THE WEDDING RECEPTION
There is so much that goes into any wedding reception which is no different for a Jewish Wedding Reception. The traditions don’t just end after the ketubah is signed and the glass is broken. We will break down the reception week-by-week!
THE WEDDING MEAL
Seudat mitzvah means, literally, the meal that is attendant upon the carrying out of a religious obligation. In general, important Jewish events – Shabbat, holidays, and lifecycle milestones, including not just weddings but also brit millah, bar/bat mitzvah and funerals, are marked by a communal meal. Moreover, it is a religious obligation to make merry on the day of a wedding and a feast provides the perfect occasion for bringing joy to the bride and groom, their families, and the community as a whole.
It is a religious obligation to make merry on the day of a wedding and a feast provides the perfect occasion
All Jewish festive meals include:
kiddush (consecrating and drinking wine)
hamotzi (consecrating and eating bread)
a ceremonial washing of hands and
the recitation of Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals).
In addition, at the meal which follows a wedding the Sheva B’rachot – the seven blessings which are part of the wedding ceremony – are recited again.
One tradition suggests the following way of reciting Birkat Hamazon and the Sheva B’rachot: One glass of wine is held aloft for the recitation of Birkat Hamazon, and then set down. A second glass of wine is held aloft and the last six of the seven blessings in the Sheva B’rachot are recited. The second glass is then put down and the first raised again. The first of the Sheva B’rachot, which is also the kiddush, is recited. Wine from the two glasses is mixed, representing the couple’s union, and they both then drink from this blended wine.
While there are no strict rules on the matter, custom suggests that the head table at a Jewish wedding focus on the couple and their families. Traditionally, the bride, groom, their parents and grandparents, and sometimes their siblings, all be seated at the head table. It is not required (although it is certainly acceptable) that all members of the wedding party sit at the head table.