively, a way it could be done without him seeing me before the ceremony?

Sorry for the novel, any help would really be appreciated!

Re: Help! Our Rabbi wants us to have a Bedeken, but I don't want to see my fiance before the ceremony

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    No. Bedeken is not compatible with "the groom doesn't see the bride before she walks down the aisle." The custom of bedeken was created for the whole purpose of avoiding the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony. It is meant to prevent the groom from being tricked into marrying the wrong woman by disguising her with a veil, the way Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel in the Bible.

    So if this rabbi is insisting on a bedeken and you want him to officiate, you will need to forego the "groom doesn't see the bride until the walk down the aisle" custom. The only alternative is to find another officiant who doesn't insist on a bedeken.
  • Perhaps you could find a happy medium?  See if it works timeline-wise to do the Bedeken  right before you walk down the ailse in a private room for just you and your families?  Explain your feelings to the rabbi that you had not wanted the groom to see you before the ceremony....It might make for a very intimate and special moment for you/your groom and the two families.


    Our Rabbi has worked with us to take traditional Jewish wedding customs and make them our own.  Maybe you can do that here?

  • I've seen it done where the groom waits near the chuppah, the bride walks in with her parents, he meets her half way up the aisle and does the bedeken, then returns to the chuppah, and she walks the rest of the way with her parents.

    I also have been to a wedding where the kutubah singing and bedeken were off to the side of the chuppah in the same room, and the bride still got her grand entrance. 

    Work with your rabbi, there are ways to do this.
  • The way most Israelis do it is the way that reebsreebs wrote, the rabbi should be able to accommodate this kind of bedeken. 
  • just realized she wrote two ways, I mean the way where the groom walks in with his parents first, then the bride walks in and the groom meets her 1/3rd of the way up the aisle to do the bedeken then and then they walk to the chuppah together. It's really lovely too as it symbolizes you walking to your new home together. 
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